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Helpful Links and Tips for Planning Day Trips
Public transportation is easy and inexpensive in the Cote d'Azur, and here are some tips for planning your day trips. These are divided into categories, so skim through to the parts that contain the information you are needing. Should links not stay active in this format, copy and paste them into your browser
A) How to combine destinations for day trips:
Whether you are based in Nice or somewhere else, it’s best to separate your day trips as being on one side of Nice or another. The transportation routes work better that way, but if your time is limited and your heart is set on seeing places on both sides of Nice, you can still make that work The destinations are grouped as being to the east or west of Nice, but don’t try to do every destination in one day. Select your favorites, and if possible, slow down and give yourself two days on each side of Nice. Allow yourself at least one day in Nice, but you can easily spend more time in this historic city.
1) Villefranche sur Mer, Beaulieu sur Mer/Cap Ferrat, Eze Village, Monte Carlo and Menton;
2) Cannes , Antibes , Juan les Pins. St. Paul de Vence, Vence and Grasse.
There are other towns that can be worked into these sets, but use this list for starters.
Consider taking a Nice Greeters tour of Nice. This is a free service through the Nice Tourism office in which local residents volunteer their time to show you their city. Tours can be general of modeled around a them:
B) Transporttion Basics
1) Trains run along the coastline connecting the towns between Monte Carlo and Cannes and further towards Menton and Ventimiglia and Mandelieu–la-Napoule;
2) There are coastal buses that also travel this route:
Nice - Monte Carlo, Monaco : 100
Nice - Cannes : 200
Though both of these buses travel along the coastline and are routed east or west from Nice, the distance traveled, time on the road and the number of stops are not comparable. The 200 bus travels a much longer, decidedly laborious, distance, and the 100 bus travels a much shorter route. Along with the 81 and 112 buses, the 100 bus works for travelers heading towards Monte Carlo, and the 200 bus is good for shorter distances such as between Cannes, Juan les Pins and Antibes.
3) Buses travel to inland destinations. Two locales include the mountain villages of St. Paul de Vence and Eze, and those routes are discussed in “D) Buses.”
4) Buses are less expensive than trains. At this writing, buses are flat 1.50 Euro fare and passes are discussed below under “D) Buses.” In the links under “C) Trains,” you can calculate your train fare and learn about rail passes. For local residents or extended stay travelers who frequently use public transportation, the difference in the fares adds up, and the tourist can decide how it works within their budget.
5) Train stations are easy to locate and you can find them on Google maps. From a train, you will have a sense of the coastline, and to get to the parts of town you will most likely want to visit, you will usually head towards the coast. For more specific information, do a Google Maps “Walking Directions” search from “Gare (the name of the town or for Nice, the specific station)” to a landmark or address.
6) Buses may get you closer to the parts of the towns you want to visit, and to get from a stop to a specific locations, you will also have a sense of the direction towards the coastline. To see a map of a stop’s location, select the arrowed box on Lignes d’Azur website that is next to a stop on the route’s Lignes d'Azur PDF. That website is linked below and TA members can also be helpful in selecting the correct bus stop.
The TER travels along the coast and the route you want for the coastal train is “04 Madelieu-La Napoule – Grasse – Cannes – Nice –Ventimiglia.” Of the destinations most popular with travelers, this schedule includes Juan les Pins, Antibes, Nice, Villefranche sur Mer, Beaulieu sur Mer/Cap Ferrat, Monte Carlo, and Menton. Below is a link where you can view the schedule online, and there are color “pocket” brochures available in the train stations Note that some trains run the full length of the Mandelieu - Ventimiglia route, others do not and a few travel from Nice in each direction. You will need to check the routes to see which ones work for you. The train marquis will display the final stop of a train’s route, and as long as your destination is before that stop, you will be good to go.
