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Villa Citadelle Villefranche in Villefranche-sur-Mer, The Corniches, French Riviera
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The Corniches

How to get to The Corniches

from further afield

The Corniches are a string of towns and villages that dot the mountains between Nice and Monaco on the French Riviera. They are perched high on the hills where the mountains glide down to the sea or they are nestled in the tucks and folds of these great mountains. Once upon a time they were remote settlements clinging to existence in the face of invasion, wars and hunger, now they are some of the prettiest most spectacular villages on this coast and are, henceforth, easy to get to.

Villefranche PortFlying highCalm water make Villefranche bay a fantastic marine environment

Getting to The Corniches by Air

The closest airport is Nice Cote d'Azur which is just 6 to 20km away depending on which stop off you have chosen for your holiday or a 15 to a 40 minute drive away. Genoa and Milan are feasible options too as both are less than a three hour drive away. Nice airport is France's second busiest airport, after Paris with regular flights direct from almost every European city in the North, South and Central Europe.

There are also daily direct flights from North Africa, the Middle East, the United States and Canada. Once you arrive in Nice then, travelling eastbound, your natural port of call will be straight into the area known as The Corniches and is a car, helicopter, train, bus or taxi ride away. Scroll down the page for more detailed descriptions of each mode of transport or look in the RG directory, under 'The Corniches', to find contact details and links to Nice airport.

Getting to The Corniches by Rail

Travelling from Northern Europe the rail links to the South of France will, for the most part, take you through Paris. Paris is the central hub for the TGV, France's fast train service that operates national and international routes. From Paris you will take a train directly to Nice and from there you will take a local train, operated by SNCF, to one of the towns or villages along the Corniches, not all of them have rail links but all of them are serviced by public transport.

Travelling from the East will take you through Italy where their are train links to Nice from Rome, Milan, Genoa, Turin, Florence and Pisa. You may have to change trains in either Genoa or Nice but look for 'Riviera dei Fiori' routes or trains to San Remo from where you can easily hop on a local train across the border. The train will be the Nice bound train, stopping off at each town along the way. Look in the RG directory for rail contacts and links.

Travelling from the South or the South West will take you through Spain. To reach the South of France directly you will have to make your connections through Cartagena, Valencia or Barcelona into France via Perpignan and Montpelier. From other parts of Spain the connection to the Cote d'Azur will have to be made through Paris. The name of the high speed Spanish train service is called AVE. Look in the RG directory for rail links and contacts.

For contacts and links of all the high speed rail links throughout Europe please look in the RG directory in any section under 'Transport'.

Mountains down to the seaFootpath by the seavast blue skies

Getting to The Corniches by Road

France has one of the best road networks in Western Europe. The Motorway system is signposted with blue signs and are often marked 'Peáge'. This means that you are entering a section of road that is tolled and therefore has a charge attached to using it. You can find out in advance how much these charges will be by looking at the road network's website, for which you will find details of in the RG directory in any area under 'Transport'.

The tolls may seem expensive, especially if you are travelling from a country that doesn't have toll roads but there is also the option of using the 'Route National' roads. These are marked by green signs and the road numbers are pre fixed with the letters 'RN'. These roads are free to travel but you will find that they take significantly longer and you will use more fuel. The 'Peáge' routes may cost but they will save you money on fuel and time. So choose your route according to your desire. Scenic or fast.

The Cote d'Azur is facilitated by the A8 motorway which runs from East to West along the Southern Coast. It also happens to run near parallel to The Corniches but on the other side of the mountain so access is minimal. Scroll further down the page to 'The Corniches by road' to see which junctions are the nearest.

The road network in most of Western Europe is very good. Look in our RG directory to find useful websites to use to help you plan your route. It can also vary on how best to navigate, for example in the UK it is better to navigate by road numbes while in france it is better to navigate by place names. Perhaps, also, the biggest consideration, with regards to driving to the South of France from Northern Europe, is what route to use to cross the Alps or to skirt them as the Cote d'Azur is tucked away in the corner where they fall to meet the sea.

