Taylor-Menton2

A woman wandering the streets of Monaco during a day trip from Nice.

The French Riviera, otherwise known at the Côte d’Azur, is located on the Mediterranean coast of France. It’s filled with luxurious resorts, A-list beach clubs, stunning beaches, breathtaking cliffside villages, Michelin Star restaurants and fascinating cities. One of the best cities to visit along the French Riviera is Nice, France and there are incredible day trips to easily take from the city to enjoy the best of the coastline!

The heart of the French Riviera starts in and around St. Tropez and goes a little past Menton. Along the Côte d’Azur are colorful towns, peaceful seaside villages and thriving cities. The French Riviera is famous because it has attracted world-known celebrities, aristocrats and artists over the past couple centuries. It truly is a fascinating part of the world!

A woman walking along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France

During June 2022, I did a big Europe trip for my 31st birthday with a few travel bloggers. I started my trip visiting Barcelona, Spain. From there, I also got to enjoy wine tasting in the Priorat wine region of Catalonia and savored delicious paella from its birthplace of Valencia. After Spain, I made my way to the small country of Andorra, which is situated in the Pyrenees Mountains, between Spain and France. Then, I spent a full week exploring the French Riviera before ending my trip in Northern Italy.

In this article, discover the best day trips from the capital city of the French Riviera – Nice! I traveled with Ashley of World to Wander.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like. During my time in Nice, Hotel Azur Riviera hosted me for one night.


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Best Day Trips from nice, France in the French Riviera

Traveling to the French Riviera:

The city of Menton, France during a cloudy day

Getting to the French Riviera is easy, especially if you’re coming from any major city in Europe! Two major cities to visit in the South of France are Marseille and Nice. Discover the best 2 days in Marseille summer itinerary and what to do in Nice for 2 days.

If you plan to start your trip in the city of Marseille, it is best to fly into Marseille-Provence Airport, which is 20 miles northwest of the city. You can get to Nice by flying into Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, which is only five miles from the city center. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner!

The colorful buildings in Villefranche-Sur-Mer

Once you’re on the French Riviera, the best way to get around is by taking the train that goes along the coast. The best way to do Nice day trips is if you take the train from the city’s main station – Nice-Ville. If you plan to do day trips from Nice by car, such as exploring the lavender fields and around countryside of Provence, it is best to rent your own vehicle.

If you’re up for it, you can also travel to the villages around Nice by walking. The Promenade des Anglais in Nice starts at the airport and goes through the heart of the city, but it forms pieces of the Route nationale 98 that runs between Toulon and Menton. In addition to the Promenade des Anglais, you can also take private scenic trails, along the Riviera, to the beautiful seaside towns.

The port in Nice, France

(One thing to note about renting a car in Europe is that you will need to have an international driver’s permit in addition to your regular license. I don’t know how the process works for other countries, but for U.S. residents, you could easily obtain one by going to your local AAA office.)

Where to Stay in Nice, France:

A woman staying at Hotel Azur Riviera in Nice, France

When doing day trips from Nice, it is best to stay at Hotel Azur Riviera, since it is a 5-minute walk from the main train station. Overall, Hotel Azur Riviera is a luxury boutique hotel that is in the heart of Nice. This beautiful, brand-new hotel provides modern, cozy rooms with pretty views of Nice’s streets. It’s also in a great location to the best restaurants in Nice!

What I loved about staying at Hotel Azur Riviera was that I was greeted to an adorable welcome. I loved how the hotel decorated the room and bed! Also, I was welcomed with a nice glass of champagne and some snacks.

Staying at Hotel Azur Riviera:

During my night at Hotel Azur Riviera, I stayed in the Executive Double Room with a sofa bed. It came with a double bed, en-suite bathroom, Nuxe bath products, a smart TV, high-speed Wifi and more! It was a lovely stay.

Other rooms to stay at in Hotel Azur Riviera in Nice are the Single Rooms; Twin Rooms; PRM Rooms, which are accessible rooms; Standard Double Rooms and Private Terrace Rooms.

Breakfast at Hotel Azur Riviera

One of my favorite parts of staying at Hotel Azur Riviera in the city of Nice, France was that the breakfast in the morning was incredible! From 6:30am to 10am, you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat, hot and cold buffet breakfast. I loved all the baked goods, crepes, eggs, cold cuts, fresh fruit and more. Everything was delicious!

In addition to the breakfast, Hotel Azur Riviera also has a great bar that is open from 7am to 10pm. At the bar, you can enjoy espresso, a cocktail and a light snack. It’s the perfect spot to chill out.

The Best Day Trips from Nice by Train:

The beach in Villefranche-Sur-Mer

Whether you’re looking to enjoy one of the French Riviera’s best beach clubs in St. Tropez or Cannes or get lost in the charming streets of Villefranche-Sur-Mer or Èze, there is a day trip from Nice for all to enjoy!

Menton, France:

A woman enjoying one of the best day trips from Nice to the colorful city of Menton

Located near the border of Italy, Menton is considered the pearl of the French Riviera and the country’s best kept secret! You can tell that this city is close to the Italian border as it gives off major Cinque Terre vibes! It also has stunning beaches, great Italian restaurants, citrus trees, medieval churches and more.

In the mid 1300s, Menton was ruled by the Grimaldi Family of Monaco. Today, they still reign over the Principality! In the mid 1800s, the colorful village of Menton attracted European aristocrats due to the beautiful beaches, scenery and climate.

Best Things to do in Menton during a Day Trip from Nice:
A woman wandering the streets of Menton, France

Some of the best things to do in Menton, France is to stroll through the charming Old Town. The streets of Menton are colorful, quaint and will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale. Please note that the streets in Menton, France are steep and pebbly, so it is best to wear comfortable travel shoes.

One of the most beautiful landmarks in Menton is the Basilica Saint-Michel-Archange. It is a 17th-Century, Baroque Roman Catholic church. What is nice about this beautiful church is that it overlooks the Mediterranean Sea! It’s one of the most picturesque spots in Menton, France.

