This Côte d’Azur road trip explores arguably the most scenic and exotic parts of southern France‘s Côte d’Azur which lie between Nice and Italy. The scenery is absolutely stunning and no visit to Nice would be complete without exploring at least part of this nearby fabulous coastline with its magnificent mountains, great beaches and fabulous sea views.
Before you begin: Get a copy of the Michelin Departmental Map 341. This Côte d’Azur itinerary begins right next door to Nice at Villefranche-sur-Mer and continues along the coast via Beaulieu, Monaco and Menton on the Italian border.
The coast road, or Basse Corniche, is always very busy while the Moyenne (Middle) and the Haute (High) Corniche are less so and have tremendous views but take care especially on the Moyenne. If you choose the higher Corniche roads you will have to deviate to reach all the Points of Interest listed. My preference would be to use the Basse Corniche on the outward journey as far as Monaco then the Moyenne to Menton returning via a higher route.
Leave Nice on the D6098 driving round Mont Boron for 6km to Nice’s deep water port at Villefranche-sur-Mer. Enjoy the glorious views of the harbour area as you approach and leave the town. Continue along the D6098 towards Beaulieu-sur-Mer and maybe take a detour along the D26 to Cap Ferrat and visit the fabulous nine gardens of the Villa Ephrussi and Place David Niven.
Return to the D6098 and drive east for 10km till you reach Monaco Monte Carlo. Monaco deserves at least half a day of anyone’s time. Here you will need to find a place in one of the 13 dedicated car parks round the city. Visitors are not allowed to park on the street.
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Monaco Ville is on the south side of the harbour and often referred to as La Rocher, or the Rock, on top of which is the old town and the Palais Princier. The reigning Prince is Albert II whose father Rainier was married to the film star Grace Kelly. Monte Carlo with its famous Casino is on the north side of the harbour which is recognisable to anyone who has watched the Monaco Grand prix on TV. The Principality is associated with another famous motoring, event the Monte Carlo Rally, which culminates here every January.
Leave Monaco on the coast road and you will eventually join the Moyenne Corniche at Roquebrune Cap Martin (the D6007). Follow this road till you reach the colourful and picturesque resort of Menton on the border with Italy. Menton is famous for its Lemon Festival and the exotic gardens of Val Rahmeh and Serre de la Madone. If you’re looking for goodies to take home, or even eat here, then a visit to Confitures Herbin on Rue Palermo is a must.
Return to Nice on one of the higher Corniche roads for wonderful views and don’t miss the magnificent Roman Tribute at La Turbie (Haute Corniche) or the fabulous perched village of Eze (Moyenne Corniche).
To book a suitable hotel or other accommodation in or around Nice, you can use the map below, which shows current prices for hotels and apartments. If you wish to book further afield, then just enlarge the map (+/-) to see more properties or, if you have somewhere particular in mind, enter your preferred resort/town/village in the ‘Where are you going?’ box.