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drving the cote d'azur

Melbourne, Australia
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drving the cote d'azur

I will be driving a hire car from Paris to Lyon. provence and cote d'azur for 3 weeks from the beginning of June - any driving tips which would be helpful please. I am wondering whether to base the car in Nice for instance and catch trains to other places along the coast instead of braving the heavy traffic on narrow inding roads?

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Rhone, France
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Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: drving the cote d'azur

We drove ourselves around the Cote D'Azur. We had no trouble driving the roads , and the traffic was fine - we were surprised at just how easy it was(.If you have ever driven the Great Ocean Road, the south of France is a doddle. Really. ) We encountered no traffic jams and other motorists were much more polite than some of the people we encounter here in Melbourne. You may have to pay for parking in meters or underground car parks in most places as free off street parking is hard to find in this area . Also you will probably be paying to park in Nice at either the hotel or a nearby car park, so factor that into the cost of your accommodation as it can be upwards of 15 euros per day.However we were very glad to have the car as it gave us so much flexibility and freedom to explore the area, and I really didn't feel like using buses and trains to get around with the family. There are many who will advise against having a car in this region, but it really is a matter of personal preference. If you are happy to catch busses and trains up and down the coast , maybe you will be fine without a car. But if you are like us and enjoy driving yourself around then go for it. Just be prepared to pay for parking and if possible get a hotel that has its own parking or parking very nearby .

Edited: 16 March 2013, 05:54
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Melbourne
Melbourne
Victoria, Australia
Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: drving the cote d'azur

So many thanks - that just makes me feel so much better! I have driven the great ocean road many times and it's a doddle as well. I had started to check out the various parking options in Nice so your post makes so much sense.

thanks again.

Louisville, Kentucky
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3. Re: drving the cote d'azur

As pwaites says, driving or public transportation is a matter of preference. We rented a car on our first trip to the region, and and that was 13 years ago. Since returning annually for a convention, that was our last car rental. About the only day trip that I find easier than others that I'm sharing in the below, is the trip to Tourrettes sur Loupe, but I'm one of those contributors who believe that what works for the traveler is going to make for their best trip. There's no right or wrong way to plan your visit. If your trip is ending in the Cote d'Azur, you might want to consider turning in your car at that point, but decide what's best for you.

Just as an FYI, the alcohol levels are a bit strict in France (.05 vs .08 as we have in the US...I don't know about Australia) so a leisurely lunch or dinner with wine is often best via walking, taxi or public transportation. I like long lunches with a Provence Rose (!), and this one reason I've come to know the region's transport system! ;-)

My primer for public transportation in the Cote d'Azur is that trains run along the coast and buses travel inland to the mountain villages, the most popular being Eze and St. Paul de Vence. There are coastal buses that travel the coast (100 Nice><Monte Carlo and 200 Nice><Cannes), but they are slow, have multiple stops, and I recommend them only for shorter jaunts and in the event there is a train strike. Strikes happen, but they are usually publicized in advance (so you can adjust your transport plans), and they continue to operate on (sometimes, very) abbreviated schedules.

Here is how I find my way from the train stations and bus stops to the parts of the towns I want to visit:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187216-i137-k4846…

From Nice you can get direct bus routes to these villages (82 and 400 respectively), and to travel to Antibes and it's old town, take a train and from the Antibes station, basically head toward the coastline and turn right at the harbor. There are other bus routes from Nice, particualy toward Monte Carlo, but I find train stations easier to locate than bus stops...but that's me.

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Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: drving the cote d'azur

Thank you so much Troggs. Tripadviser travellers are the best! We have .05 in Oz as well so I am well used to it. Your tips will be well used.

cheers Mate.

Glenmarna

Takapuna, New...
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5. Re: drving the cote d'azur

We've been going to Europe most years going back to the late 90's and have only ever used a lease car for transportation. No trains or buses. We have stayed in hotels in Nice, inland near Valbonne and have not had any problems with parking, sometimes on street, sometimes in parking buildings.

Our preferred option now is to rent an apartment in Antibes with secure underground parking. We actually prefer Antibes to Nice and there is good modern accommodation very close to the old town.

Www.frenchrivierarentals.co.uk

melbourne
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6. Re: drving the cote d'azur

this post is really good to read as my husband and i will also be doing this drive in September. I was really worried about it. I wondered how different it would be to the GOR. Now glad to hear fellow Melbournians say it is not harder than GOR, which we have done so many times.

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: drving the cote d'azur

Hi again. Just reconfirming if you can drive the Great Ocean Road you can drive the French Riviera. Just watch out for one way streets in the towns. I first drove that area years ago with just a paper map and managed fine. Last time, we had a GPS in the car and it was very useful and I can recommend it " just in case" you get lost or need help finding your way to a specific hotel or sight ( noting there are one way streets etc to negotiate). Contrary to what we had been told, the drivers were mostly courteous and parking was not a problem, provided you are prepared pay. ( It was cheaper than parking costs here in some places and certainly no more expensive). The only place we had trouble with the car was Villefranche Sur Mer , where it was so convoluted with narrow one way streets that we gave up and went on to the next town.

I can't guarantee that you will not encounter a traffic jam, but we didn't - and we were there in July . I do however agree that the the train service along the coast is another option and is worth considering as well. And I agree that Antibes is a delightful place and makes a good base too- we were based there during my first visit many years ago and loved it. We only chose Nice last time because we wanted to try someplace different. Wherever you choose to stay, just make sure you have your parking sorted beforehand.

Antibes, France
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8. Re: drving the cote d'azur

You will almost certainly be able to maintain a reasonable forward motion ( except maybe on the road to St Tropez....!) .but parking is the real problem. Car numbers triple on the Cote d'Azur in summer but parking spaces do not. Use your car to visit the deserted hil villages of the back country but not the beach ... unless you get up very early.

Ed

Augsburg, Germany
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9. Re: drving the cote d'azur

During the day in Cannes and Nice, you can get hugh trafic on the seafront. But the sun will help you to live with it :)

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Cannes
Cannes
French Riviera - Cote d'Azur, France
10. Re: drving the cote d'azur

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