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Antibes,Villefranche or Cannes?

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Longport, New Jersey
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Antibes,Villefranche or Cannes?

We have finally narrowed it down to where want to stay. We found a couple apartments we like. We are in our 20's and have 10 days to spend. We are staying in Nice for 3 nights and then figuring out from there. We want to relax but we want to be surrounded by restaurants and nightlife for an option. Most importantly we want easy access for transportation. We we be taking a trip into Italy for a couple days and leaving our bags behind. We don't want to stay in Nice the whole time because it sounds more like a city so a few days sounds good. It also seems like we have to walk a ways to the train station, is this true? Most places I've seen are by the Port.

Cannes looks elegant and clean. From reading it sounds like a cleaner version of Nice but not as much to do.

Villefranche looks cozy and quiet, like a scene from a movie. How central for travel?

Antibes looks like it has good beaches and the old town looks awesome. Seems like it has more life than villefranche.

Monaco- Not so quaint but it looks really clean and I noticed it may be best for traveling as the train station is right there. Just not sure if I wanna spend 7 days there.

Any suggestions? I will make a final decision tomorrow. Thanks!

Louisville, Kentucky
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1. Re: Antibes,Villefranche or Cannes?

I like Cannes for a base because of the ease of transportation and the restaurants. The region around Le Croisette is relatively flat, and the train station and bus stops are easy an easy walk from most places in this part of the city. Just be careful about locations because "Cannes" (and "Nice," "Antibes," and "Villefranche") mean lots of things and some aren't so convenient. There are lots of areas in these resorts that are away from the transportation and beach areas. Whatever resort you choose, it's a good idea to do a Google "Walking (not driving) Map" search from a location's address to "Gare (and the name of the town)." Google likes that terminology better than "train station!" When you consider locations in Nice, keep in mind that there is a tram (1 Euro) that runs the length of the old town and up Ave. Jean Medecin towards the train station. This is only part of the tram route, but If your walking route takes you along this way, your walking time will be shortened if you take the tram. There are also city buses that lessen your hike from other parts of the city.

I'm based in Cannes when we travel and admittedly, it's not on sightseeing overload but there's lots to do. IMO, it's the best resort for a variety of dining experiences with an ocean view and in the sea air. For nightlife, there is the Palm Beach section of Cannes and to avoid driving, you can take a local bus. I enjoy shopping along Rue d'Antibes where you can find style, but at a lower price than the designed shops along Le Croisette.

We travel for a convention and start by spending a few nights in Villefranche. It's a wonderful contrast to Cannes (and Nice) - more "village-y - and while it has some lovely restaurants, there is a limited number along the waterfront. Restaurants are everywhere in Cannes. I discovered Antibes on my last trip, and nearby Juan les Pins is the go to place for nightlife, but you can get it all in one place in Cannes!

This is my experience and see what others have to say. Each resort is very different and you won't go wrong with whichever location you choose. The good thing is that you won't miss out on experiencing the other locations because the public transportation system is excellent in this part of France. You can travel from Cannes to Monte Carlo in less than an hour, and I look at my base as being mostly about how I want to start and end my day. For me, it's coffee and a croissant by the ocean and dinner and cocktails by the ocean, but you will know what's right for you. Everyone on this forum has their favorite and they're all good. The only place I would drop from your list in Monte Carlo...it's never done much for me and a definitely wouldn't make it the center of my trip.

Longport, New Jersey
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2. Re: Antibes,Villefranche or Cannes?

Thanks for your advice, we found some great places in Cannes. Also more hotels to choose from there. In Cannes since it is larger would you still recommend an apartment or a boutique hotel?

If we stay in Antibes it will be in the heart of old town, is this a good thing or bad thing? Because I heard Antibes in some what like a small city. So that means it will be noisy? Crowded? Pickpockets?

Thanks

Longport, New Jersey
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3. Re: Antibes,Villefranche or Cannes?

Villefranche we also found a place in old town. But I had to do a lot of looking as everything there was booked!

Louisville, Kentucky
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4. Re: Antibes,Villefranche or Cannes?

Try this place:

http://www.villadestelle.com/

A friend ours stayed here and we were impressed by his room. It was spacious, updated, and had a mini kitchen. From the front side of the building, you can get a )sideways) ocean view, but liked his room that was on the backside of building with a balcony overlooking the courtyard of the church where Napoleon (supposedly) spent his first night in France after returning from exile. The backside is going to your quietest location. The only issue might be that I think they only do Saturday to Saturday rentals during the season, but that's likely to be the case with an apartment rental.

For our rental, we have used this company:

http://www.inlux.ch/

As I've mentioned, we travel to a convention and stayed at Le Martinez for several years, but we're much happier when we have a kitchen and a sitting area...we're not much for hotels for more than a few nights. The markets in Cannes are wonderful (as they are throughout the region) and the deli at the main Casino supermarket is excellent. Give us some cheese, prosciutto, a baguette and a bottle of Provence rose (very unlike the Kool Aid blended variety we have here in the US), and we're happy travelers. Also, don't miss the butter and ham baguettes you can get in most markets and delis!

