Did you ever take a road trip along the Côte d'Azur? After two weeks at the south coast of France I had to realize that there is much more to discover here than expensive restaurants and boutiques for too many tourists. Even with a small budget you can get your money's worth on the blue coast. I will show you how!
Côte d’Azur: When to go
With the last day of August, most of the tourists have disappeared from the cities of the Côte d'Azur and the hotels and restaurants remove a zero from their prices. But the weather and the water temperature are still summerly warm. The perfect time for a Côte d'Azur budget trip.
Live like the locals
In the south of France, I completely relied on couchsurfing and made the best experiences with it. Not only that you save yourself the expensive accommodation in Nice, Cannes or Monte Carlo - you will certainly get to see more. Our host in Nice took the greatest effort to present us his favourite places and drove us around for hours. So after an afternoon at the sea, including slacklining over the water and barbecue in the cliffs, we went to Villefranche-sur-mer for dinner. This is one of the countless picturesque villages along the coast, with sweet alleys and small cafés and restaurants, almost all of which offer a great view of the sea.
Day trips instead of city hopping
Instead of moving on each time with your whole luggage, I think it would be wiser to settle down at one place and from there make day trips to the surroundings. After all, who wants to pay for a hotel in Monaco? You can go in the mornings by train or by car, for example from Nizza to Monte Carlo (a train ticket costs barely five euros) and in the evenings back again. Monte Carlo is twenty kilometers away from Nice, Cannes thirty kilometers. At these distances, it is worthwhile to explore the whole area. In both cities you can spend a whole day, sit at the harbour or just stroll through the streets. Cannes has, away from the crowded Croisette and the luxury yachts, a beautiful old town.
Provence - The inland
Beach or not, the hustle on the coast can quickly become too much for you in the south of France. But there are wonderful towns and villages in the inner Provence. Aix-en-Provence or Orange and Grasse are my absolute favorites for a road trip into the South of France. While you can marvel at the famous lavender fields near Orange every summer, you walk on the traces of the perfume in Grasse. There is even a free museum about the production. Grasse is also famous for its crazy ice cream. So if you have always wanted beer, lavender or rose in your waffle - Grasse is the place to go.
Accommodation here is also much cheaper than directly on the coast. If you bring your own car or don't want to hang out on the beach every day, you can also simply make one of the small inland towns your holiday home.