Ultimate 1 Week French Riviera Itinerary
Have you decided to leave for a week on the Côte d’Azur?
To help you prepare for your stay, I have concocted a one-week itinerary for you on the Côte d’Azur.
On the program for these 7 days in the South of France, I invite you to discover the unmissable cities of Nice, Monaco and Cannes and many other emblematic places of interest on the French Riviera.
Find all the things to see every day and my advice for visiting the French Riviera in 6, 7 or 8 days, as well as a selection of the best hotels to sleep in.
So, what to do and see in 1 week on the French Riviera?
PS: For your stay on the Côte d’Azur, you can now book the “Côte d’Azur France Pass“ which entitles you to 3 or 5 free activities from a list of more than 100 attractions.
For example, you can take a cruise in the bay of Villefranche or the Lérins Islands, which I talk about in this article.
Day 1: Nice
To visit the Côte d’Azur in a week, I suggest you stay in Nice and shine around during these 7 days.
It is really the most practical way to be able to move easily and quickly (whether you have a car or not) and discover many of the essentials of a week-long stay on the French Riviera.
Not to mention that it is the only city in the area that has an international airport and that you will therefore necessarily arrive there if you take the plane.
The first day will therefore be devoted to visiting Nice, one of the prettiest towns on the Côte d’Azur (and I’m not saying that because I was born there!).
I suggest you start with Old Nice. With its warm-coloured houses and shutters, its small shops and traditional restaurants, this is the most typical part of the city.
- The Cours Saleya market, part of which is dedicated to fruit, vegetables, local products and the other to flowers
- The Place du Palais de Justice and the clock tower
- Place Rossetti where the Sainte-Reparate cathedral is located , the interior of which can be visited
- Place Saint-François which houses the fish market.
Continue the walk by reaching the seaside and the famous Promenade des Anglais, which you can walk along to the level of the Negresco hotel and the Villa Massena. If you are interested in the history of the city, you can visit the Massena museum which is located in the villa.
Then return to the city center through the Albert 1er garden to arrive directly at Place Massena. With its fountain, its arcades and its buildings with red facades and green shutters, it is one of the emblematic places of Nice.
Continue this walking tour of Nice, passing by the Coulée Verte (also called the Promenade du Paillon).
You will find the large water mirror there , a must if you have chosen to leave for a week on the Côte d’Azur with children, because they will inevitably want to cool off under the water jets. There are also several play areas so they can let off steam a bit.
This large, long green space connects Place Massena to the other famous square: Place Garibaldi. Bordered by many cafes and restaurants on the terrace, it is the oldest in Nice.
Right next to it is the port of the city, where the traditional wooden boats , the Pointus, and the huge luxury yachts of the wealthy rub shoulders.
You will also take the opportunity to strike a pose in front of the I LOVE NICE sign, which has quickly become an Instagram classic.
At the end of the afternoon, I recommend that you go up to the hill of the castle (by the stairs or the elevator) to enjoy unobstructed points of view over the whole city.
End the first day of your week-long French Riviera trip with dinner at one of the restaurants in the old town.
Spend the night in Nice.
If you want a good ice cream during your walk in Nice, I’ll give you the address of the best ice cream parlor in town: “Azzurro” on Place Rossetti.
The cones are homemade and the quality of the products is undeniable. It is without a doubt, the best artisanal Italian ice cream in Nice!
For more information on Nice or to organize your own program for the day, you can also read my article: What to do and see in Nice?
Accommodation in Nice
For these 7 days on the French Riviera, you can absolutely sleep in the same hotel for the duration of your vacation. Nice is really the most central city to visit the entire area of the French Riviera from Menton to Cannes.
I have prepared a small selection of the best hotels in Nice according to your budget:
- Hotel Ozz by Happyculture : Located about 15 minutes from the beach on foot. Nice place and decoration, friendly staff, well placed and comfortable beds. We ask for no more! Only 20€ per night in dormitory. Double room at 55€. This is the best choice if you are looking for a budget hotel in Nice!
