Written by Anne-Marie on 06 Jul, 2001
Train and bus are inexpensive and frequent between the coastal cities of the French Riviera. Rail transportation is especially easy if your destination is on the Nice-Monaco-Menton-Ventimiglia line. Bus between Nice-Villefranche-Eze(sur-Mer)-Monaco-Menton offers free returns. There are at least 2 different lines running…Read More
Train and bus are inexpensive and frequent between the coastal cities of the French Riviera. Rail transportation is especially easy if your destination is on the Nice-Monaco-Menton-Ventimiglia line. Bus between Nice-Villefranche-Eze(sur-Mer)-Monaco-Menton offers free returns. There are at least 2 different lines running this route so make sure you board the same line on your return trip if you want to take advantage of the discount.
Once you go further inland, both the rail and bus services are at best spotty, at worst non-existent. So if you intend to visit the villages in the Beyond region, be sure to reserve your car from your country of departure. It is much cheaper that way. If you need a car with automatic transmission, make sure to specify it ahead of time since most European cars come with manual transmission. Gas is extremely expensive, about 4 times its cost in the US. Diesel is much cheaper. Autoroutes (highways) are all toll roads which may be paid for by credit cards. Parking on the street is almost impossible but municipal indoor garage are located at entries to all villages. Do not embarrass yourself by holding up the line at the exit of the garage: parking tickets should be taken with you and paid as you re-enter the garage on foot.
Most of the driving on the French Riviera, especially on the Corniches between Nice-Villefranche-Eze-Monaco-Menton and the "Departmental" roads between St Paul-Vence-Tourrettes-Grasse-Cabris-Peymeinade, will be on beautiful but dangerous cliff roads perched at 400-500m from sea level. The view of the coastline and the valleys below is breathtaking but do not take your attention away from the narrow and very twisty roads!
We reserved the least expensive automatic-transmission car with Sixt from the US for less than $300/week. At our arrival in Nice airport, we were given a Mercedes C-class with 30km on the odometer. Our brother-in-law reserved the smallest manual transmission and was given the same car. Apparently, being a German company, Sixt uses all Mercedes. The car was only a 4-cylinder at 1.8L but it was a thrill driving brand new Mercedeses on the narrow and twisty roads of the Cote d'Azur.