5 Days In The French Riviera

November 8, 2016


With a seemingly year-round holiday vibe, the French Riviera epitomizes the joie de vivre. You’ll no doubt feel for yourself the good-life spirit in the Riviera’s coastal resort towns and up high in the perched villages clinging to the foothills of the Alps. While the over-the-top luxury is hard to escape, authenticity is never too far away. Get lost in the maze of old-city alleys, see what’s fresh at the Provencal markets, and embark on road trips filled with panoramic views and that adoring summer sound of cigales. In this 5 days in the French Riviera sample itinerary, I’ll take you to the very best sites and sounds of the Cote d’Azur.

This itinerary is a combination of three separate visits to the French Riviera, traveling as a couple during July, April and October. On every trip, we re-visited the places we absolutely loved and explored new areas – to make this itinerary the very best possible, while keeping things doable.

Looking for a quick read? Here’s a list of the top 10 things to do in the French Riviera!


What’s Included in this 5 Days in the French Riviera Itinerary?

  • Current Page: Essential travel tips and interactive map
  • Day 1: Antibes and Cap d’Antibes
  • Day 2: Nice, Eze and Monaco
  • Day 3: Village-hopping road trip
  • Day 4: Scenic drive from Cannes to St.-Tropez
  • Day 5: Beach day or additional sightseeing

Where to Stay in the French Riviera?

If it’s 24/7 action you’re looking for and the ‘city life’ – base yourself in Nice. As you’ll see later on in this guide, the city has a lovely boardwalk, plenty of dining and drinking options, and of course – casinos! Being the fifth largest city in France – Nice has plenty of accommodations to choose from that suit all budgets and tastes.

For a stay in a charming old town that still offers some action, nothing beats Antibes. With awesome views of the Mediterranean and the Alpes, Antibes has a charming walled old city and a more modern beachside section. Much smaller than Nice, accommodations in Antibes are limited, so booking ahead is essential. The town is well situated for exploring everything mentioned in this sample itinerary. If self-catering is your thing, I recommend checking out this Airbnb listing of a newly furnished apartment in Antibes. 

French Riviera Travel Tips:

  • rough-guide-to-provence-the-cote-dazurGet the Rough Guide to Provence & the Cote d’Azur before heading to the French Riviera. Along with this 5 Days in the French Riviera sample itinerary – it’ll be your best friend while planning your holiday and during your stay.
  • The French Riviera is a year-round destination, best enjoyed during the shoulder seasons (April-May-June and Sep-Oct). During these times, the weather is pleasant, the crowds haven’t yet arrived (or have already left), and the roads are less congested. Summer can feel quite claustrophobic and muggy, not to mention a bit pompous.
  • You can get around by foot in the Riviera’s main towns such as Nice, Antibes and Cannes, and even use the bus or train to get from one town to the other. However, having a car is a real plus, as it will open up the beautiful countryside for exploration.
  • Keep in mind that French highways are heavily tolled, but there’s always a slower and usually scenic alternative available free of charge. Use the scenic route in the mornings, and the highways on the return leg to strike the best balance between sites-costs-time.
  • The area’s museums are usually free on bank holidays and the first Sunday of the month.
  • There’s plenty of excellent produce to bring back home with you (olive oil, jams, lavender etc.) so consider paying for a checked luggage for the return leg back home.
  • Scuba diving in the French Riviera? That’s right! You’ll find quite a few dive clubs in and around Antibes. The water is a bit chilly even during the summer, but just off the coast lies a bizarre underwater miniature city that was used in a 1960’s film.

5 Days in the French Riviera Itinerary Map

Click on the image below to open an interactive Google Map containing all the highlights mentioned in this 5 days in the French Riviera sample itinerary.




    1. Thanks Anna!
      You can totally spend a whole lifetime in the Riviera 🙂 The Canary Islands are certainly on my list!

  1. Hi,

    This is a really superb article! I have lived on the French Riviera for 30 years, 6 of those in Antibes and you really cover so well all that Antibes has to offer. The photos of the Marché Provençal are fantastic!

    When I lived in Antibes, I used to take my coffee at Bacchus every morning!

    With kind regards,

    Alex recently posted…Cannes Lions Yacht Charters & Boat RentalsMy Profile

  2. wow, this post was insanely helpful! We are going to copy your Antibes and Nice suggestions step-by-step. Thank you so much for putting this together!

    1. Hi Lena! Thanks so much for the feedback. Have an awesome time in the south of France and bonne voyage!

  3. Hi there, we just returned from 5 days in the French Riviera. We followed your trip day by day and just want to say thank you for an awesome trip. We enjoyed the views, the food and the drives.
    Looking forward to join you on another trip soon!

  4. It is a very helpful and great itenanery, we are gonna stay 4 days in French Riviera this July, can we do this plan by public transportation and what would you suggest if we add San Remo in to the itenanery? Thanks

    1. Hi Fusun. Thanks for the feedback. You can get around with public transportation (buses and trains). All stops are well connected. If you fly in and out of Nice, I would suggest to start with San Remo (train from Nice) and work your way back.

  5. Hi Fusun
    We are going to French Rivera in September for four days. Would greatly appreciate if you would post your iternary of your visit in July We plan to fly in and out of nice
    Thank you

  6. Hello Avichai!

    What a great post – thank you so much for sharing this and your amazing photos! We will be leaving from Narbonne via car and have four full days – we must reach Genoa by 11:00am on the 5th day. We want to spend one day/night in either Arles/Avignon but will try to cram in as much as possible from your itinerary! Any suggestions on where to stop along the way from Arles – thinking Marseilles – but anything else? Suggestions on what city/area to sleep the night before we have to head to Genoa? Don’t want to rush!

    You have certainly covered everything I have imagined seeing – including Eze’! Looking forward to your response! 🙂

    Thanks again!

    1. Bonjour Susan
      Thanks for lovely feedback.
      Looking at the driving time from Arles to Saint Tropez, you could technically use Alres as a “base” and spend two nights. If you do want to make some up time and close the distance, consider Cassis for a night. It is a bit of a tourist hub but that’s b/c it’s a really pretty palace and the launchpad for exploring the famous Calanques. Otherwise, there are many charming villages in Provence that would do the trick. As for Marseilles, I personally have note visited it. It has a very nice ancient port but I am not sure it warrants an overnight. Hope this helps!

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