The Best Itinerary for Two Days in the French Riviera [updated 2023]
Last Updated on June 4, 2023 by Madison Krigbaum
So you’re gearing up to spend two days in the French Riviera? Lucky you! There are so many gorgeous places to see in this corner of France, but don’t worry – you’re in the right place to plan the perfect France itinerary 👏🏼
We’ll start our two days in Nice. This historic city is the perfect mix of old-town charm and modern-day beach vibes. Stroll along the vibrant Promenade des Anglais, admire the views from Castle Hill and, if the season is right, soak in the sun at one of Nice’s many beaches.
Next, let’s hit the best day trips from Nice – Èze and Monaco.
A charming hilltop medieval village with stunning views of the Cote d’Azur, Èze is full of winding cobblestone streets, tasty local cuisine and exotic gardens with spectacular ocean views.
Last, but certainly not least – Monaco! Indulge in a little bit of luxury while wandering through Monte Carlo’s famous casinos. Once you’re done rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, catch a spectacular sunset over the Mediterranean from the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.
During your two days in the French Riviera, every moment will feel like a dream and every view is guaranteed to be Insta-worthy. Buckle up, adventure awaits! …as do many gorgeous pictures of the French Riviera.
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Two Days in the French Riviera: The Quick Version
Although we could have easily spent two days in Nice alone during our two days in the French Riviera, we decided to split our second day into two day trips: Èze and Monaco. Instead of constantly packing up and having to deal with multiple hotel check-outs, we booked accommodation in Nice for two nights and used it as a jumping-off point for our day trips.
While you’re in the planning stages of your French Riviera itinerary, you may be wondering where to stay in Nice. There are many beautiful and historic hotels in the French Riviera. They may be stunning, but one thing they generally are not is cheap. Below to the left you’ll find hotel options for your 2 days in the South of France – for both bougie and budget travelers.
If you’re looking for the best activities for Nice in 2 days, consult the “quick version” of my French Riviera itinerary below to the right. You’ll also find helpful arrival/transit information below.
🏡 Where to Stay in NICE:
Browse budget-friendly, mid-level and luxury hotels in Nice for your two days in the French Riviera!
BUDGET-FRIENDLY HOTELS IN NICE:
- Villa Saint Exupery Beach (⭐️ 8.2/10)
- Hostel OZZ & Bar By Happyculture (⭐️ 8.6/10)
- Antares Hostel (⭐️ 8.3/10)
MID-LEVEL HOTELS IN NICE:
- Hotel Victor Hugo (⭐️ 8.6/10)
- L’Alcôve Hôtel (⭐️ 8.6/10)
- Residhome Nice Promenade (⭐️ 7.8/10)
- Hôtel Le G (⭐️ 8.4/10)
LUXURY HOTELS IN NICE:
- Le Negresco Hotel (⭐️ 9.0/10) – the most famous and historic hotel in Nice!
- Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée (⭐️ 9.2/10)
- Hôtel Suisse (⭐️ 9.0/10)
🥖 French Riviera itinerary highlights:
- Admire the works of French painter Henri Matisse at the Musée Matisse 🖼️
- Grab some socca – a traditional French cuisine consisting of flatbread made of chickpeas 😋 Try it at Chez Pipo!
- Tour the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral ⛪️
- Have drinks at the Le Negresco Hotel – the most famous hotel in Nice🍸
- See the best of Nice on a bike tour 🚲
- Vist the MAMAC – the Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art in Nice 🎨
- Embark on a small-group food & wine tasting tour 🍷
- Create the perfect scent during a Molinard Perfume Workshop 🌺
- Enjoy a walking tour of Old Town Nice and Castle Hill 🚶🏻♀️
- Fit in a half-day trip to Èze during your two days in the French Riviera🚎
- Visit Le Jardin Exotique d’Èze 🌵 and admire the views.
- Take a day trip to Monte Carlo and check out the fancy casinos 🎰
- Visit the Prince’s Palace of Monaco 👑
✈️ How to Get to nice
The easiest way to get to Nice is by flying in to Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport (NCE). When you land, you can either take the #12 bus or the L2 tram from the airport to the city center, or grab a taxi in the line outside the airport. Make sure to practice travel safety protocols and never get in a car that’s soliciting rides from passengers.
If you’re already in Europe, you can also arrive in Nice by train or bus. Nice is very well connected with the rest of Europe’s major hub cities. Expect the train ride from Paris to take around 5h 45 min, the ride from Lyon to take 4h and 40 min and the ride from Marseille to take around 2h and 40 min.
