Home » Discover the French Riviera: How to Spend 3 Days in Côte d’Azur

Discover the French Riviera: How to Spend 3 Days in Côte d’Azur

by Laura M

With its glimmering charm and extravagant ambience, the French Riviera beckons travellers from all corners of the globe. This captivating region promises a fusion of elegance, cultural treasures, and awe-inspiring Mediterranean vistas. For those yearning to escape to the French Riviera cities, uncovering its artistic legacy, exploring remarkable sites and revelling in the boundless amusement of Côte d’Azur might be exactly what you need. 

Day 1

Morning

One of the most sought-after south of France cities, Nice is home to the renowned Promenade des Anglais. Serving as more than just a tourist hotspot, this promenade is a vibrant hub that caters to both locals and visitors alike. It not only offers picturesque views of the Bay of Angels but also hosts a variety of events, including sports competitions, exhibitions, and the famous carnival, a winter extravaganza that has been captivating the city since its inception in 1294.

Afternoon

Head to Place Massena, Nice’s main square. You’ll know you’ve arrived at your destination when you spot its distinctive checkerboard pavement tiles surrounding the 7-metre high white marble Apollo statue that crowns the fountain. Experience the blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication as you stroll into the Old Town made up of tall tenement houses dotted along narrow and shadowed streets. 

One of the most important things to do in Nice is indulge in the authentic Niçois cuisine for your midday meal. Chez René serves appetising street food from a busy corner eatery that often sees long queues. Their local socca; a thin, unleavened chickpea pancake, is what you come here for. Opened in 1964, this place is always in full swing, regardless of the time or day.

Evening

Prepare to be mesmerised as you take in the stunning vistas that stretch out before you from Castle Hill (Colline du Château). Climb up the 300 steps starting from Old Town or take the faster route by jumping in the elevator that reaches the top of the 92-metre hill in around a minute. What can you expect upon arrival? Ruins of defensive walls, a 19th-century artificial waterfall, but most importantly, stunning panoramic views at sunset!

Dine at Castel Plage, a seafront restaurant at the far west end of Promenade des Anglais. Art deco installations elevate this Mediterranean venue that offers Provencal dishes, including octopus stew and Pink Wild Lobster Linguini, in an idyllic setting. 

Day 2

Morning

A visit to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is not only a journey through time but also an opportunity to appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of the Belle Époque era. Situated in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, between Nice and Monaco, the 19th-century villa’s opulent interiors, adorned with rare artworks and intricate tapestries, provide a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of the Rothschild family. Each room tells a story, reflecting the impeccable taste and discerning eye of its former inhabitants. From the grand salon to the intimate boudoirs, visitors are transported back to a time when luxury and refinement were paramount. The seaside palace and its nine plush gardens stand as a testament to the Rothschild family’s contribution to the cultural heritage of the Côte d’Azur and is one of the main attractions in Nice.

Afternoon

Unwind amidst the vast expanse of the pebble beach, spanning a distance of roughly seven kilometres and featuring a combination of private and public areas. These renowned “galets,” sizable flat grey stones, are an integral part of Nice’s heritage and draw beach enthusiasts who prefer a change from the usual sandy coastline. To ensure ease of movement, it is advisable to wear flip-flops or other lightweight footwear while exploring the French Riviera beach. Certain sections offer amenities such as showers and toilets, with the added convenience of underground storage rooms available for rent.

A visit to Côte d’Azur beaches would not be complete without immersing oneself in the exclusive atmosphere of the private beach clubs. Plage Beau Rivage, a stone’s throw from downtown Nice, has been a staple since 1935 and invites guests to enjoy a splendid coastal experience. Choose your sunbathing range, bask in the sun, and have an aperitif (or two), before savouring a delectable lunch featuring a variety of Asian, Oriental, or Provencal cuisine options.

Evening

As you seek a place to have dinner, consider the timeless charm of Café de Turin and the breathtaking backdrop of Le Plongeoir. Café de Turin, a restaurant with a history spanning over a century, is known for its unpretentious nature and is considered a beloved establishment in Nice. Its brasserie-like aura provides a laid-back atmosphere where you can savour delicious seafood. On the other hand, Le Plongeoir offers a truly iconic experience. Sitting 20 feet above the Mediterranean Sea, this former fishing boat turned waterfront restaurant with roots tracing back to the late 1800s, offers incomparable views and great food.

Day 3

Morning

Embark on a day excursion by beginning with a short bus or car journey to Èze, French Riviera’s charming mediaeval village perched atop a hill over 400 metres above sea level. One of the best places in south of France to discover, the village is easily recognisable by the 12th-century castle walls visible from the road. However, the true allure of Èze lies in the breathtaking panoramic views it offers of the French coast when you climb to the highest point. Arrive at the garden (there’s a small feed) to take in the stunning vistas of the Riviera.

Afternoon

Afterwards head straight to Monaco, the world’s second-smallest city-state after Vatican City. A playground for the affluent, it’s home to the classic Casino de Monte-Carlo and the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix. Synonymous with luxury, you’ll find mega-yachts, designer stores and extravaganza. Climb the ramped stairs to reach Monaco’s picturesque Old Town, set on a hill offering phenomenal views of the Mediterranean Sea. There, you’ll find the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, an important attraction in Monaco and the royal family’s official residence, where you can also watch the changing of the guard ceremony.

For lunch, visit the art nouveau-style Café de Paris, adjacent to the casino, for a selection of Mediterranean gourmet dishes. The swanky brasserie has been around for 150 years and is a celebrity favourite.

Evening

Your trip to Monaco wouldn’t be complete without experiencing Monaco City’s lively nightlife. Bar Odyssey, inside Monte-Carlo, was created by the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and boasts a swimming pool, terrace restaurant, and bar pool house. Buddha-Bar Monte-Carlo is a lounge-like restaurant inspired by Far East Asia. From the gigantic Buddha statue to the golden glow of lightning, it’s a venue worth exploring. If you’re looking to dance the night away, La Rascasse is the place to be for a good time, featuring DJs and live music. 

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