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Budget Travel Tips for Cannes and Nice

Money saving tips for Cannes and Nice along France’s Cote d’Azur.

Cannes and Nice are popular cities for travelers to the Cote d’Azur in France. These glamourous locales can be costly to visit, but with the right planning, budget friendly. To make the most of your trips to these year round destinations, here are three top travel tips for a budget friendly adventure.

Taking an e-bike tour in Nice in December, a great way to see the city.

Taking an e-bike tour in Nice in December, a great way to see the city.

Tip #1 Travel During the Off Season

Summer buzzes with activity in Cannes and Nice and during the Cannes Film Festival in May, Cannes is packed with people and paparazzi. Consider traveling to these cities during the off season, in particular from December through March. You can enjoy many of the same restaurants and markets as you would in the high season without the crowds and save money on lodging. A perk of traveling in December—European holiday markets. We visited in December and loved to see the decorations, tool around markets and found that most things we wanted to experiences were open, but without the crowds. We traveled amid more locals, making for an authentic experience.

Hitting the beach is a fun free activity year round. Photo from my seat dining beachside in Cannes.

Hitting the beach is a fun free activity year round. Photo from my seat dining beachside in Cannes.

Tip #2 Stay Central to Save

Both Cannes and Nice are walkable and bike-friendly cities, so though staying central may cost you more in room fees, it also may save you more on transportation in the long run. The oldest continually operated hotel in Cannes, Hotel Splendid is just steps away from the harbor and a short walk to the Palais, home of the Cannes film festival, granting it a top location and this family owned inn is budget friendly, if you book in advance.

The view from my room at Hotel Splendid in Cannes, where many famous guests have stayed during the Cannes Film Festival, including movie critic Roger Ebert.

The view from my room at Hotel Splendid in Cannes, where many famous guests have stayed during the Cannes Film Festival, including movie critic Roger Ebert.

Nice’s Hotel Windsor is also centrally located, just a ten minute walk from the English Promenade. This boutique hotel with its individually decorated rooms attracts art lovers with an indoor gallery of eclectic works.

Interesting art in Hotel Windsor in Nice. This hotel has a homey, yet cool feel and a great location.

Interesting art in Hotel Windsor in Nice. This hotel has a homey, yet cool feel and a great location.

#3 Shop Local to Save

One of the wonderful things about traveling to France is that even the most basic of ingredients can be so tasty. To save money and still get top cuisine, visit local markets during your travels in Cannes and Nice. By shopping like the locals, you’ll find fabulous foods at non-touristy prices, helping you enjoy France like a foodie without busting your budget. Visit the Forville Market in Cannes for great food picks. Markets aren’t just centered around food along the Cote d’Azur, make sure to ask about markets for art, flowers and more to truly enjoy shopping local and finding something unique on your travel adventures. In Nice, Cours Saleya, for example, is a fabulous antiques market.

I could have spent a lot of time wandering through the eclectic Cours Saleya, which is on Mondays from 7.30 am to 6.00pm except on the day before a national holiday at Place Garibaldi.

I could have spent a lot of time wandering through the eclectic Cours Saleya, which is on Mondays from 7.30 am to 6.00pm except on the day before a national holiday at Place Garibaldi.

Try socca at the Forville Market. This vegetarian dish is surprisingly filling and good.

Try socca at the Forville Market. This vegetarian dish is surprisingly filling and good.

And remember you’re on vacation, so don’t forget to put all of that savings to good use and once in a while, splurge.

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Travels with Darley is a travel TV series broadcast on PBS stations and on digital networks, including the AOL On Network. Host Darley Newman of "Equitrekking" fame joins locals to showcase the top food, culture and adventure attractions in the USA and around the globe.

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