Situated on the southern coast of France on the Mediterranean coast, the Côte d'Azur, sometimes known as the French Riviera, is blessed with great weather from spring to autumn. It's home to beautiful beaches, fascinating towns and cities and is easily reached in the comfort of a train.
National and international services to the Côte d'Azur stop at the main stations, such as Nice, Cannes and Toulon. The TGV train run by SNCF take just over five hours to get from Paris to Nice, travelling at speeds of up to 200mph. Once you arrive on the Côte d'Azur, you can take advantage of the regular local services, also run by SNCF, which run between the major cities, smaller towns and even villages along the French Riviera. Trains in Côte d'Azur run along the coastline, which means you can enjoy spectacular views of the Mediterranean as you travel. Services on the Marseille-Ventimiglia line run every half an hour until 10 pm at night during the week, but later on the weekends, though not every train will stop at the smaller stations.
From Toulon, the Marseille-Ventimiglia (France to Italy) line heads inland to Vidauban and Les Arcs-Draguignan, before returning to the coast where it calls at Fréjus and Mandelieu-la-Napoule. Cannes-Ville and Cannes la Bocca are the next stations, followed by Juan-les-Pins, the picturesque old town of Antibes and the small village of Biot. Villeneuve-Loubet and Cagnes-sur-Mer are located on the outskirts of Nice, which is home to three main railway stations served by SNCF trains.
Most towns have just one station, although Nic, the biggest city in the Côte d'Azur has three; Nice-Ville in the city centre, Nice-Riquier down by the port and Nice St Augustin which is nearest to the airport. It takes around an hour to travel from Nice to Ventimiglia at the eastern end of the line, while the journey from Nice to Marseille, in the west, takes about two and a half hours. After leaving Nice, the Côte d'Azur railway line passes through Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cap d'Ail before reaching the Gare de Monaco and proceeding to Menton before the service crosses the Italian border and reaches its terminus at Ventimiglia.
Home to the rich and famous in equal measure, Monte Carlo, part of the Principality of Monaco is also worth a visit. There's the Grand Prix, held every year and boat races all year round to keep you occupied, as well as an assortment of casinos and luxury hotels. The only train station within the Principality, Gare de Monaco is located in Monte Carlo, and it provides a gateway to other destinations in the French Riviera, France and beyond.
You don't have to be in the film industry to enjoy the bright lights of Cannes. Whether it's walking along the La Croisette promenade, enjoying a stay at one of the palace-like hotels the city has to offer or exploring the old Fort Royal on the Ile Ste-Marguérite, Cannes is a playground for the wealthy, those on a budget and everyone in between. There are two main rail stations; Cannes-Ville (also known as Gare de Cannes) and Cannes la Bocca, which is conveniently placed by the beach and connections to local ferry services.