- Hotel Brice Garden : Located in the city center of Nice, 5 minutes walk from the beach and the Promenade des Anglais. Very well appointed and clean room from 80€ per night. Helpful and welcoming staff. The best value for money if you want to be in the city center. To book well in advance!
- Hôtel le Saint Paul : Located 50 meters from the port of Nice, quiet, breathtaking view of the sea. Large, bright room from €95 per night, buffet breakfast for €12. The plus: free private parking. Our big favorite in Nice!
- Mercure Nice Promenade Des Anglais : Located on the Promenade des Anglais, 600 meters from Place Massena. Modern and comfortable room from €170, breakfast at €19. Most: the geographical location, the excellent bedding, the friendliness of the staff.
- Hôtel Negresco: Located on the Promenade des Anglais, this palace with art deco architecture is quite simply the best in Nice. The rooms are sublime, the view is magnificent, the staff charming and the restaurant exceptional. This is the best choice for a luxury stay in Nice!
Day 2: The Surroundings of Nice
For the second day of your one-week circuit on the French Riviera, I suggest you choose between 2 options:
- Visit of Villefranche-sur-Mer + Mont Boron
- Take a tour of some of the most beautiful villages on the Côte d’Azur.
Option 1 – Villefranche-sur-Mer
For those who like to walk, I recommend that you go from Nice to Villefranche-sur-Mer via the coastal path.
From Coco Beach, and along the seaside, it takes between 1h30 and 2h of walk and it is really one of the most beautiful walks to do around Nice.
Arriving in Villefranche-sur-Mer, you can visit Vieux-Villefranche, which corresponds to the area around the port. Here you will find a small beach, traditional houses and charming cobbled streets.
You can also visit the Saint-Elme citadel, a listed historical monument. As well as housing the Town Hall, there are several small museums about painting and sculpture inside. You risk nothing to take a look, the entrance is free.
Without forgetting that the place offers a nice view of the harbor and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
In the afternoon, to return to Nice, I suggest you take a different path and go through Mont Boron.
This hill overlooks Villefranche / Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on one side and the city of Nice on the other. Several trails allow you to walk and enjoy beautiful panoramas, especially at the Fort du Mont Alban.
To walk back down to Nice from Mont Boron, it is only a 30 to 45 minute walk.
If you don’t want to walk to Villefranche, you can take bus n°15 or n°100. There are regular connections between the 2 cities.
Similarly, from Mont Boron, you can also take bus no. 30 to reach Nice.
Another very nice idea to discover the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer, Cap Ferrat and Nice from the sea: opt for a boat trip. On the other hand, it is absolutely necessary to book in advance because there are only 2 sea trips per day.
To book this boat tour in Nice here.
Option 2 – Grasse and the villages of the Côte d’Azur
Another option for this second day of your 7-day itinerary on the French Riviera: visit some of the most famous villages around Nice.
As they are not necessarily accessible by public transport, you can discover them provided you have a car or opt for an organized day trip from Nice.
1) By car.
If you have your own vehicle, no problem, otherwise you can rent a car in Nice for 1 day or even for the rest of your stay.
For the circuit to follow, I suggest you make a loop, which will allow you to discover 4 famous villages of the Côte d’Azur:
- Saint-Paul-de-Vence, just 30 minutes from Nice: this picturesque little village has the specificity of being dedicated to art. Many creators and artists have a small shop there and you can also visit the Maeght Foundation, a museum of modern and contemporary art.
- Tourrettes-sur-Loup famous for growing violets and some houses are built on the sides of cliffs
- Gourdon, a village perched at an altitude of 700 meters classified among the most beautiful villages in France for its castle, its medieval houses and its view
- Grasse: the world capital of perfume which houses the international museum of perfumery and 3 historic perfumeries which organize free guided tours of their factory.
In Grasse, I also advise you to book a workshop to create and take away a small vial of your own perfume.
2) An organized excursion from Nice.
This full-day tour includes visits to Gourdon, Grasse (+ free guided tour of the perfume factory) and Saint-Paul-de-Vence.
