Low cost French Riviera is possible: where to go and how to do it

The French Riviera is one of the world’s most famous destinations and one of the most luxurious places to go.

The glittering French Riviera is an irresistible attraction. This stretch of French coastline just a stone’s throw from Italy is the destination of the international jet set: here are at home the stars of Hollywood and billionaires from all over the world. But apart from the sequins which attract attention, the French Riviera is made of wonderful and iconic places. But is it possible to go to the French Riviera and save money?

The Cote d’Azur is obviously not the destination to choose if you want to save money, however, even on the French Riviera between Nice and Cannes you can experience a low cost vacation without spending too much. You just have to choose carefully where to go, where to stop and in some cases just to look at the shop windows!

How to save money on the French Riviera
Let’s start with the good news: getting to the French Riviera is cheap. This stretch of coastline in the South of France is in fact located just after the Italian border in Ventimiglia. It extends from Menton to Casses and includes famous areas such as Antibes, Saint Tropez, Nice and Monaco. Getting there by car is very simple: just cross the border et voila. You can go by car, which is the recommended choice, or by train. The latter is more expensive if you want to move and also go inland — where prices are more affordable.

If you don’t have a car or you’re moving from Southern Italy consider flying if booked in advance it can cost very little.

The heaviest expense of a vacation on the French Riviera is lodging. Obviously discard the big hotels and forget about the sea view. The best way to save money on the French Riviera is to choose to stay in an apartment: this will allow you not to spend on dinners and lunches out, you can shop and cook for yourself. Hostels are a valid alternative: they are quite clean and well run, much better than 1 or 2 star hotels.

Another unexpected item that could cost you dearly is the cost of a day at the beach. Most of the beaches along the French Riviera are private, i.e. managed by the establishments. And the prices for a sunbed are very high. The best choice to save money is to go to a free beach. There are some in Juan Les Pins, in Cape d’Antibes and above all there are many near Nice such as Plage Paloma, Lenval, Opera and the beautiful Villafranche sur mer which is very close to the capital of the French Riviera.

Going to a restaurant can be expensive, but you will be surprised to know that even in the emblazoned Cote d’Azur there are bistros with excellent local cuisine that will not make you spend more than 20 euros per person. And if you want to spend even less there is street food: with many specialties including crepes and pissaladiere, a stuffed focaccia.

Where to go to save money on the French Riviera
The choice of where to go on the French Riviera to save money is worth the whole trip. Forget the Principality of Monaco: you’ll only be able to stroll there, see the shop windows and little else. The prices of hotels and apartments are decidedly high and out of reach of low cost travelers.

Nice, on the other hand, can be an excellent solution. Here you will find everything from the mega luxury hotel to the small pension. In addition, there are supermarkets and an infinity of restaurants for all budgets. In short, it is the place where you will struggle less to find a cheap accommodation.

Another place to keep in mind to save money is Juan-Les-Pins. There are excellent free beaches and an intense nightlife in summer. Indeed if you are looking for fun is the place for you. There are countless parties on the beach, not to mention La Siesta, the largest disco on the French Riviera, which often organizes events with free admission for women. A destination just to look at is instead Cannes. It is worth going there for a walk on the Croisette.

However, if you really want to save money, you have to take a step back, or go to the lesser known locations, but where you will find the best prices. For example Saint Aygulf where you will find excellent hotels at more than acceptable prices. And then moving towards Marseille you will find places like Lavandou that offers the most beautiful sea of the entire coast and then further on Cassis. It is a natural wonder immersed in the Calanques National Park.

Of course, the further you get from Saint Tropez, the more the prices go down and the more the glamour of the French Riviera goes down. But if you want to save money, it’s better to travel a few more kilometers: you’ll enjoy a beautiful sea and you won’t bleed your bank account dry!

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