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Best place to stay Cannes vs. Nice to explore Cote d'azur

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Best place to stay Cannes vs. Nice to explore Cote d'azur

Hi!

I am going to be visiting France the end of July and am very overwhelmed with all of the options of different towns/villages to stay in. I'm traveling with my boyfriend and we would like a good place to base ourselves out of while making day trips to Eze, Monaco, and different nice beach areas. Originally I thought Cannes because of the more sandy beaches but will I regret that with wanting to travel to other places? Cannes seems the furthest from all of them. I know there is much more in Nice and transportation seems abundant but I was worried it wont have the south of France feel I'd like to wake up to. In addition to Nice and Cannes I was looking at Antibes and VilleFranche. Ville Franche would probably be my #1 but decent hotels, semi affordable seem hard to find in that area.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

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1. Re: Best place to stay Cannes vs. Nice to explore Cote d'azur

what is the south of france feel you'd like to wake up in?

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2. Re: Best place to stay Cannes vs. Nice to explore Cote d'azur

If you want the "South of France" feel mixed with a perfect central location stay in Villefranche. It has a wonderful feel and is a great hub for bus and train travel to all your cities. Look at Hotel Welcome (my favorite but $$) or Hotel De La Darse. Both offer great views.

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3. Re: Best place to stay Cannes vs. Nice to explore Cote d'azur

Hi Shannen.

Antibes, Cannes and Nice are all great options although different. None are too far to visit the cote d'azure towns by train. All have enough to do that you won't get bored.

As a fellow New Yorker I can tell you that Nice does have a cosmopolitan, city feel. Tons to do, ethnic restaurants, different neighborhoods, many areas that are crowded, lots of stores, a great promenade, great old town, beautiful suburb (Cimiez) with mansions and luscious greenery. Very vibrant busy and beautiful overall. The beaches are very rocky but you can travel to sand beaches easily.

Cannes is smaller and quainter and has a phenomenal port with large square and cafes, great sandy white beaches, a very small old town, and a strip on the promenade with very high end designer boutiques and expensive sports cars. This area feels more like a glitzy resort. The old town and Port area feel charming and quaint. I do not get a big city feel in Cannes.

Antibes doesn't feel urban nor resorty not glitzy. It feels like a charming village but is larger than a small village and has the best old town and market of all IMO. Marinas with yachts, lots of cafes etc. Very close to walk to Juan les Pins with its beaches and bars and clubs.

Villefranche is one of the prettiest places on the planet and also well positioned, but I agree it doesn't have as many hotel options.

Edited: 17 June 2014, 15:48
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4. Re: Best place to stay Cannes vs. Nice to explore Cote d'azur

Is it the end of this July, like next month? If yes, you need to make up your mind and look for a place to stay without much delay.

Neither Nice, nor Cannes do the South of France "feel" for me, since this "feel" to me means staying in a small Provencal village, in a Mas (farmhouse of sorts), opening the window early morning and looking out onto the countryside, vineyards, etc. If this is what you are looking for than, yes, you may be happier in Villefranche or the outskirts of St Paul, etc.

But, despite being a fairly large City, IMO, Nice has a wonderful South of France vibe with a very user-friendly historical center, promenade, lots of shops and restos. If this is your South of France "feel," than you will be happy in Nice.

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5. Re: Best place to stay Cannes vs. Nice to explore Cote d'azur

You've received excellent advice and analysis on this thread!

We stay in Cannes when we travel and I don't find traveling from that end of the Riviera cumbersome. Yes, Nice has direct bus routes to St. Paul and Eze, but it's all doable from Cannes. Travel from Antibes will be similar as from Cannes, just a little closer towards Nice...but not by much.

If you want "beachy" - particularly, a sandy beach (albeit imported) and oceanfront/view dining - I'd go with Cannes. You are right that that there isn't much convenient and affordable lodging in Villefranchre, but after our arrival, we have spent a few nights in VF before moving to Cannes. It was lovely and we enjoyed the contrast: cute and quaint to glitz and glamor. Nice's beach is natural, a stoney surface, and it's going to be more of a shoes and chair coastal experience.

BTW, I group my day trips from Cannes as I would if I were staying in Nice, dividing my itineraries as being on one side of Nice or the other. Transportation just works better that way, and you will be able to enjoy the coastal towns and mountain villages from wherever you decide to start and end your day.

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6. Re: Best place to stay Cannes vs. Nice to explore Cote d'azur

None of the main towns are more than an hour from each other at maximum -by train or car. That is Cannes,Juan les Pins,Antibes,Nice,Villefranche,Monaco. Anna Roz is right about the South Of France feel of small villages. You can actually find these a short distance from the glitzy coast as well as in rural Provence but you would have to compromise on things like limited accommodation, restaurants and access to easy transport.

Cannes is more 'touristy than Nice I.e you are less likely to meet French people.

Ed

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7. Re: Best place to stay Cannes vs. Nice to explore Cote d'azur

How long are you going for? This could have a bearing on where you should stay. And at this late stage, you might have to accept what you can get. And Nice would have the biggest choice of hotels, I think

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8. Re: Best place to stay Cannes vs. Nice to explore Cote d'azur

Surprised to see so many great responses so quickly! Thank you!!

Yes, I'm late to the game on this!... We're going a month from now. Starting the trip on July 18th in Paris for 5 days and then trying to plan a stop over somewhere inbetween, maybe Avignon or Marseille for a night (which I would also love suggestions about) before landing at our TBD location in the South of France. Luckily the Paris part is booked so just trying to finish this last leg which will be from July 24th-28th.

If we were to stay in Cannes does anyone know how travel back at night would be from another city? I've read bus service stops on the earlier side. One of my concerns with Cannes is that I would want to venture elsewhere for restaurants and could have trouble with bus/taxis coming back. Are there good restaurants in Cannes? I wish I had a month, all of these places sound so great to me its so hard to choose!

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9. Re: Best place to stay Cannes vs. Nice to explore Cote d'azur

Yes there are many good restaurants in Cannes! Best way around the area is by train. For such few days you can visit other towns in the day and have dinner in cannes in any event.

But if you don't book soon your decision will be made for you. I just got back and booked months ago- and still many places did not have availability

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10. Re: Best place to stay Cannes vs. Nice to explore Cote d'azur

I think you will be happy in Cannes and I'd book ASAP. I'm on my tablet and it's 90 degrees in the room where I have my desktop. A/C is down and we are in a heat wave. It will be fixed tomorrow, and that's where I can give you some links that will give you more info about your dining options in and from Cannes. You'll be fine.

Book! My daughter lives in NYC and Dolby47 has given you good advice on how you might feel about these environs compared to what you know at home. You have received good advice from everyone on this thread,

Edited: 18 June 2014, 03:10
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