Spectacular South of France in 3 Days
Where to go in France for a weekend? Hit the South of France. From the French Riviera to Provence wine tasting, this South of France in 3 days travel itinerary is full, yet relaxing (with no car required), making for the perfect long weekend in France for the over 50 single traveler.
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South of France Solo Travel Packing Essentials
Why Visit the South of France
Ahhh… the long white beaches of the French Riviera, high reaching rocky cliffs, Provence vineyards and Roman ruins, charming villages, and blue, blue waters. Its dreamy outdoor getaway location is luxurious to the eyes.
When I hear “French Riviera” I always think of To Catch a Thief. What can I say? I’m an Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant fan.
The French Riviera extends from Menton, on the France-Italy border, to Cassis, and from the white beaches clinging the stunning Côte d’Azur (“Blue Coast”) up to the Provence-Alps.
French Riviera is known for glamour. It’s long been considered the playground for the rich. It’s got culture going back centuries and is full of outdoor splendor offering for a variety of ways to relax. Without a doubt, the French Riviera is worth visiting.
Best Time to Visit South of France
Visit in the spring or fall, when the weather is still warm, but not too hot or touristy. I went in late April, which allowed for plenty of sunshine and dressing in thin layers with no bulky clothing.
You may need an umbrella, but the weather should still be very pleasant while you’re popping through different French Riviera locations.
Where to Stay in the French Riviera
Where did I base myself in South of France? Being on the eastern end of the French Riviera, I made Nice, one of the top southern France destinations, my home base.
Nice is the largest city along the French Riviera and an ideal place to stay during your long weekend in France.
Nice is known for its eclectic mix of café’s, bars, restaurants, outdoor markets, and white beaches all squeezed cozily within provincial, rustic architecture and mountains.
Where to Stay in Nice
If you are staying south of the Nice Ville train station, and within walking distance of Avenue Jean Médecin, you are centrally located to cover a lot within Nice, either by foot or by Nice public transportation.
The Nice Ville train station makes it highly convenient for venturing outside the city to other French Riviera towns, especially on a short French Riviera itinerary.
Many day trips from Nice to Avignon, Provence – dubbed one of the 51 most beautiful places in the world – or elsewhere will leave from central or Old Town Nice.
For single travel over 50, the trains or excursions are the best ways on how to get around the South of France.
Nice Hotels and More
Nice has a multitude of hotel, hostel and other accommodation types across all budget types within the Nice city center area I listed. Going in the off season, or booking well in advance, will get you the best Nice prices and choices on any type of accommodation.
Consider booking at a property that either is eco-friendly or sustainably rated, or at least employs these methods into their business.
For location, price, amenities (including no pre-payment and free-cancellation), eco-friendly and sustainable operations, and customer reviews and ratings, here are my Nice hotel recommendations for over 50 single travel (i.e., where I would stay).
Hotels and bed and breakfasts in Nice will range from budget to posh. My following recommendations are made in that order, and in my preference for single travel:
- Hôtel Du Centre
- YELO Hôtel
- Le Riviera Collection, Signature Collection by Best Western
- Hotel de France
- Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée*
*Also a Green Globe property
Currently, there is only one hostel I could possibly recommend, which is the Villa Saint Exupery Beach Hostel. It is a little iffy on the reviews, but still scored over a 7.0 rating (which I personally will not go below).
Plus, it does have all necessary amenities and is in a fabulous location. If you can get a better price on a private room here than a hotel, then go ahead and stay. I think you could certainly do worse.
You may notice I don’t recommend apartments much on my travel guides and itineraries. I don’t have anything against apartments, and I have stayed in them when necessary. As a solo traveler, however, I prefer to stay with the best opportunities to meet people, and I find apartments more isolating. That’s just me.
Nice Eco Travel Tip
Consider Booking.com Sustainable Travel properties, Green Globe or Green Key Global properties for eco-friendly and sustainable lodging options in Nice.
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Things to Do in South of France in 3 Days
What can you see in France in 3 days? Check out my South of France trip itinerary I used on my single travel without a car. I had a fabulous time and think it makes for one of the best in solo trips to southern France.
