Epic French Riviera Road Trip Itinerary For 7 Days: See The Highlights
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French Riviera is one of the highlights not only of southern France but the entire country. I’ve designed a perfect French Riviera road trip itinerary for you. It’s created from my own experience traveling on the French Riviera and guiding groups through France. Get the most of French Riviera with this road trip itinerary for 7 days. Enjoy and have fun.
Overview Of The French Riviera Road Trip Itinerary
- DAY: Nice
- DAY: Nice ⇒ Menton & Cap Ferrat Day Trip
- DAY: Monaco (Day Trip)
- DAY: Monaco ⇒ Cannes
- DAY: Cannes & Day Excursions
- DAY: Cannes ⇒ Saint Tropez
- DAY: Plage d’Escalet or Plage de Gigaro
French Riviera Road Trip – 0. DAY: ARRIVE IN NICE
Take your time to arrive in Nice. Check-in to your accommodation and head out to the old town for a nice cup of coffee. Then walk alongside the English Bay – “Promenade des Anglais” and get the first glimpse of its atmosphere. Or dip into the sea for a quick swim.
Dinner At Le Frog Restaurant
In the evening, I recommend you eat in the restaurant Le Frog. Try out the French traditional frog legs and finish up with delicious dessert. Don’t forget to try ‘escargots’ French snails, which are absolutely delicious.
Have a great rest, because tomorrow, we’ll explore the city to the fullest.
Where to stay in Nice: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
Number Of Nights In Nice
Book a hotel in Nice for 3 nights. Tomorrow, you’ll have the whole day to explore the city and get the most of it. The day after tomorrow, we’ll only make a day trip.
On day 3 of this itinerary, we’ll be visiting Monaco. It’s your choice if you want to do it as a day trip or stay 1 night in Monaco. If you want to do it as a day trip from Nice, book your hotel in Nice for 4 nights. For a hotel recommendation in Monaco, go to day 3.
French Riviera Road Trip – 1. DAY: NICE
We are starting our French Riviera road trip itinerary right here in the heart of it, the city of Nice. It has the second largest airport in France. So it’ll be easily accessible from any other corner of the world.
The city was founded in the 4th century by the Greeks. Its original name is ‘Nike,’ the Greek goddess of Victory. They gave the place this name as they believed she helped them successfully fight against the Ligures.
In Nice, you’ll still be able to speak Italian. In fact, the city used to belong to Italy before Italians decided to give it to France as a present. The Italians were beyond grateful for helping them fight against Austrians, and so they gave away Nice to the French.
Sightseeing in Nice
Today, I highly recommend you explore the following sites in this beautiful French Riviera city:
- Vieille Ville
- Nice Cathedral
- Castle of Nice
- Parc de la Colline du Château
- Musée Marc Chagall
- Promenade des Anglais
Scroll through the streets of the ‘Vieille Ville’ – old town in Nice before you make your way up to the castle. You can either walk or take the touristic train up to the Castle of Nice. Go to the viewing point for the most stunning views of Promenade des Anglais and the entire city of Nice. These views are really breathtaking.
After, walk down through the Parc de la Colline du Château. You can buy a French baguette before with some cheese and eat it as a picnic on the way.
Walk through the Promenade des Anglais in the afternoon and swim in the sea.
Dinner At La Rossettisserie Restaurant
In the evening, have another great French dinner. You can check out La Rossettisserie Restaurant for traditional French cuisine.
French Riviera Road Trip – 2. DAY: NICE ⇒ MENTON & CAP FERRAT DAY TRIP
Today, we’ll make a day trip to one of the most picturesque towns on the French Riviera. It’s already close to the Italian border.
Distance Nice ⇒ Menton: 43 minutes (by car)
Menton is also known to be the Pearl of France. And it isn’t a wonder, it’s really one of the most, if not the one, beautiful towns on the French Riviera.
It’s rather a small town so don’t expect a lot to do. Instead, soak up the atmosphere, walk through, and if you want, stay on its beaches for a while.
There is a big part of the Russian community, so you can also admire the beautiful Russian church with its unique architecture.
Other than that, you can visit the Old Château Cemetery. It’s a resting place for many aristocratic British and Russians, making holidays in the town and on the French Riviera. Or walk to the Val Rahmeh Botanical Garden for a little piece of a paradise.
Each February, locals organize a big event – Lemon Festival. Menton is one of the biggest European produces of citrus fruits, and this is the month to celebrate it. You’ll enjoy statues decorated with citruses, accompanied by musicians and dancers on the street.
On the way back to Nice, visit Cap Ferrat. Enjoy the spectacular ride on the coastline with stunning views.
