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boats in the marina in the French Riviera
Travel tips

48 hours on the French Riviera

Sep 30, 2021 by Kara Kramer

The French Riviera is known for its impressive coastline, charming medieval villages, and affluent guests who flock to its beaches. Now it’s your turn to discover France’s Mediterranean coast, from luxurious Cannes to the vibrant seashore of Saint-Tropez. Here’s how to spend 48 hours on the French Riviera, and the absolute best places to visit in the South of France on a French Riviera tour.

Things to do on the French Riviera on day one

The coastal city of Nice is the main hub to the French Riviera and your first stop.


Hike Cap Ferrat

Dust off those jet-lagged legs and take a stroll on the walking trail around Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. This peninsula is 15 minutes south of Nice, and gives you spectacular views of the coastal villages along the French Riviera. It also offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean sea and calanques, rocky inlets along the coast.

Head to Plage des Marinières

Find a cozy spot in the sand at Plage des Marinières, and grab an ice cream cone from one of the many ice cream huts dotting this popular beach. Then, take in the view of the old town before you explore it on foot.

Explore the sunny South of France on our Provence & the French Riviera Walking Tour >

Explore Nice’s Old Town

Once you’ve had your fill of surf and sand, take to the narrow streets, colorful markets, and lively restaurants of Nice’s Old Town. The Old Town dates back to the 1600s and you’ll feel as if you’ve been whisked away to another century in its quarters. Visit the Cathedral of St. Reparata, famous for its colorful dome. Then, make a stop at Place Rossetti, a beautiful local square, and experience the joie de vivre of the South of France firsthand.

Wander the gardens of a Franciscan monastery

Discover a working Franciscan monastery in the upscale neighborhood of Cimiez. Wander through the monk-tended, Italian-style garden and enjoy sweeping views of the city. Don’t miss the free museum inside. Stroll through the 500-year-old olive grove that used to be part of the monastery and is now used as a public park by Nice locals. You’ll find the stunning interior of the 9th century church on the grounds is worth the visit alone.

Discover more of the Mediterranean in this spotlight of the Italian Riviera >


Grab dinner at La P’tite Cocotte

Sit down to a three-course meal prepared by the talented chefs at La P’tite Cocotte after your tour of Nice. You’ll savor elevated provençal fare while tucked away in a quaint alley in the heart of the city. Enjoy a rotating menu of dishes like grilled swordfish, lemon ravioli, and pistachio ice cream.

Explore the French Riviera on tour


Things to do on the French Riviera on day two

Take a day trip up the coast to Cannes and Saint-Tropez.

Visit Musée de la Castre in Cannes

See up close where A-list celebrities spend their time during the glitzy Cannes Film Festival. Then, take a drive through this famous city and make a stop at Musée de la Castre. You’ll discover 19th century Riviera landscape art and local artifacts in a medieval tower.

See more photos from a travelogue on our Paris, Provence, and the French Riviera tour >

Take a cafe break in France’s famous town, Cannes

Sit down for lunch at L’éponyme for inventive coastal fare and seasonal salads. Then, enjoy people watching from the cafe patio in this trendy locale on the coast of the French Riviera.

Discover more of the South of France on our French Riviera & Provence: Nice, Avignon & Aix-en-Provence tour >


Experience Saint-Tropez

Experience one of the liveliest locations on the French Riviera. Take a dip at trendy Pampelonne Beach and squint to see if you can spot Elton John passing by on one of the nearby mega yachts. Then, grab a drink at the classic Saint-Tropez beach club, Le Club 55, and get up close and personal with the international jet-set.

Explore Monaco on a tour of Provence, the Riviera & Tuscany >

Get lucky in Monaco

Take a sunset drive along the coast to Monaco, the epitome of European glam, and then head for the ritzy Monte Carlo Casino and play a game of blackjack. Stay for a nightcap and experience the lavishness of a venue fit for royalty. With extensive gardens like Les Jardins St Martin, opulent shopping destinations like Métropole Shopping Center, and one of the oldest aquariums in the world, Musée Oceanographique, Monaco is a must-see stopover on a tour of the French Riviera.

How would you spend 48 hours on the French Riviera? Tell us on our Facebook page!

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About the author | Kara Kramer
Growing up, Kara’s backyard was the Sonoran Desert where her love for exploration was ignited by dirt roads leading to petroglyphs and family road trips to sleepy Mexican fishing villages. Kara’s enjoyment for charting new territory continued with teaching abroad in Thailand, roaming wine cellar caves in Portugal, and swimming in the bioluminescent waters of the Caribbean. She’s always on the lookout for dive bars and a bowl of Vietnamese Pho (lime, basil, and jalapeño is the holy trinity).

Visit the French Riviera on tour

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