The Best Day Trips from Nice France
Nice, in and of itself, is a great place to explore for a few days. But if you are here longer, you will definitely want to travel further afield to discover some of our lovely, quaint villages. Some of the best day trips from Nice France to neighboring villages are super easy, and scenic, via train, bus and boat – my favorite modes of transport!
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There are so many easy Nice day trips along the French Riviera that give you a unique perspective of the towns and villages of the Cote d’Azur as a whole. They are all very unique.
Nice is well positioned to explore many of the villages with little effort. You can easily go east or west on the train, bus or boat to discover more of what the South of France has to offer. Here are several of the best day trips from Nice France, to luxury resort areas and quaint villages along the Cote d’Azur.
Check out all my travel resources here.
I’ve included only a few things to do in each of these towns since there’s only so much you can do on a day trip. But if you are in Nice a week, you can easily squeeze in 3-4 day trips along the French Riviera depending on how busy you want to be. Enjoy!
If you are looking for a day trip to Italy from Nice, instead, there are so many options that take just over an hour. The Italian towns of Liguria such as Ventimiglia, Bordighera, San Remo, Dolceaqua and Imperia are all worth the time to experience the culture in our Ligurian neighbors.
Nice to St. Paul de Vence Day Trip
- 1 Nice to St. Paul de Vence Day Trip
- 2 Nice to Eze Village and Eze-sur-mer
- 3 Day Trip from Nice to Antibes
- 4 Nice to St Tropez by Boat
- 5 Day Trip to Monaco from Nice
- 5.1 Things to do in Monaco
- 5.2 How long does it take to get to Monaco?
- 5.3 How to get from Nice to Monaco
- 5.4 Nice Boat Tour to Monaco
- 6 Cannes Day Trip from Nice
- 7 Handy Resources – Bus Schedules in Nice
Things to do in St Paul de Vence
St Paul de Vence is one of the most beautiful Perched Villages in all of Provence.
A perched village is one that’s usually in a dramatic location, like a hill top or nestled into rocky cliffsides. They have unique architecture and were strongholds in their day for keeping watch over the countryside and on their enemies.
Visit the Village and Ramparts
St Paul de Vence is probably the most famous perched village in all of France. It’s been inhabited since 400 BC, but it wasn’t until 1537 that the ramparts of St Paul de Vence were erected. Those ramparts still hold St Paul together today, and are one of the many reasons that thousands of tourists flock here each day.
Many of the village’s buildings were destroyed during a war in the mid 1700s, but it wasn’t until a group of impressionist artists rediscovered the village in the 1920s that St Paul de Vence is what it is today: An Artist’s enclave.
Matisse, Picasso, Chagall among others, called St Paul de Vence home at some point in their lives. Multitudes of artists, royalty and jet set have graced the sturdy, cobblestone paths and dined at the now famous Colombe d’Or Restaurant and Hotel. The hotel started off as a meager 3-bed inn, and the owner traded art work for meals. Smart man. The walls proudly display the history of who’s come and gone. Great place for lunch if you can get a spot on their shady terrace.
St Paul de Vence is a beautiful village full of art galleries, shops with handmade items, items from Provence, lovely fountains and charm out the wazoo! It’s not a big village and can easily see it all within a couple hours. You can lose yourself in the narrow paths, or step down into what looks like a cave, but it’s another shop selling paintings.
Check Prices here if you want to stay in Saint-Paul-de-Vence.
Visit the St Paul de Vence Cemetery
While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the cemetery is quite something special. At the entrance, you’ll find a map listing a few of it’s famous ‘residents.’ The most notable, at least to me, is artist Marc Chagall, who lived in St Paul de Vence at the end of his life from 1966 to 1985. His artistic influence is very evident in St Paul de Vence, and there is a popular grave there marking him, his wife and his wife’s brother.
Visit Fondation Maeght
Another reason to visit St Paul de Vence is to stop by the Fondation Maeght, which houses one of the largest and most important private collections of modern and contemporary art in France.
Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, who were publishers and art dealers, created the foundation back in the 1960s. Their frequent visits to the US to museums like the Guggenheim formed the idea for their foundation/gallery. Their foundation is located in a beautiful, wooded setting with sculpture gardens and fountains. You’ll find works from Giacometti, Miro, Chagall and a number of rotating sculptures throughout the year.
There are more than 13,000 works of art including paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from the likes of Matisse, Chagall, Calder, Kandinsky, Giacometti, Miró…and contemporary artists such as Eduardo Arroyo, Lee Bae, Jeanne-Claude and Christo (the couple who wraps up monuments, trees, structures…)
How long does it take to get to St Paul de Vence?
When you get on the bus, the ride takes around an hour to get to St Paul. The distance from Nice to St Paul de Vence is a little over 15 miles, but it makes its stops along the way through Cros de Cagnes, Cagnes-sur-mer, La Colle sur-loup (one of my favorite residential neighborhoods), past Foundation Maeght, to St Paul de Vence, and then continues to the village of Vence itself.
How to get to St Paul de Vence
Catch bus No. 400 from outside the entrance of Le Meridien Hotel on Avenue de Verdun. See the map below. A one-way ticket will cost $1.75. Once you enter the bus sit on the right side as you are riding. You’ll get the best views of St Paul as you are turning around the bends.
Insider Tip: The No. 400 bus gets super busy in the summer. I was up there a few weeks ago, and I stood the entire way back from St Paul to Nice. Be flexible with your return times and keep an eye on the bus schedule incase you need to take an earlier bus to have a guaranteed return on time. The bus back from St Paul de Vence to Nice is on the main road opposite of the Fragonard factory.
Bus 400 Nice to Vence March 2018 – Schedule
You can find out more things to do in St Paul de Vence here.
Nice to Eze Village and Eze-sur-mer
Things to do in Eze
Eze is another perched village, even smaller than St Paul de Vence, but actually much older. Eze is a Medieval village that’s been around since the 19-20th centuries BC, and should definitely be on your list of day trips from Nice.
Visit the Village
Eze village sits 400m up on a hill and has spectacular views of the beautiful Mediterranean sea and surroundings.
The Savoy dynasty built the fortification walls in the 1380s, only to have Louis XIV tear them down. It then went back and forth between the Italians, the French and the Turks throughout its history. Talk about being traipsed all over!
In 1860, the residents decided Eze should be officially part of France and so it is…
You’ll find loads of arts and crafts boutiques, some of which are carved into the rocks of the village itself. There are narrow paths, quaint shops, flowery window boxes, and the setting will seem quite surreal.
There is a lovely cathedral to visit, and then, beyond, is the cemetery of Eze. I’ve mentioned cemeteries before. They may not be for everyone, but I’m a fan. I’m always amazed to see cemeteries with photos of the people buried below. You see wives, husbands and extended families in the same burial plot. It’s very serene and very interesting to see the names of those families buried there who were instrumental in the history of Eze.
If you are interested in staying in Eze, check prices here.
Visit the Jardin Exotique d’Eze
Continue wandering up the paths and stone steps, and you’ll come across the entrance to the Exotic Gardens of Eze that are filled with rare vegetation, cactus and plants.
This beautiful garden was constructed after WWII by the then mayor, and friend, Jean Gastaud, who is considered the father of the Gardens. Cost is $6.75. Plus the views from there are spectacular.
Walk the Nietzsche Path
Eze’s most famous resident was philosopher and writer, Frederic Nietzsche, who lived in one of the oldest homes in Eze along a path. He used to stroll the path up to Eze Village, and said his home, the path and Eze itself, provided much inspiration for his writings and thinking.
The path is now named after him and you can walk from Eze village down to the sea to Eze-sur-mer. There is a sign posted on the left hand side near at the entrance of the path near the famous, 5* Chèvre d’Or Hotel.
