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3 extra days in Provence/Riviera - advice please!

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May 6th, 2015, 08:21 PM
  #1
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3 extra days in Provence/Riviera - advice please!

We are pleased to find we have a bonus of 3 days in southern France the first week of September and are unsure how/where to spend them (lucky problem)! We will have already spent 4 nights in St. Remy exploring the surrounds, 2 in Marseille and 3 in Nice before this. I'd love your thoughts!

We will be coming from Nice. We don't want to drive too much so currently thinking of exploring Gorges du Verdon, staying in Moustiers Saint Marie for 1-2 nights, then going to Aix (we've never been and won't have time during the Marseille bit) for our last night before driving back to Nice. I don't know if we'll be in the mood to hike much.
Another idea is Nice -Trigance (Samantha Brown recommendation) - Moustiers - Aix - Nice *if Trigance has some social life*. (That being said, is there enough social life in Moustiers to keep us there 2 nights?) As you see, I'm getting too wrapped around in the head about this, which is why I seek your sage advice.

One last thing: We don't want stay in places that are too sleepy (we like a few socializing options, vs. 1 restaurant or bar in the whole place, and that closes at 10pm - we experienced this in the Pyrenese a few years ago and would not like to repeat this experience, though it was a gorgeous, historica place... the hubs actually said, "please let's not stay in a castle again" as he immediately associates them with boring evenings!)

Thank you very much for your help!
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May 6th, 2015, 08:23 PM
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BTW, sorry for poor spelling and grammar (ipad struggles). Thanks!
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May 6th, 2015, 09:41 PM
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We're certainly not experts about Moustiers but our experience for a stay there would suggest that you not stay two nights. Perhaps if you planned some serious outdoor activities which are plentiful in the area but not just a visit. I'm also in the camp that was underwhelmed by the Gorges du Verdon--lots of effort with marginal return. Still if you're outdoor oriented--boating, climbing,hiking etc.--its a good destination.
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May 7th, 2015, 03:56 AM
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How about you add one night to each of the three places you are already going. Benefit - you don't need an 'extra' hotel. I spent 5 nights in St Remy and had plenty to do, could have used even more time. You mentioned Aix which is wonderful (you could put two nights there instead) so a day trip from Marseilles would work if you had an extra day. And with an additional day in Nice you do do one of several day trip options. Were you already planning some day trips. I've done Eze, Monte Carlo, Antibes, and Vence. Another option would be to put the three nights in Vence - one of my favorite towns in all of Europe and there are some day trips from there you could do. (Tourettes sur Lope is wonderful).
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May 7th, 2015, 07:18 AM
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We've stayed in Moustiers twice - and it is quite sleepy. We're not big fans of the Gorge du Verdon either - the Tarn gorge is much more interesting, IMO. Trigance is basically just a chateau hotel - population 160. That's really sleepy.

I agree with isabel - add your "found" nights to Nice & St Remy. Two nights in Marseille is enough for me. If you feel that you "must" stay elsewhere - I would stay in St Paul de Vence at Le Hammeau & explore the fantastic Nice Hinterland by car.

Don't know how flexible your itinerary is and what is "set in concrete" - but you'll drive right past Aix on the way from St Remy to Marseille or Nice. Why wouldn't you visit it then? I would rather spend 2 nights in Aix instead of Marseille.

We've spent 20 weeks vacationing on the Cote d'Azur and another 20 weeks in Provence. I developed a 31 page itinerary that describes our favorite villages, scenic drives, markets, sites - and has a lot of info about the Nice Hinterland. I've sent the itinerary 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
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May 7th, 2015, 11:31 PM
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Hi everyone, thank you!

I SO appreciate the sleepiness factor feedback!! Thank you for keeping me out of the dog house!!

Details: We fly into Marseille and as lodgings were going quickly I locked us into St. Remy as a starting point. We could change this, I think...? Though I'm not sure that's what folks are advising.

We are set in stone for Nice (friends living in Germany are flying in for the w/e) which is why we get a bit pinched between St. Remy and Nice - whether it's Marseille (or Aix, per Stu's recommendation) or extra days in St. Remy. We drifted to Marseille as it's the only real coastal spot we're staying in over 15 days (in "Nice" we're actually in Cimiez so I don't know how much beach we will actually do, plus Nice being about non-sand and all...)

So! I could 1) add more days to St. Remy.... or some other place?? 2) replace Marseille w/ Aix (or some other place en route to Nice, so we are going W to E as we will meet our friends in Nice for a weekend); and 3) could do ?? with our last 3 days? (Eze? Vence? St. Paul de Vence (sounds a bit like a rat race re: mobs of tourists, and though we are in this boat...?)

Stu, you were kind enough to e-mail me your itinerary a few weeks back - we must find a more appropriate term for the fantastic content here! I just needed a bit more direction... as you see, I'm over thinking (or under thinkging) - in any case, need the advice of my trusted Fodorites!

Thank you again, everyone!
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May 7th, 2015, 11:37 PM
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P.S. I just glanced at the sidebar of other recent convos - and spotted someone's concern re: diversity of places. I am hoping we can achieve this (which is why you see the Marseille inclusion, for instance...we are planning to have time in St. Remy, Arles, Avignon, Les Baux, Nice, St. Paul de Vence (mainly to go to Fondation Maeght as am I big Giacometti fan), a wee bit in Marseille... maybe Gorges du Verdon? Sadly Tarn gorge won't fit this trip.) Thank you again!
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May 7th, 2015, 11:53 PM
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I know people always say St Paul de Vence is mobbed with tourists, but we've been there several times, in July, and I thought it was not that bad. Go early, see the Fondation Maeght, then back to the village (where we've always been able to park in the carpark just outside the village). Make a reservation for lunch at la Colombe d'Or.
If you have a car, as I think you do, there are so many places to visit from Nice. Try Gourdon, or Valbonne - nice market on Fridays (come early). Or Antibes.

If it's beach you want, Cannes is pretty good. Plenty to do in the evenings ;-) you won't be bored. 3 days in St Tropez would be very nice too, in September.
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