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a year on riviera - best locations

Posted by conor-197581 - Created: 13 years ago
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7 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 7)

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Posted by marypoppins-197488 - 13 years ago

Menton - good call!

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Posted by conor-197581 - 13 years ago

Many thanks to all correspondents for your tips. Certainly aids my researches from afar.  GARRY

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Posted by Rebel-193688 - 13 years ago

VilleFranche is lovely, but very touristy, as are most of the places mentioned. Not far away are Opio, and Chateauneuf de Grasse. Near enough to get to the sea, not touristy and nice houses. Rebel

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Posted by unbelievable - 13 years ago

I second the suggestion of Menton in terms of small city vs. town feeling.

Valbonne is a perfectly acceptable place too. While replete with anglophones, you might find it nice to mix with people who speak your language since this area isn't the easiest for non-locals to slip into the local scene, especially if you plan on leaving after a year. Valbonne has easy access to the autoroute, decent shops in the old town, decent selection of housing in the area, a little pricey though since it's popular.

Tourettes sur Loup is another nice option, albeit farther from the beach and autoroute, but a very nice old town. Same goes for Vence (although larger). There are some nice villages to be lived in with Bouyon and Le Broc, Levens, Peille, La Turbie, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, St. Jean Cap Ferat, Villefranche-sur-Mer . . . although these latter three are all pricey. They will put you within easy reach of Nice (by train, car or bicycle), are on the sea, have a small-town flavour, plenty of expats.

Really you should narrow down if you want to live at the sea and deal with the consequent summer traffic and crowds but nicer winter weather, or if you want to go inland. Keep in mind that in this area, nothing will be "authentically" French small-town as the area is full of us expats, tourists, and a lot of superficiality brought on by a lot of money tucked away behind walls. A small town in Provence near one of the larger centers might offer you more along the lines of a Peter Mayle experience if that is what you're after.

If it were me and a year was all it would be, and money wasn't of the greatest concern, I'd go for St. Jean Cap Ferat, Bealieu-sur-Mer or Villefranche-sur-Mer. You'll want to get over to Nice and it places you within easy reach of the backcountry for outings with the sea right there, and the airport 20 - 30min away (depending on traffic).

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Posted by ivi - 13 years ago

Well I would suggest Menton.  Close to Italy (for shopping and excursions), lots of shops, cafés, restaurants, not too big, not too small.  Rental accommodation is plentiful.  Got the beach, the local market, the old town, lots of locals and enough life even in Winter.  All the criminal stuff that you hear about in Nice etc., seems to be absent (and I hope it stays that way).  Friendly natives.   If you want something a bit more villagey (which could get VERY wearing VERY quickly) then maybe consider some of the villages behind Menton: Castellar, St Agnes, Gorbio.  Only problem: you will need own transport and are likely to feel cut off, which could be a bit of a bore. 

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Posted by Squeezy-189941 - 13 years ago

Yes, Hyeres is charming but it is also large and full of tourists.  The old town is a tourist treat but the rest, 90%,  is very modern and full of expensive holiday and retirement flats.
Most, if not all, the coastal villages and towns cater for tourists - this is France's biggest industry.  There are many small and beautiful villages inland but again they rely on tourists.

You cannot call Toulon a tourist town, but in the summer months it is unbearable, full of tourists!  Remember, Italy is not far away, and this part of Frace is a must for the Belgians, Dutch, Germans and Swiss who all drive here in their droves, towing caravans or in large camper vans. 
I am married to a local and she allways says we must go north, or abroad during July and August.

Good luck in your search.

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Posted by Boris D. - 13 years ago

Bonjour ,

maybe you should give Hyeres a chance ; it's not really riviera (12 km away from Toulon) .

You have everything you need , even an airport ; but you must like "les palmiers" (they are almost everywhere there) .

If you want more infos,please send me a mail .

I've fallen in love with this charming place 2001 and will settle down there next year .