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French/Italian Riviera inFeb/March:Weather?Too much tourism?

New York
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French/Italian Riviera inFeb/March:Weather?Too much tourism?

We are planning a trip to the French & italian Riviera and the more inland countryside in Feb/March.

Most important: How is the sun situation and even more important: How touristy is it/how can we avoid the touristy areas?

We have good memories of Nice from the nineties, but are afraid its over touristed at this point?

We are interested in village life, seeing people,not just nature.

Any recommendations?

Thanks!

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: French/Italian Riviera inFeb/March:Weather?Too much tourism?

You are visiting in the off season, so very limited number of tourists. Not sure what you are looking for regarding "village life", but a lot of the smaller villages in these areas are very quiet, bordering on empty / closed. They thrive through May to September and often go dormant in the winter.

Antibes, France
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2. Re: French/Italian Riviera inFeb/March:Weather?Too much tourism?

I don't think you will find at that time either the French or Italian Rivieras touristed in any way in the type I think you mean ( people in Hawaiian shirts with big cameras?). On fine weekends and on church holidays a lot of people come from the big Italian cities Milan or Turin to both costs- we see many as far as Antibes or Juan les Pins - the weather is often amazingly different on the coast.

Weather can be problematic - February often has long anticyclonic periods of warm sunshine and blue skies - allowing you to eat out on the terrace - cold at night. Equally heavy cold downpours. But often the weather is more docile than say May which is regularly far more variable. Tramping around hill villages can be very pleasant but don't expect to see much open. But I have seen crowds in January in St Paul de Vence - the famous hill village near Nice and reputedly France's most visited village.

Ed

Ed

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3. Re: French/Italian Riviera inFeb/March:Weather?Too much tourism?

Agree with Ed,

The weather is unpredicatable especially in Feb.

Snow on the coast is not unheard of but usually clear days with blue skies warm enough to sit outside in the sun, cold at night. March is usually warmer and milder .

Sunbathers use the sheltered beaches in Cannes all year round if the weather is good.

Inland villages will be cooler than the coast and small towns and villages off the tourist track will be extremely quiet , the major tourist areas will be open but not busy ;some restaurants traditionally take their annual holidays in February and most will close fairly early

If it doesn't rain, although days are short, it is a nice time of year if you want to get around easily and avoid seeing the area over touristed

Nice
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4. Re: French/Italian Riviera inFeb/March:Weather?Too much tourism?

People sunbathe and even swim all year round in Nice, if weather is good

Second half of february is the time of the carnaval in nice and the lemon festival in Menton and a variety of other festivals along the coast but it is never too touristy then

A lot of places [shops and restaurants] take holidays in january just after the end of the xmas markets and new year festivities but most will have re-opened for feb and carnaval

And you can easily and cheaply go to the ski resorts from Nice in feb and march by bus or train

Edited: 01 July 2013, 14:28
Lexington...
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5. Re: French/Italian Riviera inFeb/March:Weather?Too much tourism?

For the last two year we spent from mid-February to mid-March in Nice.

No, it is not at all touristy at that time. Yes, there are tourists but not like in the summer. It is very pleasant and everything (restaurants, museums) is open.

Two years ago the weather was just perfect...every day sunshine and only 30 minutes of rain in one month.

This year was a bit different. Like all over Europe it was colder and we had more rain. However, the travelers we met did not mind the rain for their sightseeing and walks.

We are going back in 2014 but probably closer to the end of February and through March. We live near Boston and the weather on the French Riviera at that time is far more pleasant than at home. That's the reason we are going again. Many other places in Southern Europe are much colder. This area is surrounded by the Alps.

I hope this will help...maybe we'll see you there as well.

Montelimar, France
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6. Re: French/Italian Riviera inFeb/March:Weather?Too much tourism?

Time for mimosa on bloom, as well.

Pittsburgh, PA
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7. Re: French/Italian Riviera inFeb/March:Weather?Too much tourism?

Be aware that the Mediterranean in winter is nothing like the Caribbean; you will most likely not have warm weather or warm water, therefore not lots of tourists.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: French/Italian Riviera inFeb/March:Weather?Too much tourism?

When did someone compare the Mediterranean to the Caribbean? Did I miss something?

New York
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9. Re: French/Italian Riviera inFeb/March:Weather?Too much tourism?

Thanks to all of you, this is very helpful. I like the detailed account you gave: you wim881 from your vacation experience and all of you who are local, Ed, Soooz. Loud-Glade,Selkienice and all the others, from living there.

Now that we are likely to go, because of your help, some more questions. Which is a good base to use for traveling, Nice or a smaller town? We like to watch town life, visit museums, churches, but also the local green grocer and bakery. Are there good walks (not hikes) in the area. does it help that I speak fairly reasonable French?

Again, every input is welcome, more questions later.

Berlina

Pittsburgh, PA
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10. Re: French/Italian Riviera inFeb/March:Weather?Too much tourism?

Daatthecoast, I mentioned the comparison of the Med and Caribbean b/c often people from USA think winter is high season along the Med as it is in the Caribbean. The OP asked about how touristy it might be.