First time in France- itinerary help!

Old Jan 20th, 2024, 04:14 PM
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First time in France- itinerary help!

My husband and I will be traveling to France with our 1 year old in July. This will be our first time in France. We will have 11 days plus arrival and departure days in the country.

We will be flying into Nice and flying out of Paris. We would like to do the french riviera, provence and paris (maybe Lyon as well). I've read through a lot of posts to get a sense of itinerary but I'm not sure what can reasonably be done with a toddler. We plan to rent a car in nice and will return it when we take the train to Paris.

Things we would like to do/prioritizing
- Would like to stay in towns/hotels where there's enough to do and eat within walking distance. We are coming from NYC so we dont mind walking and would prefer not to drive to grab (an early) dinner
- Beach/relax on the riviera/take in the pretty sights. Have read that Antibes or Juan le pins would be a good base for this (3-4 nights).
- In the provence countryside area similar to the riviera we would like to see pretty sights and eat good food/go to markets. Would be great to do a vineyard and the lavender fields or something like that. Considering staying in Avignon as my husband likes history but our primary focus will not be to see all the ruins/museums as we will have a 1 yr old with us. Do we split the stay to two towns (Aix and Avignon)?
- Don't think we need to spend too much time in Paris. Will want to do a day trip to Versailles. Considering 3 nights (possibly 4). Will come back in the future without the little one.

Any town (and hotel) recs that would work for our route? Does it make sense to visit Lyon for 2 days? I read that it's a great foodie town but with the kid not sure if it's worth it. Can we do vineyards in Provence or does it make sense to stop by a different town for that? Given that we'll have our son with us I don't want to drive around too much during the day (some itineraries had 4 hours of driving back and forth to explore several towns in a day). Before we had kids we would hit up a bunch of sights in a day but it's just not feasible with the little one but I'd still like to be able to eat good food and see some of the charming sights in France. Advice and recommendations are appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Old Jan 20th, 2024, 05:23 PM
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Would not make a trip to Lyon with a toddler for the food because there is great food everywhere in Provence. The Moroccan influence means great Tajines in Aix.
Several towns have beautiful Carousels. Avignon, Arles, Aigues Mortes, etc. With your husband’s love of history, strongly consider a couple of nights in Aigues Mortes. It is awfully crowded during the day, but lovely at night. Great food and ambience at night. It is a very authentic place. Stay inside the walls.

You said you don’t need much time actually in Paris, so rather than a day trip to Versailles from Paris, stay in the town of Versailles, right beside the Chateau. It has a beautiful market, restaurants and places your child can play.
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Old Jan 21st, 2024, 01:14 PM
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I would stay in Nice where you can comfortably walk to the old town, check out Hotel La Perouse where we stayed 30 years ago and again one year ago, after which they did a major overhaul, ideal out of the crowds of Nice and two block walk into town. Yes, rent a car for a few days to see Juan les Pins, Antibes to the west and Villefranche, Eze, Monaco to the east. Keep it easy with the little one. But Provence is a ways from Nice -- do you want the Riviera more than Provence?? Trains back to Paris are great, that's the way to go. But not enough time to do both areas, I'd say.
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Old Jan 21st, 2024, 03:12 PM
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Love France, spent November in Paris. July is not a four letter word but might as well be in France with the Olympics. I just heard today that the equestrian events will be held at Versailles. SF70+ so only travel by train and bus. Supposedly Avignon is not as attractive as Aix or Arles but I will spend a week in each and 2 in Avignon due to travel options for the small towns I want to visit. I also always or 99.% of the time rent an apt (w washer) as I do not plan to spend one minute waiting for a laundromat as I only bring one carryon. Enjoy.
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Old Jan 21st, 2024, 03:23 PM
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The impact of the Olympics on Paris and environs may make that location both unusually expensive and difficult to book. Stay in the south for a great vacation without craziness.
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Old Jan 21st, 2024, 09:07 PM
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My wife & I have spent 47 weeks vacationing on the Cote d'Azur & Provence. We'll be there 4 more weeks this June. Attached is my 37 page Provence/Cote d'Azur itinerary which describes our favorite places/sites & scenic drives in the region.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 22nd, 2024, 06:38 AM
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Have you booked flights? If not, consider traveling off season with a baby. Otherwise, minimize your time moving and base in one or two locations. I know the coastal train system in Nice is convenient, but consider renting a car because of the heat and the crowds. Look for an airbnb with a crib, high chairs, toys, washing machine and dryer, A/C and an elevator
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