A woman exploring Menton, France

Since Menton is a beach destination, it is a must to visit the Plage des Sablettes. Unfortunately, it rained when I visited Menton during summer 2022, but it’s a wonderful spot to sunbathe, swim, enjoy a nice drink and admire breathtaking views all around!

Best Restaurants in Menton, France:
A chicken meal from the South of France

When it comes to the best restaurants in Menton, you will not go wrong with anywhere you choose to go. Below are the top places to eat at during one of the best day trips from Nice:

  • Mirazur: This Michelin Star restaurant presents some of the best Southern French dishes, crafted by renowned Chef Mauro Colagreco. In addition to savoring incredible food, you can also enjoy breathtaking views of the Bay of Garavan.
  • Côte Sud: An incredible restaurant to visit in Menton that is more budget-friendly is Côte Sud. At this awesome spot, you can savor delicious pizza, fresh fish and more.
  • Le Galion: One of the best Franco-Italian restaurants is Le Galion. At this special spot, you can savor delicious seafood pasta dishes, raw and grilled fishes, fondues and delicious meats.
  • Cocotte Café: Some of the best chicken I’ve eaten have been in France! One of the best French restaurants, that overlooks the beach, is Cocotte Café. Ashley and I had lunch at this spot during our time in Menton. It has a great selection of rotisserie chicken, salads, tartare and more!
  • La Mandragore: Located in a beautiful square of Menton is La Mandragore, which is a gourmet wine bar that also serves delicious, sweet treats! It’s one of the best spots to relax at during a lovely mid-afternoon in Menton.

Other great things to do during a day trip to Menton, France is to visit the Jean Cocteau Musuem that commemorates the iconic French writer, filmmaker and artist, along with the Le Val Rahmeh-Menton Garden.

The Country of Monaco:

Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco

There isn’t a doubt that Monaco is a hub for the rich. Situated along the French Riviera, Monaco is its own country and the second smallest after Vatican City, which I visited during my first trip to Rome. It’s also smaller than New York City’s Central Park! Overall, Monaco is one of the best day trips from Nice!

Some fun facts about Monaco are that one in three people who live in this tiny country are millionaires. The primary language spoken in Monaco is French, but some residents also speak Italian. Not only is Monaco known for the famous Monte Carlo Casino, it’s also iconic for the Grand Prix, which is an F1 motor racing event that is held every spring. Celebrities from all over the world travel to Monaco to see this fascinating race!

Why Monaco is One of the Best Places to Visit Near Nice, France:
A woman exploring the Monte Carlo during one of the best day trips from Nice

From the moment you get off the train, you will be amazed by how pristine Monaco is! This affluent country is filled with high-end designer stores, luxurious hotels, lush gardens and great museums and palaces.

One of the best things to do in Monaco is to visit the famous Monte Carlo Casino. Overall, Monte Carlo is an administrative area of Monaco and portrays the Principality’s riches.

The port in Monaco

Dating back to July 1865, the Monte Carlo Casino is the most famous casino in the world since Grace Kelly visited in 1956. It’s also become synonymous with James Bond over the years. It’s free to enter, but you must purchase tickets to visit the casino.

When you first enter the Monte Carlo Casino, you will be amazed by how stunning the interior is! In addition to playing fun casino games like Black Jack, French Roulette, Texas Hold’em and the slot machines, you can also enjoy the Monte Carlo Casino’s bar. (You don’t need to purchase casino tickets to enjoy the bar!)

The Monte Carlo Casino also has elegant restaurants, hosts beautiful shows and also has hotels to stay at!

The famous port in Monaco

Other incredible things to do in Monaco are to tour the Palais du Prince, which was built in 1191 as a Genoese fortress. Since Monaco is also on the coast, you can enjoy a lovely day by the water at Larvoto Beach and watch the boats go by. Speaking of boats, Monaco also has a prestigious harbor where you can admire mega yachts. In fact, you may also see the Prince of Monaco’s main yacht if you’re lucky!

A beautiful garden in Monaco

A main reason why Monaco is one of the most breathtaking places near Nice, France is because of its gardens. The French Riviera’s climate is perfect for beautiful flowers, fauna and greenery. The best gardens to explore in Monaco are Jardin Japonais (Japanese garden), Princess Grace Rose Garden (botanical garden) and Les Jardins Saint-Martin.

The F1 tracks for the Grand Prix in Monaco

If you’re traveling to Monaco during the spring, you cannot miss out on seeing the Grand Prix! Even if you aren’t in Monaco during the Grand Prix event, you can still see the track lines for the F1 during your visit. In addition, you’ll see a lot of luxury cars around the country from Rolls Royce’s to Lamborghini’s and Bugatti’s to Ferrari’s.

Best Restaurants in Monaco:
  • La Table d’Antonio Salvatore au Rampoldi: This incredible Michelin Star restaurant houses incredible dishes made by Chef Antonio Salvatore. At this art deco restaurant, you can savor risottos, fresh fish, perfectly-cooked meats and award-winning wines.
  • Nobu Monte Carlo: One of the most renowned restaurants, with locations in the top cities of the world, is Nobu. It’s a great spot to dine for Asian fusion food in Monaco and can be found in the Fairmont Monte Carlo.
  • Elsa: Another Michelin Star restaurant to visit in Monaco is Elsa. It is where you can savor mouthwatering Mediterranean plates made by Chef Mélanie Serre while admiring gorgeous views of the sea. All her meals include organic, farm-to-table ingredients.
  • La Montgolfiere Henri Geraci: Situated near the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, La Montgolfiere Henri Geraci is a family-run restaurant that serves delicious Asian fusion cuisine.
  • Marche de la Condamine: An incredible market hall that you cannot miss out on visiting during your day trip to Monaco from Nice is La Condamine. It’s the perfect spot to grab beautiful flowers, trinkets and delicious local food, like socca, which is a chickpea pancake.

Please note that if you travel to Monaco via train, like Ashley and I did, you will not need to go through customs, nor present your passport anywhere to enter the country.