You can also arrive in Nice by sleeper train from Paris!
Protect Your Trip to the French Riviera
**I receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. I do not represent World Nomads. This is not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
Whenever I plan a trip, I always make sure to protect myself and my wallet with trip insurance. In the past, I’ve had very good experiences with World Nomads. On my trip to Thailand in 2019, I had an unfortunate ankle-spraining incident that turned into a hospital visit with X-Rays, crutches and physical therapy. When I submitted my claim to World Nomads, I was reimbursed within weeks.
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world! Click below to get a quote for your next trip.
Night One of Your Two Days in the French Riviera
We arrived in Nice late on our first night after driving in from nearby Avignon. We had minimal problems during most of the French Riviera drive…however, Nice was an extremely difficult city to navigate due to all the construction, closures and one-way streets.
After finally making it to our Airbnb, we were too exhausted to do anything besides eat and drink. So we set out to find a spot where we could do both. Enter – Chez Acchiardo.
Dinner at Chez Acchiardo
If you’re wondering what to do in Nice, the most honest answer is eat all the French food. We got started on that goal immediately during our Nice 2 day itinerary.
Chez Acchiardo is on every list of Nice’s best restaurants and is surprisingly affordable for being so popular. We arrived for a late dinner, even by French standards, and were sat immediately. While we enjoyed a bottle of de-licious house merlot and complementary baguette, we chatted with the friendly waiter and thoroughly enjoyed the first night on our 2 days in Nice itinerary.
We left Chez Acchiardo feeling full, happy and ready to start our first full day in Nice.
Day One of Your Two Days in the French Riviera: Things to in Nice
Since we wanted to spend a day exploring Èze and Monaco, we knew we had to make our only day in Nice count! After returning the rental car, we grabbed a quick espresso and set off to enjoy a perfect day in Nice France.
Climb Castle Hill
The first thing I like to do in a new city is climb to the highest vantage point possible and take in the views. Nice was no different. As soon as we were caffeinated enough to explore, we headed down the Promenade des Anglais and to the bottom of Castle Hill or Colline du Chateau.
After a short, but sweaty, walk up the hill, we arrived at the Parc de la Colline du Chateau. This small lookout area boasts the best views over Nice, including Baie des Anges, Old Nice and the Port. If you only have two days in the French Riviera, I urge you not to miss this viewpoint.
And Tour the Beautiful Cimetière du Château
After spending a half hour taking in the views from Parc de la Colline du Chateau, we decided to explore a bit more of Castle Hill and headed to the scenic Cimetière du Château. This beautiful cemetery, founded in 1738, has a whopping 2,800 graves. These include many of Nice’s most famous writers, opera singers and actors.
While we wandered around the cemetery, the sunlight came through the clouds and illuminated many of the gravestones. This, combined with the views of Nice below, created a magical illusion. It was one of the most spectacular sights I’ve seen in my travels and the perfect addition to your Nice itinerary.
Stop for Lunch at Chez Pipo
Since it took us a couple of hours to climb and enjoy the views from Castle Hill, we definitely worked up quite the appetite. Chez Pipo was the perfect spot to satisfy our hunger with delicious French food and to sample some of Nice’s local cuisine.
Socca, a type of flatbread made from chickpeas, is one of Nice’s most famous local dishes. It’s a must-try on the French Riviera. Every food blog will agree that Chez Pipo serves the best socca in the city. It’s a bit of a hike from Castle Hill, but the delicious socca will taste even better when you finally reach it.
Chez Pipo was my favorite restaurant we tried during our trip to Nice. It’s a must-visit when spending two days on the French Riviera!
Immerse Yourself in French Culture at One of Nice’s Many Museums
If you’re a museum-buff, you’re in the right city. Nice is home to 15 museums – both art and otherwise – and, although you’ll likely only have time for one or two, all are worth a visit during your two days in the French Riviera.
- Musée Matisse: the “Matisse Museum” pays homage to world-renowned French painter, Henri Matisse. Although the museum houses many of Matisse’s best works and goes through a timeline of his life, it’s rather small – so it’s possible to tour it quickly during your one day in Nice. Entrance costs €10 and from November 1st to April 30th, it’s open from 10:00AM to 5:00PM (except Tuesdays). The museum is open until 6:00PM from May 2nd to October 31st.
- The National Marc Chagall Museum: this famous art museum is dedicated to the work of famous French painter Marc Chagall. Admission costs €8 and the museum is open November – April from 10:00AM – 5:00PM (except Tuesdays).
