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Cote d"Azur and Provence or Cote d'Azur and Italian Riviera?

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Cote d"Azur and Provence or Cote d'Azur and Italian Riviera?

Old Mar 4th, 2018, 06:49 AM
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Cote d"Azur and Provence or Cote d'Azur and Italian Riviera?

I'm seeking advice for the 2nd week of our family vacation in southern France/Italy this summer. Our first week will be based in Cote d'Azur with day trips in that region. We are deciding whether to spend our second week in Provence or head over to the Italian Riviera. Thank you in advance for your experienced advice. FYI, we are a family of 6 (4 children 16-22).
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Old Mar 4th, 2018, 09:34 AM
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Nobody has responded so far - so I will.

Provence. No brainer. Much more stuff to do & see in Provence than the Italian Riviera IMO. We got bored on the Italian Riviera after about 2 days. We've spent 22 weeks in Provence - & we'll return again.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 4th, 2018, 10:25 AM
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Can't go wrong with either one. But the one question that would make the difference for me is whether or not you want to drive. Provence is best with a car - tons of villages to explore. Can be done with public transportation but much more difficult (bus schedules, etc.). If you are talking about the Italian Riviera region which includes Camogli, Santa Marguerita, Rapallo, the Cinque Terre, Portovenere, etc. then that area is best by train (and boat). I've been to both regions more than once and found plenty to do for a week or more.
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Old Mar 4th, 2018, 10:40 AM
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Yes IME Provence around Avignon over the Italian Riviera, which IME Ventimiglia to Genoa was rather all the same - nice but not spectacular resorts that all looked alike from my bicycle when I rode both. For Provence take train Nice-Avginon TGV station and pick up car (not needed at all on Cote d'Azur) - hard to explore by public transporation except cities like Avignon or Arles. Return car to Avignon-TGV station and blast by train to Paris or wherever. For lots on trains check www.oui.sncf (French Railways); www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Mar 4th, 2018, 10:51 AM
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So what would interest 4 teen-ish people in summer? I would tend towards the western side of Provence, Pont du Gard, Avignon, Arles market, the Camargue, Nîmes, and probably a pool. Some history, some nature, some excitement.
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Old Mar 5th, 2018, 04:19 AM
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Thanks Stu. We are leaning toward Provence. Would you recommend having one home base for the week or staying in a couple of different places.
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Old Mar 5th, 2018, 06:29 AM
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If you will be there for a week and want to stay in a hotel or B&B, I would split the time between a village with lots of shops, restaurants, cafes, etc and then some "countryside" location surrounded by vineyards, lavender fields, and small hill villages. Perhaps St Remy for the former and in the Luberon for the latter.

If you want to stay in a gite/house with a kitchen, multiple bedroom, garden, etc. so you can go to farmer's markets, buy food , and cook a few meals - stay in one location. Probably in the countryside.

Do you have my 35 page itinerary for the Cote d'Azur & Provence. There are a lot more details in it. 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
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Old Mar 5th, 2018, 06:46 AM
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One base for a week can rent gites, etc which often need to be rented by the week. There is so so much to do in a compact area that with a car you can see so many things.

Without a car base in Arles or Avignon or cities with trains and buses and guided tours to many neat places.
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Old Mar 5th, 2018, 10:28 AM
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PalenQ and Stu, I think we will end up renting a gites for a week and travel from there. It seems to be the most economical traveling with family of 6. We also like to eat dinner at home after being gone all day. I so appreciate your guidance.
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Old Mar 5th, 2018, 12:40 PM
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Rent it asap. We have rented 70 gites through gites de France & we reserve them more than 1 year in advance for June & Sept stays. You'll be there in peak season - so there are even more "competitors" trying to rent one then.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 5th, 2018, 12:47 PM
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Try to get a gite IMO in a small village and not out in the boonies - villages have cafes and small stores - adult and nearly adult kids could be bored though so maybe they would be better in a larger city?
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Old Mar 5th, 2018, 02:07 PM
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Frankly, I would split the time, as I have always enjoyed seeing the sometimes startling differences between the French and Italian cultures just across the border on the Med. That said, I would probably allocate 3-4 days to the Italian Riviera, the same to the Côte d'Azur, and the rest to inland Provence (not to split hairs but the French Riviera is part of Provence). Other than that it might make it difficult to find short-term rentals, that would be how I'd like to allocate my time.
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Old Mar 5th, 2018, 03:23 PM
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Or if basing in Cote d'Azur part of Provence you could easily day trip to Italian Riviera and towns like San Remo but yes to really experience Italy stay there a few days. Perhaps in May it would still be off-season for low hotel prices.
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Old Mar 6th, 2018, 09:27 AM
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Thank you for all your help. We've decided to spend the 2nd week in Provence and save the Italian Riviera when it is just the 2 of us. I really appreciate your advice and patience as I navigate using this forum for the first time as well as plan our first trip to southern France. I found a gites near Avignon and we will explore from there!
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Old Mar 6th, 2018, 10:28 AM
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Be careful about gites "near" Avignon. There is some very ugly urban sprawl in every direction - except west. Less south of Avignon than north. If you find a gite, do a google maps with photo & determine what's near - vineyards, or auto body shops & 5-story apt complexes.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 6th, 2018, 10:43 AM
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And try airbnbs too for self-catering rents - and again the 'kids' may find a city like Avignon where many folks their ages flock to be more to their liking.

I'd even suggest they may want to stay in Avignon's neat youth hostel for a night or two and really meet others their ages.
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