Villefranche-Sur-Mer, France:

One of the best day trips from Nice is Villefranche-Sur-Mer

The most colorful town in the South of France, and one of the best day trips from Nice, is Villefranche-Sur-Mer. This charming seaside village boasts a beautiful beach as well as colorful houses and restaurants that overlook the Mediterranean Sea. A trip to the French Riviera is not complete without visiting this gem!

Since Villefranch-Sur-Mer is a smaller village, there isn’t too much to do other than taking things slow and truly enjoying everything it has to offer.

Top Things to do in Villefranche-Sur-Mer from a Day Out of Nice:

A woman exploring Villefranche-Sur-Mer - one of the best day trips from Nice

In addition to wandering through the colorful streets of Villefranche-Sur-Mer, you must also enjoy the town’s main beach called Plage des Marinieres.

A wine bar in Villefranche-Sur-Mer

As you make your way around town, you must taste local wine and savor cheese at the lovely wine cellar, La Grande Cave Villefranche! It is an adorable wine bar on the side of a staircase that leads up to the top of the village.

Best Restaurants in Villefranche-Sur-Mer:

La Belle Etoile in Villefranche-Sur-Mer
  • La Mère Germaine Villefranche-Sur-Mer: One of the best restaurants in Villefranch-Sur-Mer, and in the South of France in general, is La Mère Germaine. It is a Franco-Italian restaurant that is famous for its bouillabaisse dish (a French fisherman stew) as well as its seafood pastas, fish and wine. Ashley and I ate here for dinner during our day trip to Villefranche-Sur-Mer and it did not disappoint!
  • La Belle Etoile: A charming restaurant located in the Old Town of Villefranche-Sur-Mer is La Belle Etoile. At this lovely restaurant, you can savor incredible French Mediterranean food!
  • L’Oursin Bleu: The best seafood restaurant overlooking the water is L’Oursin Bleu. It is the top place to enjoy fresh fish, renowned French wines and more in Villefranche-Sur-Mer!

Èze, France:

A hidden gem along the Côte d’Azur is the fairytale commune of Èze. It is a quiet seaside village that is filled with stoned houses, gardens and a beautiful beach to enjoy!

If you plan to do weekend trips from Nice and visit a plethora of different villages along the sea, Èze should not be excluded from your French Riviera itinerary!

The best things to do in Èze are to stroll through the cobbled streets; explore the charming shops; see the gorgeous Eglise d’Èze (church) visit the breathtaking château hotels in the commune and wander around the stunning Le Jardin Exotique.

Best Restaurants in Èze:
Seafood pasta from the Riviera
  • Château Eza: One of the most breathtaking restaurants to visit during a day trip to Èze from Nice, France is at the hotel Château Eza. This lovely restaurant overlooks the French Riviera and serves some of the best French Mediterranean cuisine.
  • La Chèvre d’Or: This wonderful Michelin Star restaurant is in the Hôtel Château de la Chèvre d’Or and it is where you can enjoy a nice French meal in a sophisticated setting. All the meals at this restaurant are made by Chef Arnaud Faye.
  • La Taverne d’Antan: Known as one of the best Italian restaurants, La Taverne d’Antan is located in a romantic setting. You can savor delicious pizza pies, risottos, ravioli dishes and more.

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France:

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is a 19th-Century fishing and farming village that is now a famous vacation spot along the French Riviera. There is no doubt that it makes for one of the best Nice day trips. Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is the destination where wealthy foreigners come to stay and you can see that through all the prestigious hotels there.

In addition, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat hosted a lot of renowned artists over the years, from all over Europe, like Matisse, Picasso and Jean Cocteau. In fact, you can see Cocteau’s frescoes in the Villa Santo Sospir.

A beautiful building along the French Riviera

Some of the most stunning spots to visit in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat are the Chapelle de Saint-Hospice, the lighthouse and the Villa Ephrussi. If you plan to visit Villa Ephrussi during your day trip from Nice, you must wander around the palace gardens; admire the Florentine and Venetian architecture and take in all the talented artwork.  

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the South of France. The most popular beach is the Cros deï Pin followed by Fossettes Beach and Fosses Beach. At these beaches, you can also rent paddle boards, kayaks and more.

This beautiful part of the French Riviera also has a stunning port filled with great restaurants to enjoy! The top three to visit are Restaurant Capitaine Cook, Restaurant La Goëlette à Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Diva Restaurant.

St. Tropez, France:

Exploring colorful villages from Nice, France

Renowned for its famous beach clubs, glitzy hotels and resorts, A-list nightlife and posh coastal towns, St. Tropez is one of the best day trips from Nice, France! At this beautiful location, you can also find incredible eateries, mega yachts and, if you’re lucky, see a celebrity walking the streets or hanging out at one of the clubs!

Best Beach Clubs in St. Tropez:
A woman enjoying a beach club along the French Riviera

During day trips from Nice to St. Tropez, you must visit one of the best beach clubs! Overall, St. Tropez is the birthplace of beach clubs and most of them began in the 1950s. These amazing hot spots on the French Riviera are some of the main reasons why St. Tropez is one of the best summer holiday destinations in the world!

  • Le Club 55: Known as the oldest and most popular beach clubs in St. Tropez, Le Club 55 attracts the rich and famous. It is best to book a spot at the club a few months in advance if you want to experience it! This beach club also boasts world-renowned DJs and will ensure you have the time of your life!
  • Nikki Beach Saint Tropez: Nikki Beach is another world-famous club with locations all over the planet! It offers both a fun and relaxing ambiance and serves incredible food! No matter what, you are sure to have a great time at this spot.
  • Tahiti Beach St. Tropez: A classic and more chill beach club in St. Tropez is Tahiti Beach club. It features a fun atmosphere and boasts two of the best restaurants in St. Tropez!
  • La Serena Ramatuelle: An affordable and relaxed beach club in St. Tropez is La Serena Ramatuelle. It’s near the famous Nikki Beach and provides gorgeous views of the crystal blue Mediterranean Sea.
  • Jardin Tropezina: This awesome beach club is known to stay open way after summer crowds have left the Riviera. Being part of the Château de la Messardière, Jardin Tropezina is known for its beautiful gardens, live music and beachfront dining in St. Tropez.

