"My Cote D'Azur" Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur by vivalasteph
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Travel Guide: 7,409 reviews and 20,144 photos
Provence, the Alpes-Maritimes, and the Cote d'Azur all make up this southeastern corner of France. Each is entirely different, yet they share a history dating back to the Bronze Age. Through Roman rule, the Greeks, the Goths, the Lombards, and eventually the Great British Invasion (Oh No!), this area shows every influence in its architecture, food, culture, and love of life.
The Cote D'Azur is a magical place, and is synonymous with the glamorous vacation. What I found was that you don't need a yacht or a bucketload of platinum cards to enjoy this region.
I traveled here off-season, and rented an apartment instead of staying in a hotel and it was one of my least expensive holidays. Really! Transportation costs are low and if you don't eat out every meal, but shop in the markets for your picnics, you will have extra $$$ for those souvenirs.
It is very easy to get around, with frequent bus services, and many trains, and you will be rewarded with such a variety of cities, villages, and countryside that you will hardly believe the coastline extends only about 40 miles and roughly 10 miles inland.
I started traveling to Europe just 5 years ago, following working year after year saying "I don't have the time" or, mostly, "I don't have the money." After I visited Barcelona in 1999, I vowed to go at least once a year, and spend at least two weeks to see as much as I could see, while having down time to experience more than just the "what can I see in 5 hours" tour.
The internet appeared (poof! like magic!) in my life and the researching, planning and booking became as much a part of my memories as the trip itself. I spend weeks, and sometime months comparing lodging prices, airfares, train schedules, etc. before I finally book.
I want to share what I've learned, starting with this trip to the French Riviera.
So, you ask, why the French Riviera? My travel buddy is Sabine (say hello to Sabine) used to live in Boston until her husband finished his doctorate and accepted a position in Munich. (They are both from northern Germany). They moved in June of 2002, and that fall I hopped on a plane and Sascha handed over his wife to me for a week in Florence, and a drinking partner at Oktoberfest.
We decided that a new habit was taking seed, and we would go somewhere different every fall. So last August I called her and said "Where to? Where to?". Her only priorites were blue skies, near some sort of water, in a city center (so a car wouldn't be necessary)and good food and drink.
Then I took over (she's not on good speaking terms with her computer), went to my favorite apartment rental site and did a search for this: mid-October, studio or 1 bedroom apartment, in a city center anywhere in Europe, for under $500 for a week.
Sound crazy? You would be surprised. My search yielded about 40 properties. After looking at the third listing I called and asked what she thought about Nice. Within a couple of days our apartment was booked.
Please read my travelogue for the rest of the story.
- Pros:beautiful villages, delicious food and wine, and warm people
- Cons:not a one
- In a nutshell:I want to live here!
I traveled by bus during my trip to the region, when I wasn't on foot. It is cheap and frequent to most areas. Some... more travel advice
The Alpes-Maritimes stretch from the sea near Cannes to Switzerland, running about 10 miles inland from the coast. It is... more travel advice
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