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France Itinerary Help Needed

My brother-in-law will be in France for 20 days beginning September 20. He has a couple of weeks of work in Lyon and the rest of the time he's wondering how to fill the rest of the time. I tried to lay out a rough itinerary for him, but I could use some help with the details. Here is an outline of where things stand:

Sept 20-22 - Arrive at CDG, two nights in Paris
Sept 22-26 - Four nights in Lyon with work
Sept 26-28 - He is looking to do a weekend trip to a place where he can do some active things like hiking/cycling and enjoy the beauty of the French Alps. He will be alone. I suggested either Annecy or Chamonix as possible places. Other ideas?
Sept 28-Oct 3 - Another week in Lyon with work, his wife arrives on Oct 2
Oct 3-Oct 10 - He and his wife want to take a road trip that includes the Cote d'Azur. They would like to have a car for this entire portion of the trip. I suggested they do 3-4 nights in Provence perhaps in Aix-en-Provence and then 3-4 nights in or around Nice. Considering they will have a car, what would be ideal locations for them to stay once you factor in the ease of getting in and out of a town via car?
Oct 10 - Fly home--I told them they can either take the TGV back to CDG and fly from there or fly home from Nice or Marseille.

For a little additional information, they are both interested in great food, Medieval and ancient architecture and castles, shopping and active outdoor activities.

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