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Flying into Nice - one week - no itinerary

Flying into Nice - one week - no itinerary

Sep 1st, 2010, 08:05 PM
  #1  
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Flying into Nice - one week - no itinerary

So, I already nixed the idea (thanks to several wise people here) to fly into Nice and go to the Pyrennes.
I have received several suggestions for wonderful cities to explore so thank you all very much.
Next I am wondering which way to travel. We will have a car. We will have seven days. We like to just kind of pick a direction and drive and see what we like. Sometimes we stay in the same place for a couple of days, other times we keep moving. So is it worth driving along the coast towards the Pyrennes (that is no longer our destination but just a general direction) or should we just pick a few cities around Nice and see/explore that area. We are not fans of big cities or museums/architectures or crowds/too much traffic but just prefer the quaint countryside, mountains and scenery.
Thanks for any input. I just found this forum today and it has already proven to be invaluable!
R
babyatlas is offline  
Sep 1st, 2010, 08:43 PM
  #2  
 
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Eze, St. Raphael. Arles, St. Marie-de-la-Mer, Aigues-Mortes, the Camargue National Park.
DalaiLlama is offline  
Sep 1st, 2010, 10:42 PM
  #3  
 
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Monaco, Antibes, Cassis, St Tropez....
krgystn is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 09:18 AM
  #4  
 
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>>We are not fans of big cities or museums/architectures or crowds/too much traffic but just prefer the quaint countryside, mountains and scenery.<<

Just about all of the above mentioned destinations don't fit your desires, IMO.

What date and time do you arrive in Nice and what date & time do you depart??? I'll throw my 2 cents in if you provide these two answers.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 09:28 AM
  #5  
 
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You can travel to many cities and towns within the region by public bus for only one Euro. I did so on my recent trip to Nice a few months ago. Don't rule out visiting Corsica. Only an hour flight from Nice. FANTASTIC!!!

Ross
newyorkais35 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 09:33 AM
  #6  
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Stu,
We fly in on a Tuesday at 8am, leaving the following Tuesday at 10:30 am.
We know we want to go to Bedoin (per our previous emails about cycling), we want to go to the Maritime Alps, Cassis/St. Tropez and I have heard only good things about St. Remy/Aix-en-Provence. Ideally we would somehow make it over to the Millau Viaduct but that might be WAY off the path. We are not completely opposed to big cities, just prefer smaller cities - I guess I just wouldn't want to spend my entire time with crowds of people but a day or two would be alright.

Ross,
Corsica sounds interesting - I'll have to look into flights. Did you stay over night or just in/out?
babyatlas is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 09:43 AM
  #7  
 
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You could follow the Route Napoleon through Castellane to the Gorge du Verdon. Here's a NY Times article about this area.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/03/tr...ild-river.html

Alternatively, you could travel into the Nice Hinterland over "lancets" or switchbacks through small towns into Italy. The area is quite rural. I'm not sure what you're looking for when you say "quaint countryside" but with either of these routes you will scarcely see a museum and it will not be crowded with either people or car traffic.

I would not do either itinerary in the winter.
adrienne is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 09:48 AM
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babyatlas - I believe Stu wants to know time of year, rather than day of the week.

Everything you mention in your itinerary (in your second post) is everything you say you don't want to see or experience in your original post - architecture, museums, crowds, traffic. I'm perplexed.
adrienne is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 10:01 AM
  #9  
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mid-september

it was my understanding that the maritime alps stretched from the shore up into the interior - so when I refer to the maritime alps, i guess i wasn't necessarily thinking Monaco/Menton but more mountainous. is this area very crowded/touristy?

is Bedoin a larger/crowded city?

i do realize that Aix, St. Remy, Cassis, St. Tropez all are going to be crowded and more bustling. again, i am not opposed to some of this but just don't want to spend my entire week fighting traffic/crowds.

i have never been to this area and i have NO idea what it will be like in terms of crowds, traffic, people, etc. so when i referred to those places it was based on some general information/research.
babyatlas is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 10:04 AM
  #10  
 
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I stayed for a week. You can fly from Nice to Figari which is the airport for Bonifacio which is BEAUTIFUL!!! You can also fly to Ajaccio, Bastia and Calvi as well. Ajaccio is a nice city, the largest on the island. Bonifacio is a KNOCK-OUT!!!

Ross
newyorkais35 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 10:11 AM
  #11  
 
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mid September, good time of year. you won't get as much crowds at that point.
krgystn is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 10:20 AM
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I'm not sure how you would do all this in a week unless you never got out of your car. The area I described as the Nice Hinterland is the Maritime Alps and there is hardly a tourist once you are away from the populated areas around Nice. You will find some tourists clustered in Sospel and Saorge but that's about it. It is a very peaceful area but the driving takes time because of the mountainous roads.

It took me a day to drive from Grasse to Apt to give you an example of time to get places. I've not been to Bedoin but I have been in that area and the more popular towns will have tourists just as Aix, St-Remy, etc. have.

