You won’t be stuck for choice in the French Riviera.
Antibes is a fantastic place to visit with a baby or a toddler. It has some truly spectacular beaches, both public and private. And most of them are sandy. You can explore Antibes’ Old Town as well, called by some the cultural heart of the Côte d’Azur. The Musée Picasso is worth a visit for its splendid artwork, sculpture terrace, and stunning views of the Mediterranean. There are also many family friendly restaurants in the town.
Cannes is famous for its film festival which is held here each May and attracts the world’s biggest movie stars. If you decide to go to Cannes, you can visit the Palais du Festival, the theatre where the festival is held. Here, there are often temporary exhibitions here related to filmmaking. Le Croisette (the beach front area near the Palais du Festival) is a wonderful place for toddlers. There is a permanent mini-carnival with small playground with a beautiful, ornate carousel and other small carnival rides and a snack bar. There is also a playground at the other end of the promenade. Along the promenade are hotels, beaches, cafes and restaurants where you can soak in the atmosphere of the Riviera.
Domaine du Royal
A great way to spend a half day is to visit the botanical gardens at Domaine du Rayol
Espace Marineland is located near Antibes and has four amusement parks. Marineland itself is a well-respected marine life park, boasting pods of dolphins, killer whales and sharks. Kilometres of twisty-turny slides at Aquasplash make it the Riviera’s largest water park. Farm themed La Ferme du Far West hosts pony rides and a small petting zoo, and, opposite, giant dinosaurs flank Adventure Golf’s three crazy golf courses. Tickets are pricey and entry fees vary according to each specific park. Combination tickets are also available.
Monaco is also worth seeing, however it is very hilly and not the best place to be wheeling around a stroller in the hot sun. The city is filled with designer shops, casinos and stunning hotels. The Oceanographic Museum in Monaco is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. The aquarium is excellent and the whale skeleton sure to fascinate older toddlers.
Nice & Around
Nice is a popular destination for visitors from the UK and Ireland as it offers sun, sea and sand, some great restaurants and plenty to see and do. It is a fantastic spot for babies and toddlers. Some of the highlights of the city include its Old Town and the Matisse Museum in the Cimiez area is also worth seeing.
The main beach is a stoney beach and is located in the centre of the town. There is a great choice of restaurants and ice cream shops around the beach area but if you want a sandy beach you may need to travel further afield. Nice’s 5 km promenade is great for a stroll. It’s wide, flat and almost entirely pedestrian – although there’s a designated lane for cycling and rollerblading too. You can hire bikes (€10/half-day) with baby and toddler seats on the back. If the sun is too hot for all that physical exertion, then you can take your pick of any of Nice’s private or public beaches. Hi-Beach offers shady, padded Family Houses (€29/half-day), perfect for soft play with toddlers, plus kids’ toys, blankets and Wi-Fi.
Nice Chateau located between the Old Town and the Port is also worth visiting and the views from the top of the hill where it is situated are breath-taking. You can either walk to the top or take the elevator. The city is stroller friendly however, baby changing facilities are few and far between, although you will find them in department stores and in some restaurants. A foldaway changing mat would be a useful addition to your changing bag!
Near to Nice Port (towards Carrefour) is the cute Musée de la Curiosité at 39 rue Beaumont where you can tour four or five rooms of old fashioned children’s theatre pieces, including the haunted room. The commentary is in French but this really doesn’t matter.
Fifteen minutes from Nice by car there’s KidCity, a 700m. colourful paradise for active little ones with everything from giant lego blocks, to slides, inflatables, ball pools, trampolines and even rope bridges. After the fun is over, adults can take weary children to the panoramic restaurant. It is open between 10am–4.30pm daily, but longer at weekends and Bank Holidays. Prices are a reasonable: €6 for the under 4s and €10 for children between 4 and 12 years old.
Parc Phoenix is located near Nice’s airport and offers an easy day out at €2 per adult and free for under 12s. It has open spaces, a large children’s park, an impressive greenhouse and a small aquarium. Don’t forget some bread to feed the ducks at the entrance.
You will see the “Famille Plus” label on some businesses in Nice. The establishments showing the logo have committed themselves to being family friendly and providing special equipment such as high chairs for children.
Reserve des Monts d’Azur
An hour’s drive northwest of Nice, the Réserve des Monts d’Azur offers guided safaris through herds of wild bison and Mongolian horses.
St Jean Cap
St. Jean Cap de Ferrat is a beautiful fishing village which has a long promenade on the sea offering a great place for a walk with younger kids. Town has some interesting art galleries, shops, and down at the small port there are some wonderful eateries including Le Sloop where you can have a steaming bowls of mussels and great frites and wine. Visit Cap Ferrat’s Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild above the village for a great half day out. The Villa has nine different themed gardens and a musical fountain surround the all-pink mansion.
A lot of the French Riviera is quite developed however, Saint-Tropez has a smaller, more traditional feel, in addition to its glamorous port and promenade.The town is very much about shopping and is quite exclusive, being favoured by celebrities. It is not very baby and toddler friendly as there is not a lot for them to do other than visit the beach but a lot of families do visit the area. The beach is long and sandy but can get very busy during the summer months. Near Saint Tropez is La Croix Valmer, a small town with a long clean beach, ideal for babies and toddlers. There are some fantastic restaurants in the town and there are lots of beautiful villages around which you can explore.There are plenty of family friendly hotels in this area. there are also a number of beach clubs in Saint Tropez which offer kids clubs and play areas such as As Club 55 which is quite exclusive but has a kids’ club and Plage des Jumeaux has a playground. Reservations are recommended.
The picturesque town of Valbonne in the mountains is a great option for toddlers. The restaurants all ring an enclosed square where in the summer toddlers can run around and the food is very child friendly. In the evenings there is always some kind of entertainment with musicians and magicians doing tricks.
Villefranche Sur Mer
The beach in Nice is a stoney beach which is not ideal for toddlers and babies who want to crawl and run around. Villefranche Sur Mer is a smaller town located outside Nice and has a wonderful sandy beach. It is also a fantastic base for family holidays and is quite close to the Italian border. If you will not be staying there it is certainly worth a visit. There is some fantastic family friendly apartments and hotels here also and the town is quieter and easy to walk around.The rail station at Villefranche is up some steps from the harbour area /old town which is the most scenic part and the town is built on a hill, but it is not too difficult to negotiate with a stroller.