Fancy a day trip to Monaco? Or Cannes? Or Saint-Tropez?
Nice itself is a beautiful city that I cannot seem to get enough of despite being there twice. What makes Nice even more desirable as a stop when you’re in France, is its close proximity to other coastal towns along Côte d’Azur (French Riviera in English). Côte d’Azur is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France, also including the sovereign state of Monaco.
The best part is, you probably only need ONE ticket to access them*.
How to take a full day trip from Nice using just one train ticket
My friend and I went to the counter at Gare de Nice-Ville, which is the main railway station in Nice, and told the ticketing agent that we’ll like to visit Eze and Monaco. He recommended we buy return tickets to reach Monaco, and we’re free to hop on and off the train stations between Nice and Monaco within the day. For less than €8/pax (price as at Dec 2013), it was a good price. This post documents the day trip I took from Nice during its winter season!
1st stop: Villefranche-sur-Mer
Since we can drop on and off along the route, we dropped by Villefranche-sur-Mer. Villefranche is a seaside fishing village with splendid views. Among the 3 places I hopped to from Nice, this is the nearest to Nice.
In winter, Villefranche is a quiet, quaint little town with no crowds.
Came by at night again for dinner at Carpaccio before we went back to Nice, and I had the most delicious pasta at this restaurant. Carpaccio has since ceased business, what a pity!
Eze Village is a charming medieval village, perched some 1,400 ft above sea level. Over at Eze Village (which I wrote about in this blogpost), you can discover little art galleries, walk on sloping cobblestoned paths and admire bougainvillea flowers growing on stone walls. You can cover Eze Village in a few hours.
Land of the glitteringly rich, Monaco is actually a city-state and a country on its own. You won’t need to go through immigration. But you’ll probably need the passport with you as identification for casino entry). Monaco is a world’s difference from the other coastal towns. You can view the crazy amount of yachts here, or visit the Oceanographic Museum, or even watch F1 here during its season.
The next time I visit Nice, I’ll like to hop over to Cannes, Antibes and Saint-Tropez!
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Good to know before you plan day trips from Nice:
- *Buy trains tickets for the furthest of your planned destination for the day (in the same direction). For example, if you’re going Monaco from Nice, buy the ticket bound for Monaco. For the valid day of your ticket, you can get on and off along any of the stops between Nice and Monaco (eg. Nice-Villefranche-Eze-Monaco-Nice). You don’t have to get individual tickets between each destination.* Double-check with ticketing agent before buying, in case they change the rules!
- Trains sometimes get delayed (signboard says “retard” – meaning delay), so take your plans easy.
- Currency used is Euros.
- Examples of destinations for day trips from Nice: Heading east from Nice, you can visit Villefranche-sur-Mer, Monaco, and even Ventimiglia in Italy. Heading west from Nice, you can head to Antibes, Cannes, Grasse, Saint Raphael (for Saint Tropez).
- The Best of Nice Blog has excellent information (“Coastal Trains Along the French Riviera“) about train-hopping to many towns from Nice.