Getting to Provence?

Jan 28th, 2009, 06:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 318
Getting to Provence?

DH and I (and our toddler) are considering taking a trip to Provence (probably renting a house in St-Remy). We are coming from Atlanta and trying to figure out the best route to get there. I had originally wanted to fly into Paris and then take the train, but DH would like to explore other options, possibly spending a few days in whatever other city we fly into. What else is readily accessible (preferably via train) from Provence and worth spending a day or two - i.e. could we fly into Milan? Or somewhere in Switzerland (DH is interested in Zurich but I can't find train service)? Any suggestions are appreciated. We will rent a car once in Provence, but I think it would just be more relaxing to travel most of the distance by train.
audreyleigh99 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 06:13 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,021
Hi Audrey - If you have flights to Milan then that's certainly an option.

You could spend a few days on Lake Como - or on the Italian Riviera - then train to Provence.

Steve_James is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 06:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,706
Hi audreyleigh99,

Switzerland's train service is among the very best in Europe; I'm surprised you can't find train service -- ??

You can get train schedules and point-point fares at the Swiss rail site,

There is a train station in the basement of the airport, so for your query, use "Zurich airport" as your first departure point.

The train will route you via Biel/Geneva/Lyon, if that's something that appeals to you. Did you guys have another route in mind?

swandav2000 is online now  
Jan 28th, 2009, 06:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,239
I suggest flying to Nice and take the time to see Monaco/Monte Carlo as well. Hire a car there and take a leisurely drive into Provence.

Don't miss Avignon, Aix en Provence, Nimes. Whilst in Nice, drive out to Gordon, Grasse area.
Lifeman is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 06:48 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,669
or are you looking for what flights there are out of ATL?

here's one link that might help:

and another:

this will get you to a .pdf with all the Delta flights out of Atlanta.

You could also try this when you've narrowed down your destination:

hope this helps!

Momliz is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 07:24 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,138
I looked a (useful German train site) and trips from Zurich to Avignon are minimally 6.5 hours and 2 changes of train. Thst's a long time and, especially, a lot of train changes, with a toddler and luggage for 3. Lyon is almost 5 hours and one train change. Geneva to Avignon is shorter but still a train change. Milan is a longer train ride and up to 3 train changes.

I like train rides for little kids. Lots of room and a toilet at the end of the car. But I'd avoid any changes of train if possible. Other than your original idea, which I think is the best, you could fly into Marseilles. And, after a few days, train to Avignon.
Mimar is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 07:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,567
Your best options are to fly into Marseille or Nice. Direct flights ATL-NCE makes this issue almost a no brainer when traveling with a toddler.

If the Paris arrival becomes a must, then take the TVG train to Lyon (beautiful ride). With sooooo much to explore in France, specifically around Provence, I would not even bother thinking of Zurich, Milan, whatever....
Viajero2 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,847
There are 2 no-train-change TGVs daily from Brussels to Avignon. One i 4 1/4 hrs, other is 5 hrs.

If you want to spend some time in Brittany, there is a TGV from Rennes to Avignon (no train change).

Between Paris & Provence by train, we have overnighted in Dijon, Beaune, Lyon, & Chambery.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Jan 28th, 2009, 08:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,433
I can understand the urge to spend a few days in another country, since you're going all the way to Europe to begin with - it looks great on a map, but in reality, with a toddler, it will turn out to be a great PITA.

There just aren't fabulous train connections to France from Italy or Switzerland - they exist, of course, but will eat up a large amount of time. Having traveled all over Europe with toddlers, I can tell you a 7-hour train ride isn't going to be the highlight of your trip, and could be a major downer.

I'd stay in France - fly to Marseille or Nice or Bordeaux or Toulouse or Paris and spend a day or two there before heading to Provence. Save the exploration of an Italian or Swiss city for another trip when you don't have a toddler along.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 28th, 2009, 08:34 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,357
Hi audreyleigh99,

I will add my 2 cents!

I go to France quite often. I have done different things. I live in Asheville, NC, so must shuttle either to ATL or CVG (Cinn).

