I’ve updated this post in May 2016 after discovering more about the day trip. The original post below is still perfectly wonderful but if you wanted to adjust the day or even add to it, you can do the following.
Get off the bus at Beaulieu-sur-Mer – just past Villefranche sur Mer. It is a picture postcard little town with a famous casino as well as the Villa Kerylos which is a big rival to the Ephrussi Villas in Cap Ferret.
There is a lovely secluded beach there and we spent a lovely morning there in March and it is a complete sun trap so you really can swim when you might not in other beaches. After you have sunned yourself sufficiently, there is a fantastic walk along the coast from Beaulieu-sur-Mer to St Jean Cap Ferret. It passes by some of the great houses on the Riviera ( including David Niven’s wonderful villa ).
The walk has incredible views and is very child friendly and buggy friendly. it only takes about 25mins and if you like you can access the Villa Ephrussi from this direction ( see the original blog below ). Pictures don’t do justice to the tranquility and beauty of the walk. It really is worth the effort.
Keep walking towards the little village and you will come to a lovely square which overlooks the harbour. We like Cadillac as it serves great pizza and has a huge terrace where the kids can play safely but there are loads of little places here and down on the water itself. Getting home is a little stagger to the 81 bus stop about 2mins away. See below.
A must do day trip from Nice is the Villa ( and Gardens ) Ephrussi de Rothschild out on St Jean Cap Ferret.
It is spectacular and if you plan it properly you can make a great day out with something for everyone. This is what we did recently and it was a joy.
Catch the bus as per the Villefranche post – no. 81 from the port of Segurane off Garibaldi ( due to tram works this is now at Promenade des Arts ( where the airport bus drops you off ) or down by the port ( near the big church ))
What we like to do is pick up the bus on the port ( or where the Airport bus drops off ( Ségurane ) near Garibaldi if you prefer ). Number 81 will bring you to St Jean Cap Ferret. Its a longer journey out as it does a kind of a loop of the peninsula ( passing by Villefranche & Beaulieu along the way ) and goes back on its self a little. It is much shorter on the way back as it doesn’t do the loop. Get off at the stop Rothschild. It will be well signposted and you’ll find a lot of people are getting off there. If you are a control freak ( like me ), here is a link to the timetable. Opening times of the villa and access can be found here.
Born in 1864, Béatrice was the daughter of the banker and major art collector Baron Alphonse de Rothschild. When her father died in 1904 ( and she inherited a lot of money ) and on the back of her separation from her husband Mr. Ephrussi, she decided to build this magnificent villa and gardens, and she made this her winter residence from 1912 onwards and came here regularly for over ten years, during which she split her time between Paris, Monaco and Deauville.
The house is very well preserved and will take you about 1-1.5 hours to wander through. Very interesting even if you’re not interested in that kind of thing, but the real joy is the gardens.
It may not sound like you’re kind of thing but i have been there with people in their 60s and people under 10 and they all loved it. The views alone are worth it.
Walk to St Jean
Time your visit to take a walk down to the village after for either a nice lunch or a fine dinner. Come out of the main gate and turn left and leisurely 10 minute walk downhill finds you in the lovely village of St Jean Cap Ferret. ( Its a busy narrow road at the start, so be careful ). Look at all the very nice houses as you walk. This is one of the most expensive property square miles in the world.
Long lunch ( or Dinner )
Depending on when you arrive, find yourself a nice tables. We like to go to called Cadillac which is at the bottom of the hill as you arrive down and overlooks the boats. They serve all day ( limited menu but superb wood fire pizzas outside of lunch/dinner ). I’m not sue what the menus are like as I’ve only had pizza. There is loads of space for kids to play safely and the views are great. ( Service can be patchy ).
If you want to treat yourself, try Le Cabane de L’Ecailler down on the marina right on the water. This is sea food heaven so order fish. There are loads of great little shops and restaurants down on the water. Just follow the steps and you’ll find something that suits all budgets and styles.
Its a lovely little village and there is a beach for a walk nearby. Just follow the sea.
Paloma beach southeast of the port, on the north side small peninsula (St Hospice). Being on a northeast-facing shore and at the base of some tall cliffs. The location is about a 5–10 minutes walk from the port.
Passable beach is on the northwest side of the main peninsula, past the Office de Tourisme and past the zoo (parc zoologique). It’s west-facing, with a view across the Rade de Villefranche.
Cro de Peï Pin is the biggest beach, located just north of the port at the Anse Lilong (the bay between the main peninsula and the smaller Ste Hospice peninsula), facing eastward into the Baie des Fourmis and the Tete de Chene. There’s a public parking lot alongside the beach, if you did want to drive.
If you have any energy left over after lunch there is a superb walk all the way around the Cap. The super rich live or holiday here and the houses are spectacular and you can walk all the way around ( 12km – about 3 hours ) or you can come out near Villefranche and get the train ( or bus ) back from there. The full walk is a tough one and gets kind of rough in places so its not for everyone but for more details have a look at this blog. By the end of it, you’ll have earned your glass of Rose.
The beauty is that the longer bus trip on the way out is much shorter on the way back ( you’ve done the loop ). Catch the bus from up near the restaurants on the quay and the 81 will bring you back to Nice port and very near the apartment.
A Great Day Out.