Cost: ££ – it’s not cheap but you can definitely do it on a budget
Rating: 9/10 – really love it
Trip length: ideally I’d suggest a week+ long holiday in a villa in the hills, but you can certainly enjoy a couple of nights if you don’t have the time
I went to the South of France for many years with my family when I was growing up so it definitely holds a special place in my heart. My most recent trip was just for a long weekend and the places we visited were: Antibes, Cannes, Nice & Biot – I’ll cover them all below.
Flights (from London to Nice) were around £177 without hold luggage. Had a quick look on SkyScanner and for next summer they range from £100-£300 depending on when you go.
We stayed in a cute AirBnb in Antibes and paid £75 each for 2 nights in August. It only has 1 bedroom and the sofa bed isn’t the comfiest, but it was right in the heart of Antibes and did the job for a short stay.
As with anywhere, if you’ve got the cash you could stay somewhere a lot more expensive!
They use the Euro in France! Check the conversion rate before you go.
They have Uber (even Ubercopter from Nice airport) so it was cheap to get around when split between the 4 of us. The trains were cheap and very reliable too but you’ll mainly be walking!
What we did…
1 – Antibes
Antibes Old Town is gorgeous and you’ll love strolling through the narrow, cobbled streets. It’s located between Nice & Cannes – just 20 mins in an Uber from Nice airport (or 15 minute train if you’d prefer).
It has a sandy but small beach which gets very busy during the summer so get there early to grab a good spot for sunbathing.
Antibes is only small and you’ll quite quickly be able to explore it. It’s very famous for its mega-yachts & you can walk along the waterfront to see them – when we were younger we used to go right up to the front of them to pose for photos! Do a quick google search for which celeb is in the South of France when you’re there and I bet their yacht will be docked in Antibes harbour.
There’s an ‘Antibes Eye’ (or at least that’s what we called it) which we saw a beautiful sunset from. There’s also a small market which sells a variety of things – paintings, sculptures, handmade jewellery (including friendship bracelets which we used to beg our parents to buy us). A second larger market sells fruit, veg, cheese, fish and flowers during the daytime – so if you’re planning on cooking it might be the place to head to. I bought a few pots of minced truffle from there which were very reasonable in comparison to the shops we saw similar sized pots sold in.
2 – Cannes
We jumped on a 15 min train from Antibes to Cannes for about 3 Euro. It was very easy to find our way around and staff at the station were helpful.
Cannes is beautiful with an amazing mile long promenade (La Croisette) and deep sandy beaches. You can pay for a sun bed and enjoy waiter service / take a towel and find yourself a spot on one of the public beaches.
There are plenty of grand hotels and swanky restaurants along the front as well as a port with some impressive boats docked. There are chairs along the length of the promenade so enjoy taking a seat and watching the world go by (namely rollerbladers and locals walking their tiny dogs).
You can find some vintage designer gems at a small market (/ super posh car-boot sale) – full of old designer gear going for next to nothing. If you fancy paying full price for newer stuff then do not fear – Cannes is packed with some of the biggest names in fashion so you can shop ’til you drop!
Of course, Cannes is home of the Cannes Film Festival – go & find the festival hall, pose on the red carpet and pretend you’re a celebrity.
3 – Biot
Biot is a gorgeous little place in the hills about 15 – 20 mins in a taxi from Antibes. The village is 2500 years old so if you’re interested in history you might want to read up on this medieval village!
It is known for its glass blowing and does have a pretty cool glass factory where you can watch them make all sorts of glass things and buy them in the gift shop afterwards (I still have about 20 glass animals – a keen collector when I was younger :P)
The main reason we went to Biot is because this was the village we stayed near for 10 years worth of holidays when we were growing up so it is full of very happy memories and I can’t wait to take my children (when I have them one day)!
4 – Nice
Nice is about 25 mins from Biot / Antibes and 15 mins from the airport in a taxi. The very famous stretch of seafront (the Promenade des Anglais) is 4k long. If you don’t fancy walking it you can hire rollerblades / scooters and join the many locals using these as their main mode of transport. Or you can enjoy the day sunning yourself on one of the public beaches.
Nice has many shops to browse in and restaurants to choose from. The Old Town is buzzy and you might like to sit outside for a drink / some food…
The restaurants are charming and serve a mix of Mediterranean food – fresh seafood / pizza / pasta … rarely do you find frogs legs and snails.
If you’re a real foody then it might be worth doing some research and making a few reservations, but in all honesty I’m not sure you can go too wrong – all the food we ate was fresh and delicious.
Don’t forget to grab breakfast / lunch in a boulangerie (bakery) – it would be a crime not to indulge in a baguette (or 10) whilst you’re there.
I love the South of France! We packed our 3 days as it was a short trip down memory lane, but if I were you I wouldn’t travel around so much. Our spend when we were there was £250 per person but we went all out on food / wine / ice-cream! If you were moving around less you’d reduce the cost significantly as you would not be paying for travel.
Cost per person
Flights: £177 with no hold luggage
Accommodation: £75 for 2 nights
Total = £502
Other things –
There are plenty of other places you could go to in the South of France. A few famous ones I’d recommend from previous trips are…
St Tropez – 1 hour 20 from Nice airport
St Paul de Vence – 20 min from Nice airport
Monaco – 30 min from Nice airport
I’m also sure there are lots of museums / bars & clubs / ‘sights’ in all of these which would be easy to discover with a little more googling!