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The southern French city of Nice epitomises the abundant charms of the Cote d'Azur region. Gently sweeping bays are ringed by sun-drenched beaches with a backdrop of stately architectural gems. Away from the beach, exploring the city and the French Riviera coastline is most easily accomplished when driving a car rental in Nice.
Nice Cote d'Azur Airport, five kilometres west along the Promenade des Anglais from the central beach areas, is the busiest airport in southern France. Trams, buses and taxis are the public transport options in the city. Tourism locations in the city such as Place Garibaldi, St Nicholas's Cathedral and wining and dining venues on Cours Saleya are easily reached on foot. Anything farther afield is more comfortably visited in a self-drive hire.
With their own self-drives, visitors are not restricted to Promenade des Anglais' delights and can venture farther afield. Monaco and Cannes are the closest Cote d'Azur draws to Nice. Fuel prices in France are slightly lower than the UK's and exploring by car won't break the bank. Budget, Sixt and Avis are among global suppliers with offices in town. When you compare car hire online it usually reveals some preferential rates on vehicles.
Driving around the city at peak holiday times can be challenging. Once outside the city, roads become less congested. The A8 La Provencal motorway stretches all the way along the Cote d'Azur to Ventimiglia on the Italian border and is a great primary route for regional destinations. Care is needed when negotiating rural roads through the nearby Mercantour National Park.
The Cote d'Azur is all about beaches and those at places such as St Tropez, St Raphael and Menton are easily driven to with car hire in Nice. No visit to the region is complete without taking in Monaco and Monte Carlo where a picturesque port, the Oceanographic Museum and casinos are magnetic draws. Mercantour's quaint villages and hiking trails attract numerous tourists every year.
Due to its temperate Mediterranean climate, Nice is a good holiday choice at any time of the year. It is probably better to avoid the peak months of July and August when it is always crowded and the thermometer frequently hits 30°C. Even in the December to February winter months, the thermometer shows a pleasant average of 14°C.