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Driving from Provence to Nice vs. Rail

Toronto, Ontario
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Driving from Provence to Nice vs. Rail

We are spending a week in St Remy with a car rental from Avignon, visiting the local villages and towns. We are then going on to Nice for a week - doing the same of the Riviera...renting an apartment in both locales.

The day we're moving from Provence to the Riviera is in the afternoon of Saturday, September 1st, 2012 - which I imagine would be a busy day on the roads as it is the last summer weekend for many French. So, initially, we were thinking of taking the train to avoid traffic headaches.

However, I believe it might normally be a lovely drive between St Remy and Nice and if we had our car for a couple of extra days in Nice, we could more easily visit the Corniches, Ezes and Grasse. I understand having a car in Nice is a pain. Would anyone have an opinion whether this is a good idea vs. taking the train and just relying on public transport when we get to Nice?

Antibes, France
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1. Re: Driving from Provence to Nice vs. Rail

The train will follow the coastal route for much of the way between Marseille and Nice and this is very scenic. Much superior to the boring A8 motorway.

Once in Nice ( where parking is the main headache on the Riviera) the public transport is good - regular half hourly trains alomg the coast to reach Cannes, Antibes, Villefranche , Monaco and over the Italian border with a brach line between Cannes and Grasse. You can get a 12 euro go- anywhere ticket for a day. For the inland villages of St Paul de Vence or Eze you can take a bus from Nice for 1 euro each way. The Eze bus takes the Moyenne Corniche - the most beautiful of the Corniches - and goes on to Monaco.


Edited: 03 May 2012, 06:26
Geneva, Switzerland
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2. Re: Driving from Provence to Nice vs. Rail

While I tend to favour train in most occasions, on that one I would certainly do it by car! Yes, traffic is expected to be somewhat busy (not "green" but not "red" either) but can be avoided provided to don't travel at peak time (www.bison-fute.gouv.fr for information). A8 highway might be boring for people leaving in this area, but for foreigners (I am one), it is actually nice :-). In Nice, while there is public transportation available, a bus don't replace a car to go to St Jean Cap Ferrat for a nice lunch, going up to "Grande Corniche" and la Turbie for the view, to Eze-Village for a coffee ...

Fairport, New York
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3. Re: Driving from Provence to Nice vs. Rail

We have driven the Nice to Boulbon (just south of Avignon) twice now and it is a lovely drive, particularly if you stop along the way to see some of the little coastal towns. That will take you off the A8 for at least part of the trip. Driving and parking in Nice is not something I enjoy and have found that the train and/or bus are preferable ways to see the other towns around the area.

Traverse City...
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4. Re: Driving from Provence to Nice vs. Rail

We are budget travelers who like to relax while on vacation. We would choose the public transport option every time....

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5. Re: Driving from Provence to Nice vs. Rail

Public transport is excellent in this area - and very easy and cheap to use.

buses cost 1 euro - you can go from nice to the mountains, or Nice to menton etc for that euro

Parking is a nightmare and people will shunt your car out of the way when it is parked

cap ferrat has a good bus service and there are buses which go right up to the grand corniche

i know very few folk who own a car in Nice and the ones who do own a car tend to use it sporadically . Also we now have the auto bleu shared car system which is accessible to tourists


6. Re: Driving from Provence to Nice vs. Rail

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