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Nice, Cannes and Monte Carlo - A Guide to French Riviera
These cities are very close together. Cannes, Monaco, Monte Carlo are quite expensive. If you are on a budget, it is recommended that you make Nice the home base and take one of the frequent trains to the other areas. But because there are so many small interesting towns in the area, it might be advisable to rent a car.


Nice

La Mer: Long segments of the beach at Nice are admission free. Nearly the entire stretch to the east of the Ruhl Plage is free. If a hotel controls a stretch of beach, there will be an admission charge, which includes a cabin and shower.

La Tour Bellanda: Located at the end of the Promenade des Anglais or Quai des Etats Unis. This popular tourist attraction offers a lovely winding park with a Chateau and ruins of the ancient Fort Palace. It's actually a small mountain with marvelous vies of Nice. Take the elevator to the top.

Villa des Arenes (Cimiez): In the hills above Nice. Take city bus #15 or #17 from the side of the Municipal Casino just across the street from the Galeries Lafayette. Here you will find the Matisse Museum, open daily except Sun/Mon from 10-12,2-7. It houses a good collection of his paintings, drawings, models, studies, and cutouts. In a small room, there's also some of his furniture. Archaeology Museum is on the first floor of the Villa des Arenes. It houses a good collection of artifacts found at this site...ceramics, coins, sculpture, and jewelry. Outdoors, all around are the ruins of Cimiez, which was founded by the Romans under Augustus in the 1st century BC.

Musee Chagall: Above Nice on the way to Villa des Arenes. Ask the bus driver for "Chagall" or look for "Dr. Moriez" stop. Daily except Tue 10-12:30, 2-5:30. The museum itself is a squat white stone modern building in a park-like setting. It's pleasantly lighted and airy and all the works, which were donated by Chagall, deal with Biblical subjects.


Cannes

Cannes is 34 minutes by train from Nice but is much more expensive. Its long, sandy beaches are one redeeming feature but you'll pay dearly to find a space.

Ile St. Marguerite: Boats leave every half hour for this island, which is covered with rare samples of Mediterranean vegetation. Be sure and see the fort where the "Man in the Iron Mask" was imprisoned

International Film Festival: Held each May. It's real money time!

Blvd de la Croisette: For smart boutiques, outdoor cafes, and colorful gardens which trace the line of the Gulf of Napoule.

Palm Beach: This is the original Palm Beach at the end of Pointe de la Croisette... beautiful views of the water along the way.

The Port: You'll see some of the most extravagant yachts ever.


Saint Paul

Saint Paul is an old walled city, with a gem of a village, perched high above the valley. It has narrow, winding streets, and is virtually unchanged since the 16th century. You can reach St. Paul by bus. Ask the Tourist Information at the train station for directions.

Foundation Maeght: This museum is located just outside St. Paul. It can be walked. Open daily except Tuesday 10-12:30, 3-7. The breadth-taking natural setting is one of the aspects of works of art. The two concrete arcs on the roof of the building are incorporated into the symbol, which guides you to the museum. The front lawn is scattered with modern sculpture that seems as though it had grown there. The art collection includes Giacometti, Chagall, Bonnard, Leger, Miro, and Calder. This is a world famous foundation/museum.


Biot

Biot is a medieval village perched on top of a hill, and is very near Nice. Must be reached by bus or by auto.

Leger Museum: Open daily 10-12, 2:30-6:30. The museum was Leger's home and has an extensive collection of his works concerned with the "glorification of the machine".


Antibes

Antibes is a small town, which warrants a visit. But the main reason to come here is to visit a former home of Picasso, which he donated to the town.

Musee Picasso: Open daily except Tuesday 10-12, 3-7. This chateau is on the ramparts of Antibes... 10 minutes from Nice. From the station walk to the port, turn right, and signs will point the way. The structure is an ancient castle built on the ruins of a Roman camp and was Picasso's home in 1946. He donated it to the town of Antibes and it now houses a large collection of his paintings and ceramics. It's a beautiful setting above the sea.


Aix-en-Provence

Cezanne's studio is totally restored to the way it was at his death.


Vence

Visit to the home/studio of Renoir. Can be reached by auto.


Monaco

Only 22 minutes by train from Nice. This principality is a maze of skyscrapers and old Rococo buildings, and is located in a beautiful setting on the Mediterranean. The Prince's Palace looks like an operetta castle. One may visit the palace from July to September for a look at the State Apartments and the Throne Room.


Monte Carlo

This elegant and international city has brought Monaco fame. It is separated from the main part of Monaco by the harbor district. The Grand Casino is a landmark. Do go inside even if you don't gamble. There's no fee to enter the Slot Machine area. Passport, proper dress and a fee required to enter the main rooms.


La Turbie

The Trophy of the Alps is a spectacular, partially reconstructed Roman ruin built in 6 BC. At the highest point of the ruin there are grand views of Monaco and the entire coast. To reach La Turbie takes 45 minutes by bus from Nice. Service is limited. Best to go by auto. The views are worth it.
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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