A Guide to Airports in the French Riviera

Plane landing at a French Riviera airport, France

Jareck / iStock / Getty Images

The French Riviera in Southern France counts three key airports served by commercial airlines, each located in one of the region's major cities or popular destinations. Keep reading for details on which airport/s to fly into or out of depending on your travel plans, pros and cons of each, as well as information on passenger services.

Nice-Côte d'Azur International Airport (NCE)

  • Location: Nice, France
  • Best If: You're connecting from elsewhere in Europe or are traveling from overseas (like the U.S.).
  • Avoid If: Your trip will center on the Western Riviera or you dislike crowds
  • Distance to Central Nice: A 10 to 15-minute taxi will cost about $38 each way at a flat rate. You can also reach the city center by Tram lines 2 or 3 departing from Terminals 1 and 2 at the airport. Trams depart every five to 10 minutes and one-way fares currently cost around $1.80. Finally, for other Riviera destinations (including Monaco and Cannes, Nice Airport Xpress shuttle buses depart regularly from Terminals 1 and 2; fares vary depending on the destination.

Located less than 4 miles from Nice's city center, Nice Côte d'Azur International Airport is France's third-busiest by passenger traffic processing more than 19 million passengers in 2019. The airport serves as a regional "focus city" in southeastern France for Air France and other major airlines, as well as for low-cost airline Easyjet. Especially bustling during the late spring and summer months when tourists throng on the region and its iconic coastline, the airport offers convenient access to nearby destinations including Cannes, Monaco, Menton, and Saint-Tropez. It technically services as Monaco's own main airport as well, owing to its close proximity to the independent principality.

Major national carriers including Lufthansa, Delta, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, and Alitalia offer regular service to and from NCE. Low-cost airlines serving the airport include Eurowings, Norwegian, and Ryanair; these can be ideal alternatives for budget travelers for flights to or from other cities in France and Europe.

The airport has two terminals, numbered 1 and 2. Both offer a high number of shops, restaurants, and passenger services, as well as free high-speed Wi-Fi and outlets for charging phones or other devices.

Restaurants at the airport range from fast food and sandwiches to sit-down restaurants and bars, and there are over 20 shops and duty-free boutiques to browse while you wait for your flight. Major brands present at the airport include Max Mara, Ladurée, Hermès, Longchamp, and Fragonard. Terminal 1 also includes a VIP lounge, Library Lounge, and Business Center

Toulon-Hyères International Airport (TLN)

  • Location: 2 miles southeast of Hyères
  • Best If: You're coming from elsewhere in France; you're on a tight budget and can skip the frills.
  • Avoid If: You're looking for an airport with a large range of amenities and passenger services
  • Distance to Toulon or St-Tropez: Many passengers opt to take a taxi to nearby Toulon, which takes around 30 minutes and currently costs around $70 for a fixed fare. Taxis to St-Tropez take roughly an hour and are about double the cost for a fixed-rate, one-way fare. To save money on getting around, consider taking the bus from the airport to Hyères, Toulon, or St-Tropez; one-way fares range from around $2 to $3.50. For buses to Toulon and St-Tropez, you'll have to transfer at the Hyères rail station.

This small regional airport is located on the central French Riviera in close reach of Hyères and Toulon; it's also nearby major coastal destinations such as St-Tropez, Cassis, and Marseille. Currently served by only two airlines—Air France and British charter flight operator TUI Fly—Toulon-Hyères International Airport offers a limited number of domestic and European flights, including service to and from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), Orly Airport (also in the French capital), Brussels, and Brest (in the French region of Brittany). However, in the busy summer months additional flights have historically been offered, to destinations including London City Airport and Stansted Airport in the UK, Rotterdam (Netherlands), and major cities in North Africa.

The airport has a single terminal from which all flights depart. Shopping and restaurant facilities are limited at TLN, and include an Aelia duty-free boutique (selling alcohol, cosmetics and fragrances, snacks, and souvenirs), a Relay international newsstand where you can purchase books, magazines, and newspapers, and a casual restaurant and bar called Trib's. There are also several fast food and takeout options available. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport, and power outlets can be found in several areas within the departures zone.

Marseille-Provence Airport (MRS)

  • Location: Marignane
  • Best If: You're traveling around the Western Riviera or destinations in Provence
  • Avoid If: Your trip centers around Nice, Monaco, or the Eastern Riviera
  • Distance to Marseille: The airport is situated around 15 miles from central Marseille in the town of Marignane. A taxi from the airport takes around 20 minutes and can cost upwards of $70. To save money, take the free airport shuttle (departures every 15 minutes) from the airport bus station (platform 5) to the Vitrolles City station; from here, board a train to central Marseille. One-way tickets currently cost around $6 and the trip takes roughly 20 minutes. Finally, buses and trains depart daily from MRS to other destinations around Provence and southwestern France, including Aix-en-Provence, Toulon, Nice, and Montpellier.

Marseille-Provence Airport is France's fifth-busiest in terms of passenger numbers, and a popular choice for travelers since it lies roughly at the edge of the French Riviera, inner Provence, and southwestern France. In addition to Air France, more than 30 national and low-cost airlines operate at this airport, flying to and from more than 130 national and international destinations.

Lufthansa, Delta, Air Canada, and British Airways are among the major airlines to offer regular service to and from MRS, while low-cost airlines operating at this airport include Easyjet, Vueling, and Ryanair.

The facilities at this relatively small, manageable airport have improved in recent years thanks, in part, to the addition of a second terminal in 2008. If you need to grab something to eat or drink, buy gifts and souvenirs, or charge your phone, there are plenty of facilities at both terminals for doing so. Free, high-speed Wi-fi is also available throughout the airport.

While this airport counts fewer shops than many of France's other major airports, its duty-free outlets in both terminals offer a number of popular key brands and products, including cosmetics, fragrances, and souvenirs. There's also an international newsstand in Terminals 1 and 2.