The walk down will take about 45 minutes through lovely wooded landscapes. You’ll end up down at the sea where you find a few lovely spots for lunch on the sea. The most notable is Anjuna Restaurant.
How long does it take to get to Eze Village?
The No. 82 bus from Nice to Eze village will take about 20-30 minutes depending on traffic. There is also Bus 112 which takes the same amount of time.
How to get to Eze Village
From Nice, take bus No 82 or 112, which I pick up on Rue Barla at the ‘Boyer’ stop. Ticket is $1.70 if you buy onboard or if you buy a 10-pass ticket, you’ll pay $1.12 each way. During the summer the bus to Eze can get quite busy. The other day I stood the entire way from Nice to Eze.
Once you are up in Eze, you can then take a bus to Monaco or walk down the path to Eze-sur-mer. Otherwise take the No. 82 bus back down to Nice. It will be busy and you’ll most likely stand.
Day Trip from Nice to Antibes
Things to do in Antibes
Antibes is only 12.5 miles from Nice, and is a great place for yacht, history, market and art lovers.
Stroll Antibes Old Town and ramparts
First, off start with a stroll along Quai Henri Rambaud by the port and go up on the ramparts. At the far end you’ll come across a metal art installation called Nomade by Jaume Plensa. It’s a great place to take photos and you can also see the 16th century Fort Carre in the distance.
Then stroll through the streets of Old Antibes where you’ll see unique shops, workshops and loads of flower boxes. You won’t get lost because it’s not that big.
Go to the Provencal Market
If you go in the morning, you’ll come across the Antibes Provencal Market in Cours Masséna. We love our daily markets in France and the markets in Provence have been around since the 1100’s.
This covered market a great place to snoop around not only for fresh fruits and vegetables, and seasonal flowers, but you’ll find local items from Provence, such as honey, lavender, fabrics, napkins, ceramics – all sorts of cool things. It’s a great place to pick up gifts to take home.
The market is open every day, except in winter, when they are closed on Mondays. Open from 6a to 1p.
Then grab something to eat at one of the adjacent restaurants. Prices are quite reasonable there, and the buzz of daily life is very cool.
Visit the Picasso Museum
Next, stop by the Picasso Museum, which is on the seaside at Château Grimaldi, where Picasso worked and lived for 6 months in 1946.
It is actually the first museum dedicated to him. He gifted a variety of works to the museum, and in the 1990s, his daughter donated even more paintings, ceramics, etchings and sculptures. Today there are around 250 pieces of his work from Picasso in the museum. Tickets are $6.50.
How long does it take to get to Antibes?
The bus from Nice to Antibes will take 45 minutes to an hour winding through St Laurent du var, Cros de Cagnes, Cagnes-sur-mer, and Biot. The bus leave every 15-25 minutes depending on the time of day.
The train from Nice Ville Station to Antibes takes 13-26 minutes, depending on what train you take.
How to get to Antibes
Via Bus: Get on the Bus No. 200 outside Le Meridien Hotel. It says it’s going to Cannes, but you get off in Antibes. Tickets are $1.70 one way. Check below for bus schedules. You can buy your ticket on board.
The train from Nice Ville train station to Antibes costs $5.35 one way, and it takes about 1/2 hour.
Buy your tickets before boarding the train. When you arrive in Antibes, walk straight out and continue forward and you’ll find the port and old town.
Train Station Locations in Nice
Nice to St Tropez by Boat
Things to do in St Tropez
People get excited about St Tropez, and then are underwhelmed. It’s generally a sleepy village filled with over-the-top-priced shops, that unless you have unlimited funds, might not appeal to you.
But sometimes you need to go just to say you’ve been there. I get that. I did it. And during the summer, you’ll be in good company. This village of less than 5,000 residents entertains 80,000 people per day in the height of summer…
Visit the Village and shops
St Tropez is truly a charming village and it’s clear this is a wealthy town. You can feel it when you walk the streets and see entire villas are a shop, like Dior and others.