These TER trains are “walk on,” meaning reservations aren’t necessary, and they run frequently. The link below is provided for information purposes only, and to get to the PDF, follow the directions under the link:
1) Select the “04 Mandelieu – Cannes – Nice – Ventimiglia” route from the “Line” list and “Validate.”
2) Under “Search results,” select the same route and you will get to the PDF. For the route in the other direction, scroll through the pages.
To calculate a destination to destination ticket (meaning you haven’t purchased a pass), use this link:
Go to “Combien coute votre trajet” (the blue highlighted section), enter your information, and select “Calculate a Price.”
Destination to destination tickets mean that you can move within the boundaries of your ticket, and you can get off and on as long as you are moving in the direction of your last validation. To validate your ticket, insert it in the yellow box that is usually located near a platform’s entrance and should your ticket be checked, you will be fined if you don’t have the correct stamp. Validate your ticket every time you board a train. Using a round trip Cannes – Nice ticket as an example, here are some tips for some of the stops you can and can not do on a destination to destination ticket: 1] you can stop in Antibes on your way to or from Nice, but you can’t travel to Villefranche without a new ticket, and 2] you will not be able to travel from Nice, get off in Antibes and travel back towards Nice to Cagnes sur Mer before heading to Cannes. When you see the schedule, this will make sense.
There are summer passes (June to September) that allow an individual or family a day’s travel on the TER. With these passes, you can get off and on and travel in any direction you choose, and this link provides more information:
Travelers outside the June - September period will buy destination to destination tickets.
Trains into the Maritime Alps leave from Nice, and you can view those routes on these links:
For travel outside the Cote d’Azur region (for example, to Paris or western Provence ), use SNCF. American and Australian travelers, especially, should pay attention to the tips offered by Lynn and Nick Booth and Man in Seat 61. These links provided below the SNCF link:
For travelers from countries that don’t have “chip and PIN” credit cards that work in France, pay attention to the information on these links. You will need open, manned counters for your credit cards to work.
Buses are less expensive than trains and sometimes bring you closer to your intended destination. The current charge for most buses is a flat 1.50 Euro, but there are exceptions that will can be noted on the bus websites. The Express Buses from the airport are a particular exception. There are buses that travel between regional destinations and there are local buses that travel within the larger towns and those nearby. Most of the regional and Nice bus routes can be found on Lignes d’Azur, and schedules can be viewed by entering a route number in the search box along the right margin of this link.
To view the locations of the bus stops and the nearby streets, select the arrowed square that is next to a stop. It’s also helpful to pickup the Lignes d’Azur bus map from a tourism office, and there is an office in the baggage claim lobby in the Nice airport. For regional bus routes that are not on the Lignes d’Azur link, look at the CG06 website:
For local bus routes:
Cannes : http://www.busazur.info/
Antibes/Juan les Pins: http://www.envibus.fr/
Monte Carlo : http://www.cam.mc/index.php
On the Lignes d’Azur page for Nice, you will see links to the tram, a trolley that connects inland Nice (including the train station) to the coast, the night bus routes, and a map of the local buses through Nice. This Lignes d’Azur bus map is the one you can pick up at the tourism offices.
Following are routes that are frequently used by travelers, but this is a starter list. For additional information, visit the forum:
1) NCE airport From the Nice airport, there are Express buses to Cannes , Antibes and Monte Carlo , and they travel on the A8 auto route:
Cannes : 210
Monte Carlo : 110X
Express buses from the airport to Nice’s center:
Nice Ville train station: 99
Old town and Quai des Anglais (and a number of the hotels): 98
Nice Airport - Nice center: 23 (local)
2) Coastal buses:
Nice - Monte Carlo: 100 and 112
Nice - Cannes : 200
The 100 and 200 routes were discussed earlier, but besides that information, what might be of interest to travelers is that the 100 passes the Eze train station and the 112 goes through Eze Village .
