• Villefranche-sur-Mer
  • Place Masséna in Nice
  • Antibes
  • Marc Chagall Museum in Nice
  • Grasse
  • Monaco Harbor
  • Port of Nice

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Best of the French Riviera in 7 Days Tour

Our Riviera getaway begins in Nice, with its famous beachfront promenade, seductive old town, and thriving night life. Nearby, you'll stroll through a seaside village and a belle époque mansion, rub elbows with the rich and royal in the principality of Monaco, and get up-close with Picasso's paintings — in the artist's home. We'll also take you up into the hills for spectacular views and a lesson in perfume-making at its very source. Join us for the Best of the French Riviera in 7 Days!

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of France come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 13 group sightseeing events • Nice orientation • Walking tour of Nice • Monaco day trip • Orientation tour of Monaco • Antibes day trip • Walking tour of Antibes • Picasso Museum tour • St-Paul-de-Vence and Grasse day trip • Fondation Maeght tour • Grasse Perfume tour • Villefranche-sur-Mer day trip • Walking tour of Villefranche-sur-Mer • Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild tour...and more
  • All group transportation during the week in and around Nice
  • 6 nights accommodations in a memorable, centrally-located hotel
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Free stuff including Rick Steves' Provence & the French Riviera guidebook, French phrase book, map, moneybelt and earplugs
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2014
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Nice

We'll meet at around 5 p.m. at our hotel for a short "bienvenue á Nice" meeting. Then we'll take an orientation walk through our seaside neighborhood, followed by time to get acquainted over dinner together. Sleep in Nice (6 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: Old Nice

This morning we'll take a walking tour across Nice, starting with the busy Cours Saleya, the city's main market square since the Middle Ages. We'll then follow the narrow streets of the Italianate Old City to the spacious boulevards and shopping promenades of the city's newer side. Here, in the late 19th century, visitors from the north seeking the elixir of warm, fresh sea air, created Europe's first tourism boom. Your afternoon will be free to visit Nice's beautiful Chagall and Matisse Museums, prowl the promenades, or relax on the famous beach. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 3: Monaco

Today we'll visit the jewel-box principality of Monaco. As we travel by train, we'll be treated to some of the best and most dramatic Riviera coastline views. Once in Monaco, your guide will lead you on an orientation tour of Monaco-Ville, home to most of Monaco's key sights. Your afternoon is free to visit the Cousteau Aquarium, Cathedral of Monaco (where Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier now rest) and the Prince's Palace, where you can see the changing of the guard. Tonight we'll have dinner in Nice. Train 1 hr. Walking: strenuous.

Day 4: Antibes and the Picasso Museum

Our destination is the town of Antibes, a short 30-minute train ride from Nice. Upon arrival your guide will take you on a walking tour of this easygoing beach town. We'll start our tour at the Harbor of Antibes where some of Europe's largest yachts are moored. We'll continue on, meandering through Antibes' medieval streets past covered markets to the town's cultural claim to fame — The Picasso Museum. Serenely set where the old town meets the sea, Picasso's former home is filled with his paintings, sketches and ceramics. After the visit you'll be free to explore more of Antibes or make your way back to Nice. Train: 1 hr. Walking: strenuous.

Day 5: Hill Towns and Perfume

We'll head for the hills that start at Nice's back door and drive through brilliant scenery just miles from the Mediterranean as we make our way up to one of the most photogenic hill towns in France — St-Paul-de-Vence — where we'll visit its museum of contemporary art — the one-of-a-kind Fondation Maeght. After joyriding through deep canyons, past waterfalls and teetering hilltop villages, we'll spend our late afternoon in Grasse, perfume capital of the world. We'll follow our noses and tour a local perfume factory, then have time to wander the old city before returning to Nice. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 6: Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cap Ferrat

This morning we'll set out for the nearby peninsula of Cap Ferrat where we'll tour the classy Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. This pastel-pink mansion with sweeping views and perfectly-tended gardens also features a well-furnished belle époque interior — giving us a hint of what it might be like to wake up rich and famous. Afterward we'll make our way to seaside Villefranche-sur-Mer where your guide will lead you on a walking tour of the village. This afternoon you're free to soak in more of the peninsula's sights, walk its cliff-side trails or return to Nice. Tonight we'll regroup for a farewell dinner together in Nice, where we'll share travel memories and toast to our next voyage. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: strenuous.

