Exploring along the coast from Nice is fun, you don’t need a car as public transport is easy and cheap.
Going west from Nice one of my favourite destinations is Cros de Cagnes as it combines a beach, lovely restaurants and pétanque all in one place! I usually go by bus (ligne d’azur 200) and get off at Les Oliviers as it’s a short walk from there down towards the sea and the promenade. Best of all this route takes you along Avenue Général Leclerc where you’ll be able to stop off to watch the locals playing pétanque on the terrain. You’ll find a game in progress most afternoons.
You can get a train from Nice to Cros de Cagnes and take a slightly longer walk down the Avenue de la Station (closest bus stop Les Tritons) leading you to the lovely beach and Promenade de la Plage nearer to the little port.
I’d love to hear what you think of Cros de Cagnes!
Do you fancy a bus ride? Eastwards along the coast from Nice is Villefranche-sur-Mer, an attractive small town built on the slopes of the hill tumbling down to the sea. The train can also take you there but you would miss the beautiful views of the sea and coastline – including a spectacular view of the port and the Baie des Anges as you head out of town. The ligne d’azur 100 and the smaller bus 81 both take the route along the Corniche Inférieure, or Basse-Corniche, the lowest and easiest to drive along of the three coastal routes. From Villefranche the 100 continues to Monaco and Menton, whereas the 81 calls in at Beaulieu and St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat all well worth a visit.
The deep harbour means that Villefranche is a favourite stopping off point for cruise liners, so it can get very busy in the summer months but there are plenty of cafés and restaurants both in the town near the bus stop and also down along the harbourside.
At one end of the harbour is a narrow beach with gravelly sand, perfect for young children and sunbathers.
Confusingly Cagnes-sur-Mer is not by the sea – that’s Cros de Cagnes! It’s worth the walk up the winding road (with no pavements) to find Renoir’s house and beautiful garden.
The house is open to the public in the summer (though it’s advisable to check opening times first at the tourist office). Many of Renoir’s paintings are on the walls and in his studio you’ll imagine he’s about to continue painting.
I love the garden even more than the house – it’s a beautiful peaceful place with the most amazing ancient olive trees
from the garden you have a great view of Haut-de-Cagnes which is the oldest and highest part of the town.
There is a free shuttle bus which takes you at break-neck speed from the bus station up the winding narrow streets to the top of the old town where the museum is and back down again even faster…