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-   -   Eastern Provence, French Alps, Nice (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/eastern-provence-french-alps-nice-1139008/)

RSchmalfeld Oct 27th, 2016 08:33 AM

Eastern Provence, French Alps, Nice
 
Hello Again Everyone,

Our daughter will be married near Paradou at the end of May! We have never traveled abroad and will also be celebrating our 35th Wedding Anniversary during this big trip. Wedding festivities will last four days and afterwards we would like to explore Arles, Luberon, and surrounding areas, with St Remy as our base.

We will leave St Remy on Thursday and fly out of Nice on the following Wednesday. We would like to see the eastern part of Provence, Verdon Gorge, the base of the French Alps, and maybe take the train from Nice to northern mountain towns as a day trip.

We like the idea of finding a town to use as our base for exploring and hopefully a place with some nice dining options Friday - Sunday. We also think we will stay in Nice Monday and Tuesday before flying home on Wednesday.

We are so excited to plan for this special trip. We love nature, historical spots, good food, walking and exploring new places. We are interested in ancient history and early man as well, and I'd love to see petroglyphs if they are nearby.

I value your recommendations and look forward to hearing from you, Fodor"s Friends! Thank you!
Randa

Underhill Oct 27th, 2016 08:44 AM

You might stay in the small town of Valbonne--here we liked the Bastide de Valbonne--which has several good restaurants and isn't far from our favorite, Daniel Desavie. The town has a fine public square and a very old church to visit. A Valbonne base would put you in a good area for exploring: the mountains to the north, the coast to the south, and small villages such as Opio, Biot, Tourettes-sur-Loup, St-Paul-de-Vence, and the town of Vence. Another posatsibility would be in or around Mougins. Our favorite in the region is the small, charming hotel Le Hameau, just down the road from St-Paul.

StuDudley Oct 27th, 2016 12:06 PM

It's best to explore Provence & the Alps by car. We took a day trip by train once from Nice, and it was really not very rewarding.

I believe that I sent you my 30+ page Provence & Cote d'Azur itinerary. We've spent 40 weeks in that region & going back for 3 more next year.

I'm not a big fan of the Verdon Gorge - I think the gorges in the Gorges du Tarn region, the Ardeche Gorge, and the Gorges du Cains/Gorges de Daluis just 1 hr north of Nice are more interesting. I would do what Underhill suggested and stay at le Hameau and take many fabulous driving day-trips into the southern Alps. Specific day-trips are described in my 30+ page itinerary. If I'm wrong & you don't have a copy of it - e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach one to the reply e-mail.

Stu Dudley

PalenQ Oct 27th, 2016 12:22 PM

Antibes makes a great base for the Nice area too and is about as close to the Nice Airport as Nice itself - much smaller than Nice but not a small town - lots of food options- one of the few towns on the often over-developed coast with an older look to it - can take trains from it to places up and down the Riviera (maybe ditch the car once you get here as even hill towns are readily accessible by bus).

Taking a train north from Nice to the Alps is a great idea - look at the famous Train des Pignes (pine trees I think) as it takes you from Nice into forested foothills of the Alps and to ancient sleepy Provencal towns much different than what you'd see along the Riviera. Called the Chemins de fer de Provence it leaves regularly from a station just north of Nice-Ville main station.

I took that train several times - I recommend getting off at Annot - a real sleepy dogs lying in the street town when I was there - you can also hike between stations.

For lots on this train check www.budgeteuropetravel.com- the France section of their free online European Planning & Rail Guide for lots of info on that train.

This is not a tourist train at all but a truly local train- was kind of rocky last I rode it:

https://www.google.com/search?q=chem...HczLBY4QsAQIHg

https://translate.google.com/transla...m/&prev=search

traveller1959 Oct 27th, 2016 01:30 PM

>> We are interested in ancient history and early man as well, and I'd love to see petroglyphs if they are nearby. <<

In Monaco, there is a cave where prehistoric people lived, the Grimaldi men.

http://www.jardin-exotique.mc/en/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grimaldi_Man

In Saint Raphael, there is a museum with prehistoric findings among other archeology. In this museum, you find maps and photographs of the sites where you can find the prehistoric founds like menhirs, dolmen etc.

https://www.musee-saintraphael.com/

Underhill Oct 27th, 2016 01:35 PM

Fréjus has Roman ruins.

traveller1959 Oct 27th, 2016 01:36 PM

I agree that a car is the very best way to explore both Provence and Côte d'Azur (which is a part of Provence).

If you are a gourmet, Mougins might fit your bill - a charming little town east of Cannes and north of Antibes with a lot of restaurants grouping around the central square. And also Roger Vergé in town.

http://www.moulindemougins.com

And Le Candille with a Michelin star (and still affordable):

http://restaurant.michelin.fr/restau...ndille/2a1fgdk


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