Distance Nice ⇒ Menton: 50 minutes (by car)
It’s famous for its luxury villas, one of which is open to visitors. It’s Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. You can go inside and see beautiful paintings, furniture, and sculptures from one of the richest families in the world.
The Cap Ferrat also hosts some of the coziest beaches on the French Riviera.
Walk on the Promenade du Cap, see its lighthouse, and stop on some beach on the way.
After, make your way back to Nice and have a good rest in your hotel.
French Riviera Road Trip – 3. DAY: MONACO
Good morning to Nice. I hope you slept well because now, we’re about to visit one of the smallest countries in Europe. Monaco is waiting for us.
Distance Nice ⇒ Monaco: 30 minutes (by car)
Let’s explore this small country together today. Once you cross the border with Monaco, just follow the signs ‘P’ to find the nearest car park. The first hour is usually free of charge. After, you’ll pay around 2EUR per hour.
Day Trip Or Stay In Monaco For A Night
Either you can do it as a day trip from Nice and at the end of the day, drive back and sleep in the same hotel, where you check-in at the beginning of the itinerary.
Or you can stay in Monaco for a night. See a hotel recommendation below at the end of this day.
Interesting Facts About Monaco
Monaco is famous for many things. Below, I am giving you some interesting facts about this small European country:
- Monaco is a tax heaven
- Hosts the Grand Prix event
- Monaco is a principality
- 3x James Bond movies were shot in the Monte-Carlo Casino in Monaco
- It’s the second smallest country in the world, after Vatican City
- It’s the place of the rich
Sightseeing in Monaco
Monaco is best to tour on foot. Leave your car in the car park, and set off to explore it. Here are some sightseeing tips for your visit:
- Palais du Prince
- Stroll through ‘Le Rocher’
- Monte Carlo Casino
- Walk in Jardine Exotique
- Visit the Princess Grace Rose Garden
- Monaco Harbour
Palais du Prince & Le Rocher
Explore Palais du Prince, the residence of the Prince of Monaco. It was built back in the 13th century. You can visit it inside when the prince is not in his residence. Enjoy the views of the city from its terrace.
Don’t miss out on the changing of the guards at the Palace.
Le Rocher is the old town of Monaco. It’s worth just walking through its tiny little street. You can stop by and visit Monaco Cathedral and get some local snacks. Look for ‘barbajuan’, which is Monaco’s national snack.
Monte Carlo & Official Passport Stamp
What would be a visit to the famous Monte Carlo Casino? Check out its interior, where you can explore not only the casino itself but also admire its opera, ballet house, and the Grand Theatre de Monte Carlo.
It’s a complex of buildings, the main attraction here in Monte Carlo. One interesting fact is that residents of Monaco are not allowed to enter and play in the casino of Monte Carlo. But you have the privilege here if you want.
One thing you shouldn’t forget is to get your passport officially stamped. You can do so in the tourism office located just a 2-minute walk from the casino.
If you want to shop for luxury goods, go to the Avenue de Monte-Carlo.
Beautiful Gardens In Monaco
Jardine Exotique is a very special place, at least for me. I really loved walking through this garden. It somehow has a very special atmosphere. Have a rest from the hectic atmosphere of Monaco and enjoy some nature for a while.
The Princess Grace Rose Garden is another highlight, especially for the fans of the American film star Grace Kelly, who married Prince Rainier, the former prince of Monaco.
If you want to experience the atmosphere of the Grand Prix, visit it in May, when the competition is usually taking place.
After, head to your accommodation in the evening. Tomorrow, we’ll continue to explore French Riviera, going further south.
Monte Carlo Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
If you want to see entire Monte Carlo within a few hours, get an unlimited hop-on and hop-off bus ticket. It’ll show the whole country, and you’ll learn a lot about its history and hear some interesting facts.
Where to stay in Monaco: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
Monaco Organized Tour From Nice
If you want to leave your car in Nice and don’t feel like driving through the crazy streets of Monaco or paying for parking a lot, book yourself one of the following excursions.
It’s organized by Get Your Guide. They have some of the best travel excursions in Europe.
Take a half-day tour during the day. You’ll do all the activities I’ve listed above and beyond. In addition, you’ll stop in the beautiful hillside village Eze with stunning coastline views.
Alternatively, enjoy Monaco at night. First, ride on the Monaco Grand Prix Formula 1 circuit. Then, experience Monte Carlo and its casino during the peak and play a game.
French Riviera Road Trip – 4. DAY: MONACO ⇒ CANNES
Let’s drive down south to the famous festival city, Cannes. This is my personal favorite on the French Riviera. I don’t have a particular reason for it. It’s just its atmosphere, views, and the city itself that has really captured my attention. And I am sure it will capture yours as well.
