Provence Day Trips from Nice

Due to its strategic location, Nice is the perfect city to visit and get to know the most attractive points of the French Riviera.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

11 min read

Provence Day Trips from Nice

French Provence | ©yvan Lavicka

If you have already read or experienced all that Nice has to offer, then don't miss touring the surroundings of this area called Alpes-Maritimes.

French Provence has everything from wine tasting and Mediterranean gastronomy to the cultural and historical richness of one of France's most beautiful regions. Read on to learn about the best excursions to this incredible place.

1. Provence one day wine tour from Nice

Somewhere in Provence| ©Sergey Aleshchenko
Somewhere in Provence| ©Sergey Aleshchenko

If you are a wine lover and want to take advantage of your trip to Nice to get to know this beautiful land, the best thing to do is to take a full day tour to enjoy its sights and get to know its famous wineries in a fully organized and guided way.

From an agreed starting point in Nice, this excursion begins with pick up around 9:00 am and lasts for about 8 hours, including a visit to three wineries where you can taste a variety of rosé wines from the area.

You can also have lunch in one of these wineries located in the small village of Les Arcs Sur Argens or in a bistro-style restaurant.

On this tour, a wine expert will tell you the historical details of the most important places you will visit in French Provence, with commentary throughout the tour.

Details of interest

  • Price: about 250 euros per person
  • Duration: about 8 hours
  • What you will see on this tour: three wineries located in Les Arcs Sus Argens
  • Advantages: once you have made your reservation you will only have to enjoy the wine and the landscapes of the area.
  • Disadvantages: pick up is at a meeting point in Nice, not at the hotel.

Book an excursion to French Provence from Nice

2. Visit the Verdon Gorge and the beautiful villages of the area

Verdon Gorge| ©Patrick Nouhailler
Verdon Gorge| ©Patrick Nouhailler

The Verdon Gorge is an ideal option to get to know the incredible geography of the region. With elevations of up to 700 meters, this nearly 25-kilometer-long river canyon is a perfect place to hike and experience France's most beautiful villages at the same time.

On this 10-hour guided tour with transfers included to and from your hotel, you will be able to contemplate the incredible turquoise blue of Lake Verdon, learn about the rich craftsmanship of villages such as Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, delight in the beauty of the lavender fields or swim in Lake St. Croix.

Throughout the tour, which you will do in a comfortable vehicle, you will have enough time to enjoy the views of these landscapes, with one or two hours at each stop to get to know every corner at your own pace. At the same time, the driver-guide will give detailed explanations about the most important places you visit.

If you want to know more about this amazing place I leave you this post where you will see more details about how to visit the Verdon Gorge.

Details of interest

  • Price: about 92 euros per person
  • Duration: about 10 hours
  • Places you will visit: Lakes of Verdon and St. Croix, the villages of Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and the lavender fields of Plateau de Valensole
  • Advantages: you will enjoy in a combined trip between nature and tourism through the beautiful villages of French Provence
  • Disadvantages: The weather must be good to be able to do this excursion. However, if cancelled, it can be rescheduled for another date or the reservation fee will be refunded.

Book an excursion to Verdon Gorges from Nice

3. Day trip by ferry to St Tropez

Touring Saint Tropez| ©Krzysztof Belczyński
Touring Saint Tropez| ©Krzysztof Belczyński

Saint Tropez is a city on the French Riviera characterized by glamour and luxury, popular with celebrities for its beautiful beaches and exclusive atmosphere. But it is also a place where you can take a relaxing stroll through its small old town, taste the delicacies of French food in its market or where you can admire works of art by the most avant-garde authors.

On a ferry excursion to St Tropez you will sail along the French Riviera on a trip of about two and a half hours to reach the port of the town, where you can see firsthand the luxury of the many yachts that are docked.

Once there, you can choose between enjoying one of its beaches, windsurfing or strolling through the narrow streets of La Ponche, the small fishermen's quarter next to the port, or enjoying the beautiful views from the Citadel of St Tropez.