You can easily stroll the village streets which are primarily pedestrian and soak up the atmosphere.
But I have to admit, St Tropez IS really pretty and the shops ARE nicely decorated with florals in traditional architecture. Regardless, there’s something special about saying you went to St Tropez for the day.
Visit the Old Citadel and Maritime Museum
On the west side of the port you’ll find the ancient Citadel, which was build in the early 1600s. It’s one of the most visited cultural sites, and one of the most important sites between Toulon and Antibes. It’s a testament to St Tropez’ former military importance as it was once the 3rd largest French port on the Mediterranean.
In the dungeon you find the Maritime Museum highlight heroes and famous characters from the past who shaped St Tropez’ history. Entrance is $3.25 and the museum is open most days, year round from 10-6pm.
Munch on a tasty Tarte Tropezienne
You can’t go to St Tropez without having one of their famous Tarte Tropezienne cakes. They are like a dry brioche/cake that has an enormous amount of creme through the center. It’s hard to eat one entirely because they are so rich, but they are so tasty.
The most authentic tartes come from La Tarte Tropezienne and you’ll find 4 boutiques dotted around St Tropez to buy them. You can even order them online and have them delivered to your home….if you live in France! Hahaha. I can eat them every day!
Visit the Annonciade Museum
St Tropez was the center for avant-garde painting thanks to painter, Paul Signac, who discovered the village in 1892. He loved it so much he bought a house, which he turned into his studio, and invited other artists to join him. Sounds like a party house to me!
Today the museum houses complementary avant-garde works ranging from 1890 to 1950, and pieces from Signac, Matisse, Dufy and other famed international artists. It’s right next to the ferry port so you can stop here either when you arrive or just before you depart.
Entrance is $6.50. It’s open every day except for major holidays. Check the website for exact times.
You might consider staying overnight in St Tropez. Check hotel prices here.
How long does it take to get to St Tropez?
I only suggest going by boat from Nice because the bus schlep isn’t worth your time. The boat takes 2.5 hours leaving Nice at 9:00a. You’ll make stops along the way on this scenic boat trip to Antibes, the Lerin islands, Cannes and eventually arrive in St Tropez at 11:30a. Then you have until 4:30 when you get back on the boat for a 2.5 hr ride back to Nice.
Insider tip: Once you arrive in St Tropez, scope out a place for lunch. You only have around 4 hours here, and if you start wondering around, which I strongly suggest you do, you’ll find that you are left with very little time for lunch and competing with a lot of people for tables. Have lunch first, then wander around.
Another Insider Tip: Given the distance from Nice, you may really want to consider spending the night here. There’s actually a lot to see, and the 4-hour timeframe doesn’t do it justice. You’ll also get to experience St Tropez when the tour boats have left for the day giving it a more authentic feel. Ask at the kiosk desk if you can do one day out and return one day later.
How to get to St Tropez
Get the boat from Nice Port to St Tropez. Head to the Trans Cote d’Azur ticket kiosk in Nice’s port a day or so ahead of time and buy a ticket. The roundtrip ticket prices is $75. The Kiosk is on the west side of Nice’s port.
During July and August, the boat leaves every day at 9:00a. From mid May to the end of June, and the month of September, boats go on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Insider tip: Better to go on Tuesday or Thursday when there will be fewer people.
Day Trip to Monaco from Nice
Things to do in Monaco
Monaco is one of the smallest principalities in the world only occupying less than one square mile. There are nearly 40,000 residents packed into this jewel by the Mediterranean, and thus it’s one of the most populated in the world.
Many people come just to spend a few hours down by the Monte-Carlo Casino and have lunch or a drink at the Cafe de Paris. It’s a shame because there’s much more to see in Monaco than meets the eye.
Visit Monaco Old Town and the Prince’s Palace
If you are feeling up to a lovely walk, head up the route of Avenue de la Porte Neuve up to Old Town Monaco. That is where the origins of Monaco are.
