In this instalment of our French Riviera journey, we give you the low down on three French Riviera beaches within and surrounding Nice which are fantastic but easily accessible by train.
Obviously the grand poo-bah (is that even how you spell it?) of French Riviera beaches is in Nice itself. While it certainly wasn’t our favourite, the Baie des Anges with its turquoise blue Mediterranean water truly is a sight to behold.
What’s to like?
There is definitely a cool culture that goes with Nice’s beaches: there are paragliders launching off the beach, bars around the place and everyone around you is enjoying themselves which makes for a really fun atmosphere.
What’s not to like?
Ok. So I’m Australian, and in Australia, beaches have sand. Not pebbly, stick-into-your-back rocks like those in Nice. Actually with a towel and just the right angling of your ENTIRE body it wasn’t too bad – but my point stands. Furthermore, there is the segregation between free, public beaches and private beaches, which will sting you between 10-20 euros for a sun-lounger on the rocks and more for an umbrella.
Interested in reading more about Nice? Check out our post here
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When you close your eyes and imagine a quaint little beachside town on the French Riviera, Antibes is probably it. As it is just a short train ride from Nice (9 euros return), we decided to take a quick day trip to Antibes and it was the quiet and picture perfect seaside town and exactly what we had hoped the French Riviera would be.
We wandered leisurely along the ramparts of the old town’s walls, past the Chateau Grimaldi (now the Musse Picasso) into the town centre to pick up some food and wander around aimlessly (this is the French Riviera, after all!). Restaurants and patisseries are hidden down picturesque back streets and the charm of the town is really undeniable. Sidewalk cafes were overflowing with locals and tourists alike, all enjoying the perfect weather and partaking in a little relaxation. Finding a place with working wifi proved to be more difficult than expected, and the prices of the food will quickly bring your daydream back to reality. To save money, bring a packed lunch, or visit the market early enough to enjoy the daily specials.
Although there are a couple of other things to explore in Antibes, including the Picasso museum, the Musee d’Archeologie and a medieval church, we were in Antibes for one thing: nothing but beach.
The first time we walked past the port in Antibes, filled with its million-dollar superyachts, we walked straight past the beach. You see, it’s kind of hidden behind this big stone wall and only due to the streams of people going in and out of one of the archways did it finally click that we had found the beach.
The water was beautiful in mid-June, the sun was beaming down brightly and the beach is free to enjoy unlike the beach in Nice . I would say Antibes is great for those who want super easy access to a quaint French town but equally good access to a decent sandy beach.
Villefranche sur Mer
This was a really quick stop for us on the way back to Nice from Monaco. I mean, we literally left the train and spent the next 2-3 hours alternating between sun and sand and turquoise blue water. Enough said!
Of the three beaches, my favourite was either Antibes or Villefranche-sur-Mer – both were great beaches and so easy to get to by train from Nice. But if you are visiting the French Riviera during summer, you should probably do all three of these beaches just to be on the safeside! And with such great public transport options, you can enjoy all of them with relative ease. If you feel like visiting the French Riviera but don’t have the time to plan your trip, companies like Wexas have some great holiday options to enjoy the best of the area. Enjoy!
Have you found a perfect beach on the French Riviera you want to share with us? Comment below!
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