In addition to glamourous beach clubs, you must also check out the Citadelle de Saint-Tropez, walk around the beautiful harbor and shop through the high-end stores along with the Marché de Saint-Tropez (market).

The best places to eat in St. Tropez are at Dior Des Lices (a café attached to a Christian Dior store); La Ponche for seafood; L’Auberge des Maures for local dishes and Le Kikouiou for French Mediterranean food.

Cannes France:

Another one of the best day trips from Nice is to visit the city of Cannes. It is known for its annual Film Festival and it’s the perfect place to see a celebrity sighting!

Some of the best things to do in Cannes is to stroll the La Croisette, which is similar to Nice’s Promenade des Anglais. It is filled with casinos, beach clubs, designer stores and high-end restaurants.

A day trip to Cannes from Nice must also include wandering around the Le Vieux Port, enjoying a sail on the Mediterranean, visiting the Marché Forville and exploring all of the churches and historical buildings.

Many of the top restaurants in Cannes, France is in Le Sequet, which is a Roman settlement above the city. It will bring you back in time through the 18th and 19th-Century buildings surrounding the area, alleyways, bars, restaurants and views.

Other authentic and local restaurants to visit in Cannes are Bar du Marin, La Palme d’Or and La Cave. Another great waterfront city to explore from Cannes is Antibes!

Ventimiglia, Italy:

Best day trips from Nice, France

One of the best day trips from Nice to Italy is to Ventimiglia on the Italian Riviera. It resembles a lot of what you’d see along the French Riviera and the entire area is beyond scenic! In fact, Ventimiglia is located in the Liguria region of Italy, which also boasts Cinque Terre, Portofino, Sanremo and Genoa.

Some of the best things to do in Ventimiglia is to wander through the stunning Old Town; visit the 11th-Century, Romanesque Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta; shop through the famous market; walk through the infamous, medieval Biblioteca Civica Aprosiana (library) and relax at one of the Ligurian beaches.

The best places to eat in Ventimiglia are Restaurant La Caravella, Restaurant Pasta e Basta and Restaurant Margunaira.

Provence, France:

A woman wandering through the lavender fields in Provence, one of the best day trips from Nice

One of the best places to visit from Nice that will require you to rent a car is Provence. During the summertime, this area of Southern France is famed for its lavender fields! Discover the best 3 days in Provence itinerary for summertime.

Even though the lavender fields of Provence are closer to Marseille instead of Nice, it is still worth visiting for a day trip if you’re traveling around the South of France during the months of mid June through early August.

A woman enjoying a summer day on Verdon Gorge in the South of France - one of the best day trips from Nice

Valensole is popular for the endless lavender fields and it’s a 2.5-hour drive from the city of Nice. Not too far from there is Gorges du Verdon (or Verdon Gorge). It features an emerald lake where you can paddle boat, kayak, cliff jump, swim and sunbathe. It’s so much fun and the perfect place to make memories!

Day Trip from Nice to Marseille:

A woman exploring Marseille - one of the best places to visit from Nice

Another one of the best day trips to take from Nice is to the city of Marseille. Located a little over two hours from Nice, Marseille is the oldest and one of the most diverse cities in France and there is something for all to enjoy!

Best Things to do in Marseille:
A woman walking along the Vieux Port in Marseille, France - the best day trips from Nice

If you’re wondering what to do in Marseille during a day trip from Nice, you must stroll through the Vieux Port and sightsee around the city! Marseille draws in beautiful yachts and has stylish hotels, renowned restaurants and charming neighborhoods.

A trip to Marseille is also not complete without admiring the colorful street art in Le Panier; enjoying a cocktail at the Intercontinental Marseille or the Le Dantès Skylounge at Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port and visiting the nearby calanques.

The Best Restaurants in Marseille, France:
Bouillabaisse from Marseille, France
  • L’Entrecôte du Port: One of the top restaurants to eat at in Marseille is L’Entrecôte du Port, off the Vieux Port. It features all of Marseille’s food staples, but is specifically known for its steak dishes.
  • Restaurant Chez Zé: Situated near the Baumettes section of the city of Marseille, Chez Zé is a pizzeria that has an outdoor patio with stringed lights. It’s located near the start of Parc National des Calanques.
  • Chez FonFon: Bouillabaisse is the dish of Marseille and the restaurant that is known to have the best is Chez FonFon. What is nice about this restaurant is that it overlooks the marina and Mediterranean Sea!

A woman enjoying the best day trips from Nice

I hope you all enjoyed discovering the best day trips to take from Nice, France. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of France:

Currency: Euro, Capital: Paris, Time Zone: Central European Standard Time

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

In addition, a great and secure luggage storage to utilize during your summer Europe trip is Nannybag! It is easy to use; all you do is download the Nannybag app, type in the city that you will be visiting and when you plan to arrive and depart. At a small cost per luggage, Nannybag will list the stores, restaurants or hotels where you could drop your bag off at the city you are visiting.

Nannybag is also insured against theft, loss and breakage. It’s a convenient way to store your bags when you are traveling from one city to the next in Europe.

Shop my French Riviera Look:

Click here to shop my Poshmark closet!

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2 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on September 16, 2022 at 7:45 am

    Loved learning about the best places to visit in Nice, France ~ can’t wait to visit France! Definitely on my bucket list and after reading this blog, it made me feel that I was kind of there already. Your detailed descriptions and beautiful photos brought your trip to life! Such a stunning place and looks like some excellent food spots to enjoy. The beaches, architecture and cathedrals are absolutely beautiful ~ loved all the colorful homes on the cliffs ~ so pretty! Awesome guide, love you, mom xoxo 👩🏻♥️

    • Taylor Deer on September 16, 2022 at 6:52 pm

      Thank you mom! France is such a special country. I love it so much!