It is the only solution to be able to visit all these villages if you do not have a car because transportation and round-trip pick-up from your hotel in Nice are included in the price.
You will also benefit from the services of a driver guide.
As a bonus, you will even be entitled to a stop at the Saut du Loup waterfalls and a tasting of local products (olives, olive oil and tapenade) in a mill.
To book this excursion during your 1 week French Riviera itinerary.
And if there are no more places available, you can also book the same excursion by clicking here (only the service provider is different).
Day 3: Eze – Menton – Monaco
The third day of your week-long stay on the Côte d’Azur will be devoted to exploring the coast between Nice and Menton.
All journeys can be made by car, public transport (bus/train) or with an organized excursion.
First stop on the program: the charming perched village of Eze Village. The latter is easily accessible in 25 minutes by car or in 30 minutes with the n°82 bus which stops right in the center of the village.
In addition to its position, which makes it one of the most beautiful places in the region to enjoy an exceptional panorama of the sea, you can visit the exotic garden and its dozens of cacti, as well as the perfume factory. Fragornard.
After the tour of the village, go back down the Nietzsche path to enjoy the view even more. Count about 30 minutes of descent to reach the village of Eze-sur-Mer (be careful not to confuse the 2!).
From there, I advise you to take either bus n°100 or the train to go to Menton. It is only a 20 to 30 minute journey between Eze and Menton. If you have a car, you can of course reach Menton directly from Eze-Village without going down on foot.
As you will have understood, the second stop of the day is therefore the pretty town of Menton, which also symbolizes the end of the Côte d’Azur since it is on the border with Italy .
In Menton, the walk in the old town is super pleasant. I recommend that you go through the Saint-Michel Basilica and the Place aux Herbes which includes several restaurants where you can sit on the terrace for lunch.
If you want to cultivate yourself a little, you can also take advantage of your 7-day circuit on the Côte d’Azur and your visit to Menton to visit the Jean Cocteau museum where nearly 2000 works by the poet, designer, playwright and French filmmaker.
Then take the train (a 10-minute journey only) or your car to Monaco, the third and last stop of the day.
For 1/2 day in Monaco, I recommend that you focus on the 2 main districts:
- Le Rocher, the historic heart of Monaco where the Prince’s Palace, Saint-Nicolas Cathedral, Saint-Martin Gardens and the Oceanographic Museum are located ( tickets on sale here! )
- Monte-Carlo, which notably houses the casino, the emblematic Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, the Café de Paris and luxury boutiques and jewellers.
Don’t hesitate to read my article dedicated to the city so you don’t miss anything: What to do and see in Monaco?
Then return to Nice by train, bus or car.
1) If you are more interested in an all-inclusive excursion (transport, guide and driver) from Nice to discover Eze and Monaco, this is the one for you.
2) If you find the program a bit busy, you can lighten it up by visiting one or two places: do only Eze + Monaco for example to spend more time in the principality.
3) You can also visit Eze + Menton and from Menton, walk around Cap Martin to arrive in Monaco. The trail takes around 3 hours, and it’s a good alternative if you’re not interested in visiting Monaco or prefer to save it for another day.
Day 4: Day in Nice or discovery of Esterel
On the fourth day of your 1 week itinerary on the French Riviera, you still have several options:
- A quiet day in Nice
- One day in road trip mode in Esterel
Option 1 – Relaxation in Nice
To rest a bit in the middle of your stay, opt for a slightly quieter day by staying in Nice.
For example, you can stroll through the Cimiez district to discover the arenas and the monastery garden and its panoramic view of Nice. There are also 3 museums to visit in the area:
- The archaeological museum of Cimiez and its Roman ruins
- The Henri Matisse Museum, which is located in the Parc des Arènes
- The Marc Chagall National Museum dedicated to the painter.
Cimiez being a little out of the way, I advise you to take bus n°5, 33 or 70 to get there.
Then go back down to Old Nice to stroll around a bit, have a drink on the Cours Saleya and choose a good restaurant for lunch.
