Say “French Riviera” and visions of glamorous parties, movie stars, and dollar signs dance in your head. But don’t think for a minute you can’t enjoy a holiday along one of the most famous coastlines in the world without sacrificing your kids’ college fund. There are beaucoup budget ravaging hotels to be sure, but here are 10 petit pied-a-terres that make it easy to say “oui” to a French Riviera vacation.
1. Hotel Brise Marine, St. Jean Cap-Ferrat
It’s perhaps one of the most hoity-toity addresses on the Cote d’Azur, but this family run 18-room hotel on the famous peninsula eschews snobbery. Like staying in your own Italian style villa in a quite residential area, the hotel offers simple accommodations, i.e. nothing fancy, as well as one apartment onsite with small kitchenette. There is no pool but there is a quaint beach just 50 meters from the hotel, as well as a few restaurants nearby.
Rates: High season rates from €164 per room per night
Good to Know: No pets allowed. (sorry fifi); breakfast is an extra €14.50 per person; the hotel is just two kilometers from the SNCF Beaulieu-sur-mer train station.
2. Villa Mauresque , Saint Raphaël
La Villa Mauresque was built in 1860 by Chapoulard, the architect renowned for building several Moorish villas along the Côte d’Azur. The hotel is located 30 minutes from St. Tropez and 30 minutes from Cannes, and is actually spread between two magnificent villas, “Les Jardins” and “Le Palais.” Each of the 16 air-conditioned rooms has a view over the manicured gardens or the Mediterranean Sea. With a pool, and a sandy beach at only 50 meters away, and water sports galore, this is an ideal spot for active families.
Rates: High season rates start at €275 per room per night
Good to Know: The TGV train station of St Raphaël-Valescure is only 5-kilometers away.
3. La Jabotte, Antibes
This cute-as-a-button guest house looks like it has been plucked from a Shabby Chic-Provence catalogue, with nine pastel colored rooms and one suite. The hotel is a 15-minute walk from old Antibes, with its soaring ramparts and great restaurants, and Salis Beach is just 50 meters away. But I like the garden— surrounded by fig, orange and olive trees, it’s a serene place to chill out and and day dream.
Rates: High season from €101 night, suite from €189; breakfast is included in the price.
Good To Know: Children over 10 are welcome; four parking spots in front of the hotel.
4. Riviera Marriott Hotel La Porte de Monaco, Cap d’Ail
Monte Carlo lures the jet-set, Hollywood queens and real life royals to its glittering shores, but mere mortals can also enjoy the best of this Mediterranean gem at affordable prices. Just across the Principality’s boarder in Cap d’Ail, this Marriott has views over the marina and Marquet Beach.
Rates: High season from €249 per room per night
Good to know: The hotel has a free shuttle and will take you to all the famous places in Monte Carlo.
5. Casa Rocca Bruna, Roquebrune Cap Martin
Set on a hill, just 110 yards from Roquebrune Beach, Casa Rocca is a classic French villa turned guesthouse/B&B overlooking the sea. It offers four elegant air-conditioned guest rooms decorated with fine art and beds dressed in Ralph Lauren linens, and a couple of rooms have balconies with panoramic views. The hotel has a bright living room open to guests as well as a large sun terrace. A great hideaway for honeymooners or a romantic tryst with what’s-his-name.
Rates: High season from €120 per room per night; Breakfast is included in the room rate
Good to know: No parking; walking to restaurants is not possible but Angelina, the owner, can arrange transfers. Free wifi.
6. Hotel Bisou, Cannes
When glitz and glam and the see-and-be-seen scene are just not your thing, this Chambres d’Hotes is just what the holiday doctor ordered. The name, Bisou, means ‘kiss’ and this place feels just like a sweet peck on the suntanned cheek of Cannes. Run by an Italian couple, the inn has only three rooms, and is located in a quiet pedestrian square just steps from restaurants and beaches. The rooms are large by French standards, and are decorated in the colors of Provence. All have a plasma TV, minibar, safe, hairdryer, and air conditioning. For those who want to stay in the heart of Cannes at a fraction of the cost, this is it.
Rates: High season from €180 per room per night; room rates include breakfast.
Good to know: Parking is available for €15 per day, but you really don’t need a car. Free wifi.
7. Best Western Montfleuri, Sainte-Maxime
This might be the most ideally situated Best Western property on the planet, or at least the French Riviera. Tucked between the seaside and a residential neighborhood, the hotel is walking distance to the lively town of Sainte-Maxime, which is full of restaurants, shops, a sandy beach, and casino. There is also a pool and parking at the hotel—practically unheard of in these parts. The best part of Montfleuri is that it’s within a few minutes’ walk of a ferry that takes you to St. Tropez in just 10 minutes, making it easy to explore the pricy village without paying the stratospheric price typical of St. Tropez hotels.
Rates: High season from €125 per room, per night; parking is €15/day
Good to Know: The Varlib bus goes from the Saint Raphael to Sainte Maxime, and the hotel is just a short walk away.
8. Eza Vista Hotel, Eze-sur-mer
Perfectly situated between Monaco and Nice, immediately outside the perched village of Eze (a must visit for sure), this hotel offers modern and fully-equipped apartments with air-conditioning, TVs, kitchens, and magnificent sea and countryside views. Studios, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom apartments available, making it ideal for large groups, or families. There is internet and a pool onsite.
Rates: Studios from €137, 1-bedrooms from €187; 2-bedroom from €231
Good to Know: The Nice airport is just 9-miles away
9. Hi Hotel, Nice
The newest hotel to put the fun in funk, say hello to the Hi Hotel. This modular concept hotel features nine different room styles (38 rooms total), each offering a specific spatial arrangement to be lived in and explored—that’s arty hotel talk for “not your typical hotel room.” The brightly colored rooms are located just 200 meters from the famous Promenade des Anglais, and for sun-seekers, the hotel has a private beach club, as well as a private pool. There is also a small spa on site.
Rates: High season from €177 per room per night
Good to know: Both family friendly and party central on the French Riviera.
10. Hotel Souleias, La Croix-Valmer
An idyllic retreat located in a natural park-like setting, this hotel is the antidote to the hustle and bustle of the Riviera, located on the St. Tropez peninsula overlooking the beach of Gigaro and the Golden Islands (Port Cros, Porquerolles and Levant). For anyone in search of the relaxing French Riviera, Hotel Souleias is the spot. Here, you’re invited to do as little, or as much as you’d like.
Rates: High season from €135 per room per night.
Good to know: There are gorgeous coastal footpaths crisscrossing the region. Go solo or arrange a guide with the hotel.
Kimberley Lovato is a freelance writer who spends her summers on the French Riviera. (lucky girl).