Distance Monaco ⇒ Cannes: 55 minutes (by car)
Quick Facts About Cannes
The first settlement was found here back in the 2nd century BC. Originally, it used to be a fishing village. The city served as a medical base during WWI.
Have you ever heard about Lord Brougham? He was the man who popularized Cannes, and nowadays, it’s especially popular among upper-class British tourists.
Cannes also became popular thanks to Grace Kelly, the Hollywood actress, who chose the city as her wedding venue.
Festival Of Cannes
Cannes has become famous mainly thanks to its film festival held annually in May. You’ll be able to see famous celebrities walking on the red carpet. The festival recognizes celebrities’ achievements and rewards them for great movies. And you can be part of it.
I was in Cannes during the festival, and the atmosphere was absolutely crazy.
So as you can see, it’s worth visiting French Riviera in May as many attractions take place, also Grand Prix in Monaco.
Château de la Castre
One of my favorite places to visit in Cannes is Château de la Castre. The castle was built in the 11th century to protect the city and its surroundings. It was also a place where monks lived.
Château de la Castre offers the best views of the city and sea. Although some trees are interfering, still the view is stunning. Nowadays, it serves as a museum.
One of the attractions you shouldn’t miss is the Île Sainte-Marguerite. It’s the island where the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned. He spent 11 years of his life on this island. Nowadays, you can see the prison visit a museum with its exhibition.
The excursion itself is amazing as you have to take a boat from Cannes mainland to the island. It takes about 15 minutes. So enjoy the ride and the Mediterranean atmosphere.
Cannes As A Luxury Destination
Other than that, Cannes is just this typical luxurious, destination, where you come to experience the Holywood atmosphere, sit down on the seaside and get a cup of coffee.
Have fun in Cannes.
Tomorrow, we’ll make a fantastic day trip. I have a few suggestions for day trips for you. Choose one that most interest you and go for it. Personally, I haven’t done these tours, but they have great ratings, and Get your Guide is always great to trust. I’ve only visitied Fragonard perfumery, which is definitely worth doing.
Where to stay in Cannes: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
French Riviera Road Trip – 5. DAY: CANNES & DAY TRIPS
Good morning to Cannes. I hope you had some time to explore the city yesterday. If not, keep exploring today. However, it’s a rather small and luxurious city as I mentioned. So for those, who need some adventure or more programs, I have some extra things and exciting day trips.
Today, you can choose from the following day trips from Cannes. There is one for every single one of you. So go for it and enjoy.
Fragonard Parfumery In Grasse
The Fragonard perfumery is a place which surprised me personally a lot. I am not much into fragrances and don’t buy many of them. However, a visit to the factory where they produce them blew my mind.
Distance Cannes ⇒ Grasse: 40 minutes (by car)
Visit the famous French Fragonard perfumery and learn how they make fragrances in the world’s most prestigious perfumery.
The staff has to first study at the university for around 7 years to become professional fragrance producers.
You’ll smell different flavors, learn how they make it, and even see the whole process of making it. At the end of the tour, the guide will test your nose with different fragrances playing their free olfactory game.
This is the most famos Fragonard parfumery in France. It’s a historical building where they’ve been producing fragrances since 1926.
You can just show up, don’t have to book a tour in advance as an individual. The tours are done in many languages: French, Spanish, English, German, and Italian.
Fragonard’s visit is one of my favorite excursions, and you’ll not regret going there.
Verdon Gorge & French Lavender Fields
Visit the Grand Canyon of Europe and the beautiful lavender fields in the French countryside. You’ll see the 700m high Verdon Gorge with stunning views. On the way, you’ll get the chance to explore the two quaint towns of Moustiers Sainte Marie and Castellane.
You can also explore the famous French lavender fields during this day trip if the season allows it.
This excursion is organized in a group. So if you’re alone, you can book it and ask if it’s taking place, or book it right with a group of maximum of 8 people.
You can have lunch when stopping in one of the towns during the tour.
Golden Corniche Coastline On A Speed Boat
Experience stunning Corniche d’Or from a boat on the seaside. Corniche d’Or, or in English ‘Golden Corniche’, used to be a famous route taken by Romans as they were trading goods. Nowadays, it’s been reconstructed for residents and visitors to enjoy the beautiful seaside of the French Riviera.
The name was given thanks to the golden rocks making up the coastline.
On this day trip, you’ll explore the area on a speed boat and learn more about it. You’ll explore secret coves and caves, which only locals access by boat. Then, stop for a swim and enjoy some refreshments on the board.
Half-Day Catamaran Cruise & Relax
Last but not least, I have something for those seeking to relax. Hop on a catamaran and enjoy the cruise lying on its net above the crystal clear water. It’s a half-day excursion.
