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Saint Laurent du Var, Alpes-Maritimes

An ancient river side settlement with waterfront beaches

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Saint Laurent du Var, Alpes-Maritimes

Just the other side of the airport to Nice, Saint-Laurent-du-Var is an ancient riverside settlement that has been brought bang up to date in recent years. 

The waterfront is the place to be in Saint-Laurent-du-Var, a long esplanade stretches the length of the beach and is lined with a good choice of restaurants and bars. Most nightlife is centred around the harbour, where you’ll find more bars and restaurants as well as a couple of nightclubs. Shimmy over to Le Spey River on Wednesday evenings for a free salsa lesson and tex-mex tapas.

The centre of Saint-Laurent-du-Var is typical of a small but busy town; unremarkable but it has everything you need such as pharmacies, supermarkets, shops, etc. Cut through some of the smaller side streets and you’ll find yourself in what remains of the old town; Place Adrien Castillon is a charming little square with an 11th century church.

Just beyond the church is the “Hotel de Ville”, or town hall - an extremely grand building set in pleasantly shaded landscaped gardens. There is a children’s playground nearby and a number of boules pitches, as well as a theatre.

History & Culture in St Laurent du Var

Saint-Laurent-du-Var is a shopper’s paradise; the enormous Cap 3000 shopping mall has all the high street favourites such as H&M, Mango, Zara, etc as well as some designer brands along the lines of Tommy Hilfiger, Guess and Desigual. If you prefer your holiday shopping to be a little more “local” then you’ll love the markets that are held every Sunday morning on the Esplanade du Levant, where you can find regional produce and typical Provencal goods.

Twitchers and nature lovers should remember to pack their binoculars; the river Var is a renowned bird reserve where you may spot plovers, sandpipers, grey herons, egrets, flamingos and many more - 264 species have been observed here. Follow the nature path and look out for the info panels along that will help you identify the birds.

Also, the stretch of sea beside the Plage des Flots Bleus is a protected marine area with a total ban on fishing; an artificial cove has been created to encourage sealife to the area and visits are organised each morning (before 10am) for families and school groups so that children can meet the fish. Call in at L'Aquarium Naturel des Flots Bleus to join in one of the visits.

The hills rising up behind Saint-Laurent-du-Var are popular with road cyclists and once you get beyond the towns, they are riddled with hiking trails.

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History of Nice

Sights & Attractions in St Laurent du Var

Cut through some of the smaller side streets and you’ll find yourself in what remains of the old town; Place Adrien Castillon is a charming little square with an 11th century church. Just beyond the church is the “Hotel de Ville”, or town hall - an extremely grand building set in pleasantly shaded landscaped gardens. There is a children’s playground nearby and a number of boules pitches, as well as a theatre. Also of historic interest is the Var River itself; this used to be the border between France and Nice (then Italian) and the town was built in the 11th century as a hospice to aid those crosssing the river.

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Attractions in Nice

Beaches in St Laurent du Var

Saint-Laurent-du-Var sits on the long curve of stony beach on the Bay of Angels that runs right from Nice down to Antibes. There are plenty of watersports to keep you occupied, including jetskis, pontoons, paddleboards and pedalos- or you could just rent a deckchair in a beach club and have a long leisurely lunch overlooking the water. Your move.

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Beaches in Nice

Events in St Laurent du Var

Most nightlife is centred around the harbour, where you’ll find more bars and restaurants as well as a couple of nightclubs and where the majority of events will take place. Shimmy over to Le Spey River on Wednesday evenings for a free salsa lesson and tex-mex tapas.

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Main Events in Nice

Things to Do in St Laurent du Var

Saint-Laurent-du-Var is a shopper’s paradise; the enormous Cap 3000 shopping mall has all the high street chains and some designer brands. If you prefer your holiday shopping to be a little more “local” then you’ll love the markets that are held every Sunday morning on the Esplanade du Levant, where you can find regional produce and typical Provencal goods.

Twitchers and nature lovers should remember to pack their binoculars; the river Var is a renowned bird reserve where you may spot plovers, sandpipers, grey herons, egrets, flamingos and many more. There's good fishing to be had too - although the stretch of sea beside the Plage des Flots Bleus is a protected marine area with a total ban on fishing. An artificial cove has been created to encourage sea life to the area, with kids' excursions each morning where children can meet the fish. Call in at L'Aquarium Naturel des Flots Bleus to join in one of the visits. The hills rising up behind Saint-Laurent-du-Var are popular with road cyclists and once you get beyond the towns, they are riddled with hiking trails.

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Sports & Activities in Nice

Where to Stay in St Laurent du Var

There are some chain hotels here, handy for the airport at Nice, but for something more boutique-styled you will need to go further afield, either into Nice or into the hills above the coast.

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Where to Stay in Nice

Getting Here

Directions

Easy to access, Saint-Laurent-du-Var is little more than a short bus ride from Nice airport; you can even cycle there using the Vélobleu bikes that are stationed all along the coastline. The number 200 bus also runs regularly between Nice and Cannes, passing through Saint-Laurent-du-Var along the way.