Outside of Nice I highly recommend the Esterel Corniche where the rocky cliffs almost meet the sea with just the road between them. Very beautiful. Start there. The Dentelles de Montmirail, near Bedoin, are also lovely to drive. You will find small towns with few tourists.

If you need an idea of how long it takes to get places look at mappy.com or viamichelin.com and add more time to whatever time they give you as an average. Are you returning the car to Nice? You need to allow time to get back to Nice from wherever you end up.
adrienne is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 10:25 AM
  #13  
 
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Bedoin is a small town, not a large city--but it's a fair drive from Nice.

You really need to get a guidebook for Provence, decide what appeals to you, and then plan your route. I strongly recommend the Michelin Green Guides (one for Provence, one for the specific Côte d'Azur portion).
Underhill is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 10:36 AM
  #14  
 
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What time of year?


In late June, July, Aug, & early Sept I would not try to have a "no itinerary" without hotel reservations in Nice, St Paul, Cassis, St Tropez, St Remy, or Aix - if you plan to stay overnight there. However, outside of this period it might not be too difficult.

Anyway, here is what I would do - assuming that you don't mind 1 night stays in hotels.

- Tues & Wed. Land in Nice & stay first two nights in St Paul de Vence at Le Hammeau. In the itinerary I sent you, you'll find lots of interesting non-touristy villages (not St Paul, of course - it is quite touristy) and and breathtaking vistas to explore in the Nice Hinterland.

- Thurs. Then head out from St Paul and follow the route in my itinerary that goes through Tourrettes, Fayance, Seillans, Bargemon, Ampus, Tourtour, and then Cotignac. This is a very scenic drive (once past Tourrettes) and all these small villages are very interesting. Then head to St Tropez & stay there for 1 night. You may not make it all the way to Cotignac, but don't get to St Tropez much sooner than 4:30 - 5.

- Friday. Next morning, hang around St Tropez in the morning, and after/before lunch take the D558 through La Garde Freinet (worth a quick walk-around), then continuing on the D558 to the A8 and on to Aix en Provence. If you can get there before 1PM - reserve for lunch at Deux Garcons on the Cours. Explore Aix in the afternoon after the shops open at 3PM. Follow the walking itinerary just north of the Cours Mirabeau that is described in the Michelin Green guide. Do not stay overnight in Aix, but head out to Lourmarin and stay there for 1 night.

- Sat. Explore Lourmarin a little in the morning, and then head out over the pretty Combe de Lourmarin (D943) to Bonnieux and walk around Bonnieux a bit. Then take the Luberon driving itinerary described in my itinerary (starting in Bonnieux, in your case) and visit as many of the cute Luberon villages as possible - Roussillon, Goult, Gordes, etc. This is pretty countryside. Bedoin is about 1 1/2 hrs away from Gordes & most of the western Luberon, so head to Bedoin around 5PM or so. Stay at le Pins just south of Bedoin.

- Sun. Next morning wander down to the bike shop in Bedoin I described in my itinerary & rent a bike for hubby. See him off on his way up Mt Ventoux. It took my cousin two hours to go up Mt Ventoux - which he later found out to be about the average time. While he is going up Ventoux, you could visit some of the sites I described in my itinerary. You could meet him at a cafe in Bedoin if he chooses to go down Ventoux on the same route he took up, or in Malaucene if he chooses to descend that way. Lots of cafes in both villages.

- Mon. Market day in Bedoin. Walk to the Bar au Cours (get there by 8:30), and have a cafe creme and a croissant (purchased at the bakery 3 shops north of the cafe) and watch the vendors set up. Then browse the market. After the market, head to Carpentras and get on the freeway back to Nice. Drive to Villefranche sur Mer & stay there your last night. Dine outside at La Mere Germaine. Villefranche is a cute seaside village that feels small - not large like Monaco, Nice, cannes, etc.

- Tues. Head out early to the Nice airport.

I did not include Cassis - you won't have enough time & it is not really that different from St Tropez (which I prefer over Cassis)

Stu Dudley
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Sep 2nd, 2010, 10:40 AM
  #15  
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Stu,
Thank you for your itinerary. I really appreciate it and it helps me get a good idea for how long it takes to get from place to place. You are certainly a wealth of knowledge on this area. Safe travels to you.
babyatlas is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 10:56 AM
  #16  
 
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In mid-Sept, if you plan to visit in St Tropez (I don't recommend it as a mid-day visit) I would secure hotel reservation ASAP. Last time we stayed there in a hotel (we've stayed in apts for 3 1/2 weeks) we stayed at Des Lices.

Stu Dudley
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Sep 4th, 2010, 03:10 PM
  #17  
 
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If your husband knows cycling he will know what a tough, tough climb Mont Venoux is, as shown by its being considered just about the worst in the Tour de France. Be sure to allow plenty of time!
Underhill is offline  

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