When people think of the French Riviera ‘expensive’, ‘off budget’ and ‘maybe one day’ come to mind, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We’re locals and want you to visit the region and have a great time, so here are some tips to help you do just that.
Use public transport, it’s efficient, inexpensive and coastal journeys are generally very scenic. The buses and trams cost only €1.50 for any journey within the region, which means you can go from Monaco to Nice or even up to the ski resorts for that price. You can also hop on and off as many buses and trams as you want with one ticket for up to 70 minutes. The trains are slightly more expensive, but still very affordable and all public transport is clean and prompt. Tickets can be bought on the buses, but train & tram tickets must be purchased from machines just before you hop on.
The French Riviera Pass is an excellent way to enjoy free entry into a number of museums, activities, open top bus, tourist train, Segway touring and much more. The card itself costs 10euros but if you’re a keen sightseer it will save you a tremendous amount overall. The City of Nice has amazing free or really cheap options for visitors so keep an eye on their website for great holiday ideas.
The City of Nice also provides ‘Nice Greeters’ which are people who volunteer their time free of charge to show you around the City.
Some of the other sites and activities which are absolutely free include:
- Chateau de Nice and the famous Nice Cemetery
- Gardens, Monastery and Roman Ruins in Cimiez, Nice
- Russian Church in Nice
- Japanese Gardens in Monaco
- Contemporary Art Museum in Nice
- Walking/hiking trails throughout the region
- Changing of the guard ceremony in the Palace Square in Monaco
- Monaco’s public gardens and the Cathedral
- World Famous Formula One Grand Prix race track
- Princess Grace rose garden in Monaco
Being adventurous is the key. Stay away from the main tourist streets & square, hunt out little local bars, cafés & restaurants. Once you’ve plucked up the courage to practice your French and sit out an initially cold welcome, you’re more than likely to be accepted and welcomed back with a big smile from then on.
Beer, juice and tea are very expensive on the French Riviera, where as local tipples such as a ‘pichet de vin’ (jug of wine) and Pastis (anise flavoured liqueur) are very reasonably priced.
For groceries it’s best to stay away from the small convenience stores because they’re generally expensive. Instead, head to the fresh produce market or a ‘Carrefour Supermarket’ (similar to Tesco or Wallmart).
A little tip is to make your own food before you head out for the day. It may be tempting to buy a Panini or a slice of pizza while walking around but you can probably make something much nicer in 10 minutes and at half the price. The French Riviera is full of beautiful places to picnic in the sunshine while overlooking the Mediterranean, so you certainly won’t feel as though you’re dining on a shoestring.
If you’ve forgotten your charger, a sim card or any other electronics, your best bet is a store called Darty. It stocks all the major brands and generic equivalents and has cheaper prices than the high streets stores, brand shops or phone shops.
Arrival & Departures
However, we completely understand if you’re budget won’t stretch to a private airport transfers and luckily the airport and train station both have an efficient bus service which takes you along the main city routes. The airport bus costs €6 each way.
We’re always finding new and interesting ways for visitors to have a wonderful time, so keep your eye on our website and our blog for the latest news/reviews. Also feel free to visit us when you’re in town for more information, assistance or just a great cup of tea!