I have flown to Geneva and spent some time and then driven down to Provence..St. Remy/Les Baux..easy drive in auto route. I have also connected to Marseille from CDG and rented my car there. I have connected to Nice from CDG and rented a villa in Villefranche-sur-Mer and then driven over to Les Baux for a weekend stay a a most favorite spot while there..another easy drive.

I don't think you mentioned how much time you have..that would help.

Enjoy your planning..

gracejoan3 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 01:34 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,669
you are right about preferring to travel by train - a long car trip with a toddler is a nightmare but the train would be fun - you can get up and walk around, or spread out in the little cabin if there are any on your train.

Momliz is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,433
<<but the train would be fun>>

For 7+ hours? I pretty much met my limit at 5.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 28th, 2009, 03:41 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,669
I guess you have to love train travel - I do. Nothing like sitting and watching the scenery go by, while you sip a drink, or read...

We took the auto train to Florida years back, with the oldest DS when he was 4, and he had a ball. We had a sleeper compartment, which he fixed up and called his hedgehog hole - don't ask me where that came from . But, we all had a great time, mostly because we could get up and walk around.

Momliz is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 04:38 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 57
With a todler minimize your travel time. Remember that the flight to Europe is red-eye so you will have a "cranky" kidlet for the first couple of days - maybe adults too.
Best bet: fly to CDG and take TVG right from airport to Avignon. You can nap on the train and then be somewhat awake to get your car rental and move on to whatever town you want to base in.
Earlier post mentiones flying into Nice but fares are somewhat higher than to CDG. Also, long drive from Nice to Provence area.
Base your self in St Remy, Avignon, or any other town of your choice and take day trips from there.
Provence is bigger than you realize.
Get a copy of Rick Steve's Provence guide book.
afa001 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 05:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,433
I adore train travel, but I really hit the wall at about 5 hours when traveling with toddlers. I guess they're all different, but the chance to "get up and walk around" wasn't just a nice option in my case - it was what they wanted to do for 5 hours straight - not my idea of a fun train ride.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 28th, 2009, 07:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 318
LOL, StCirq, I need you to convince my DH that this plan of his will be a PITA! I am really just trying to accommodate his desire to see another area besides Provence and was hoping someone would chime in with "why Milan or whatever is perfect, direct train, easy." If I had my way I would fly into Paris, spend a day or two to recover from the flight (and see one of my favorite cities), train down to Provence, spend a week there and then return via the same route.

We will have about a week and a half, so that is really not much time to spare and I don't want to overdo it on our 1st trip with the toddler. I was always game for adventurous travel before she came along, but trying to see/do too many things with an exhausted toddler is not my idea of a good time - I think everyone involved will have a better time if we adapt our pace to hers. There will be plenty of time for more adventurous travel when she is a bit older and I don't feel bad about limiting ourselves in this way - at least we aren't resorting to an all inclusive in Cancun

I will do a bit more digging on the train schedules based on the info here and if I don't find anything under 5 hours perhaps I'll start working on how to convince DH to get onboard with the Paris (or Nice) plan . . . Thanks all for your advice!!
audreyleigh99 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 07:00 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,138
Have you two traveled by train in Europe before? Does your husband know about dragging your luggage down one flight of stairs and up another in order to get to another track? Not to speak of dragging the toddler. Then there are the stairs you go down to get to your first train and the ones you go up when you arrive.

You're very right. Traveling with children, especially very young ones, means you must adapt to their schedule, slow things down. Stay longer in one place. No, you don't tick off so many sights. But you get a different view of the world.

Good luck in convincing your husband.
Mimar is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 04:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 318
Hi Mimar - thanks, yes, we have traveled by train several times before so we know what we are getting into. In all I think it is by far the most pleasant way to travel as long as you don't overpack, and we pack pretty light, so it works for us. It is funny, though, seeing people w/tons of luggage try to navigate the train, it does not look like fun!
audreyleigh99 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 04:52 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
I don;t think a train is fun with a toddler - unless it's just one straight ride.

If you have a long ride, have to change trains, dragging luggage on and off while keeping the little one corraled can be a major PITA.

For Provence I would fly into Nice if you don;t want to do Paris. From there you can tour easily by car and then drive on to Provence.
nytraveler is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:55 PM.