Day 7: Tour Over After Breakfast

For those staying longer, your guide will be happy to send you off in the right direction and help with any trip planning needs. Au revoir et merci!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

Our tours are physically active! It’s an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of the French Riviera in 7 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.

Reviews

Susan

Mt Vernon, IL

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything that we hoped for [INVALID] well organized with tours to all manor or intresting places, a very good guide, a great central hotel location in Nice from which to be based, a fine variety of food experiences, and an interesting, entusiastic and fun group of other Rick Steves' travelers to share it all with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The weather on the day that we traveled to Fondation Maeght and then St-Paul-de-Vence was simply glorious for February. Combined with the lovely museum grounds and then the picture pefect hill town, it made for a "wow" day!"

Jeanne

Orlando, FL

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the time we got off the shuttle bus to walk to the hotel, to the last night together, our tour provided us with great memories of the Riviera. Our group as well as our guide was exceptional and held true to the no grumps philosopy of RS.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was an itinerary change the first day and I am so glad there was. A tour of the Chagall Museum was added and it was exceptional. Also, for those who wanted to go to the Matisse Museum, our RS tour guide saw that the bus dropped us off and made sure we had a bus ticket home. Kudos to her for that. This area of Nice is beautiful and we got to see how the locals live and spend their time."

Shuk

Gilroy, CA

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Tour members very respectful

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No wow moment for me."

Kathleen

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I liked the location of the hotel. We were close to everything--within walking distance to old town as well as the train and bus stations. Also felt very safe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the The Rothchild Villa[INVALID]particularly the views from the garden. Absolutely astounding. Can I have more than one. I also enjoyed the bus ride up into the mountains. The views were outstanding. A little more time in that area might have been nice."

Gail

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great Great Great. Daniella was the perfect tour guide. She did many extras for us and she is very sweet. I hope to have her as a guide again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The group dinner's were the best!!! And wine education from Daniella"

James

Mt Vernon, IL

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The whole trip was another great experience. It was well organized, and hit as many hot ticket spots as could be fit in the time. We also enjoyed the free time it allowed for our own explorations. The guide was well versed in just about every aspect of the trip. She could not have been better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, but we seemed to enjoy the visit to St. Paul de Vence, the hilltop town. What a wonderful spot."

Patricia

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guide was wonderful, the tour members were friendly and congenial and the itinerary was planned to give us a rich and varied experience each day. The meals together were excellent, each a little bit different so as to give us a variety of cuisines and atmosphere. The local guides added personality and insight; all were very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While each day had its highlights, I think the morning at the Villa Rothschild was very special. The local guide truly gave the background that put the stunning property in context and the biography of its creator was both tragic and fascinating. The views from both the house and garden were breathtaking and it was easy to imagine what it must have been like to visit when the owner was hosting guests and holding grand dinner parties."

Caryn

Dallas, TX

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was great. I needed a winter break very badly and this tour allowed me to dip in and out of several places on the French Riviera. I liked the free time without the pressure to do things as a group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Sainte Paul de Vence and the Fondation Maeghet. It may have had something to do with the fact that the weather was wonderful, but I loved being outside in the natural setting, and Sophia was an excellent guide for the Fondation. Sainte Paul was picture-perfect and in February I could really enjoy it without being over-run with tourists."

Andi

Franktown, CO

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful visit to the French Riviera and an unplanned treat-we were there during Carnavale! Although I had visited Nice before (at the end of a previous Southern France tour), during this visit we spent time at some of the other small villages I hadn't seen before, as well as revisiting some places I remember fondly. Loved the museums; the inclusion of the Chagall was a wonderful, unexpected surprise.The food was terrific; Feb. Nice is, um.. much nice-r than Feb.Colorado. Overall, a great time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several-hard to choose just one so here goes: Matisse, Chagall, Picasso, the Fondation Maeght...all the Art Museums. Didn't know I love Contemporary/Modern Art! Another WOW is the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild-also a work of art. Then, too, I always feel the presentation of practically any meal in France (and/or Italy) are works of art!"

