8 days South of France

Jan 14th, 2013, 08:42 AM
  #1  
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8 days South of France

Hi,

My husband and I (30 yrs) will be visiting South of France June 1st for 8 days. We will be taking a flight from London. This will be our frist time in South of France. We are looking for culture, relaxation, good restraunts, night life as well as a quaint village.

Definetly want to visit Nice (given its proximity to Monte carolo, cannes, monaco, st. tropez etc).

Should we also include Marsielles and nearby villages on this trip? Or spend a few nights in Cannes etc.

Thank you
angel025 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2013, 09:07 AM
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The south of France is a huge area. I take it your aim is to visit Provence, which is just one part of it.

No place you have mentioned is anything remotely like a quaint village. I would recommend you divide your time between the Alpilles/Bouches-du-Rhône (St-Rémy, Pont du Gard, Arles, the Camargue, Avignon, Uzès....) and the Riviera (Nice, etc.).You'd need a car for that area.

I wouldn't bother with Monte Carlo (which is in Monaco) on such a short visit unless you are wealthy and love yachts and casinos. Though a car would be nice for that area also, you could use trains to get along the coastline to visit places outside Nice, which I would use as your base.
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Jan 14th, 2013, 09:25 AM
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Most think of the South of France as Provence and the Cote d'azur but it includes Aquitaine. Midi pyrenees, Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence-Alpes. Cote dázur (which is where you want to visit). Personally, I don't think of the Cote Azur
as the real Provence (and it's non native palm trees.)
The Alpilles and the Luberon is where the heart is.
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Jan 14th, 2013, 09:48 AM
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So if you have to put together an 8 day itinerary for South of France. What would it be? Also, please let me know the mode of transport. We are opening to renting a car or taking the train/bus.
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Jan 14th, 2013, 09:48 AM
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<>

I meant a car for the Bouches-du-Rhône area.
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Jan 14th, 2013, 11:40 AM
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Day 1 Fly into Nice.
Stay 4 nights at the Hotel Windor
Explore Nice,

Day 2 take a train to Antibes & explore Antibes. Take a train to Villefranche & explore this cute village. Dinner on the Cours Saleya in Nice.

Day 3 Train to Cannes & explore Cannes. Maybe work in some beach time in Cannes or Nice. St Tropez is too far away & Monte Carlo is like StCirq says.

Day 4 rent a car & visit the villages of St Paul, Vence, Tourrettes sur Loup, Gourdon, and do the Loup loop.

Day 5 head out early by car to Aix en Provence & spend a 3/4 of a day there. Lunch on the Cours. Drive on to St Remy & spend 4 nights there. Visit Les Baux in the late afternoon.

Day 6 Drive around the Luberon visiting the many "cute little villages" (Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux, many more).

Day 7 visit the Pont du Gard, Uzes, & the small village of Castillon du Gard.

Day 8 visit the lavender fields around Sault if you'll be there in very late June or July. Otherwise, visit Arles.

There are many other things to consider - like don't visit a large city (Aix, Arles, Avignon, perhaps Cannes) on a Sunday or Monday morning when most things (shops) will be closed. Also, if you will be in Provence on a Sunday visit the huge outdoor market in l'Isle sur la Sorgue (get there no later than 8:30am).

Dump the car at the Avignon TGV station and take the TGV (fast train) back to Paris & perhaps the next destination, or fly from Marseille.

I have much more info about this rough schedule on my 27 page Cote d'Azur & Provence itinerary that I've sent to over 3,000 people on Fodors. We've spent 34 weeks vacationing in this area. 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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Jan 14th, 2013, 12:04 PM
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So are you suggesting that with 8 days I should completely drop Marsielles and its neighboring places and just concentrate on Nice and its neighboring places? Thank you.
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Jan 14th, 2013, 12:10 PM
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Nobody has suggested that you just concentrate on Nice and neighboring places. No one has suggested you add Marseille, though.
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Jan 14th, 2013, 12:16 PM
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Maybe I am confused. are the places suggested by StudDudley...Nice and its neighboring places only?

Right now I am just trying to understand if that's what I should do?
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Jan 14th, 2013, 12:40 PM
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No, Stu did not just recommend Nice and neighboring places; nor did I. What you should do first off is go get yourself a nice detailed map of the south of France so you can locate these places and see what distances lie between them.
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Jan 14th, 2013, 01:39 PM
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Nice, Cannes, Villefranche, Antibes, St Paul, Vence, & Tourrettes are in one area and very close to each other. The first 4 places are directly on the coast and the others are in the Nice Hinterland (hills behind Nice). You can shuttle between the coastal towns by train, but it is better to use a car to visit the inland hill towns.

Aix is about 1 1/2 hrs west of Nice on the way to "central" Provence.

St Remy, Les Baux, Gordes, Roussillon, Pont, Uzes are another 1 hr away from Aix in "central" Provence.

