By Jessie Festa. This post contains affiliate links and is part of a series based on my boyfriend’s and my two-week road trip through the South of France. Follow our journey here.
It’s been eight years since I last visited Nice.
My first time was less than stellar, as my airline lost my luggage for a week before I had to travel 10 hours to retrieve it myself (#truestory).
Because of this I spent most days in my room trying to get my belongings back, not getting to experience much of the city.
I vowed this time would be different; and luckily is was.
Along with exploring Nice through climbing up to a hillside castle, having a traditional meal in a local home and partying in the Harbor Area, my boyfriend Andy and I also had a blast enjoying the great day trips from Nice.
For me, the main reason to love the South of France is the ease of getting in your car, driving without a plan and making amazing discoveries along the way like wineries, lavender farms, beaches and charming villages.
Based in Nice you’ll have beautiful drives to enjoy for days.
In the below France travel guide, I highlight three of my favorite day trips from Nice, from seeing some of the most beautiful gardens in Europe to medieval villages and beyond! Whether you’re in a group or traveling solo in France, these trips will certainly be a highlight!
South Of France Road Trip Video
Before we dive into my favorite Nice day trips, I’ve got a video for you:
Watch it above!
The video takes you along on our road trip from Nice to Marseille, and includes these scenic day trips, too!
1. Visit The Medieval Village Of Eze
Pronounced “Ez,” (not Ease or Easy-E like I was calling it), this charming medieval village has a rich history dating back to the 3rd Century BC.
It’s only 20 minutes from Nice and worth the short drive. Honestly, it’s one of the cutest places in Europe I’ve ever visited!
Don’t miss the lookout point right before Eze with aerial French Riviera and yacht views.
You can park here for free — or at least we did — and walk 10 minutes to the village.
You’ll walk up a winding escarpment with restaurants, shops and galleries embedded into the rock.
The crepes and salads (and views) we savored at Le Cactus were phenomenal, though La Plage (“The Beach”) had a funky vibe and comfy couches that was very fun.
Bring your French Riviera Pass (or 6 Euros) to visit Eze’s cacti-filled botanical garden for the highest views in the village.
I’d recommend allotting about 90 minutes-to-two hours for your Eze visit as it’s beautiful but small.
2. Spend A VIP Afternoon In Monaco
It’s cool to walk around Monaco’s Port Hercules, photograph the yachts and Aston Martins, and see how Europe‘s elite live; though I was actually more overwhelmed by how stunning Monaco is than how VIP it feels.
I mean, just look at those gorgeous pastel buildings below!
Take a dip in a giant waterfront pool, spend some time at a local French Riviera beach club, bring the young ones to the waterfront baby circus, lick ice cream while strolling the marina, and walk 15-minutes up a 16th-century staircase called the Rampe Majeure to the Palais du Prince (Prince’s Palace) in Old Town for aerial Monaco views.
The climb itself is scenic as you feel like you’re in a park, and beautiful views pop in and out of sight.
The Rampe Majeure is visible from the waterfront (if you’re facing the water just look at the hillside to your right).
There’s also a chill outdoor spot at Port Hercules called Brasserie de Monaco with communal picnic tables and homemade organic beer.
3. Villas, Gardens & Beaches In Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
The main attraction in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is the seaside Villa & Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild, absolutely stunning from the grounds to the 18th-century grand villa.
Andy and I are from New York, so we’re always amazed when people have a yard, let alone nine themed gardens and fountains that dance — literally — to classical music.
Inside the former home of Baroness Béatrice de Rothschild you’ll find gorgeous antique furniture, oil paintings, tapestries and formal details that will have you in disbelief over the grandeur of some peoples’ lives.
Afterward we headed to the nearby Port of St Jean Cap Ferrat for lunch, digging into a delicious tomato mozzarella salad and prosciutto mushroom pizza at the waterfront Cadillac Restaurant (1 avenue Jean Mermoz).
The French Riviera’s proximity to Italy means you’ll find a lot of amazing pizza and pasta.
Moreover, while Nice’s Promenade des Anglais is gorgeous, its beach has large stones that can make it challenging for walking or laying on a towel.
We found the beach in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat to be more comfortable with course sand.
Bonus South Of France Resources
What are your favorite day trips from Nice?
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