If you’re taking a short break in Nice, Cannes, Monaco or St-Tropez, you won’t need a car. It will cost you not only for the hire but also for the parking – which you will spend hours trying to find. You will be clogged up in jams, annoyed and worried.
And then annoyed all over again because you’ve wasted your time and your money because there’s ample to do and see in all these towns and it can all be done and seen on foot or, in Nice, by cheap and easy public transport.
Right to roam
That said, there are times when a car comes into its own. If you’re going for a longer period and want to explore the sensational mountains back from Nice and Monaco properly, then it’s pretty much imperative. Trains and buses will show you a bit. A car gives you the liberty to roam and up here, especially towards the Mercantour National Park, the roaming is wonderful.
From Cannes, you might want to go not only to Grasse but also into the Esterel Massif, from St-Tropez into the Massif des Maures – or along the coast in search of creeks where buses don’t stop. For a longer break, then, the freedom of a car is important as it isn’t on a short flit.
Fifty pounds saved
Naturally, Nice airport has the necessary: eight car hire companies – in Terminal 2, across Hall P5. Ensure, though, that you reserve a vehicle in advance, well in advance, if possible. The crunch has meant that there are fewer cars available at rental stations. If you’re banking on hiring one on arrival, you may be disappointed.
Nor should you trust the hire companies themselves, or their partnerships with airline websites, to provide the best deals. They can be competitive, but it’s always worth checking the brokers and price comparison websites (see Nick Trend's money-saving guide on for more advice on how to find the best deal). I recently saved a little over £50 on the weekly hire of a small car by doing just that.