Nice – St. Jean/Cap Ferrat: 81
This bus travels through Villefranche and Beaulieu sur Mer. The “Passables” stop is the one for the Villa Ephrussi, and the Promenade Maurice Rouvier on Cap Ferrat is accessed near the Port St. Jean stop. From other towns, this bus onto Cap Ferrat can be boarded outside the Beaulieu sur Mer train station, and when you exit the station, the stop is to your left and around the corner.
Nice - Villefranche: 81, 100 and 112.
The 82 bus has a stop in Villefranche, but it’s high on the incline and won’t be convenient if one wants to visit the harbor. The other bus stops are in better locations, and these routes travel further than Villefranche.
3) St. Paul de Vence, Vence and Eze Village
Nice - St. Paul de Vence and Vence: 400
This is a direct route.
From towns other than Nice, take the train to Cagnes sur Mer and bus 400 to St. Paul and Vence. To get to the stop, walk to your right when you leave the station. You will walk through a covered parking space and cross a roadway overpass. The stop is on the other side of the street.
4) Nice - Eze Village: 82 or 112.
These are direct routes.
5) From the coastal towns other than Nice to Eze Village . Take the train or bus towards a bus 83 stop. There are several ways to do this and they will all mean taking the bus 83 bus to the village. The 83 bus route originates in Beaulieu sur Mer, and boarding options will vary.
a) From all coastal towns, take the train to the Eze train station and the 83 bus to the village. If you are traveling during a busy tourist season, the problem with this route is that lines can be long at the train station’s bus stop. The 83 bus route originates in Beaulieu sur Mer, and it may be easier to board at that point when the bus is empty;
b) To board in Beaulieu sur Mer, take the train to Beaulieu and walk to the 83 bus stop that is near Port de Beaulieu, the larger of the town's two ports. To do this, exit the train station and walk to your left and around the corner towards the coastline. You will be walking on Bd. du Marechal LeClerc and where the road bends along the coastline, there will be a cycle shop on the corner. Follow this road until you reach the harbor and you will see the road divide into directional lanes. The bus top is on the inland side of the median;
c) You can walk from Villefranche sur Mer to the 83 bus stop: Walk to the end of the beach and up the steps to a residential neighborhood. The coast will be to your right and the train tracks to your left. You will cross the road on to Cap Ferrat (there is a pharmacy on the corner), and pass the smaller of Beaulieu’s harbors and a beach area. You will also pass several luxury hotels. When you see the cycle shop, follow the directions in “b).” Should you choose to end your day in Villefranche, this route can be reversed. Take the 83 bus from Eze Village to where it terminates in Beaulieu and walk from the stop towards the stairs to Villefranche.
For orientation, this map will be helpful, and you can move it the image towards Villefranche and onto Cap Ferrat. The address in the search box is for centering the map and doesn’t mean anything:
Through the residential neighborhood, the thin gray line from the stairs in Villefranche towards Beaulieu is the route you will follow. The gray line on the east side of Cap Ferrat is the Promenade Maurice Rouvier.
Grasse - Nice: 510
Grasse - Cannes : 610.
E) Boat Trips
From Nice and Cannes , Trans Cote d’Azur offers boat trips to several locations, including St. Tropez, the Corniche d’Or and Iles des Lerins, specifically to Ile Ste. Marguierite.
The second of the two islands is, Abbaye de Lerins, can be accessed through another service that is linked below. Note that this is a working abbey and rules of conduct apply:
As St. Tropez does not have a train station, the Trans Cote d’Azur day trip is often the favored way of getting to St. Tropez from the Riviera Note that the trip is to the town of St. Tropez , and the beaches are distance away.
F) Nice Airport
The Nice Airport website offers an abundance of information. For transportation information, select “Parking and Directions” on this link:
This link also contains useful information tips on how to get into Nice and to other towns in the region:
This will get your started, and once you have specific questions, post on the French Riviera/Cote d’Azur forum. As a reminder...should links not stay live in this format, copy and paste them into your browser. That should work, but you can also search the key words.