Our Riviera getaway begins in Nice, with its famous beachfront promenade, seductive old town, and thriving night life. Nearby, you'll stroll through a seaside village and a belle époque mansion, rub elbows with the rich and royal in the principality of Monaco, and get up-close with Picasso's paintings — in the artist's home. We'll also take you up into the hills for spectacular views and a lesson in perfume-making at its very source. Join us for the Best of the French Riviera in 7 Days!
You'll get all this!
- A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
- Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of France come alive for you
- All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 13 group sightseeing events • Nice orientation • Walking tour of Nice • Monaco day trip • Orientation tour of Monaco • Antibes day trip • Walking tour of Antibes • Picasso Museum tour • St-Paul-de-Vence and Grasse day trip • Fondation Maeght tour • Grasse Perfume tour • Villefranche-sur-Mer day trip • Walking tour of Villefranche-sur-Mer • Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild tour...and more
- All group transportation during the week in and around Nice
- 6 nights accommodations in a memorable, centrally-located hotel
- All breakfasts and half your dinners
- All tips for guides and driver
- Free stuff including Rick Steves' Provence & the French Riviera guidebook, French phrase book, map, moneybelt and earplugs
- Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
- Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
- Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2014
- 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
- Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
- Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above
Daily Activity Key
- Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
- Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
- Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.
Day 1: Welcome to Nice
We'll meet at around 5 p.m. at our hotel for a short "bienvenue á Nice" meeting. Then we'll take an orientation walk through our seaside neighborhood, followed by time to get acquainted over dinner together. Sleep in Nice (6 nights). No bus. Walking: light.
Day 2: Old Nice
This morning we'll take a walking tour across Nice, starting with the busy Cours Saleya, the city's main market square since the Middle Ages. We'll then follow the narrow streets of the Italianate Old City to the spacious boulevards and shopping promenades of the city's newer side. Here, in the late 19th century, visitors from the north seeking the elixir of warm, fresh sea air, created Europe's first tourism boom. Your afternoon will be free to visit Nice's beautiful Chagall and Matisse Museums, prowl the promenades, or relax on the famous beach. No bus. Walking: moderate.
Day 3: Monaco
Today we'll visit the jewel-box principality of Monaco. As we travel by train, we'll be treated to some of the best and most dramatic Riviera coastline views. Once in Monaco, your guide will lead you on an orientation tour of Monaco-Ville, home to most of Monaco's key sights. Your afternoon is free to visit the Cousteau Aquarium, Cathedral of Monaco (where Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier now rest) and the Prince's Palace, where you can see the changing of the guard. Tonight we'll have dinner in Nice. Train 1 hr. Walking: strenuous.
Day 4: Antibes and the Picasso Museum
Our destination is the town of Antibes, a short 30-minute train ride from Nice. Upon arrival your guide will take you on a walking tour of this easygoing beach town. We'll start our tour at the Harbor of Antibes where some of Europe's largest yachts are moored. We'll continue on, meandering through Antibes' medieval streets past covered markets to the town's cultural claim to fame — The Picasso Museum. Serenely set where the old town meets the sea, Picasso's former home is filled with his paintings, sketches and ceramics. After the visit you'll be free to explore more of Antibes or make your way back to Nice. Train: 1 hr. Walking: strenuous.
Day 5: Hill Towns and Perfume
We'll head for the hills that start at Nice's back door and drive through brilliant scenery just miles from the Mediterranean as we make our way up to one of the most photogenic hill towns in France — St-Paul-de-Vence — where we'll visit its museum of contemporary art — the one-of-a-kind Fondation Maeght. After joyriding through deep canyons, past waterfalls and teetering hilltop villages, we'll spend our late afternoon in Grasse, perfume capital of the world. We'll follow our noses and tour a local perfume factory, then have time to wander the old city before returning to Nice. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: strenuous.
Day 6: Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cap Ferrat
This morning we'll set out for the nearby peninsula of Cap Ferrat where we'll tour the classy Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. This pastel-pink mansion with sweeping views and perfectly-tended gardens also features a well-furnished belle époque interior — giving us a hint of what it might be like to wake up rich and famous. Afterward we'll make our way to seaside Villefranche-sur-Mer where your guide will lead you on a walking tour of the village. This afternoon you're free to soak in more of the peninsula's sights, walk its cliff-side trails or return to Nice. Tonight we'll regroup for a farewell dinner together in Nice, where we'll share travel memories and toast to our next voyage. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: strenuous.
