French Riviera 3-Day Road Trip


There is no other place on earth that sums up the glitz and glamour of the Mediterranean than the French Riviera. One of Europe’s most gorgeous coastlines, the vast stretch of the Cote d’Azur has long attracted the rich and famous who come to dine in magnificent seafood restaurants, while away afternoons on the pristine beaches and sail their yachts along the calm ocean. Further inland, you can find pretty historic towns dotting the mountains only accessible by winding country roads. Though it’s possible to take public transport, the best way to explore is by a car rental French Riviera, imagine the French Riviera on a road trip – marvelous! 


Best time to visit and weather

Though there’s no right time to visit the French Riviera, there are certainly times of the year where it is busier. The summer months between July and August are long and hot, and see much of the accommodation in French Riviera booked up well in advance. The outer seasons of spring and fall are still wonderfully warm, but the beaches and hotels are much less crowded. Though winter can get chilly and the beach won’t feature much in your day, there are still some fabulous restaurants to eat at and the boutiques and attractions are open year-round. During this time, you can often find cheap car rental Nice airport.

Rules on the Road

France has some of the strictest rules of the road of any European country. Things to remember when you hire a car rental Nice include the speed limits. On highways these are set at 130 kilometers per hour. This reduces to 110 kilometers on 4-land expressways and 90 kilometers per hour on country roads. There are heavy fines for those caught speeding and your car can even be confiscated by the police. These are reduced when it is raining. Alcohol is limited to 0.5 grams per liter of blood, much lower than most countries. Wearing your seat belt is mandatory.

Road trip distance

During this glamorous 3-day road trip, you’ll visit the upmarket seafood cities of Nice, Cannes and Antibes, all of which teem with fish restaurants, luxury hotels and boutique shops. Each is easily reached with relatively short drives using your car hire Nice.

Road Trip Distance:

Nice Airport to Nice: 8 kilometers
Nice to Saint Paul de Vence: 19 kilometers
Saint Paul de Vence to Cannes: 28 kilometers
Cannes to Antibes: 12 kilometers
Antibes to Nice Airport: 15 kilometers

nice france car hire

French Riviera Road Trip Day 1 – Nice

When you arrive at the airport, pick up your keys for your car rental Nice in the terminal building and drive for just 20 minutes down into the center and start your road trip to French Riviera. As you can imagine, there are plenty of hotels to choose from in the city, but you can’t go wrong with a stay at the Hotel Ellington. Close to the old town and the main attractions of the city, this classy establishment’s décor will transport you back to an era gone by.

The is no better way to introduce yourself to a city’s food than a visit to the local market. The Cours Saleya Market is no exception. Open every day (other than a Monday), the market has a wonderfully colorful selection of local produce and regional delicacies to taste and buy.

After watching the famous melting orange sunset, be sure to visit La Roustide, a well-established restaurant serving up truffle based French cuisine for years. Expect dishes like seabream tartare with truffles and truffled potatoes along with foie gras and pasta dishes. The restaurant has a buzzy atmosphere and an extensive wine menu.

cannes france car hire

French Riviera Road Trip Day 2 – Nice to Cannes

After breakfast, jump in your car rental French Riviera and drive out of town for 30 minutes to the pretty little hilltop down of Saint Paul de Vence. Take some time to wander through before stopping in any one of the excellent bistros. Hit the road again in the early afternoon and 45 minutes later, you’ll be driving into the world-famous Cannes, an iconic seaside town which is home to the annual film festival.

When you arrive, check into the Five Seas, a boutique hotel just moments away from La Croisette and the beach. With exclusive access to a private beach, an onsite spa, a spectacular rooftop terrace with a pool and spacious rooms, the hotel doesn’t disappoint.

In the late afternoon, wander around the narrow, cobbled streets of Le Suquet and the Old Port area. Pop your head into the any number of the boutique shops or stop for a café and people watch. Down along La Croisette is the perfect place to watch the sun setting.

Nice isn’t short of excellent restaurants. For something simple, but always good, try Bistrot Gourmand. The menu is seasonal, and changes often, but always has excellent seafood dishes and specials like roasted turbot. For a lively end to the night, head to one of the bars on Commandant Andre, a favorite spot for locals.

cannes car rental

French Riviera Road Trip Day 3 – Cannes to Nice

Wake up early for a swim in the cool ocean waters before breakfast. Afterwards, hit the road again in your car hire Cannes and drive for 30 minutes or so to Antibes. It’s famous for its 16th century ramparts and old town as well as the luxury marina. Stop for a swim and a spot of lunch at Les Pecheurs, a restaurant that sits over the water and specializes in seafood. It’s been recognized by the Michelin guide which awarded it 1-star. Return your car rental French Riveria back to the airport in Nice and catch your flight home.

Learn more about culturally rich France in these blogs!

Have a great road trip!

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