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Taylor-Menton2

A woman wandering the streets of Monaco during a day trip from Nice.

The French Riviera, otherwise known at the Côte d’Azur, is located on the Mediterranean coast of France. It’s filled with luxurious resorts, A-list beach clubs, stunning beaches, breathtaking cliffside villages, Michelin Star restaurants and fascinating cities. One of the best cities to visit along the French Riviera is Nice, France and there are incredible day trips to easily take from the city to enjoy the best of the coastline!

The heart of the French Riviera starts in and around St. Tropez and goes a little past Menton. Along the Côte d’Azur are colorful towns, peaceful seaside villages and thriving cities. The French Riviera is famous because it has attracted world-known celebrities, aristocrats and artists over the past couple centuries. It truly is a fascinating part of the world!

A woman walking along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France

During June 2022, I did a big Europe trip for my 31st birthday with a few travel bloggers. I started my trip visiting Barcelona, Spain. From there, I also got to enjoy wine tasting in the Priorat wine region of Catalonia and savored delicious paella from its birthplace of Valencia. After Spain, I made my way to the small country of Andorra, which is situated in the Pyrenees Mountains, between Spain and France. Then, I spent a full week exploring the French Riviera before ending my trip in Northern Italy.

In this article, discover the best day trips from the capital city of the French Riviera – Nice! I traveled with Ashley of World to Wander.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like. During my time in Nice, Hotel Azur Riviera hosted me for one night.


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Best Day Trips from nice, France in the French Riviera

Traveling to the French Riviera:

The city of Menton, France during a cloudy day

Getting to the French Riviera is easy, especially if you’re coming from any major city in Europe! Two major cities to visit in the South of France are Marseille and Nice. Discover the best 2 days in Marseille summer itinerary and what to do in Nice for 2 days.

If you plan to start your trip in the city of Marseille, it is best to fly into Marseille-Provence Airport, which is 20 miles northwest of the city. You can get to Nice by flying into Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, which is only five miles from the city center. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner!

The colorful buildings in Villefranche-Sur-Mer

Once you’re on the French Riviera, the best way to get around is by taking the train that goes along the coast. The best way to do Nice day trips is if you take the train from the city’s main station – Nice-Ville. If you plan to do day trips from Nice by car, such as exploring the lavender fields and around countryside of Provence, it is best to rent your own vehicle.

If you’re up for it, you can also travel to the villages around Nice by walking. The Promenade des Anglais in Nice starts at the airport and goes through the heart of the city, but it forms pieces of the Route nationale 98 that runs between Toulon and Menton. In addition to the Promenade des Anglais, you can also take private scenic trails, along the Riviera, to the beautiful seaside towns.

The port in Nice, France

(One thing to note about renting a car in Europe is that you will need to have an international driver’s permit in addition to your regular license. I don’t know how the process works for other countries, but for U.S. residents, you could easily obtain one by going to your local AAA office.)

Where to Stay in Nice, France:

A woman staying at Hotel Azur Riviera in Nice, France

When doing day trips from Nice, it is best to stay at Hotel Azur Riviera, since it is a 5-minute walk from the main train station. Overall, Hotel Azur Riviera is a luxury boutique hotel that is in the heart of Nice. This beautiful, brand-new hotel provides modern, cozy rooms with pretty views of Nice’s streets. It’s also in a great location to the best restaurants in Nice!

What I loved about staying at Hotel Azur Riviera was that I was greeted to an adorable welcome. I loved how the hotel decorated the room and bed! Also, I was welcomed with a nice glass of champagne and some snacks.

Staying at Hotel Azur Riviera:

During my night at Hotel Azur Riviera, I stayed in the Executive Double Room with a sofa bed. It came with a double bed, en-suite bathroom, Nuxe bath products, a smart TV, high-speed Wifi and more! It was a lovely stay.

Other rooms to stay at in Hotel Azur Riviera in Nice are the Single Rooms; Twin Rooms; PRM Rooms, which are accessible rooms; Standard Double Rooms and Private Terrace Rooms.

Breakfast at Hotel Azur Riviera

One of my favorite parts of staying at Hotel Azur Riviera in the city of Nice, France was that the breakfast in the morning was incredible! From 6:30am to 10am, you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat, hot and cold buffet breakfast. I loved all the baked goods, crepes, eggs, cold cuts, fresh fruit and more. Everything was delicious!

In addition to the breakfast, Hotel Azur Riviera also has a great bar that is open from 7am to 10pm. At the bar, you can enjoy espresso, a cocktail and a light snack. It’s the perfect spot to chill out.

The Best Day Trips from Nice by Train:

The beach in Villefranche-Sur-Mer

Whether you’re looking to enjoy one of the French Riviera’s best beach clubs in St. Tropez or Cannes or get lost in the charming streets of Villefranche-Sur-Mer or Èze, there is a day trip from Nice for all to enjoy!

Menton, France:

A woman enjoying one of the best day trips from Nice to the colorful city of Menton

Located near the border of Italy, Menton is considered the pearl of the French Riviera and the country’s best kept secret! You can tell that this city is close to the Italian border as it gives off major Cinque Terre vibes! It also has stunning beaches, great Italian restaurants, citrus trees, medieval churches and more.

In the mid 1300s, Menton was ruled by the Grimaldi Family of Monaco. Today, they still reign over the Principality! In the mid 1800s, the colorful village of Menton attracted European aristocrats due to the beautiful beaches, scenery and climate.

Best Things to do in Menton during a Day Trip from Nice:
A woman wandering the streets of Menton, France

Some of the best things to do in Menton, France is to stroll through the charming Old Town. The streets of Menton are colorful, quaint and will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale. Please note that the streets in Menton, France are steep and pebbly, so it is best to wear comfortable travel shoes.

One of the most beautiful landmarks in Menton is the Basilica Saint-Michel-Archange. It is a 17th-Century, Baroque Roman Catholic church. What is nice about this beautiful church is that it overlooks the Mediterranean Sea! It’s one of the most picturesque spots in Menton, France.