A little bit of solitudeSwimming off the rocksFishing boats in Villefranche

Getting to The Corniches by sea

The Corniches do not have one main port as it were. It is an area of small towns and villages along a particularly mountainous part of the coastline close to the sea. In fact the main ferry routes into France are in more northerly ports or on the east coast and from there you will have to link up to road network or France's rail links. There are some ferry companies that operate between Nice and Italy and between Nice and Corsica but this part of the Mediterranean is mostly reserved for pleasure boats, private yachts, cruise liners and private charters.

The Rade de Villefranche is possibly the most popular for cruise liners, not because it has the biggest port but because it is the deepest natural harbour and so can facilitate the larger anchors. In the second world war it was a US navy base for war ships and in previous eras has been used also by Russian fleets. Today the biggest vessels are floating palaces dedicated to a good time.

There are a string of ports along The Corniches; Beaulieu, Villefranche, Cap d'Ail, Eze, but they are varied and quite small reserved for private yachts, motorboats and local fishing boats. There are some visitor berths but see below for more information regarding them.

How to get around The Corniches

once you are there

The Corniches are an area rather than one specific town and they are defined really by the three roads that bisect the mountains where they sweep close to the sea; the Grande Corniche, the Moyenne Corniche and the Basse Corniche. They are also facilitated with all the modes of transport and they are perfectly accessed while remaining as wild and unspoilt as possible, especially given the location.

Taxi Phonebox

The Corniches by taxi

There is a taxi rank immediately outside the main doors of the two arrival terminals of Nice Cote D'Azur airport. There will also be local taxi operators in the town or village that you have chosen for your vacation.

Guide prices are difficult to assess given the number of towns and villages and that the Corniches stretches over 15km or more. The taxis, however, are not known locally for being a cheap and handy way to get around as they are in New York but you can get an idea of prices from the Nice airport website.
Tip: Have the place name writen down.

This can really help if your French, or your pronunciation, are not up to much. Find links in the RG Directory under any area section.

Rail line to Menton

The Corniches by Train

The train line runs right along the coast and is a sight seeing trip on its own, beautiful. They can be subject to industrial action and occasional strikes can throw out your plans. Funnily there seems to be a season for this and generally it's not in the summer months, check online.

The seaside villages of the Corniches are best accessed by train, the mountain villages are best accessed by bus as the climb up from the train station is a real hike. Differentiate by the use of the words 'village' and 'bord-a-mer'
Tip:check train times online

There is information on fare saver offers and tourist tickets available online.

booking online

The SNCF website is not particularly user friendly if you are a tourist, especially if you are not a French speaker. There is an English version but the information available through English is less complete. For example to find out about the special day rate tourist train tickets you must first find the section in French before you can find the English translation of the same information. We have provided the link information in the RG directory to help you find this info online but the tickets are available at any train sations and the airport.

It is excellent to use as a guideline for train times but there are no other language translations and if the site is unable to sell you a ticket within the time frame that you specify then it will not always list every train time. It is great to use if you are planning well in advance or to gauge how long journeys take but pick up free pocket-size train timetable in the stations for total accuracy and independence.

Look out for the 'Carte Isabelle'. This is a daily train ticket that offers unlimited travel along the Riviera, into Ventimiglia and on several lines into the hills aswell, for €12 per day. It represents great value if you are planning multiple locations and trips in one day. It is, however, only available from 1st July to 30th September. Purchase it at any train station.

There are other tourist train tickets available that allow you to travel to different areas to explore. look in the RG directory for links and contacts where by you can access this information. Look in any area section under 'Transport-trains & buses-sncf'.

The Corniches by bus

For the higher villages along the Corniches the bus is the best way to get to them. Like Eze, Col de Villefranche and La Turbie. Also St Jean Cap Ferrat as it juts out on it's own headland which the train line by passes. The bus operator along this part of the coast is Ligne d'Azur with regular buses departing from Nice.

Fares have been standardised across the region specifically to make it easier for the regions many visitors and cost €1.30 for any journey. Also new this year is the Noc'tam Bus a late night bus service linking towns along the french Riviera.
Ligne d'azur buses, Nice
Tip: Use the RG directory for weblinks and contacts

You can buy tickets from the bus drivers and also multiple journey tickets valid for that day saving time and money.