You have magnificent views over Monaco as you walk up. Then, once you are up there, you’ll find the Prince’s Palace where you can witness the changing of the guard every day at 11:55a.
You can also tour the Palace’s State Apartments. The Palace is where the ruling Prince Albert and Princess Charlene live, but you can visit the state rooms and museum from April through October. Tickets are $8.50
Visit the Monaco Cathedral – the Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate
While you are up visiting the Palace, you might as well stop in this Cathedral. It’s officially called St Nicholas Cathedral, but this is where American film actress, Grace Kelly, was married to Monaco’s Prince Rainier back in 1956. It is also the place where they are both buried.
You’ll find the cathedral by walking down one of the old town streets as you go away from the Palace.
Still up on the Rock just beyond St Nicholas Cathedral you will come upon the Monaco Oceanographic Museum. Here you can see loads of marine paraphernalia in a museum, as well as visit the tropical fish, sharks, and the new sea turtles aquariums. Great for kids and adults. Adult prices are between $11.50 and $17 depending on the season. But they are cheaper if you use the link here.
Visit the Monte-Carlo Casino and Cafe de Paris Casino
There are actually two casinos here; the Monte-Carlo Casino and the Cafe de Paris Casino. You can visit the Monte-Carlo Casino from 10a to 1pm with the last entrance at 12:15p. You can see the Salle Europe where James Bond was…plus several other salle or rooms. They used to charge $10.50 to get in, but I am not seeing that there’s a fee any longer, which is great. Games start at 2pm.
You can visit the casino at the Cafe de Paris most any time and play 24 hours a day. Otherwise, just grab a table on the terrace at the 150-year-old Cafe de Paris. This brasserie is great for a beverage or lunch while you watch all the swanky cars driving by. You never know who they will be dropping off at the casino.
You will need your passport or ID to get in to both casinos, and wear decent clothes. The Casinos won’t accept ripped jeans, tennis shoes, flip flops, sweat clothes…. Know before you go, otherwise you’ll be disappointed.
Check hotel prices in Monaco in case you want to stay overnight.
How long does it take to get to Monaco?
The distance from Nice to Monaco is quite short at simply 13 miles, and it will take 20-40 minutes to get to Monaco from Nice, depending on how you go. There’s the train, bus and the boat. The train is the quickest, the bus is a more scenic way to go from Nice to Monaco, but takes 30-40 minutes depending on traffic. And the boat…well, the boat gives you fantastic views you simply can’t see from land, and it’s a chicer way to go.
How to get from Nice to Monaco
Those who work in Monaco usually take the train. The frequent train from either Nice Ville or Nice Riquier stations will wind its way along the coast and whisk you to Monaco’s very modern train station in 20 minutes.
Keep in mind commuter traffic will be heavy in the morning going from Nice to Monaco, and on big event days, like the Grand Prix.
If you go in the morning, you’ll probably be standing the whole way on the Nice to Monaco train, but then again, it’s only 20 minutes. Ticket prices on the train are $4.60 one way. Buy your ticket before boarding.
Train Station Locations in Nice
Bus No 100 leaves every 15 minutes from the north side of the Port and is more frequented by tourists. Check the location below.
Bus 100 Nice Monaco Menton summer 2019 – Schedule
Since Monaco is not France, but a different country, your 10-ride bus pass will not work. You’ll need to buy a separate ticket onboard the bus that is $1.70 one way. These busses are double long and here too you may need to stand. If you get a seat, sit on the right hand side for the best views of the water.
Nice Boat Tour to Monaco
From mid May until the end of September there are 3x weekly boats tours from Nice to Monaco. Oh La La. Boat tours are on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
You can either do a simple boat tour that goes from Nice to Monaco and back again. You don’t get off the boat. Tickets are $34. Or you can a Nice to Monaco day trip that includes a stop in Monaco. Those tickets are $44. You buy tickets from the Trans Cote d’Azur kiosk that’s on the left side of the port as you are looking from the sea. On the map below, the kiosk is located near the Port de Nice Lympia marker.