A woman exploring Menton, France

Since Menton is a beach destination, it is a must to visit the Plage des Sablettes. Unfortunately, it rained when I visited Menton during summer 2022, but it’s a wonderful spot to sunbathe, swim, enjoy a nice drink and admire breathtaking views all around!

Best Restaurants in Menton, France:
A chicken meal from the South of France

When it comes to the best restaurants in Menton, you will not go wrong with anywhere you choose to go. Below are the top places to eat at during one of the best day trips from Nice:

  • Mirazur: This Michelin Star restaurant presents some of the best Southern French dishes, crafted by renowned Chef Mauro Colagreco. In addition to savoring incredible food, you can also enjoy breathtaking views of the Bay of Garavan.
  • Côte Sud: An incredible restaurant to visit in Menton that is more budget-friendly is Côte Sud. At this awesome spot, you can savor delicious pizza, fresh fish and more.
  • Le Galion: One of the best Franco-Italian restaurants is Le Galion. At this special spot, you can savor delicious seafood pasta dishes, raw and grilled fishes, fondues and delicious meats.
  • Cocotte Café: Some of the best chicken I’ve eaten have been in France! One of the best French restaurants, that overlooks the beach, is Cocotte Café. Ashley and I had lunch at this spot during our time in Menton. It has a great selection of rotisserie chicken, salads, tartare and more!
  • La Mandragore: Located in a beautiful square of Menton is La Mandragore, which is a gourmet wine bar that also serves delicious, sweet treats! It’s one of the best spots to relax at during a lovely mid-afternoon in Menton.

Other great things to do during a day trip to Menton, France is to visit the Jean Cocteau Musuem that commemorates the iconic French writer, filmmaker and artist, along with the Le Val Rahmeh-Menton Garden.

The Country of Monaco:

Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco

There isn’t a doubt that Monaco is a hub for the rich. Situated along the French Riviera, Monaco is its own country and the second smallest after Vatican City, which I visited during my first trip to Rome. It’s also smaller than New York City’s Central Park! Overall, Monaco is one of the best day trips from Nice!

Some fun facts about Monaco are that one in three people who live in this tiny country are millionaires. The primary language spoken in Monaco is French, but some residents also speak Italian. Not only is Monaco known for the famous Monte Carlo Casino, it’s also iconic for the Grand Prix, which is an F1 motor racing event that is held every spring. Celebrities from all over the world travel to Monaco to see this fascinating race!

Why Monaco is One of the Best Places to Visit Near Nice, France:
A woman exploring the Monte Carlo during one of the best day trips from Nice

From the moment you get off the train, you will be amazed by how pristine Monaco is! This affluent country is filled with high-end designer stores, luxurious hotels, lush gardens and great museums and palaces.

One of the best things to do in Monaco is to visit the famous Monte Carlo Casino. Overall, Monte Carlo is an administrative area of Monaco and portrays the Principality’s riches.

The port in Monaco

Dating back to July 1865, the Monte Carlo Casino is the most famous casino in the world since Grace Kelly visited in 1956. It’s also become synonymous with James Bond over the years. It’s free to enter, but you must purchase tickets to visit the casino.

When you first enter the Monte Carlo Casino, you will be amazed by how stunning the interior is! In addition to playing fun casino games like Black Jack, French Roulette, Texas Hold’em and the slot machines, you can also enjoy the Monte Carlo Casino’s bar. (You don’t need to purchase casino tickets to enjoy the bar!)

The Monte Carlo Casino also has elegant restaurants, hosts beautiful shows and also has hotels to stay at!

The famous port in Monaco

Other incredible things to do in Monaco are to tour the Palais du Prince, which was built in 1191 as a Genoese fortress. Since Monaco is also on the coast, you can enjoy a lovely day by the water at Larvoto Beach and watch the boats go by. Speaking of boats, Monaco also has a prestigious harbor where you can admire mega yachts. In fact, you may also see the Prince of Monaco’s main yacht if you’re lucky!

A beautiful garden in Monaco

A main reason why Monaco is one of the most breathtaking places near Nice, France is because of its gardens. The French Riviera’s climate is perfect for beautiful flowers, fauna and greenery. The best gardens to explore in Monaco are Jardin Japonais (Japanese garden), Princess Grace Rose Garden (botanical garden) and Les Jardins Saint-Martin.

The F1 tracks for the Grand Prix in Monaco

If you’re traveling to Monaco during the spring, you cannot miss out on seeing the Grand Prix! Even if you aren’t in Monaco during the Grand Prix event, you can still see the track lines for the F1 during your visit. In addition, you’ll see a lot of luxury cars around the country from Rolls Royce’s to Lamborghini’s and Bugatti’s to Ferrari’s.

Best Restaurants in Monaco:
  • La Table d’Antonio Salvatore au Rampoldi: This incredible Michelin Star restaurant houses incredible dishes made by Chef Antonio Salvatore. At this art deco restaurant, you can savor risottos, fresh fish, perfectly-cooked meats and award-winning wines.
  • Nobu Monte Carlo: One of the most renowned restaurants, with locations in the top cities of the world, is Nobu. It’s a great spot to dine for Asian fusion food in Monaco and can be found in the Fairmont Monte Carlo.
  • Elsa: Another Michelin Star restaurant to visit in Monaco is Elsa. It is where you can savor mouthwatering Mediterranean plates made by Chef Mélanie Serre while admiring gorgeous views of the sea. All her meals include organic, farm-to-table ingredients.
  • La Montgolfiere Henri Geraci: Situated near the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, La Montgolfiere Henri Geraci is a family-run restaurant that serves delicious Asian fusion cuisine.
  • Marche de la Condamine: An incredible market hall that you cannot miss out on visiting during your day trip to Monaco from Nice is La Condamine. It’s the perfect spot to grab beautiful flowers, trinkets and delicious local food, like socca, which is a chickpea pancake.

Please note that if you travel to Monaco via train, like Ashley and I did, you will not need to go through customs, nor present your passport anywhere to enter the country.