Day 7: Tour Over After Breakfast
For those staying longer, your guide will be happy to send you off in the right direction and help with any trip planning needs. Au revoir et merci!
Itinerary specifics subject to change.
Rick Steves tours are physically active!
This is an integral, essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of the French Riviera in 7 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...
- Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
- Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
- Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
- After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.
Sightseeing On Your Own
If you arrive in Nice before your tour begins, use Rick Steves' Provence & the French Riviera guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of French, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise. Walking tours make a great introduction to any town. Check with the local TI or your guidebook.
Here are a few suggestions for sightseeing in Nice and the surrounding area that we do not do as a group: Chagall, Matisse, and Modern & Contemporary Art Museums; Castle Hill; visit the hilltop town of Eze-le-Village, the city of Cannes, or the city of St-Tropez.
Most tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.
There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Nice is a transportation hub, making travel before or after your tour quite easy. If you're interested in seeing Paris, consider an "open-jaw" ticket flying into Nice and out of Paris (or vice-versa). Or take the train (6 hours) from Nice to Paris, spending at least one night in Paris before flying back to the states. Flying from Nice to Paris (90 minutes) can also be reasonable. Ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines. For links to helpful rail and air websites, go to www.ricksteves.com/plan/links and look under "Transportation."
Read Rick's Guide to Eurail Passes and decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass (or contact our Rail Department for advice at email@example.com or 425/771-8303 ext. 214).
If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
See a chart with monthly rain and temperature information for this tour.
For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.
Tour Guide Raves
"William was most wonderful, very engaging and full of information. He is so knowledgeable about everything we did or encountered. We could not have asked for him to be more accommodating of our needs. William was a big 'WOW' on this tour and helped us learn so much about his country! I would love to go on another tour with William as our guide!"
— Carol in Temple Terrace, FL
"Patrick is in the triad of my all-time favorite and best 13 ETBD guides. His maturity, patience, sense of humor, generous spirit, and sure hand in leading our little band of travelers made every day a pleasure and a positive learning experience."
— Susan in Lacey, WA
Favorite tour memories from recent alums:
"Our visit to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and its gardens was magical and watching the fountains 'dance' to music from Vivaldi's Four Seasons was icing on the cake! We were lucky to have been there on one of the sunniest, blue-skied days of our trip. Wow!"
— Susan in Andover, MA
"St-Paul-de-Vence was by far my favorite 'wow' moment. The village is absolutely amazing. Also, the lunch we had (recommended by our guide) was fabulous."
— Jill in Toms River, NJ
"Visiting the Fondation Maeght art museum near St-Paul-de-Vence: immersion in modern art from the moment of entrance; to the chapel; walking the grounds and art gardens, inner gallerie; the final stunning encounter with Srebrenica, — this experience chilled me to the bone with inspiration and insight."
— Susan in Lacey, WA
To see more comments on Rick Steves' tours, read through our tour member reviews.
Videos & More
This region is rich in history, art and culture. To help you get the most from your trip, we've put together this collection of travel resources from Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, as well as recommended books, films and music.
Rick Steves' TV Clips & Shows
(For more Rick Steves' TV clips on this region, visit Rick on YouTube.)
- To Catch a Thief (1955)
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
- Ronin (1998)
- The Good Thief (2002)
- Priceless (2006)
Rick Steves' Radio Interviews
(For more radio interviews on this region, see Rick's Audio Europe™ files for iPod, PC & MP3.)
Rick Steves Audio Europe™
- Pop: Francis Cabrel, Maurice Chevalier, Johnny Hallyday, Phoenix, Edith Piaf, Charles Trenet
- Cabaret: Charles Aznavour
- Movie Soundtracks: French Kiss, Gigi, Amélie
Rick Steves' Articles
(For more articles on this region, see Rick's Best Destinations.)
- Rick Steves' Provence & the French Riviera
- French or Foe?; Savoir-Flair — Polly Platt
- Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong — Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow
- A Distant Mirror — Barbara Tuchman
- Portraits of France — Robert Daley
- Life with Picasso — Francoise Gilot
- Tender is the Night — F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Chasing Cezanne and Anything Considered — Peter Mayle
- The Long Afternoon — Giles Waterfield
- Under the Streets of Nice — Ken Follet
- Monaco — Eric Morse