Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

France Itinerary Options: Paris, Provence, Nice, Alps?

France Itinerary Options: Paris, Provence, Nice, Alps?

Old Apr 24th, 2022, 06:35 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
France Itinerary Options: Paris, Provence, Nice, Alps?

Hi all. My spouse and I have booked a two week vacation in France the first two weeks of June. This will only be my second time traveling abroad (we live in Alaska), our first trip being Italy in 2019. I'm trying to find a good balance to see a few regions, but also have enough time to enjoy them. We've decided on only 3 full days in Paris, we want to have time to explore other things and figure we are likely to be back in Paris sometime in the future. After Paris we plan to rent a car and use that to get around until we end up in Nice. The main differences between our options are that in A we spend some time in Annecy (go to Mont Blanc) and less time in Nice/Provence. I'm wondering if going to Annecy will be trying to do too much? We really enjoyed our time in the Dolomites in Italy, so I think it would be cool to get into the French alps, but maybe the Provence area will satisfy that? Option B we would probably have more time to explore the smaller villages in the area between Avignon and Nice, and do things like the Verdon Gorge and Entrevaux.

I really appreciate any feedback, on the options below or maybe something else we should consider to do or place to stay. As stated above I have only traveled abroad once, so we don't totally know what we like, trying to get variety but also balance what we are doing, and be efficient, so we can enjoy our limited time.

Option A
  • travel day
  • Paris 3 days
  • travel day
  • Annecy 2 days
  • travel day
  • Avignon 2 days
  • travel day
  • Nice 2 days
  • travel home
Option B
  • travel day
  • Paris 3 days
  • travel day
  • Avignon 2 days
  • travel day
  • Moustiers-Sainte-Marie 1 day
  • travel day
  • Nice 3 days
  • travel home
AlexAk is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2022, 10:58 PM
  #2  
mjs
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,622
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How many nights do you have?
mjs is online now  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 01:14 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 22,316
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
I find it easier to plan by nights and where stayed than by days (just an opinion)

Avignon is not that big a "city" once you've done the popes' palace, the non-bridge and wandered around the fortifications and hung out in a marker/flea market depending on days selected that is about it. What do you like to do? I guess you could visit the aquaduct or another ancient nearby town (Arles/Nimes).
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 06:38 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,939
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
2 1/2 days in a location isn't much time - assuming that by "Avignon" you also include the Luberon villages, Cote du Rhone wineries & villages, St Remy, Les Baux, Dentelles, Pont du Gard, Uzes, Arles, etc. We've spent 23 weeks there - just to give you an idea of the many things to do & see in the region.

Mt Blanc can be a gamble. We were there for a full week in July a few years ago - and we could only see Mt Blanc about 3 days out of 7 and that was almost always in the morning.

I would not spend your "too little" time in Provence going to Moustiers - unless you also want to visit the Lavender fields near Valensole. It can be done as a day trip from the Avignon area.

See attachments

Stu Dudley
Attached Files
File Type: doc
Alps.doc (69.0 KB, 17 views)
File Type: doc
Mt Blanc area weather.doc (31.0 KB, 18 views)
StuDudley is online now  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 07:16 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
I find it easier to plan by nights and where stayed than by days (just an opinion)

Avignon is not that big a "city" once you've done the popes' palace, the non-bridge and wandered around the fortifications and hung out in a marker/flea market depending on days selected that is about it. What do you like to do? I guess you could visit the aquaduct or another ancient nearby town (Arles/Nimes).
Yes, that may have not been the best way to format it. We will have one more day than night in each location. We would try to use our travel days to cover ground in between locations. Avignon would be more of a base for exploring the region both some of the ancient architecture, wine areas, and some of the smaller regions.
AlexAk is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 07:28 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,939
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You might consider St Remy as a base instead of Avignon. Avignon is a tad hard to get in & out, and there is some very ugly urban sprawl in every direction (except west) that you'll need to drive through every day. Not the "image" of Provence you'll want to preserve in your memory.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 07:39 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by StuDudley View Post
2 1/2 days in a location isn't much time - assuming that by "Avignon" you also include the Luberon villages, Cote du Rhone wineries & villages, St Remy, Les Baux, Dentelles, Pont du Gard, Uzes, Arles, etc. We've spent 23 weeks there - just to give you an idea of the many things to do & see in the region.

Mt Blanc can be a gamble. We were there for a full week in July a few years ago - and we could only see Mt Blanc about 3 days out of 7 and that was almost always in the morning.

I would not spend your "too little" time in Provence going to Moustiers - unless you also want to visit the Lavender fields near Valensole. It can be done as a day trip from the Avignon area.

See attachments

Stu Dudley
Wow, thank you so much for those guides, I had seen some reference to them on the forums, but great to read through them.

Yes, by Avignon I mean seeing all of those things; Luberon, wineries, Pont du Gard etc. Thanks for the Mt. Blanc weather info as well, perhaps it is best to put that time towards south France and explore the alps on a different trip.

If we end up with the extra time in the south of France, the idea of the two nights at Moustiers was to try to break up the driving and explore more on the way to Nice. On our day from Avignon to Moustiers we would see some of the villages around the Luberon, the next day we would rent a Kayak in the Verdon Gorge, and explore some of the smaller villages in the area, the following day we would depart for Nice (4 nights) and explore some places like Entrevaux on the way.