For the afternoon, you can treat yourself to a shopping session in the many shops on Avenue Jean Médecin or simply go to the beach.
You also have the possibility of practicing lots of super nice nautical activities. Click on the links in orange to access the details:
- Parasailing just in front of Old Nice
- Diving baptism with 2 dives of 20 minutes or apnea baptism
- 3-hour snorkeling to go fish watching
- Stand up Paddle
- Jet ski
- A towed buoy ride
If you don’t feel like visiting museums in the morning and prefer an outdoor activity, I recommend that you book a guided tour. To choose according to your preferred means of transport:
- A 2-hour Segway tour of Nice
- A 2-hour electric bike tour of Nice
- A ride in a 3-wheeled vehicle, small open-top cars equipped with a GPS.
Option 2 – The Esterel
For those who prefer to continue exploring the surroundings of Nice and discover other must-see places in a week on the French Riviera, I suggest you spend the day in Esterel.
However, you will need to have a car to get there.
I advise you first to take one of the most beautiful roads on the Côte d’Azur : the road to the Corniche d’Or or Corniche de l’Esterel. It begins at the exit of the city of Cannes and ends in Saint-Raphaël.
This magnificent panoramic road allows you to follow the seaside and discover the specificity of the Esterel: its red rocks of volcanic origin contrast strongly with the pretty little creeks with turquoise water below.
You can stop in the parking areas provided for this purpose to take great photos. And it is of course possible to reach certain creeks for swimming.
The Esterel massif is also renowned for its many hiking trails. There is something for all levels and of all durations.
Among the best known, I recommend:
- The Pic de l’Ours hike : a beautiful loop of 1h30 on foot to enjoy splendid viewpoints
- The balconies of Cap Roux, a rather difficult hike of 4h30 but worth the effort for its magnificent landscapes
- The rock of Saint-Barthélémy, a 1 hour walk with a beautiful view of the sea.
You will find all other paths on the official website.
Day 5: Antibes
You have already arrived at the fifth day of your 7-8 day stay on the Côte d’Azur.
Today direction Antibes!
To go from Nice to Antibes, the 2 most practical options are the car (40 minutes) or the train (30 min).
Here is the program of visits that I recommend you to follow for 1 day in Antibes:
- Visit of Fort Carré, a military fort built in the 16th century and classified as a historical monument. The guided tour allows you to discover its history and enjoy a panoramic view of the whole city.
- Walk along Port Vauban where sumptuous boats are moored and which can accommodate the largest yachts in the world on its “billionaires quay”.
- Discovery of the old town of Antibes and its narrow streets and shops located within the ramparts of the old fortified town.
- Passage through the Notre-Dame-de-la-Platéa cathedral, to see just for its colorful facade.
- Optional: visit to the Picasso Museum which houses around twenty of his paintings and drawings
- Stroll along the Admiral de Grasse promenade.
For the afternoon, you can relax on one of the beaches of Antibes:
- La Gravette beach, accessible from the port, below the ramparts. A small sandy beach well protected from the wind and supervised. Ideal with children.
- Ponteil beach: a long sandy beach with shallow water. Supervised beach with toilets and showers.
- Salis beach: another long sandy beach, also equipped with a lifeguard and toilets and showers.
- Several pebble beaches to the east of Antibes, after Fort Carré. Be careful because the water is very deep there directly. Supervised beaches.
And if you don’t mind walking a bit more to get away from the city, I highly recommend you go all the way to Cap d’Antibes.
By taking the Tirepoil path (departure after Garoupe beach), you can walk around the cape (5 km – 2 hour walk) and stop for a dip in pretty coves.
Still in Cap d’Antibes, there are also 2 really great activities to do:
- A sea kayaking trip accompanied by an instructor.
- A boat trip + stop for snorkeling
All the places to visit in Antibes can be found in my article: What to do and see in Antibes?
If you have decided to go on a 1 week vacation on the French Riviera with your family, you can also take your children to Marineland in Antibes, one of the largest water parks in Europe.
