Do the French Riviera like a star on a student budget
It’s one of the chicest European experiences; strutting your stuff in the Cote d’Azur sporting oversized sunnies and rubbing shoulders with the glitterati. The rich and famous have been flocking to this corner of France for two centuries to bathe in it’s warm sunshine, boat around on the pristine Med, and hit the casinos alongside other well-heeled celebs and wannabes. It’s super-stylish, lots of fun and tres pricey. But you don’t have to own a helicopter and yacht to experience the fun of the French Riviera.
Here’s some of our favourite shortcuts to help you live it up on the French riviera like a movie star, without the hefty price tag.
Take a Tour
Go with those who know. There are lots of great tour companies offering a French Riviera experience on a student budget. The great thing about going on a tour is they’ll take you to the best places and offer real experiences, and you’ll know roughly how much it’s going to cost upfront. Intrepid Travel’s 8 day Cote d’Azur sailing adventure takes you from Marseilles all the way long to Nice stopping at many of the celebrated ports along the way including St Tropez and Cannes. This sailing tour also takes you to many of the region’s picturesque islands where you might just bump into Kate Moss and co sunning themselves aboard their mega-yachts.
Go out of season
Summer in the French Riviera is the time to see and be seen, and July and August are the peak months here. As the sun beats down, the movie stars flock in droves, and the price and availability of everything to accommodation rises accordingly. Consider visiting either side of the silly season, and enjoy the Mediterranean sunshine without the inflated prices. May is also a busy month on the Cote d’Azur, with the legendary Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix taking place.
French 101: 10 things to know before travelling to France
Budget savvy Europe: How to do Europe for less
One of the region’s biggest cities, Nice is located close to Monaco, and makes a great base for exploring the rest of the Riviera. Being a large city, you’ll have plenty of budget accommodation options, and there’s also plenty of free attractions including art galleries and museums. Wander up to the Parc de Chateau, sitting 300ft above the Old Town with views across the city, and cool down at the man-made waterfall, or hire a sun lounger on the iconic pebbly beach and soak up the sun’s rays before taking a cooling dip in the Med. From Nice, it’s an easy and affordable round trip on the train to ritzy Monaco and swanky St. Tropez for day trips.
Hidden gems of St. Tropez
If you want to experience sexy St. Tropez on a budget, it’s actually doable. Head there in the shoulder season, stay away from the luxury boutiques and swanky hotels off the main tourist drags, and head to the historic narrow side streets of St. Tropez. Here you’ll find boarding houses tucked away alongside fish markets and boulangeries, and you can experience real life St. Tropez without breaking the budget.
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