The Corniche roads

The Grande Corniche exits Nice at Boulevard St Roch on the eastern side of the city, not too far from the port area. From Nice port, follow signs initially for the Moyenne Corniche. The road runs perpendicular to the port, begins as Boulevard de Riquier and becomes boulevard St Roch. Both the Grande and Moyenne Corniches start off these roads and, for a while, run almost parallel. They are also numbered the D2564 and the D6007 respectively but it's not often that you will come across the numbers.

Rugged CoastlineLofty heightsCorniches coastline

The Basse Corniche exits Nice directly from the eastern side of the port and is sinposted for Villefranche/Monaco/Menton as well as being named 'Basse Corniche'. It is numbered the D6098 but once again it is better to navigate using place names in France than it is by using road numbers.

The Grande Corniche follows the ancient route of Via Augusta, named after the Roman Emperor Augustus, and was built during Napolean's reign in the early 1800's. It is the highest of the three roads and in places runs along the crest of the mountains with precipitous sea views and mountain panoramas.

It's a good road to take if you want to get to the town of La Turbie from Nice or want to by pass the other towns and villages en route to Monaco and Roquebrune. To get to Eze, Villefranche, St Jean Cap Ferrat, Beaulieu or Cap d'Ail directly then you will have to drop down onto one of the other Corniches. This is possible as there are inter connecting roads.

Villefranche is accessed directly by both the Basse and the Moyenne Corniches as it is a town that stretches back from the sea and up into the surrounding hills. St Jean Cap Ferrat is a jutting peninsula between Beaulieu and Villefranche and is best reached by the Basse Corniche. Beaulieu is accessible by both of the lower Corniches while Eze Bord-a-Mer sits directly on the Basse Corniche and it's mountain topped, perched village is off the Moyenne.

You'll find the roads clearly marked on any map and your choice is merely a matter of preference. Each road offers exceptional views and are an amzing feat of engineering given the unforgiving lanscape. They open up a section of the coast that, in the earliest times, had presented the most trecherous and dangerous landscape for travellers. Riddled with high mountain peaks, plunging cliff faces, inaccessible headlands and bays not to mention the bandits, rockfalls and flash floods that were a known risk. Now we can simply enjoy the views and only worry that there are not enough vantage points from which to take photos.

Renting holiday lettings in the Corniches

The area collectively known as the Corniches has a variety of locations to offer holiday visitors. From luxurious beach side villas, to mountain top vacation apartments in picturesques villages, it is one of the most desirable locations on the French Riviera.

To see what holiday apartments and villa rental are available for your holiday then please use the search facility below or click on 'Browse Rentals' in the main menu. Thank you for using Riviera rental Guide for your holiday rental.


Some top holiday rentals in The Corniches

Panoramic Bay View Apartment

French Riviera » ... » Villefranche-sur-Mer 110 sq.m. Apartment 0939
»Holiday rental apartment
»Price per night:$194.88
»Per person (x6):$32.48
Sea View
A bright apartment in picturesque Villefranche-sur-Mer with some of the most stunning Riviera views that can be enjoyed from the large terrace. This well equipped apartment sleeps up to 6 guests and is within minutes of the beach, port and conveniences.

Villa Soleil

French Riviera » ... » Villefranche-sur-Mer 125 sq.m. Villa 1053
»Holiday rental villa
»Price per night:$297.63
»Per person (x6):$49.61
Tranquil, Sea View
This 3-bedroom property is situated above the breathtaking bay of Villefranche and has amazing views of the sea, village and hillsides. There is a private terrace for alfresco dining and access to a shared pool with sea views.

Villefranche Bayside Apartment

French Riviera » ... » Villefranche-sur-Mer 100 sq.m. Apartment 0940
»Holiday rental apartment
»Price per night:$202.43
»Per person (x6):$33.74
Sea View, Waterfront
This 2-bedroom waterfront property can sleep up to 6 guests and is in the heart of Villefranche. Great for families, this property comes with a terrace and has stunning views over the bay and is only seconds from the beach and restaurants of the town.


Find your holiday rental in The Corniches


Immediate Area

» Villefranche-sur» St Jean Cap» Beaulieu sur Mer
» Eze Village» Eze-Bord de Mer» Cap d'Ail
» La Turbie 
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