Helpful Tips

Accommodations

Hotel La Grande Bastide
1350 Rte de la Colle
06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
la-grande-bastide.com

Time Zone
The Time zone in France is Central European Standard Time. Nice, France is 7 hours ahead of Birmingham, Alabama.

Language
French is the official language in France. English is fairly widely spoken along the touristy French Riviera, but much less so in the more rural back-country.

Currency
The currency used in France is the Euro. 1 Dollar equals approximately 0.96 Euro.

Electricity
Americans traveling to France will need an electrical converter to charge any small appliances they may bring. The voltage in the United States is 120 volts and 230 volts in France.

Flight Information
Your destination airport is Nice, France (airport code NCE).

When booking your flights it’s a good idea to pay attention to overall travel time. A total travel time somewhere between 16 and 20 hours (embarking from the southeastern US) is ideal.

We recommend signing up for a free account at Scott’s Cheap Flights (scottscheapflights.com) for the latest flight deals. Google Flights is also a good resource for finding affordable flights.

Money
Please contact your bank and credit card companies to let them know you’ll be traveling overseas. They may freeze your funds if they see an international transaction and are unaware you have left the country.

Make sure your credit and debit cards do not charge a foreign transaction fee (some cards charge as much as 3% on every purchase).

The easiest way to access money in France is at ATM’s.

Arrival
When you arrive in Nice you will be met outside the baggage claim area by a Riviera Driving Tours representative who will transfer you to St Paul de Vence (transfer time is approximately 35 minutes).

Check-in at the hotel is 3 pm but every effort will be made to accommodate early arrivals. If your room is unavailable upon arrival you may have lunch or a drink at the hotel or take the hotel shuttle up to the village of St Paul de Vence.

Lunch on Wednesday and Thursday at the hotel is included in the tour price. Some guests, though, may choose to have lunch on their own in the village.

A “free day” has been added to the tour to help mitigate the effects of jet lag, so Wednesday may be spent as you wish. The hotel has food and bar service and a lovely heated pool should you choose to simply relax at La Grande Bastide.

​The driving portion of the tour “officially” starts on Thursday around 2 pm with a car orientation at the hotel.

We do ask that each couple provides the hotel with a valid credit card upon check-in to ensure a smooth check-out and avoid any confusion about charges for misc. drinks, etc. (unscheduled meals and drinks are not included in the tour price).

Driving
A valid drivers license and passport (each valid for at least 90 days AFTER you return from the tour) are required to book your vehicle.
An international drivers license is not required.

Comprehensive tour books, a lead car, and two-way radios are provided each driving day. Your vehicle is also equipped with the latest Satellite Navigation System. Groups usually drive in a convoy format but it’s certainly not mandatory. Should you choose to veer off on your own you may consult your tour booklet and SatNav to join the group later in the day

Driving in France is quite similar to driving in the United States and guests usually adapt to it quickly. Any and all questions and concerns you may have about driving will be addressed at the group orientation on Thursday afternoon. In order to make your driving experience less stressful, our first driving day will be spent exploring the back-country where there is much less traffic.

Our goal at Riviera Driving Tours is to provide a driving experience that highlights the very best roads and scenery this spectacular area has to offer. To that end, we will explore the back-country as well as the Riviera coastline and a beautiful region in Liguria, Italy during the tour.

Packing Checklist

Passport/Drivers license (valid for at least six months after you return home from your trip).
Health insurance cards
Bank/credit cards
Phone with charging cord
Toiletries (no more than 3.4 ounces per item)
Sunblock
Sunglasses
​Sun hat
Medications
Light jacket or pullover (temperatures in the back-country during the Spring and Fall can be cool in the evening)
Pants
Shirts
Undergarments
Socks
Comfortable shoes

​You may want to dress up a bit for dinner on Thursday and Monday evenings (think business casual at most), but comfortable, casual attire is de rigueur on a Riviera Driving Tour.

​Ties are strictly forbidden!

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