Planning Your Trip to the French Riviera
Any amount of time spent on the French Riviera is a treat. If you're short on time, pair a day and night in Nice with a scenic road trip along the coast from Cannes to Saint-Tropez. With a few more days to spend, add on Monaco, a hike in the Alps, or a sailing trip to the Lérins Islands.
You can slow down and take a leisurely drive through the region, or opt to add on some time in Provence, if you have around a week to work with. And if you're lucky enough to have ten days or more, go on a grand tour of the region or work it onto a broader itinerary around France that includes Paris and Lyon.
For more trip planning advice, see our article on the Best Time of Year to Visit the French Riviera.
French Riviera in 2 Days
The French Riviera is a destination best enjoyed at a relaxed pace. But if you have just two days—perhaps as part of a longer itinerary around France—it's still a great pleasure to visit the region. Take a look at a weeklong itinerary like this for an idea of how to incorporate a couple of days on the French Riviera into your trip.
Nice is the perfect place to start. Spend the morning in the historic center of the city, stopping into Liberation Market to see locals shopping for colorful produce, cheeses, and flowers, then walk up to the ruins of Chateau de Nice on Castle Hill for spectacular views over the city and the sea. After a leisurely lunch, take a cooking class or a perfume tour in the afternoon. Move onto Cannes in the evening, pausing for an aperitif on Saint Pierre Quay, which dates back to 1838, and enjoy the glow of streetlamps over the water. Wander through the Suquet, the city's oldest quarter, to admire medieval architecture and have dinner by the waterfront.
On day two, you could take a day to road-trip along the Mediterranean coast, starting in Cannes, stopping in small villages like Ramatuelle and exploring the beaches of Escalet, then lunching and relaxing in Saint-Tropez.
French Riviera in 3-5 Days
With a few more days to spend on the French Riviera, you can add Monaco to the itinerary, or you could incorporate an outdoorsy activity, like a sailing trip around the Lérins Islands, to the plan. On this short but well-rounded trip, you'll start in Nice, where you'll take a cooking class and a perfume tour before moving onto Cannes. Then you'll board a sailboat to journey around the islands offshore, including the twin islands of Marguerite and Saint-Honorat. Highlights include a 17th-century fort and Lérins-Abbey, which dates from the 11th century. You'll have time to swim, sunbathe, and learn about sailing, too.
Alternatively, with three to five days to spend, you could add a side trip to the Alps. Spend two days hiking through the Vallée des Merveilles, or the Valley of Wonders, then relax in Nice on the second part of the trip, taking time to explore the colorful old town, Vieille Ville.
French Riviera in 5-7 Days
If you have around a week—or even a little less—in the region, one excellent option is to add on a few days in Provence.
You could start in charming Aix-en-Provence, then explore Marseille, France's oldest city. Sample locally produced goat cheese and wine in a Provençal market before driving around the hilltop villages of the Luberon—including Gordes, with its fortified castle, and Roussillon, considered one of France's most beautiful villages—before continuing on to Cannes, where you'll spend the night. You'll have the next few days to explore the French Riviera, making stops in Nice and glamorous Monte Carlo. Learn more about the details of the itinerary here.
Another good plan is to spend your time road-tripping through the French Riviera. On this self-drive trip plan, you'll start in Menton and end up in Nice, stopping along the way in the medieval village of Saint Paul de Vence, the perfume capital of Grasse, and Port Grimaud, nicknamed the "Venice of Provence," along the journey.
Learn more about what to do with a week in France with these unique itinerary ideas.
French Riviera in 10 Days or More
When it comes to traveling on the French Riviera, the more time you have, the better. With ten days or more, your options really open up: you can choose to explore the region at a slower pace, or you can venture into nearby regions.
This classic itinerary is like a grand tour, neatly dividing your time between Nice, Cannes, and Saint-Tropez—you'll spend three nights in each—with the same cooking classes and perfume tours you'd enjoy on a shorter stay, plus day trips to the Lérins Island and Saint Paul de Vence, a sunset hike to the Esterel Massif, and a private boat tour around the Îles d'Or.
Or you could split your time between the French Riviera and Provence on a road trip through both regions. You'll enjoy many of the same attractions as you would on the seven-day trip, but you'll start in Nice and end up in Arles, and you'll add on visits to Vallauris, Antibes, and Mougins. You'll also see Roman ruins and trace Van Gogh's footsteps on a tour of the artist's inspirations, stopping for a coffee at Le Café Van Gogh.
If you're interested in traveling further afield in France, consider working some time on the French Riviera into a longer itinerary around France, like this two-week adventure that takes you to Nice, Provence, Paris, and Lyon, among other destinations. For more ideas and inspiration, check out these five unique itineraries for 14 days in France.