I'm new here - been reading the forums and am really thankful for all the helpful info!
My husband and I are going to France for our honeymoon in late June. We will be in the Annecy area for a few days (we are spending a few days there for various reasons) and then we have four days to kill before heading up to Paris for a week. Day one we wake up in Annecy, maybe do some more exploring, then drive...somewhere. Days 2, 3, and 4 we have open for exploring and activities. At the end of Day 4 we'd like to return the car and spend the night in a city where we can stay overnight, have an amazing meal, then get on a train to Paris in the morning on Day 5.
However, despite doing a lot of research, we aren't really sure where to go / what to do / how to itinerary these days. We are early 30s, adventurous, and pretty put off by overly touristy scenes. Since it's our honeymoon, we'd like to avoid places that might be overrun with tour groups or kids, which I know is a possibility in late June. We don't really want to stay in big cities or do museums over these few days since we'll be in Paris for a week.
Some things that we could be interested in doing:
- Seeing the Mediterranean is a pretty big must. Not really into the froufrou beach scene or laying around, but the idea of hiking the calanques near Cassis for a day seems pretty amazing. I would also like to try the wine in that region.
- Visiting the Pont du Gard
- Visiting some authentic and not-too-commercialized ruins. What would fall into this category? I know that Arles has an ampitheater, but that it's been commercialized to have bull fights, etc (not really interested in that).
- The medieval cities of Les Baux and Carcassonne look amazing in photos, but I'm afraid that they might be too touristy and "Disneyland" in reality. Any thoughts on this? Out of the two which would you prefer to visit (or another alternative?)
- We would love to visit the cheese caves in Roquefort, but it seems too out-of-the-way for this trip
- Same with the Loire Valley - love the wine in that region, and would like to see Chenonceau and the gardens at Villandry, but perhaps for another trip
- FOOD - we both are hugely into food and would love to have access to great markets/picnic food and great/unique local restaurants wherever we decide to stay (which seems like it won't be an issue at all
So considering all of the above, staying in Provence seems like the obvious choice, but we just want to make sure that we have enough to do. I was looking at places to have our base and Uzes looks very cute, with some great hotels, though I'm sure there are many other options. I was also thinking it might be smart to spend the last full day doing the Cassis hiking and wine tasting and then dropping the car in Aix, and staying there overnight so we can get a train to Paris.
I am, however, really concerned about parking a rental car that is carrying our luggage while in between hotels (as we would be in the above scenario in Cassis) - I've read and heard a lot of horror stories about rental car break-ins. Maybe it would be better to base for 2 nights somewhere near Uzes and then for 2 more nights closer to Aix. (?)
Any itinerary recommendations or thoughts on the above are much appreciated. Thank you so much!
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Help planning 4-day itinerary, possibly in Provence in June