In this article about excursions to St Tropez from Nice you can find out about other types of guided tours to this glamorous city.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 87 euros
  • Duration: around 10 hours
  • Places you will visit: During the ferry tour you will see the island of Sainte Marguerite and/or Cannes and enjoy at your leisure the city of Saint Tropez
  • Advantages: You will have round trip included by boat from Nice to St. Tropez
  • Disadvantages: Meals and drinks are not included in the excursion, so you will have to pay for them separately. Please note that this is a very touristy place and prices can be high.

Book a day trip to St Tropez from Nice

Not to be missed places in French Provence

Original Arc de Triomphe in Orange| ©Andim
Original Arc de Triomphe in Orange| ©Andim

The interesting thing about doing an excursion of this type is that they are organized in such a way that you are going to see very few places without seeing them.

Along these tours you will see emblematic sites of Provence, such as the lavender fields, one of the best things to do in Nice in summer. You will also be able to walk the streets and fountains of iconic sites such as Aix-en-Provence.

Taking a guided tour from Nice through this region will allow you to make the most of your trip if, for example, you are only going to be in the French city for three days. And if you are lucky enough to spend seven days in Nice, who knows, maybe you will like it so much that you will do several of these excursions.

In any case, so as not to leave anything out, here are the must-see places on your trip to the beautiful region of French Provence.

Visit the original Arc de Triomphe in Orange

You may have already heard of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but did you know that the real Arc de Triomphe is located in the city of Orange, in Provence, France? It was built by Roman soldiers in 10 AD to commemorate the military victories that allowed the Roman Empire to conquer this region.

The Arch is a little smaller than the one in Paris, being almost 20 meters high by 8 meters wide, but it is more than 1800 years old.

This is not the only work made by the Romans to be found in Orange. You can also visit the Théâtre Antique d'Orange, an amphitheater and museum built during the time of Augustus, in the first century A.D. and with a capacity for more than 10,000 people.

While you do not have to pay to see the Arc de Triomphe, the entrance to the museum and amphitheater is paid. For adults the price is approximately 10 €. For people from 7 to 17 years old and students the entrance fee is about 8 €. Children under 7 years old and people with reduced mobility do not pay admission.

If you decide to go on your own to this city, you will find two options to do so: You can take a train from Nice to Orange, which takes about 5 hours, so I recommend that you evaluate staying in Orange if you want to make the most of the day If you have a car or book a tour, the journey is much more direct and you can travel the 272 km from Nice to Orange in less than 3 hours (one way).

Walk through the lavender fields

If you make a ranking of the best scents of French Provence, lavender would have all the numbers to occupy the first place. Lavender fields abound in this region, and its scent is used in many locally produced items. This flower is used to make soaps, foods and personal care products.

In fact, lavender is the region's number one export. So if you visit Nice, you can take a trip to Provence to see all that this flower has to offer.

Among other places, you will be able to go to the Lavender Museum in Luberon, where you will learn about its historical origin, its importance in the region and how it is used today.

Less than 30 kilometers west of Luberon you can visit the L'Abbaye de Senanque, an abbey known worldwide for its peripheral lines created with lavender. I recommend you visit this place at sunset, as when the sun sets the flowers and sunlight make a festival of colors.

The lavender museum is open from Monday to Sunday. Its opening hours vary depending on the month of the year you visit. In May, June, September and October it is open from 10 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm. From July to August it is open from 10 am to 7 pm. The tour lasts from 1 to 2 hours.

Prices: adults 8 €, students and seniors 7 €, children up to 10 years free and teenagers from 11 to 16 years, 4 €.

The tour has audio guides in 12 languages and there is free parking for those who go by car.

Walk through the streets and fountains of Aix en Provence

Located below the Sainte-Victoire mountain and known as the "city of a thousand fountains" Aix-en-Provence is a beautiful option to visit if you are in Nice. It is located about 178 kilometers from the coast, so it is quite accessible by train to visit in one day.

Aix-en-Provence is a beautiful university town where the impressionist painter Paul Cezzane was born and lived. A very common tour to visit is to start at his childhood home and stroll to his first workshop: "The Atelier Cezzane".