I've never stayed in Antibes, and hopefully you will here from its destination expert. My impression is that there is an old town in Antibes and then there is more of a city environment, but see what others have to say. To see where you are located n Antibes, I would enter the Picasso Museum as your "Walking Map" destination from the places you are considering. If not in the old town, I think I would be happier toward Cap d'Antibes, but I don't know how convenient that would be for public transportation.

We would not miss our nights in VF for anything, but for an extended stay, I might get a bit antsy. We only were there for one night last year and liked it so much that we're going back for two nights this year (Hotel Welcome), but it was nice to get to Cannes with it's energy. I could live in VF without a question, but when I'm looking for the activity I want on a vacation, it might get a bit repetitive to me...wonderful, but back to the same restaurants. Go there for dinner, linger, you can take a train back to your base at the end of an evening. You don't want to miss being in Villefranche...maybe Villefranche and Cannes would be a good combo, although Nice is wonderful.

As a tip for making reservations in smaller boutique hotels, especially for shorter stays, availability doesn't always appear online, and I find that a phone call or email gets me better results. Owners of smaller establishments are often "people people," and sometimes, only longer reservations can be made on line at smaller hotels. By email, I mean copying and pasting their address into your email and contacting them from there...I get better responses that way. I've never been able to book a few nights at the Hotel Welcome online, but it's worked when I've called them. Still, if they don't have a room, they don't have a room, but it's worth a try.

Longport, New Jersey
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5. Re: Antibes,Villefranche or Cannes?

Great thanks!

We were looking at Hotel 7 Art and Le Canberra. As well as some other apartments, the apartments are obviously cheaper for 7 nights. Which is better because if we head to Italy for a night or 2 I won't feel as guilty as I would in a hotel. Rather than pulling our luggage around Italy for a 2 day trip I'd rather take a small bag and leave the rest at the apartment. We may do Cinque Terre for 2 nights, since we missed it on our last trip. I'd also like to see Apricale and the surrounding hill towns above San Remo which are really close from France. But we aren't going to plan it, we are going to see how we feel when we get there. But we are very ambitious when we travel. We loved bouncing from town to town on Lake Como and train hopping around Switzerland. We say we want to relax but we never do! Ha

Edited: 25 August 2012, 00:14
Louisville, Kentucky
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6. Re: Antibes,Villefranche or Cannes?

You sound like us...we start out with our could do and how to" lists and decide what we are going to do as our trip progresses...each morning, we see how we feel and pick from the pile.

Have a great trip!

Whitby, Canada
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7. Re: Antibes,Villefranche or Cannes?

We stayed at the Hotel Alexandra, in Juan-les-Pins, just south west of Antibes. It was a short walk to the beach, but far enough away that it was quiet. I preferred the town to Antibes, as everything there was so busy. Cannes was only a 15 - 20 minute drive, but while I found it very clean, everything seemed a bit too expensive. Nice was nice, and maybe 30 minutes in the opposite direction. I want to spend more time there on our next trip to France.

Guildford, United...
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8. Re: Antibes,Villefranche or Cannes?

We live in Villefranche part of the time. My summing up of the places you are considering is: Nice: thriving, full of vitality, busy, gritty, grubby in places, beautiful, with the second most dramatic location and not nearly so dominated by tourists as most other places on the coast. Cannes: elegant, clean and dull. Antibes: Lovely centre, better beaches than Nice, more lively than Cannes but less so than Nice. Villefranche: unparalled location where the Alpine foothills plunge into the sea, decent beach excellent for swimming, very little going on and would be unbearable for more than a few days if it were not for the fact that it is only ten minutes by bus from Nice. Nice is the principal route centre. The further you go from there the more difficult it is to get to other places. Nice has a good deal of poverty which makes Americans in particular nervous as they associate it with violent crime but I have walked around at almost all hours over many years and never had any kind of problem.

Louisville, Kentucky
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9. Re: Antibes,Villefranche or Cannes?

I agree with LondonBob's assessments except for "dull" part about Cannes. For me, there's nothing dull about a great meal in a seaside setting with a glass of Provence rose!

BTW, I've never felt uncomfortable in Nice or any more so than other locations in the Riviera. Wherever you travel, it's always wise to be watchful of your belongings and being aware of the culture whose family business is collecting other people's "stuff." Unfortunately, that's the sad state of things these days, and this culture is mobile...it's no worse in one place than another.

Longport, New Jersey
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10. Re: Antibes,Villefranche or Cannes?

Its booked!

3 night NIce.

3 nights Cinque Terre

2 nights Cannes

2 nights Antibes

We ditched the apartment because we booked so late that it was hard to find what we were looking for and going into Italy makes things difficult for an apartment. Plus an apartment locks us in, i got last minute cancellation policies on all my hotels in case we change plans. We booked Cinque Terre cheap so we might come back a day early or take a train into Florence for the day if we get bored. But I booked 3 nights to be safe.

We splurged on our hotels in Cannes and Antibes. Ive been to Italy a few times and I learned there is no need to drop a lot on hotels there. Family hotels are perfect.

Is Grasse or Mougins worth a visit? And would a trip to Saint Tropez be too much time from Cannes? Obviously ST is known for nightlife but we would be going during the day to see the sights. Also I can cancel any of my hotels the day before .. Cannes and Anitbes are close, do you think I should just stay in one place or are they close enough that its not a big deal?

Thanks for all the help!

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