Gary

Torrance, CA

Tour: 10/13/13

Overall rating: rating 2 of 5

What I was expecting. More sightseeing than musems (not like the rome rick steves tour in 2006). Navigating the bus, tram, and rail were easy. Tour needs some ompf (better museums if there are any) to make it better. Macht museum (bus tour) not really that good. Rothchilds average. How about a winery?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No really wow moment. The beach in nice is ok, and does not compare to the esplanade in redondo, hermosa, and manhattan beach in southern california where we live. Its nice to be spoiled. Castle Hill in Nice was very good."

Sharon

Chicago, IL

Tour: 10/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoy Rick Steve Tours because of the free time. The guides give you a lot of information and answer your questions so you can "figure it out", at least for me. I've been on tours where they pack so much in, you don't have time to shop. This is my second tour, I'm still a neophyte compared to some of the tour members. I feel these tours are balanced so you are a tourist and then you have time to work at being a "local".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How nice and patient the guide, Patrick was. The different menu choices Patrick supplied us with, he didn't just pick one meal and we had to eat that, we had choices. I enjoyed learning the bus and train systems in Nice to get to other towns on the French Riviera. I plan to come back and hopefully bring my sister. Patrick was nice enough to fix my calling card so it was in English, that was a big one for me."

Venus

Tseung Kwan O,

Tour: 10/13/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Great to stay in one hotel for 6 days . Good idea to use Nice as the base. Do not like Grasse, better we can have the option to have the afternoon free so we can spend more time to explore Nice. Food variety can be improved .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The museums."

Malcolm

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 10/13/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The tour nicely fulfilled our main reason for chosing it, which was to spend a week based in a single beautiful location staying at a single hotel. The day trips were all good, as was the time we spent in Nice itself on foot or using public transportation - a break from excursions. I liked the use of trains for these, because it gave us the optiont to easily return early for extra time on our own to nap or explore Nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view from the castle hill at sunset was special."

Margaret

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a great experience. All the small towns we visited were worthwhile and our French tour guide was very informative and helpful. I especially liked that we didn't have to change hotels. There was ample free time, and the hotel (including breakfasts) was convenient (scenic views right outside the entrance) and comfortable. The three meals we had together were very good and there were lots of good choices for meals on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I will always remember the tour of the Chagall museum. I recognized Chagall's work, but didn't know anything about him. The special tour guide was not only knowledgeable about this artist, but passionate. I appreciated her insights. I also have to mention the small town of St. Paul de Vence. Our guide said the town was maybe a little too perfect, but I so appreciated the stunning views and the great shopping. The perfect weather didn't hurt either."

Weather

France / Nice

Nice Weather

Pre-Tour

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Sightseeing On Your Own

If you arrive in Nice before your tour begins, use Rick Steves' Provence & the French Riviera guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of French, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise. Walking tours make a great introduction to any town. Check with the local TI or your guidebook.

Here are a few suggestions for sightseeing in Nice and the surrounding area that we do not do as a group: Chagall, Matisse, and Modern & Contemporary Art Museums; Castle Hill; visit the hilltop town of Eze-le-Village, the city of Cannes, or the city of St-Tropez.

Transportation

Most tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Nice is a transportation hub, making travel before or after your tour quite easy. If you're interested in seeing Paris, consider an "open-jaw" ticket flying into Nice and out of Paris (or vice-versa). Or take the train (6 hours) from Nice to Paris, spending at least one night in Paris before flying back to the states. Flying from Nice to Paris (90 minutes) can also be reasonable. 

For information about flying within Europe, ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines

Read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips and decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Trip Resources

Learn more about France: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, plus find a list of recommended books and movies.

Packing

For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.