Roundtrip Boats tours from Nice to Monaco leave at 9:30a and return to Nice at 11a. There’s a second one that leaves Nice at 4p and returns back to Nice by 6p.
Boat tours from Nice to Monaco with a stop, leave Nice at 9:30a, you reach Monaco at 10:15a. Then you are free to tour Monaco for the day on your own. You get back on the boat at 5p and will be back in Nice by 6p.
Cannes Day Trip from Nice
Things to do in Cannes
Cannes needs little introduction, but you’ll be rather surprised to know the village is quite quiet outside of the Cannes Film Festival or other conventions.
Cannes hosts the largest conventions in this part of the Cote d’Azur. They host the real estate, retail, yachting, luxury travel, dance, film and TV festivals, along with boating regattas, the French Riviera Marathon, and music nights in Cannes Old Town (Le Suquet).
If you want to see Cannes in all its ‘buzzy-ness’ be sure to visit when one of these events are happening.
Walk the Promenade de la Croisette
The thing that everyone does in Cannes is walk the famous Croisette. This is the main seafront path in Cannes that you must do. You pass loads of chic hotels and seafront restaurants. It’s a great place to chill with a beverage as you watch the boats on the Mediterranean.
Visit Cannes Old Town – Le Suquet
On the western side of the port you’ll see the Old town of Cannes up on a hill. The area is called Le Suquet. It used to be the old fishing village. Go up and climb the stairs or walk the car route to discover the roots of Cannes.
You’ll find the chateau that houses a museum called the Musee de la Castre; the old stone church- Église Notre-Dame-d’Espérance de Cannes; and small streets with quaint shops and restaurants. It has a very romantic feel up there. If you continue further east to the opposite side of the hill you’ll find more beaches and beach restaurants.
You really need to know to go there, because most people just scope out the area near the Croisette and completely bypass the old town.
Hit the Beach in Cannes
Cannes has some fantastic sandy beaches, which Nice does not have. If you are looking for a day on a sandy beach on the Med, Cannes will be a treat for you. It will be busy as usual, but go down toward the east end which will be quieter, or head over to the beaches on the other side of old town. You have great lunch spots there so why not rent a lounge chair and umbrella and be pampered for the day.
Have a drink on a swanky Hotel Terrace
One 5* hotel on the Croisette you should have a drink at is the Intercontinental Carlton. It’s a great place for people watching. Drinks are quite pricey, but the atmosphere is purely Cannes.
If you’d like to spend a night here, check Cannes Hotel Prices here.
How long does it take to get to Cannes?
The Bus from Nice to Cannes will take 1.5 hours and that’s without traffic. This will cost you $1.70 each way, and is the cheapest way to get to Cannes.
The Boat from Nice to Cannes takes an hour and is the same boat that goes to St Tropez. Leaves at 9a and you’ll be in Cannes by 10a. The boat back to Nice leaves Cannes at 5:45pm, and you’re back in Nice by 7p. Round trip cost is $45.
The Train to Cannes will take 25-40 minutes depending on the train you get on. A one-way train ticket from Nice to Cannes will cost about $8.
How to get to Cannes
The No 200 Bus to Cannes leaves from out front of the Le Meridien Hotel and the boat leaves from the Kiosk on the second map below.
Bus Location To Cannes
Boat Location to Cannes
Handy Resources – Bus Schedules in Nice
I can’t tell you how difficult it is to find updated bus schedules in Nice. Since there’s construction around town, the bus stops change, and the times change, many of the previous sites for info are simply gone.
I frankly find many of the French departmental websites useless for tourist information. Here are some current bus schedules from Nice to download and print off.
- Bus 100 from Nice to Monaco to Menton summer 2019
- BUS 200 Nice Antibes Cannes 2019
- Check here for Bus 400 from Nice to St Paul de Vence and Vence
- Bus 82 Nice to Eze Village
- Bus 112 Nice to Eze Village
- Check here for Bus 500 Nice to Grasse
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