- Musée D’art Moderne et D’art Contemporain: the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice (MAMAC) showcases over 1,300 European and American works and offers a unique insight into International Postwar Art from the 1950’s until today. The museum is open every day except for Monday from 11:00AM – 6:00PM from Nov. 1st to April 30th, and 10:00AM – 6:00PM from May 2nd to October 31st. Entrance tickets cost €10.
Tour the Cathédrale Saint-Nicolas de Nice
This beautiful Russian Orthodox Cathedral is recognized as a national monument of France and currently belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate. Interestingly enough, the St. Nicholas Cathedral is the largest Orthodox Cathedral in Western Europe.
The outer facade is colorful and ornate, with gold detailing and large lavish crosses perched on top of its turquoise domes. Sadly, you aren’t allowed to take photos inside the cathedral. However, the interior is just as splendid as the exterior and is definitely worth a look around during your weekend in Nice. It’s also one of the best free things to do in Nice!
The church is open to visitors from 10:00AM to 6:00PM daily.
Admire The Sainte-Répérate Cathedral at Place Rosetti
Make sure to include room in your French Riviera itinerary for a visit to Place Rosetti, in the center of Old Town, and the Sainte-Répérate Cathedral.
Built in the 17th century, this famous cathedral was named for a 15 year old Palestinian girl who was killed for her beliefs in the 3rd century. The cathedral is the oldest and most ornate in the city and is widely considered the religious heart of Nice. If you’re so inclined, you can attended mass at the Sainte-Répérate Cathedral from Tuesday to Friday at 10:00AM.
Place Rosetti is also a great spot to relax and enjoy a tasty ice cream cone. I recommend stopping by Fenocchio, one of the most beloved ice cream shops in Nice.
Have Drinks at Le Negresco Hotel
My biggest regret during our trip to Nice is that we didn’t have time to have drinks inside Nice’s world-famous Le Negresco Hotel. The 5-star hotel first opened its doors in 1912 and ever since has been catering to wealthy international clientele such as artists, politicians and even royalty. Among Le Negresco’s most famous guests are Salvador Dalí, Princess Grace of Monaco, the Beatles, Louis Armstrong and Elton John.
If you get a chance to visit Hotel Negresco while in Nice, drop a comment below and give my readers some insight on the experience. I’ll definitely be visiting for drinks during my next two days in the French Riviera!
Enjoy Dinner at Le Petit Lascaris Nice
Although we didn’t have time to drink at one of the world’s most famous luxury hotels, we did have time to stuff our faces with more French food. We happened upon Le Petit Lascaris in the pouring rain and immediately dashed inside for refuge and a bottle of delicious vin rouge.
What followed was a fantastic dinner filled with flaky french bread, savory roasted quail and hilarious conversation with the waitstaff and our fellow diners. The atmosphere at Le Petit Lascaris is unparalleled and we all shared a laugh when the waiter brought out the english-translated menu and we ordered the “quail stuffed asshole.” As a bonus, our meal was incredibly affordable.
We wrapped up the perfect day in Nice with a frosty Guinness in an Irish pub and a yellow lab puppy snuggle at a pet shop we passed on the bus back from the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Although it would have been nice to have a week to explore, we made the best of our time and saw the most possible with one day in Nice. We enjoyed a good night’s sleep (aided by many glasses of French wine) and got ready to spend the next day exploring Èze and Monaco.
Day Two of Your Two Days in the French Riviera: Èze and Monaco
We went back and forth between spending an entire day in Monaco vs. stopping in Èze for a couple hours. In the end, we decided to split up the day into two trips and were all very glad we did. Even though we only spent a half-day in both Èze and Monaco, both stops are a must-see when planning out your two days in the French Riviera.
Getting to Èze from Nice is not the easiest without a car, but it’s definitely worth the hassle. It’s very easy to get from Nice to Monaco, all you need to do is hop on a quick train. However, stopping in Èze makes the journey a little more complicated. The two buses from Nice to Èze are the #82 and the #602*, both leaving from the Max Barel bus stop. Don’t take the #100 bus because it’ll take you to Èze-sur-mer (on the beach) instead of the hilltop town of Èze. You can buy tickets for €2.10 directly onboard.
*We took the #112 bus in 2019, but it seems to have been replaced with the #602 since then.
If you want to start your day in Monaco, head to the Nice Riquier train station and take the TER 86037 five stops to the Monaco-Monte-Carlo station. The ride takes less than 20 minutes and costs around $5.
