Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

10 Days France: Paris, Provence & Cote D Azur?

10 Days France: Paris, Provence & Cote D Azur?

Oct 11th, 2013, 07:37 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 3
10 Days France: Paris, Provence & Cote D Azur?

My husband and I are taking our first international trip with our almost 10 month old. We're flying from NYC, and originally were thinking of flying to Paris for 3-4 days, then taking the train to either Avignon or Aix-en-Provence, then driving to Nice and spending the last leg there and flying back home. I'm concerned that we are over-booking ourselves. Oh, and we haven't been able to get organized, we're looking to leave at the end of October! My question is, would we be better just doing Paris, then focusing on either heart of provence and Nice/Cannes/Monaco? We've both been to Paris (over ten years ago), but neither of us have been to southern france. Although we do want to sight see, we also want some time to completely chill/relax, and not run ourselves ragged getting from point A to point B. Also, since we aren't there for too long, would prefer not to lose a ton of time traveling. We've traveled a lot so are comfortable driving in other countries and navigating unknown areas.

Fpr 10 days would you:
A. Split the trip into three destinations. Paris 4-5, Avignon or Aix-En-Provence 2 days (which one would you say is better for a first time visitor), any suggestions on high-end hotels?, and 2-3 days in Nice
B. Paris & Aix or Avignon
C. Paris & Nice
D. Only pick one area (i.e. spend entire time in Paris and surroundings, or Nice and surroundings or Aix and surroundings)

Suggested itineraries with high-end/luxury hotel recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Right now the biggest issues we're having is figuring out where to fly in/out, and where to base ourselves in each region so we can book hotels.

Thanks so much for your help!
little1 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2013, 08:15 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,742
I would split the time between just 2 destinations - not 3. Two nights in Provence (actually 1 1/2 days) and 2/3 in Nice isn't enough time for a relaxed vacation in these destinations.

I would fly into CDG and immediately take the 3 hr TGV from CDG to the Avignon TGV station, rent a car, and stay in St Remy or somewhere in the Luberon for 5 nights. I would not stay in either Avignon or Aix as a base (for many reasons).

Then return the car at the Avignon TGV station & take the 2 3/4 TGV to Paris & spend the remaining 5 nights there. Fly home from Paris.

I think Provence might more interesting in late October than the Cote d'Azur. Me (and many others on Fodors) are not big fans of Monaco).

My wife & I have spend 34 months vacationing along the Cote d'Azur & Provence. I developed a 27 page itinerary for these regions that describes my favorite villages, cities, markets, scenic drives - and also a section on Provence fabric. I've sent it to over 3,000 people on Fodors. If you would like a copy e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach one to the reply e-mail.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Oct 11th, 2013, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,586
Drop Nice, you can see the Mediterranean coast near Marseille on a day trip from Aix.

Michael is offline  
Oct 11th, 2013, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,420
It's a bit rushed, but if you are used to traveling around, I dont think 3 cities in 10 days is that bad. I think I've done that same trip, actually (Paris, Avignon and Nice) in about that time frame. I think NIce and Paris deserve more time than Avignon so 4-2-4 nights would be a good mix as far as I'm concerned. If there are more nights, maybe 5-2-4. If you've seen Paris before or just don't want to spend more time in that big a city, 4-2-5 would be fine, also. I would choose either Avignon or Aix, not try to do both.

Which is better for a first timer? They are just different, it doesn't matter IMO. I'd look at the main attractions and just choose which appeals to you most. Probably Avignon are more things you can think of (Palais des Papes, that bridge, nice park with church and the Petit Palais museum which is very good). Aix has a nice fine arts museums, actually, and church, and is just probably a bit more pleasant to walk around shopping. I do like Avignon's big outdoor main square with all the outdoor cafes, though, and I think in summer there is a carousel, but your baby would be too small to care about that, probably.

Both have some nice hotels, you won't have any trouble finding them. I think there is a 4* Mercure right near the palace, and of course, La Mirande is probably the top hotel but may be too nice for what you want. http://www.la-mirande.fr/#/en/accueil/

Some of the other nice hotels in Avignon aren't quite as central, like Cloitre St Louis.

With a 10 month old baby, though, you may not want to move that quickly, and then 2 cities would be fine.
Christina is offline  
Oct 11th, 2013, 01:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,819
STu nailed it as usual.
Gretchen is offline  
Oct 11th, 2013, 01:53 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,630
Will a 10 month old tolerate a hectic foreign trip?
AJPeabody is offline  
Oct 11th, 2013, 02:05 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,598
It seems rushed to me, especially since you write that you want time to chill and relax. And I also wondered about the baby. And did you say you are planning on leaving the end of this month?

My advice is to pick two locations. I love Paris but since you've been, I'd go along with Provence; I prefer St Remy to Aix and Avignon. It seemed to have a cool, relaxed ambiance to me and there's a abundance of beautiful scenery in the area.

