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Help with 14-Day trip to Provence & French Riviera

Help with 14-Day trip to Provence & French Riviera

Dec 2nd, 2019, 10:46 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 55
Help with 14-Day trip to Provence & French Riviera

Hi All,

We are planning a 14-Day trip to Provence & French Riviera in September 2020. There are 4 of us and we will rent a car.
Here is what we planned so far.
Day 1 - arriving to Paris and taking a train to Avignon
3 nights in Avignon ( renting a car on Day2) with daily trips to
Day 2 - Visit Saint Remy, Chateau des Baux de Provence, Orange
Day 3 - Visit Uzes, Nimes & Pont du Gard
Day 4 - Avignon - to Antibes Stay in Juan-les-Pins or somewhere else?
Stay there for 5 nights.
Day 5 - Nice
Day 6 - Menton & Monaco
Day 7 - Entrevaux-, VenceSt, Paul De Vence (
Day 8 - Vila Franche Su Mer, Villa Ephrussi and Villa Kerylos.
Day 9- Leaving for Saint Tropez - staying 2 nights visiting some of the beautiful -9/13villages around. Any suggestions on where to stay there?
Day 10 - Exploring little villages around Saint Tropez
Day 11 - Leaving for Aix-en Provence staying there 3 nights
Day 11 - Aix-en Provence
Day 12 - Visit Arles & Tarascon
Day 13 - Visit the village of Pernesles Fountains and Roussillon
Day 14 - Avignon to drop off the car and take the train to Paris. Overnight in Paris and morning flight back to the US.
Can you please give me your recommendations and also suggest places to stay. We usually like nice little places with good location and breakfasts.
Thank you so much!!!
mila0229 is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2019, 11:43 PM
  #2  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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It's a lovely part of the world!

It all depends on what you want to see and at what pace, but FWIW, days 2 through 6 all sound ambitious -- too ambitious -- to me. YMMV.

If you haven't already seen it, you might find some useful information in my trip report. I visited most of those places and include comments on all the places at which I stayed (which were all in what I would consider good locations with breakfasts of varying degrees of satisfaction).
A stellar month in southeastern France
For a place to stay between Antibes and Juan les Pins, consider Le Petit Castel
Accueil - Le Petit Castel
kja is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 01:18 AM
  #3  
 
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That's a very packed trip. You stay in Antibes in order to visit Nice, Monaco, Villefranche, St Paul de Vence, Cap Ferrat; these are all near Nice. Why not stay in Nice?

Juan les Pins is pretty quiet outside holiday weeks. And you'd have to drive either to the motorway A8 or along the coast to get to the places you want to visit. The coastal road can be very slow.
Better to stay in Nice, or Villefranche/Beaulieu/Cap Ferrat.
Tulips is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 01:24 AM
  #4  
 
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On day 9 you drive to St Tropez
Day 10 you want to explore little villages near St Tropez
Day 11 you leave St Tropez again.
September is not as busy as August, but traffic near St Tropez can be awful. St Maxime/St Tropez alone can take an hour.

Keep your schedule flexible so you can drop things if you find you are spending too much time in the car.
Tulips is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 05:07 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Why are you flying into Paris? To save time, I suggest flying in and out of Marseille. Or, if you can rearrange your itinerary, I would fly open jaw into Marseille and out of Nice.

I agree with Tulips about staying in Nice. It’s a better location for visiting the places you want to visit in the French Riviera.

Since you are renting a car, I suggest staying in St. Remy instead of Avignon. IMO, St. Remy is nicer than Avignon. If you weren’t renting a car, then Avignon would be a good base.
KarenWoo is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 05:41 AM
  #6  
 
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It sounds incredibly chaotic to me, especially since you're visiting a part of the world that is famous for being calm. I mean, most people head to those places to chill out, have a glass of the local grape, and watch the world go by and the old guys playing boules. Maybe buy a tablecloth or a scarf.
StCirq is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 06:22 AM
  #7  
 
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Absolutely do not hire a hire a car on the French Riviera. The traffic in summer is horrible, St Tropez to Nice is around 60 miles. It can take over four hours and be quicker to cycle. There is a very good rail service up and down the coast.

Base yourself in Nice.

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat is bliss and frequently not that busy.

Last edited by BritishCaicos; Dec 3rd, 2019 at 07:17 AM.
BritishCaicos is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 07:05 AM
  #8  
 
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To expand on KWs suggestion, you can use a multi-destination search function to fly into Marseille Provence airport and home from Paris, saving both the time and the cost of retracing your steps to the arrival city.
The Provence airport has some international service, but you might have to make a connection through a European gateway. I would (and have) make that more complicated trip first, arriving in the south and flying home at a reasonable time of the day from from Paris.

