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Villefranche (Nice) and Livorno (Florence/Pisa) on our own
My husband and I and another couple are sailing on the Splendour of the Seas on 9/3/05. We are planning private tours in most ports, but are wanting to do Villefranche and Livorno on our own.
In Villefranche we were thinking of renting a car and driving through Nice, Eze, Monaco and to the Monte Carlo. Any advice on particular places to go and whether or not driving ourselves is easy to do in this area?
In Livorno, we were planning on taking the train into Florence and then catching Pisa on the way back. I had read some posts stating it would be better to hire a taxi for the day instead. Any opinions on this? What would be the cost for hiring a driver for the day (without a tour guide) and are they readily available to hire at the port or do you have suggestions for who to contact to reserve?
Also- does anyone have any suggestions for private tour companies for Marseille? I am hoping to get Catherine but am afraid with my procrastination she may already be booked.
TexLaw: We also would like to do Villefranche-sur-mer on our own with a rental car, (Celebrity Galaxy in Villefranche 15 Oct '05) but we're having problems...
I've found only one car rental company in Villefranche - they could not rent us a car but didn't say why - maybe Saturday is bad? - maybe they don't want 1-day rentals?
There are, of course car rentals in Nice, a short distance east or in Beaulieu, a short distance west, but they don't have Saturday afternoon hours except at the Nice airport. And it is a hassle, involving 2 or even 3 buses to get from the port in Villefranche to the rental offices in Nice.
Taxis are always possible, I just have this objection to paying for a taxi to get me to & from a rental car.
I had read on another part of the board that there was a Budget Rental car place in the cruise terminal, and when we checked, there are two in Villefranche. How do we know which one is in the cruise terminal? I can't seem to find a map or address for it.
I checked budget for your Oct. 15th date, but they are closed. Maybe it is a local holiday??? We lucked out, we are there on a Monday when there are cars available- just running into the problem of which rental place is actually at the ship's terminal!
TexLaw: I, too, have "heard" of a Budget Car Rental office/kiosk in Villefranche at the cruise terminal. But I'm not counting on it to be my answer to the rental car problem. Since there does appear to be an issue, I want to make sure.
First, make sure that you are checking "Villefranche-sur-mer" when you are specifying the town for a rental car. There are other "Villefranche" towns in France. Villefranche-sur-mer is the town on the sea next to Nice.
I visited Villefranche-sur-mer a few years ago. It is a small seaside town, very pretty, but there was no "cruise terminal". Instead, cruise ship passengers arrive and depart by tender from the ship anchored off-shore. My recollection is that it was at a small wharf at a location called "Port de la Sante" on the town map.
In Villefranche there is a perfume factory (for lack of a better word) that has a GORGEOUS view of the Med and offers big discounts on just about any perfume you can think of. My grandmother bought Joy perfume for about 1/2 price, and it's expensive! Not sure if this is your thing, but it was fun!
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The cities near Villefranche sur Mer are very easy to get to via train or bus. You may run into problems trying to park a rental car in some of the cites, so I would eschew the car in favor of the train or bus.