Day 1 – Nice & Antibes
At the start of your 3 days in Nice, catch the bus 17 from the Nice Ville station stop to the Les Arènes / Musée Matisse stop. The Musée Matisse is located on the hill of Cimiez close to the Franciscan monastery with Italianate gardens and the Hotel Regina where Matisse used to live.
The museum opens at 10am, so there is time to walk across the way to explore the ruins of a Gallo-Roman amphitheater at Parc des Arènes de Cimiez, free to enter.
Catch the #15 bus back to Nice Ville station stop for the rest of the day exploring Antibes.
A 24 minute train ride southwest along the French Riviera is the town of Antibes, which also hosts beautiful beaches, an Old Town, the Marche Provencal, Fort Carré, and the must-see Picasso Museum.
From the Antibes train station leisurely stroll towards Old Town and the water. Grab lunch in an outdoor café or just some nibbles at the Marché Provencal.
Just blocks away from Marché Provencal is the Picasso Museum, located in an old castle on the water and hosts many of Picasso’s works spanning his career, along with other artists’ works. It’s a beautiful setting for beautiful art, indoors and out.
After the Picasso Museum, explore more of Antibes and stay for dinner, or head back to Nice for dinner.
Day 2 – Provence Wine Tasting
Get ready to get up fairly early on day 2 of this South of France itinerary and get out of town on a French Riviera wine tour. This was another must on my list. I was eager to taste those Provence rosés.
I chose a full day Provence wine tour. I liked the personal feeling with a small group tour and experienced wine tour guide.
My tour included transportation, red, white and rosé tastings and tours at three well-respected wineries, and a 3-course gourmet lunch at a local, Provence bistro. If you wish, you can also try the Elite Rock ‘n Rose wine tour, which seems very similar.
Whether you do the Elite Rock ‘n Rose tour, or the alternate wine tasting tour, I’m sure you’ll more than pleased. Both are operated through the same wine tour company, Grape Tours, which I do recommend.
You’ll be back in Nice by 5pm in plenty of time to explore more of Nice and dine out.
If neither of those wine tours appeal to you, I would try one of these French Riviera wine tours.
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Day 3 – Nice & Monaco
Your last day of the long weekend in France is perfect for grabbing a café and croissant and nibbling as you go through Nice’s outdoor shops and spaces.
Free Things to Do in Nice
Avenue Jean Médecin
Start at the top of Avenue Jean Médecin towards the train station and meander down this central street of Nice. It may be a good place to pick up a travel essential while you’re here as it has the Etoile shopping mall full of retail shops and international chain stores.
Keep strolling, or ride the tram, downhill towards the water and Place Masséna, a great area for people watching, soaking up the sun, and heading towards more free things to do in Nice.
Le Vieux Nice (Old Town)
Situated between Place Masséna and the Nice beach, is Old Town, which holds Marché aux Fleurs Cours Saleya (Cours Saleya Flower Market), fruit market, unique shopping, and restaurants.
If you’re up to it, go up Colline du Chateau (Castle Hill) for a scenic view.
Promenade des Anglais (English Walk)
Of course a stay in Nice wouldn’t be complete without walking along the 4.5 mile Promenade des Anglais. You won’t be able to keep your eyes off the bright blue Mediterranean (or sleek sunbathers).
Sunbathe yourself on the lovely beaches of Nice or sip cocktails on the waterfront and watch the world go by. There’s absolutely no rush.
After a luxuriously lazy day in Nice, freshen up because it’s time for a night out in Monaco, the 2nd smallest country, and only a 24-minute train ride away.
Monaco is known for royalty, wealth, glamor, gambling, and ridiculously large yachts.
Less than 2-miles in length, Monaco is surrounded by France on three sides. Monaco is walkable, but prepared to walk up some hills.
If you get there in time you could take in the Oceanography Museum.
What did I do? Well, where else could I get to play my favorite games of chance while sipping free Taittinger in one of the most beautiful casinos in the world? Yep, I went to the Casino of Monte-Carlo. How could I resist?
And it is beautiful inside. Make sure you dress appropriately. There is no dress code, per se, but you must have on proper attire.
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Let Me Hear From You
I would love to hear if my travel tips and itinerary for traveling the South of France in 3 days were helpful to you. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!