Villefranche-Sur-Mer, France:

One of the best day trips from Nice is Villefranche-Sur-Mer

The most colorful town in the South of France, and one of the best day trips from Nice, is Villefranche-Sur-Mer. This charming seaside village boasts a beautiful beach as well as colorful houses and restaurants that overlook the Mediterranean Sea. A trip to the French Riviera is not complete without visiting this gem!

Since Villefranch-Sur-Mer is a smaller village, there isn’t too much to do other than taking things slow and truly enjoying everything it has to offer.

Top Things to do in Villefranche-Sur-Mer from a Day Out of Nice:

A woman exploring Villefranche-Sur-Mer - one of the best day trips from Nice

In addition to wandering through the colorful streets of Villefranche-Sur-Mer, you must also enjoy the town’s main beach called Plage des Marinieres.

A wine bar in Villefranche-Sur-Mer

As you make your way around town, you must taste local wine and savor cheese at the lovely wine cellar, La Grande Cave Villefranche! It is an adorable wine bar on the side of a staircase that leads up to the top of the village.

Best Restaurants in Villefranche-Sur-Mer:

La Belle Etoile in Villefranche-Sur-Mer
  • La Mère Germaine Villefranche-Sur-Mer: One of the best restaurants in Villefranch-Sur-Mer, and in the South of France in general, is La Mère Germaine. It is a Franco-Italian restaurant that is famous for its bouillabaisse dish (a French fisherman stew) as well as its seafood pastas, fish and wine. Ashley and I ate here for dinner during our day trip to Villefranche-Sur-Mer and it did not disappoint!
  • La Belle Etoile: A charming restaurant located in the Old Town of Villefranche-Sur-Mer is La Belle Etoile. At this lovely restaurant, you can savor incredible French Mediterranean food!
  • L’Oursin Bleu: The best seafood restaurant overlooking the water is L’Oursin Bleu. It is the top place to enjoy fresh fish, renowned French wines and more in Villefranche-Sur-Mer!

Èze, France:

A hidden gem along the Côte d’Azur is the fairytale commune of Èze. It is a quiet seaside village that is filled with stoned houses, gardens and a beautiful beach to enjoy!

If you plan to do weekend trips from Nice and visit a plethora of different villages along the sea, Èze should not be excluded from your French Riviera itinerary!

The best things to do in Èze are to stroll through the cobbled streets; explore the charming shops; see the gorgeous Eglise d’Èze (church) visit the breathtaking château hotels in the commune and wander around the stunning Le Jardin Exotique.

Best Restaurants in Èze:
Seafood pasta from the Riviera
  • Château Eza: One of the most breathtaking restaurants to visit during a day trip to Èze from Nice, France is at the hotel Château Eza. This lovely restaurant overlooks the French Riviera and serves some of the best French Mediterranean cuisine.
  • La Chèvre d’Or: This wonderful Michelin Star restaurant is in the Hôtel Château de la Chèvre d’Or and it is where you can enjoy a nice French meal in a sophisticated setting. All the meals at this restaurant are made by Chef Arnaud Faye.
  • La Taverne d’Antan: Known as one of the best Italian restaurants, La Taverne d’Antan is located in a romantic setting. You can savor delicious pizza pies, risottos, ravioli dishes and more.

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France:

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is a 19th-Century fishing and farming village that is now a famous vacation spot along the French Riviera. There is no doubt that it makes for one of the best Nice day trips. Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is the destination where wealthy foreigners come to stay and you can see that through all the prestigious hotels there.

In addition, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat hosted a lot of renowned artists over the years, from all over Europe, like Matisse, Picasso and Jean Cocteau. In fact, you can see Cocteau’s frescoes in the Villa Santo Sospir.

A beautiful building along the French Riviera

Some of the most stunning spots to visit in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat are the Chapelle de Saint-Hospice, the lighthouse and the Villa Ephrussi. If you plan to visit Villa Ephrussi during your day trip from Nice, you must wander around the palace gardens; admire the Florentine and Venetian architecture and take in all the talented artwork.  

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the South of France. The most popular beach is the Cros deï Pin followed by Fossettes Beach and Fosses Beach. At these beaches, you can also rent paddle boards, kayaks and more.

This beautiful part of the French Riviera also has a stunning port filled with great restaurants to enjoy! The top three to visit are Restaurant Capitaine Cook, Restaurant La Goëlette à Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Diva Restaurant.

St. Tropez, France:

Exploring colorful villages from Nice, France

Renowned for its famous beach clubs, glitzy hotels and resorts, A-list nightlife and posh coastal towns, St. Tropez is one of the best day trips from Nice, France! At this beautiful location, you can also find incredible eateries, mega yachts and, if you’re lucky, see a celebrity walking the streets or hanging out at one of the clubs!

Best Beach Clubs in St. Tropez:
A woman enjoying a beach club along the French Riviera

During day trips from Nice to St. Tropez, you must visit one of the best beach clubs! Overall, St. Tropez is the birthplace of beach clubs and most of them began in the 1950s. These amazing hot spots on the French Riviera are some of the main reasons why St. Tropez is one of the best summer holiday destinations in the world!

  • Le Club 55: Known as the oldest and most popular beach clubs in St. Tropez, Le Club 55 attracts the rich and famous. It is best to book a spot at the club a few months in advance if you want to experience it! This beach club also boasts world-renowned DJs and will ensure you have the time of your life!
  • Nikki Beach Saint Tropez: Nikki Beach is another world-famous club with locations all over the planet! It offers both a fun and relaxing ambiance and serves incredible food! No matter what, you are sure to have a great time at this spot.
  • Tahiti Beach St. Tropez: A classic and more chill beach club in St. Tropez is Tahiti Beach club. It features a fun atmosphere and boasts two of the best restaurants in St. Tropez!
  • La Serena Ramatuelle: An affordable and relaxed beach club in St. Tropez is La Serena Ramatuelle. It’s near the famous Nikki Beach and provides gorgeous views of the crystal blue Mediterranean Sea.
  • Jardin Tropezina: This awesome beach club is known to stay open way after summer crowds have left the Riviera. Being part of the Château de la Messardière, Jardin Tropezina is known for its beautiful gardens, live music and beachfront dining in St. Tropez.