🚩 OR See Èze and Monaco by Guided Tour from Nice!
Spend the Morning in Èze
A charming hilltop town with a spectacular seaside view, Èze is not to be missed while visiting the French Riviera. The bus will drop you off on the outskirts of town. After that, a short, uphill walk will bring you to a cobblestoned, medieval town with fantastic views of the ocean and the surrounding hills.
Admire the Views from Le Jardin Exotique d’Èze
Since we only had a half-day to spend exploring Eze, we headed straight to the best viewpoint! Le Jardin Exotique d’Èze, pictured below, is the spot for views in Èze and a must-see during your two days in the French Riviera. You can clearly see why. Rolling hills, cliffside towns, colorful sunsets and blue ocean as far as the eye can see…it doesn’t get much better than this.
There is a small fee to enter the botanical garden. It costs €7 from April to October but we paid a bit less by visiting in November.
Stop for a Scenic Lunch at Deli’
After a very long bus ride and a lot of incredible sightseeing, we worked up quite the appetite. These cliffside towns can get a bit pricey, so we opted for something simple: sandwiches and beers. Deli’ serves delicious sammies on french baguettes with a beautiful garden patio. Don’t forget the ice-cold 1664 beers!
Deli’ also has an on-site olive oil shop where you can browse locally made olive oil – a.k.a. the perfect France souvenir.
Spend the Afternoon in Monaco
After a yummy lunch in Èze, and some souvenir shopping, it was time to head to Monte Carlo. Unfortunately, getting to Monte Carlo from Èze was even trickier than navigating to Èze from Nice. The bus you need to take does not show up on Google Maps (I felt betrayed). By asking around in 2019, we discovered that we needed to take the #112 bus to Monte Carlo from Èze Village. We bought tickets directly on the bus and – let me tell you – that road trip is stunning.
In hindsight, I wish we were able to spend at least 24 hours in Monaco. However, sacrifices were necessary to maximize our time during two days in the French Riviera.
[2023 Update] The #112 bus seems to have been replaced by the #602 orange line since 2019. This bus should conduct pick-ups and drop-offs in Eze Village on its way to Monte Carlo.
Stroll Through Monte Carlo’s Famous Casinos
Unfortunately, it’s very hard to enjoy Monte Carlo’s world-famous casinos when you have only a half-day. Many of the casinos require black tie attire, which is pretty much impossible to wear while you’re riding a crowded bus or climbing the stairs in Èze. Since we weren’t interested in gambling anyway, we decided that walking through the casinos and taking a few photos was enough for us!
If you’re dead-set on experiencing the casinos in Monte Carlo, I recommend spending at least one day in Monaco, instead of a half day, and bringing a change of clothes with you. It’s definitely among the best answers to the question: what to do in Monaco for a day!
Admire the Bougie Sports Cars
The casinos are beautiful, but don’t forget to check out the parking lot. Here you can find some of the most expensive sports cars in the world. We saw Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Bugatti’s in every color.
Take in the Views from the Prince’s Palace of Monaco
No two days in the French Riviera is complete without a visit to the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.
Built in the late 12th century, the Palace of Monaco has belonged to the Grimaldi family since the end of the 13th century. The Grimaldi’s ruled Monaco from this palace for over 700 years. In the late 18th century, the palace was overtaken by the French and the family was exiled for 20 years. Today, the Prince’s Palace of Monaco is the official residence of the current Prince of Monaco, Albert II.
It doesn’t hurt that the walk up to the Palace is filled with incredible views of Monte Carlo!
Catch the Sunset Over the Port de Fontvieille
If you’re wondering what to see in the French Riviera, the answer should always include sunsets. Let’s be honest – golden hour is the best hour of the day.
The views from the square of the Palace of Monaco are some of the best in the country already. Add a sunset…and they’re unforgettable. We timed our visit perfectly and arrived in time to watch the spectacular sunset over the port. Definitely a sunset to remember and the perfect ending to our two days in the French Riviera.
It can be challenging to visit Nice, Èze and Monaco with only two days in the French Riviera. However, it’s definitely possible with careful planning. Ideally, you’d have a week or more to spend on this magical stretch of French coastline, but unfortunately vacations are always just a little too short. If we had a little more time, I would have loved to experience the Cours Saleya Market, the National Marc Chagall Museum and Musée Matisse…but I suppose I’ll have to save those for next time. I hope you enjoyed my guide about how to spend two days in the French Riviera!
