French Riviera Secrets

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Money savings tips for your French Riviera holiday

Vence, close to Nice Vence, close to Nice

Despite its reputation as an expensive holiday destination, a bit of planning and some local knowledge can help you to enjoy your stay on the Cote d'Azur without breaking the bank.

Of course, if you do want to splash out, you can spend as much as you want on the French Riviera: Michelin star restaurants, 5 star hotels, designer shops, jewelry...

Let's assume though that you have set yourself a budget which you need to stick to. There are many cheap flights to Nice on offer, some really nice budget hotels available, and you can eat excellent local freshly prepared food that does not cost an arm and a leg.


Flights to Nice

Nice airport Nice airport

Low-cost airlines have been flying to and from Nice since well over 15 years. EasyJet maintains regular flights between London (Luton and Gatwick) and Nice. RyanAir has one daily flight between Nice and Dublin.
Traditional carriers have been forced to reduce their prices, and most of the time their deals are just as good as those of the budget airlines.
British Airways for example has very attractive prices on some of its flights to Nice, rivalling or even surpassing (downwards that is) EasyJet's prices.
KLM-Air France fly to and from Amsterdam, and cover all domestic flights too. All major European cities have direct connections with Nice, and those routes are served by national carriers.

As for medium and long-haul flights, Nice has direct connections to Dubai, Algiers, Tunis, Marrakech, Beirut and Tel-Aviv in the Middle-East, and to New York and Montreal in the Americas.

All destinations from Nice are listed on the Nice Airport website.
In general, the earlier you book your flight, the cheaper it will be!

Apart from the airlines' own sites, SkyScanner.com is a good place to start if you want to find cheap flights to Nice.


Accommodation

There are simply too many hotels in the region to be able to list the ones with the best (or worst) value for money; in general though, unsurprisingly, if you are ok to be a little bit further out from the beach, you will be paying a lot less for your hotel. 100 Euros per night is definitely feasible.
Try to find last-minute deals for some really good special deals. Hotels.com and Booking.com are good sites to use.

Campings also come in various price ranges, and here too if you are willing to stay a bit further away from the most popular spots, you can make significant savings. Here, 30-40 Euro per night is reasonable.

More and more people are renting out their villas, which may be an attractive option if you're with several people sharing; expect prices between 2,000 and 3,500 Euros / week .
Recommended site: homelidays.com.

If staying in someone's house is your type of thing, then airbnb.com is the site to check out.

The general rule with accommodation is: there's a risk of no rooms being available if you leave it too late; however, prices don't generally increase if your stay is at short notice, and, last-minute deals may be available due to cancellations or a lower than expected number of bookings.


Food and entertainment

Reasonably priced restaurants abound, in Nice and elsewhere.
Instead of eating out, why not go to a supermarket, or even better, a local market, and buy some basics, like freshly baked bread, lettuce, tomatoes, goat cheese and a bottle of rosé , and have a delicious picknick-style meal that any restaurant would find hard to beat!
Major supermarkets are Carrefour , Casino, Intermarché and Geant. Discount supermarkets are also represented: Lidl and Aldi.

Fun fairs and attraction parcs near the main holiday areas are generally expensive; but local museums, boat trips, and year-round sightseeings are all reasonably priced.

An impressive list of attraction providers, ski resorts, museums and many others have teamed up to create the so-called "Cote d'Azur Card", which can be purchased on-line or in many sales outlets across the region; it gives you free access to over 180 different attractions across the French Riviera, for either 3 days or 6 days. More information on the Cote d'Azur Card website.

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