Art lovers will also enjoy the "Caumont Art Center", the 18th century palace of the Marquises of Caumont, which today exhibits the best works of local artists.

If you prefer some nature, in Aix-en-Provence you have the Santa Victoria mountain, an ideal place for hiking and observing from its height the beautiful postcard of the region.

  • How to get there: The most comfortable way is by car or by booking a tour, as the road can be easily covered in less than 2 hours. In case you prefer to use public transportation, you can take a bus or a train, which take approximately 4 hours to get there. This train usually costs from 35 euros.
  • Museum tickets: The tickets are quite cheap, but as there are many museums in Aix-en-Provence I recommend you to get the City Pass. It costs about 25 euros and will allow you to enter all the museums, multiple guided tours and the local bus network.

Discover the calanques of Cassis

If this is the first time you read the word calanque don't worry, it is a geographic formation specific to this region. These formations are unique to the Mediterranean and are the hallmark of Cassis, in addition to the turquoise green color of its waters.

Between Cassis and Marseille you will find hundreds of cliffs of up to 400 meters, coves, creeks, inlets and secluded beaches that the Mediterranean has been drawing for millions of years. This area is protected and belongs to the Calanques National Park.

You can explore this area from different places: the most common way is to do the trekking trails that are inside the park, as well as visiting the area sailing or kayaking.

  • What to bring: in case you do the trails it is recommended that you wear comfortable shoes and clothes, as well as sunscreen, food and drink. Remember that there are no places to have lunch inside the park. The best time to visit: although the park is open all year round, during the summer for fear of fire some parts or trails of the park may not be open. Therefore, the best time to visit is during the fall or spring.

Taste the best wines in Les Arcs Sur Argens

In Les Arcs Sur Argens| ©Charos Pix
In Les Arcs Sur Argens| ©Charos Pix

One of the most exclusive and award-winning products of this region is wine, so tastings are a priority when visiting French Provence. Wine production in this area dates back more than 2,500 years, so they are experts in grape cultivation and fermentation.

The characteristic style of this region is rosé wine, so any winery you visit will give you the chance to taste it.

The village of Les Arcs Sur Argens has historic wineries that open their doors for tasting. One of the best known is La Maison des Vins des Côtes, which offers to taste more than 800 varieties of wine.

  • Address: Route N7 number 83460 LES ARCS/ARGENS
  • Hours: Open all year round. Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. Sundays and holidays from 10 am to 6 pm
  • How to get there: From Nice you can take the train to Les Arcs station. By car on the A8 freeway, after the exit Le Muy, then take the RN7 direction Vidauban

Visit Saint Paul de Vence

Saint Paul de Vence is also known as "the most beautiful village of French Provence", due to its beautiful medieval buildings and the many vineyards that stretch to the horizon.

This community was built around its imposing medieval castle, its ramparts and its beautiful cobblestone streets, which will make you feel like you are in the Middle Ages.

  • How to get there: It is really close to Nice, about 20 kilometers away, so by car it would only take you about 30 minutes. If you choose the bus, you can take line 09 and line 400, although it will take a little longer, about 1 hour. You can catch them near the airport at Parc Phoenix
  • When to visit: The best time to visit is out of season (spring or autumn), but if you go in summer it is advisable to go in the morning or afternoon, as often the center of town is full of vehicles.

Visit Marseille

The other pearl of the Côte d'Azur is undoubtedly Marseille. Located about 200 kilometers from Nice, it can be visited in a day tour.

Here you can visit the Palais de Longchamp, a 19th century palace surrounded by a beautiful park. You will also find the Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde, which is located at the top of the hill of Marseille

You can also visit the Castle of If, world famous for being the place where Edmond Dantes was imprisoned in the acclaimed novel The Count of Monte Cristo, written by Alexandre Dumas.

  • How to get there: By car you can travel the 200 kilometers and make the journey in less than 2 hours. Just take the A8 freeway and then the A51. By train is the most comfortable option, since you can do it in less than 3 hours, although it is not the cheapest way. The bus that you take at the airport is the cheapest way, but keep in mind that it will take about 4 hours one way to travel. If you choose this option I recommend that you consider spending the night in Marseille.