Whatever you decide, have a great time.
Luisah is offline  
Oct 11th, 2013, 02:37 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,300

Nothing is hectic for a 10 month old. It is hectid (possibly) for the parents.

Avignon and Marseille would be excellent places to concentrate your trip. Marseille being the European capital oulture in 2013, it has numerous wonders to see, notably the new museum, the MuCEM.
kerouac is offline  
Oct 11th, 2013, 03:00 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
I would fly to Paris, do THAT segment first to take advantage of warmer temps. Then take train, head down to THe Luberon area and spend the rest of time there, where it will be a bit warmer being more southern ( but not much) and fly home from Nice.

Or do the reverse. I see no reason to back track to Paris. Open jaw is better use of time. Fly in to one city - Paris, Nice or even Marseiile. Then fly out of one at the other end of the trail.
DebitNM is offline  
Oct 12th, 2013, 04:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,585
Yeah, what Stu said.

Here's my trip report from this past summer. The St Remy part is about halfway down (starts on 'day 10'). I moved on to Aix (and then the Cote d'Azure) but had more time than you will. I would do Aix as a day trip from St Remy with your time frame. I can recommend the hotel we stayed at in St Remy (Contact info in the trip report)

isabel is offline  
Oct 12th, 2013, 07:27 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 435
If you wind up in Avignon, we really enjoyed our stay at Hotel d' Europe there. And loved La Fourchette and Christian Etienne(a splurge) for dining.
Uma is offline  
Oct 12th, 2013, 05:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 3
Thank you all for the feedback. It's tough. I know rationally that two destinations will be better, but I'm really struggling dropping Nice/Cannes. Guess I just need to think about it. It's hard, we used to travel extensively, but now with a baby have slowed to maybe one trip a year if we are lucky, so I have this nagging feeling of wanting to see everything and make the trip "worthwhile". I know it's silly. Will probably be back soon with more questions. Thanks all for your suggestions!
little1 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2013, 06:28 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,742
Less is more.

There's plenty to see in Provence. Lots of A+ stuff there. If you spend any less than 4 nights in Provence, you'll leave some A+ stuff behind (not visited) just so you'll get to see some A+ things in the Cote d'Azur (I consider Monaco a C+). Why waste 1 hr checking in/out of an additional hotel, 2 1/2 hrs in transit in the prime of the day - just so you can see some different A+ stuff and violate one of your objectives:
>>>we also want some time to completely chill/relax, and not run ourselves ragged getting from point A to point B. Also, since we aren't there for too long, would prefer not to lose a ton of time traveling.<<<

If you want to see some water, visit Cassis as a day-trip from Provence,

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Oct 13th, 2013, 06:51 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,742
FWIW, according to ViaMichelin it is 2 hr 50 mins from St Remy to Nice, and 1 hr 25 mins from St Remy to Cassis. Nice is more difficult to navigate through.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Oct 14th, 2013, 07:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 3
Thanks again to all of you for your feedback, especially Stu. We've thought about it a lot and decided on the following:

10/26 - leave nyc
10/27 - arrive nice
check into hotel (looking for high-end/luxury hotels in central location) any suggestions greatly appreciated

11/1 - train to Paris
stay in paris until 11/5

And yes, you read that correctly, we're leaving end of next week. With a baby dangling off my arms, it has been hard to plan anything beyond what to eat for lunch. I know we're going against recos and doing the touristy route, but it's our first time to the area and feel obligated to see Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Vence etc. We decided the heart of Provence warrants it's own trip and will do that another time (potentially next year).

That said, any itineraries for 5 days in Nice and 4 days in Paris would be wonderful. We definitely want to hit the museums and I'm very into food so love markets, artisanal shops, great food etc. In Paris, would love to do some vintage designer shopping if anyone knows the boutiques to hit. Also, I'm wondering if we have too many days allocated to the Nice area? It seems there's still a lot to do around there if we allocate a day to Nice/old town, and trips to Cannes, Antibes, Vence, Eze, and VilleFrance? Is it worth going to St. Tropez?

I know we should avoid having a car in Nice, but can we get to the surrounding areas by bus/train? Or will it take forever w/public transportation?

I'd also love any suggestions on places to eat in both Paris and Nice region. Authentic regional fare, can be small mom & pop owned or upscale restaurant. We don't care as long as the food is delicious, and a true Parisien experience.

Thank you all so much!!!
little1 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2013, 07:27 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,742
>> Is it worth going to St. Tropez?<<

Not in very late October - plus it is too far away from Nice.

You can easily get to the coastal towns in Nice (except St Tropez) by train or bus. Visiting Vence, St Paul & thi inland villages by bus is possible - but you'll probably waste a lot of your "to little time" waiting for the bus to arrive at the time that fits your schedule (not the bus's schedule).

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Oct 14th, 2013, 10:06 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 20,274
Luxury hotels in Nice:

La Pérouse (boutique hotel; get a deluxe room with terrace)
Underhill is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:10 PM.