Basically, it is the Cote d'Azur then Provence - with a stop in Aix half way between the two.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 14th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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Stu,

That is very helpful. Inspite of the distance, I would still like to visit St. Tropez. And would also like to do a day trip to Monte Carlo. Also, I have read that Eze is worth a visit.

With that in mind, how would you change the itinerary?

Thank you,
Priyanka
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Jan 14th, 2013, 02:06 PM
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We've vacationed for about 5-6 weeks in St Tropez. I would never go there mid-day as a day-trip from about mid/late-June to mid Sept. The traffic getting there is awful and it is way overcrowded, IMO, from about 11am to 4pm during this period. Parking is difficult also. We've stayed there for as much as 2 weeks at a time, and we "enjoy" the village in the mornings and late afternoons/evenings - but spend mid-days sunning at the Pampalonne beaches or visiting the many villages in the immediate region. It is about a 2 hr drive from Nice to St Tropez. So if you leave Nice at 9pm, you get "settled in" in St Tropez about 11:30-12:00 or later. Add about 1/2 hr on Tues or Sat (their market day).

I would not do it as a day-trip. Perhaps stay overnight on the way from Nice to Provence & skip Aix.

Monte Carlo is easily accessible by train from Nice. I prefer St Paul over Eze - but you could visit Eze by car or bus.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 14th, 2013, 02:40 PM
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A little on our background. We are newly weds and we just got back from our honeymoon in the Maldives. So we don’t really care about sunbathing and laying on the beach. We are more interested in the cafes, food, wine, walking around, people watching, culture etc. We are hoping that this will be like a second honeymoon

Also, the stop in France is enroute our way back to NYC from a wedding in India. We will be tired. However, we don’t expect to be returning to the South of France in the near future. With that in mind do you recommend us doing French Riveira and Provence? If so please feel free to tweak/comment on the below itinerary.


June 1 Fly into Nice from London (Heathrow)
Stay 4 nights at the Hotel Windor
Explore Nice,

June 2 take a train to Antibes & explore Antibes. Take a train to Villefranche & explore this cute village. Dinner on the Cours Saleya in Nice.

June 3 Train to Cannes & explore Cannes. Maybe work in some beach time in Cannes or Nice.

June 4 Day trip to Monaco

June 5 St. Tropez (spend the night)

June 6 Drive on to St Remy & spend 3 nights there. Visit Les Baux in the late afternoon.

June 7 Drive around the Luberon visiting the many "cute little villages" (Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux, many more).

June 8 visit the Pont du Gard, Uzes, & the small village of Castillon du Gard.

June 9 We need to get to Heathrow, London in order to catch our flight back to NYC. The flight back to NYC Is at 4:00pm

How do I visit Eze with this itinerary?

Thank you
angel025 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2013, 03:08 PM
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Monte Carlo is certainly not an "all day" visit, IMO, and it is very close to Nice. Visit Eze on the same day. We drove there (twice) from Nice, but others on Fodors can tell you how to get to/from Uzes via Monte Carlo and Nice by bus.

You shouldn't have too much traffic or heavy "people" congestion in St Tropez in early June. Our favorite restaurant there is La Ponche. You might consider staying at the La Ponche hotel also. Reserve ahead for dinner or lunch.

June 8 is market day in Uzes. Uzes is an extremely attractive village with lots of covered archways around the Place aux Herbs. However, the Sat market interferes with the enjoyment of the building architecture, IMO. If you really love farmer's markets (the one in Uzes is quite colorful) then visit it first thing on Saturday morning (get there by 9am). If you are more interested in building architecture & outdoor cafes, then swap June 8 & June 7. You could visit the farmer's market in Apt (in the Luberon) on Sat if you swap these two days. The market in Apt does not interfere with the enjoyment of Apt. It is a very nice market - lots of Provence fabric. Many cafes also.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 14th, 2013, 03:15 PM
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I'd skip Monaco, dull, dull unless you want to gamble.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jan 14th, 2013, 03:27 PM
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When I was in southern France many years ago, I was dying to see Monaco. What a disappointment! Masses of unattractive apartment buildings clinging to the hillside--not charming or interesting IMHO. Take a look at online images to see whether you really want to use your limited visiting it.
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Jan 14th, 2013, 03:35 PM
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for a honeymoon couple. I suggest staying at the Colombre Dór
in St Paul-De-Vence and you can visit Ezes.
Beaches are very rocky, not sandy on the cote dázur
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Jan 14th, 2013, 03:40 PM
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Beaches are very rocky, not sandy on the cote dázur

Antibes has a sandy beach, as is the beach in Cannes according to the pictures.
Michael is online now  
Jan 14th, 2013, 03:42 PM
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I agree, Digbydog. It's just a huge lump of overpriced concrete. Not even close to being a good destination for anyone who mentioned wanting "quaint villages."
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