Two Days in the French Riviera FAQs:
A: You might be wondering…is 2 days enough in Nice France? As much as I would love to ease your worries, I’m going to have to go ahead and say no 😭 To truly experience the best of this historic coastline in France, I would recommend spending at least 3 days in Nice, plus a couple extra days to enjoy the best of the French Riviera.
If you have limited time, Nice is still worth visiting for only two days. Just make sure to plan out your itinerary to make the most of your two days in the French Riviera.
A: Generally, the best time to visit the French Riviera is during the shoulder seasons – spring (April to May) and autumn (September to November). During this time, the weather is pleasant, and there are less crowds compared to peak season. However, if you visit at the tail-end of autumn or the very beginning of Spring, you’ll risk many restaurants and activities being shut down for the off-season.
The months of July and August are the busiest and can get very hot, but if you love the hustle and bustle of tourists and want to soak up the sun, then this is the time to go. However, keep in mind that prices may be higher during this time, and accommodations can be harder to find.
A: I’ve visited both the Amalfi Coast and the French Riviera and I find it very difficult to compare the two destinations. Both are beautiful, exciting trips soaked in history and full of exciting things to do. Both are popular tourist spots – which makes them more on the expensive side. But honesty, the comparisons end here.
A trip to the Amalfi Coast is all about the dramatic landscape, with its rugged cliffs, sparkling turquoise waters and quaint cliffside towns like Positano and Amalfi. The French Riviera, on the other hand, is all about glitz and glamour, with seaside resorts like Cannes and Saint-Tropez attracting the rich and famous since the 19th century.
If you want to experience a more laidback vibe and soak up some of the world’s most beautiful scenery, head to Italy. But if you’re looking for a lavish escape where you can experience luxury shopping, fine dining and see some of the world’s largest yachts, then the French Riviera definitely won’t disappoint.
A: The answer is not a simple yes or no. The French Riviera is indeed a high-end spot with plenty of opulent amenities and experiences – like extravagant restaurants, designer boutiques and luxurious hotels with Mediterranean views. However, there are also more affordable options, especially if you’re willing to venture slightly away from the main tourist hubs. Staying in hostels and sticking to casual dining experiences will significantly lower your cost in the French Riviera. Additionally, spending only two days in the French Riviera will result in much lower costs than hunkering down for a week or more in France.
Ultimately, how much you spend on your trip to the French Riviera will depend on your preferences and budget, but one thing’s for sure – it’s a destination that’s worth every penny!
A: The French Riviera is absolutely worth a visit! Also known as the Cote d’Azur, this beautiful stretch of French coastline has been a popular tourist destination for years. With its warm Mediterranean climate, turquoise waters and picturesque villages, this region is the epitome of a chic and glamorous getaway.
There’s something for everyone to enjoy during two days in the French Riviera. Budget-conscious travelers can enjoy the free but stunning views from Castle Hill or a group bike tour of Nice. On the flip side, tourists traveling in the lap of luxury might enjoy Nice’s high-end shopping scene or cocktails at Le Negresco Hotel. And let’s not forget the delicious cuisine – fresh seafood, mouth-watering pastries, and of course, exquisite wine. Hopefully this French Riviera travel guide has you convinced that the Cote d’Azur is worth a visit!
A: The French Riviera, which runs from Cassis to Menton, is known worldwide for its luxury resorts, high-end shopping and stunning beaches. But that’s not all – the French Riviera is also home to a number of charming and historic towns, each with its own unique character and culture.
A: Generally speaking, yes, the French Riviera is safe.
Crime rates in this area of France are relatively low, but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down entirely. As with any popular tourist destination, petty theft can be a concern, so be sure to keep an eye on your belongings and avoid carrying large amounts of cash. While the French Riviera is considered safe overall, it’s always a good idea to exercise caution and use common sense – especially as a solo female traveler.
A: The French Riviera is famous for its sunny, Mediterranean climate, with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine all year round. Summers can be hot and dry, with temperatures often reaching the mid-90s °F (or mid-30s Celsius for all my European friendsies). The winter months are mild, with temperatures rarely dropping below 50°F (10°C), making it a great destination for those seeking some winter sun. While the beaches and the sea are undoubtedly the stars of the show, the climate is what keeps visitors coming back to the French Riviera year after year.
If you enjoyed this guide to spending a weekend in Nice France + Eze and Monaco, check out my related posts below. And don’t forget to follow my adventures on Instagram @madisonsfootsteps 🙂