In addition to glamourous beach clubs, you must also check out the Citadelle de Saint-Tropez, walk around the beautiful harbor and shop through the high-end stores along with the Marché de Saint-Tropez (market).

The best places to eat in St. Tropez are at Dior Des Lices (a café attached to a Christian Dior store); La Ponche for seafood; L’Auberge des Maures for local dishes and Le Kikouiou for French Mediterranean food.

Cannes France:

Another one of the best day trips from Nice is to visit the city of Cannes. It is known for its annual Film Festival and it’s the perfect place to see a celebrity sighting!

Some of the best things to do in Cannes is to stroll the La Croisette, which is similar to Nice’s Promenade des Anglais. It is filled with casinos, beach clubs, designer stores and high-end restaurants.

A day trip to Cannes from Nice must also include wandering around the Le Vieux Port, enjoying a sail on the Mediterranean, visiting the Marché Forville and exploring all of the churches and historical buildings.

Many of the top restaurants in Cannes, France is in Le Sequet, which is a Roman settlement above the city. It will bring you back in time through the 18th and 19th-Century buildings surrounding the area, alleyways, bars, restaurants and views.

Other authentic and local restaurants to visit in Cannes are Bar du Marin, La Palme d’Or and La Cave. Another great waterfront city to explore from Cannes is Antibes!

Ventimiglia, Italy:

Best day trips from Nice, France

One of the best day trips from Nice to Italy is to Ventimiglia on the Italian Riviera. It resembles a lot of what you’d see along the French Riviera and the entire area is beyond scenic! In fact, Ventimiglia is located in the Liguria region of Italy, which also boasts Cinque Terre, Portofino, Sanremo and Genoa.

Some of the best things to do in Ventimiglia is to wander through the stunning Old Town; visit the 11th-Century, Romanesque Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta; shop through the famous market; walk through the infamous, medieval Biblioteca Civica Aprosiana (library) and relax at one of the Ligurian beaches.

The best places to eat in Ventimiglia are Restaurant La Caravella, Restaurant Pasta e Basta and Restaurant Margunaira.

Provence, France:

A woman wandering through the lavender fields in Provence, one of the best day trips from Nice

One of the best places to visit from Nice that will require you to rent a car is Provence. During the summertime, this area of Southern France is famed for its lavender fields! Discover the best 3 days in Provence itinerary for summertime.

Even though the lavender fields of Provence are closer to Marseille instead of Nice, it is still worth visiting for a day trip if you’re traveling around the South of France during the months of mid June through early August.

A woman enjoying a summer day on Verdon Gorge in the South of France - one of the best day trips from Nice

Valensole is popular for the endless lavender fields and it’s a 2.5-hour drive from the city of Nice. Not too far from there is Gorges du Verdon (or Verdon Gorge). It features an emerald lake where you can paddle boat, kayak, cliff jump, swim and sunbathe. It’s so much fun and the perfect place to make memories!

Day Trip from Nice to Marseille:

A woman exploring Marseille - one of the best places to visit from Nice

Another one of the best day trips to take from Nice is to the city of Marseille. Located a little over two hours from Nice, Marseille is the oldest and one of the most diverse cities in France and there is something for all to enjoy!

Best Things to do in Marseille:
A woman walking along the Vieux Port in Marseille, France - the best day trips from Nice

If you’re wondering what to do in Marseille during a day trip from Nice, you must stroll through the Vieux Port and sightsee around the city! Marseille draws in beautiful yachts and has stylish hotels, renowned restaurants and charming neighborhoods.

A trip to Marseille is also not complete without admiring the colorful street art in Le Panier; enjoying a cocktail at the Intercontinental Marseille or the Le Dantès Skylounge at Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port and visiting the nearby calanques.

The Best Restaurants in Marseille, France:
Bouillabaisse from Marseille, France
  • L’Entrecôte du Port: One of the top restaurants to eat at in Marseille is L’Entrecôte du Port, off the Vieux Port. It features all of Marseille’s food staples, but is specifically known for its steak dishes.
  • Restaurant Chez Zé: Situated near the Baumettes section of the city of Marseille, Chez Zé is a pizzeria that has an outdoor patio with stringed lights. It’s located near the start of Parc National des Calanques.
  • Chez FonFon: Bouillabaisse is the dish of Marseille and the restaurant that is known to have the best is Chez FonFon. What is nice about this restaurant is that it overlooks the marina and Mediterranean Sea!

A woman enjoying the best day trips from Nice

I hope you all enjoyed discovering the best day trips to take from Nice, France. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of France:

Currency: Euro, Capital: Paris, Time Zone: Central European Standard Time

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

In addition, a great and secure luggage storage to utilize during your summer Europe trip is Nannybag! It is easy to use; all you do is download the Nannybag app, type in the city that you will be visiting and when you plan to arrive and depart. At a small cost per luggage, Nannybag will list the stores, restaurants or hotels where you could drop your bag off at the city you are visiting.

Nannybag is also insured against theft, loss and breakage. It’s a convenient way to store your bags when you are traveling from one city to the next in Europe.

Shop my French Riviera Look:

Click here to shop my Poshmark closet!

2 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on September 16, 2022 at 7:45 am

    Loved learning about the best places to visit in Nice, France ~ can’t wait to visit France! Definitely on my bucket list and after reading this blog, it made me feel that I was kind of there already. Your detailed descriptions and beautiful photos brought your trip to life! Such a stunning place and looks like some excellent food spots to enjoy. The beaches, architecture and cathedrals are absolutely beautiful ~ loved all the colorful homes on the cliffs ~ so pretty! Awesome guide, love you, mom xoxo 👩🏻♥️

    • Taylor Deer on September 16, 2022 at 6:52 pm

      Thank you mom! France is such a special country. I love it so much!

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