That airport services Marseille itself, Aix-en-Provence and Avignon. Bus or local rail connect to all three cities. Here is the useful airport website, which has English translation for most pages:

https://www.marseille-airport.com/
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Southam is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 08:04 AM
  #9  
 
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Because our daughter lives in Provence, we fly from Boston to Marseille frequently, and we do have to change planes somewhere in Europe, such as Frankfurt, Munich, Lisbon, Madrid, and sometimes CDG. There are no non-stops from Boston to Marseille. IMO, that is easier than flying into Paris, and then taking the train, UNLESS you plan on spending time in Paris. It looks like the OP is not spending any time in Paris, which is why I suggest flying home from Marseille or Nice.

The OP can also rent a car at Marseille Airport, if they wish.
KarenWoo is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 08:41 AM
  #10  
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Thank you so much kja! I read your report and will be reading it again. I admire your trip reports and always find lots of useful information there. Some places, like Nice and Monte Carlo we already visited. Do you think Menton and Monte Carlo are too much for one day? I will continue reading your reports as you have so many details there. Thanks again for posting it!

Last edited by mila0229; Dec 3rd, 2019 at 08:59 AM.
mila0229 is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 08:45 AM
  #11  
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Thank you Tulips! We always keep our schedule open. That's the beauty of renting a car. And I did check the distances. It does seem douable for now. We prefer No to stay in Saint Tropez and rather visit it on our first day there. I just not sure where to stay there.
mila0229 is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 08:47 AM
  #12  
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WE had different plans at first and already bought the tickets... St Remy sounds good. Thank you!
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Dec 3rd, 2019, 08:49 AM
  #13  
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Thank you. We might rearrange our schedule and skip a few places.
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Dec 3rd, 2019, 08:51 AM
  #14  
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We dove there before during the summer and i do not recall such problems. We can always use public transportation if needed. Thank you!
mila0229 is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 09:06 AM
  #15  
 
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As far as I know, there are no non-stop flights from the US to any French city other than Paris.
So why suggest a several-stop, several-connection flight just to land (for the final time) in Marseille?
tomboy is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 09:51 AM
  #16  
 
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There are some to their Caribbean islands, but I suppose you don't mean that (there are some to Martinique and Guadeloupe).

In fact, there are nonstop flights from EWR to Nice, at least some time of the year and several days a week (by La Compagnie). I know they fly in September.

I have flown into MRS from the US even though it required a connection at CDG because it was easier and quicker and cheaper than taking the train. YOu don't have all those hours people suggest you build in if you are taking the train from CDG (some people suggest at least 4), they transfer your bags for you, and on Air France, it can sometimes actually be cheaper for me to fly to a connecting city in France compared to Paris. Not always, but it has happened that it is cheaper for me to fly to NCE or MRS than just CDG, even when the connection is through CDG.
Christina is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 10:08 AM
  #17  
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Thank you so much! But we already have our tickets and will have to fly to CDG.
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Dec 3rd, 2019, 10:10 AM
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by tomboy View Post
As far as I know, there are no non-stop flights from the US to any French city other than Paris.
So why suggest a several-stop, several-connection flight just to land (for the final time) in Marseille?
I don't know where the OP lives, but one can definitely fly from Boston to Marseille with only ONE stop, not several. And as Christina says, when you fly, they transfer your bags for you. So you are not lugging suitcases from the airport to the train station.
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Dec 3rd, 2019, 03:24 PM
  #19  
 
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I think your itinerary involves a bit too much driving. I would just go to western Provence and stay in two places (max, I would suggest one base to the northern section and one in the section section, with one being a smaller village) and do day trips. Then continue on to the Cote d'Azur. You can hit a few places that are tough to hit by car first and then return your car. Then, return to Paris via a short, inexpensive flight or via the TGV from Nice or Antibes (I have a place in Nice). Going back and forth along the A8 does not make sense unless you are going to spend extensive time exploring the Var.

If you go to St Tropez and want a splurge, the Chateau des Messardieres was wonderful. The village of Ramatuelle is surrounded by rose wineries and has easy access to the fab beach (Pamplelonne). As long as it is not too deep into the month, the beach clubs will still be open. At about mid-month you will see seasonal closures up and down the coast. If you decide to keep your car for your stint on the Cote d'Azur, consider access to/from the corniches or the A8, and even still use the train for some of the city locations. Every single location (except for st. tropez) is reachable by train or bus from Nice. That being said, just did a great day trip tour through Peillon, Peille and La Turbie (passing by Eze) by car. If you do choose to go to St. Paul de Vence and Vence, continue up to Tourettes-sur-Loup and Gourdon. Entrevaux can be separate trip.
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Dec 3rd, 2019, 04:22 PM
  #20  
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Thank you so much! Great advice!
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