You can buy the official tickets online at the best price.
Day 6: Cannes
Visiting the Côte d’Azur in 7 days will also allow you to discover the last of the 3 emblematic cities of the French Riviera after Nice and Monaco: Cannes.
Here too, you can easily get to Cannes from Nice by car (45 min) or train (35 min).
Here are the must-sees that I advise you to see in Cannes:
- La Croisette, which is the most famous place in the city! Take a walk along the seaside and admire the palaces: the Majestic Barrière hotel, the Martinez hotel and the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes.
- Have your picture taken on the famous steps of the Palais des Festivals, on the very spot where the biggest international stars were held.
- Have fun looking for the handprints of your favorite celebrities on the “Path of the Stars”
- Pass by the Old Port and Forville Market, an indoor market offering local produce
- Visit the Suquet district, the oldest in the city.
The city being very small, if you leave Nice early in the morning, you can also take the opportunity to visit one of the 2 Lérins islands. They are located right in front of Cannes and accessible in just 20 minutes by boat.
If you choose Île Sainte-Marguerite (which I recommend!), you can take a nice walk and swim in various places.
The other island, that of Saint-Honorat, shelters an abbey still occupied by monks and which they make visit.
As there are always a lot of people at the ticket office, I recommend that you buy your tickets in advance here (it’s the same price as on site). At least you will be sure to have a seat at the time that suits you!
To have all the detailed explanations to organize your visit to Cannes, I advise you to read my article: What to do and see in Cannes?
If you already know Cannes, you can also spend the full day at the Lérins Islands.
In this case, you can:
- Book a boat trip from Nice to the Lérins Islands – Super convenient because you leave directly from Nice without going through Cannes!
- Choose a catamaran cruise with lunch and swimming break around the Lérins Islands.
- The catamaran cruise is also available without lunch by booking directly here!
Day 7: Saint Jean Cap Ferrat
For the last day, I recommend another place to do during a week on the French Riviera: Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
The peninsula is located just after Villefranche-sur-Mer, just a few minutes by bus from the center of Nice.
Start the day with a visit to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a Renaissance-style villa with sumptuous gardens.
And the interior is also worth seeing because it is richly decorated. You can find there:
- The reception areas with: the patio, the Grand Salon and its Louis XV style furniture, the Petit Salon decorated with tapestries woven by the Manufacture royale des Gobelins in Paris.
- Béatrice’s apartments: her bedroom, her boudoir, her bathroom.
- The dining room and the porcelain lounge bringing together one of the richest collections of porcelain in France
- The lounges on the first floor, including the rooms reserved for guests, the tapestries lounge and the monkey lounge, where you will find this animal everywhere, on the woodwork and the porcelain.
Timetables and fares on the official website.
After the visit, I advise you to walk around Cap-Ferrat to enjoy a last swim in one of the crystal-clear water coves located all along.
Which unfortunately marks the end of your one-week road trip on the French Riviera.
For a 6-day trip to the French Riviera, you just have to delete one of the days that you like the least.
For an 8-day circuit on the French Riviera, you can add a boat trip to Saint-Tropez. The sea trip from Nice takes about 2h30, which leaves you all afternoon to visit Saint-Tropez.
Book your Nice-Saint-Tropez maritime shuttle by clicking here!
Ideas for activities for a week on the French Riviera
If you want to modify this program a bit and add super cool activities to do in 1 week on the French Riviera, here is my selection:
1) A boat trip – From Nice, several different sea trips are offered to discover the bay of Villefranche, Monaco, Saint-Tropez, the Lérins islands.
2) A private boat trip with skipper for a VIP day and with a personalized itinerary.
3) River descent – canyoning, rafting, hydrospeed.
4) Other sports and outdoor activities:
- Driving a Ferrari
- Paragliding flight
- A ride in a Ferrari
- A ride in a Lamborghini
- Via Ferrata
Do not hesitate to give us your opinion and suggestions on our one-week itinerary on the French Riviera!
And if you have any questions about visiting the Côte d’Azur in a week, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments.
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