Enjoy stunning views of the Bay of Cannes and French Riviera from the modern Catamaran. The cruise takes about 3 hours, and you’ll also have time to swim or snorkel.
Book One Of The Excursions From Cannes
Enjoy one of these day trips on the French Riviera. Don’t forget to visit Île Saint-Marguerite, which was on the program on day 4. But if you didn’t make it, try to incorporate it into your program today.
In the evening, take some time to walk on the seaside promenade and alongside the harbor and have a good dinner.
French Riviera Road Trip – 6. DAY: CANNES ⇒ SAINT TROPEZ
Good morning to Cannes. I hope you had an amazing time and did one of the excursions I recommended. Although our itinerary is coming to an end, there are still a few destinations to see.
In the morning, pack your backs, and drive further south to Saint-Tropez, another luxury destination.
Distance Cannes ⇒ Stain-Tropez: 1 hour & 30 minutes (by car)
Welcome to another nestle of the rich on the French Riviera. Saint-Tropez was a tiny fishing village before it gained popularity thanks to the movie Mystère à Saint-Tropez. It’s a hub for celebrities and has become a wealthy town with expensive shops and luxury yachts.
Visiting this town for a day is enough. That’s what most visitors do since Saint Tropez doesn’t have a train station.
Citadel Of St. Tropez
One of the most interesting things in the town is its citadel on the hill. Visit it and get some of the best views of the town and its seaside promenade. It was built to protect the area from the invations of Spanish forces. It protected the city and the entire coastline between Toulon and Antibes, other towns on the French Riviera.
Later in the 19th century, the citadel couldn’t keep up with the modern artillery shells. So instead, it was converted into a naval museum.
Nowadays, you can visit the Museum of Maritime History.
Other than that, just walk around and feel the atmosphere of the popular celebrity destination.
Don’t forget to buy the famous Sandales tropéziennes, handmade sandals that celebrities used to wear. They are made from leather that resists saltwater.
Saint Tropez and its surroundings also host some of the most beautiful beaches on the French Riviera. Tomorrow, on the last day of your road trip, you’ll get the chance to visit some of them.
As for the accommodation, I have an apartment for you in the heart of the town. Or you can choose one of the resorts, located slightly outside the town, to relax a bit.
Where to stay in Saint Tropez: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
French Riviera Road Trip – 7. DAY: PLAGE D’ESCALET / PLAGE DE GIGARO
Finally, take some time to relax on the beach and reflect on your French Riviera road trip itinerary. I have two of the most beautiful beaches around Saint Tropez for you.
However, it’s completely optional what you do on this day. Either visit one of these beaches and enjoy the crystal clear waters of the French Riviera or stay in Saint Tropez. Alternatively, make your way back to Nice for further connections traveling in Europe.
If you are into beaches and want to spend your last day relaxing and swimming, I’ve picked up two beaches around St. Tropez for you.
Plage d’Escalet is located 22 minutes drive from Saint Tropez. There is parking at the end of the road, so leave your car there. After, walk about 5 minutes to the beach. It’s a little hidden beach, so if you want to enjoy a bit more privacy, go for it. Unless there are anyways many people.
Plage de Gigaro
Plage de Gigaro is situated 25 minutes drive from Saint Tropez. It’s a bigger beach with better sights to the sea and promenade. Around, there are also options to have lunch. It’s more equipped than Plage d’Escalet.
After, make your way wherever you’re heading next.
I hope you enjoyed this French Riviera road trip itinerary.
Since you are in southern France, you can explore further cities and beautiful places. I’ve also designed south of France itinerary for 14 days for you. This itinerary will show you all the highlights, miracle town, stunning nature, and charming cities, so check it out.
Or read my article about the best medieval castles in France and visit one or two of them during your itinerary.
More Inspiration For European Trips
Let me know which day trip excursion you chose from Cannes and how you liked it. Personally, I would either visit the Fragonard perfumery or make my way down to the Verdon Gorge for stunning views while visiting traditional French towns and the famous lavender fields.
If you are looking for more inspiration on visiting Europe and other countries, check out my travel itineraries. From France, you can head right up to Switzerland, for which you can take my 8-day Switzerland itinerary by train. You’ll also save a lot of money if you follow my advice inside the itinerary.
Or head to Central Europe and visit less-popular destinations such as Slovakia with my Slovakia road trip itinerary. You’ll do a lot of hiking, enjoy beautiful nature, and experience traditional Slovakia culture.
Or head to Balkan countries. Take my North Macedonia road trip itinerary for 8 days. Follow with Albania road trip itinerary for 10 days. And finish up in Greece, for which you can also take my Greece road trip itinerary.
Have fun and enjoy!