After reading your guide I am reconsidering staying in Avignon and instead staying someplace smaller.
AlexAk is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 07:42 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,405
Received 22 Likes on 4 Posts
We stayed in Avignon and as mentioned above by Stu, it was a chore getting in and out town each day. Stay in St-Remy.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 08:46 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,939
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
""Verdon Gorge, and explore some of the smaller villages in the area""

There are not any noteworthy ones - except for Moustiers. A drive to the Gorge & a kayak trip will likely consume an entire day. And you have very few (if any) days to spare. Read my itinerary and stay in the "central" Provence area. There are dozens of small villages near Avignon & Nice.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 10:01 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 238
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'd like to suggest a rethinking of your itineraries. As they both stand, they give over an awful lot of time to getting from one place to another. France is a big country and you're going to be doing a whole of driving from here to there, with very little time to see what's around once you get there.

I understand the desire to see Provence and the Annecy area, both of which are beautiful--but I'm going to suggest that you eliminate both and consider an area like Burgundy, which is incredibly beautiful, full of ancient towns, abbeys, and chateaux, and an awful lot closer to Paris. This would give you a big dose of countryside without wasting tons of time on autoroutes. Or have you booked your return flight from Nice already, in which case I guess you're locked in.

You could include a stop at Vaux-le-Vicomte on your way south. It's about an hour and a half SE from Paris and is to my mind the most glorious chateau in France. From there it's easy to get to Dijon if you prefer a city or Beaune if you prefer a town, or any of a dozen other places you could base yourself. You could even divide your time and base in two places, one in the northern and one in the southern part of the region, and cut out some of the day-to day-driving.

It would be easy to carve out a three-day stay for Annecy if you like. It's about three hours from Beaune and would restore one of your choices--and a beautiful place it is.

I just think that attempting to cram the huge region that is Provence into this trip is looking for frustration. I do agree that Moustiers and the Verdon Gorges would not be among my highest priorities even though I loved both--but on a return visit, after spending many weeks in other parts of the region over a number of trips.

There probably won't be much if any lavender in the Valensole that early in June, BTW.

Last edited by frenchaucoeur; Apr 25th, 2022 at 10:04 AM.
frenchaucoeur is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 10:57 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello
BenjaminPearsall is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 10:58 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't know how I missed that string.
BenjaminPearsall is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 11:00 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello much obliged for the very accommodating answer.
BenjaminPearsall is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 11:01 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I haven't exactly dominated the hunt work on here.
BenjaminPearsall is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 11:02 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think I'll sit back around.
BenjaminPearsall is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 12:01 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,939
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
""Burgundy, which is incredibly beautiful, full of ancient towns, abbeys, and chateaux, and an awful lot closer to Paris.""

It is 1 hour closer by TGV, than Avignon. I would agree to skip Annecy - but I'm one who enjoyed Provence a lot more than Burgundy. However, Dijon (along with Toulouse) is our second favorite city in France, and Beaune is on our "top 5" list of smaller cities. We''ll be in northern Burgundy (4th try due to Covid) for 2 weeks in Sept.

My wife's Shutterfly books:

Provence & Cote d'Azur
https://stududley.shutterfly.com/28

Beaujolais & Burgundy
https://stududley.shutterfly.com/38

Click "Full screen" Due to Shutterfly enhancements, captions & titles are often missing or truncated.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 12:15 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 238
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I was going by the OP’s statement that they plan to drive from Paris to their other destinations. Obviously driving times are enormously variable, but for a ballpark overall estimate Viamichelin estimates the drive from Paris to Avignon at seven hours and from Paris to Beaune at three hours twenty minutes.
frenchaucoeur is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 12:51 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I havenít had time to go through all the responses yet, I will do that more thoroughly later. First, thanks everyone for the thoughts, very much appreciated. Second, I did want to clarify I did not mean to say we would drive from Paris. The plan would be to either train to Annecy (if we did the alps) or Avignon (or somewhere nearby) and then rent a car from there. We would keep the car until we got to nice and then explore the area around nice using public transit.

It seems like by train we could get to Provence or Annecy in approximately 3.5 hours.
AlexAk is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 01:33 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 11,014
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Are you flying out of Nice or returning from Paris?
Sassafrass is online now  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 01:47 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,939
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by frenchaucoeur View Post
I was going by the OPís statement that they plan to drive from Paris to their other destinations. Obviously driving times are enormously variable, but for a ballpark overall estimate Viamichelin estimates the drive from Paris to Avignon at seven hours and from Paris to Beaune at three hours twenty minutes.

They said that after Paris they would rent a car. This could be interpreted to mean either "in" Paris or "sometime after" Paris. I would never drive from Paris to either Avignon/Aix or Dijon. There is excellent TGV service to both regions. We've driven this entire route - but never all at once. The sun is almost always in your face the entire way, it is boring, and you could hit commute traffic near Lyon. We're taking the TGV from Dijon to Paris this year, and we always take the TGV to/from Provence. I recommend the OP do the same.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information