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Itiinerary help for France plus Barcelona

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Itiinerary help for France plus Barcelona

Old Mar 27th, 2016, 06:44 AM
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Itiinerary help for France plus Barcelona

Two couples in late 50's, planning a trip to France and Barcelona in August 2016. We know it is a very crowded time to visit, but other timing options are not working out, so we have to make the best of it.We have full 15 days available, not counting arrival and departure dates.

We plan to arrive into Paris, and depart home from Barcelona at the end. We certainly want to spend time in Paris, Provence (St Remi ??), Nice/Monaco, and Barcelona. Do not know if it is wise to include any other destination, as we don't want to make it very hectic.

Need advice on number of days to spend at each destination, how to travel from one destination to another (train, flight or drive : open to all), the sequence in which we should cover the destinations.

As for our interests, they are quite mixed. The attractions of Paris and Barcelona are obvious. Provence for pretty small villages, and the obvious at Nice and Monaco.
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Old Mar 27th, 2016, 06:54 AM
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4 days in Paris, a week along the Mediterranean coast, 4 days in Barcelona.

Go from Paris to Nice by train. Visit Nice, rent a car and wend your way through the Provence and the coastal Languedoc to Narbonne. Return the car and train to Barcelona.

Look at Autoeurope.com or kemwel.com for car rentals.
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Old Mar 27th, 2016, 07:17 AM
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Sounds like a good plan. Regarding the train journey from Provence to Barcelona, which city should we be looking at boarding the train from ?

At Provence, do you suggest we base ourselves at one place like St Remy, and drive around - or switch bases every 1-2 days ?
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Old Mar 27th, 2016, 07:43 AM
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We ended up in St. Remy last year in August as a "last minute" change of plans after the apartment we had rented in Bordeaux had a bug infestation. I swore I would never go back in July August-way too many tourists and the prices were atrociously high (like 120 euros per person for a set menu lunch!).

Obviously everywhere is very busy in August, but I would avoid Provence and opt for Languedoc. Uzes and L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue are 2 charming villages. If you want something bigger then Nimes or Arles or nice smallish towns.

They will be busy too but I think will be better than most of the areas in Provence. There is lots to explore in the area, the Pont du Gard is beautiful. IMO it is well worth having a car. Depending on your timing and what areas you want to explore, you could return the car in Perpignan (1 hour to Barcelona), Narbonne (just under 2 hours) Montpellier (3 hours train ride)or even Toulouse if you want to explore over that direction (3h15m train)
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Old Mar 27th, 2016, 08:03 AM
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Wow jpie, where did you go to find 120 € for a lunch ? with how much wine ?
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Old Mar 27th, 2016, 08:21 AM
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This would be my suggestion, but you can easily take a day from one destination and add it to an other:

1 Paris
2 Paris
3 Paris
4 Paris
5 train to Nice (5:34, direct), rent a car
6 Nice / Côte d'Azur
7 Nice / Côte d'Azur
8 Nice / Côte d'Azur
9 drive to Provence
10 Provence
11 Provence
12 Provence
13 train from Nîmes to Barcelona (3:38, direct)
14 Barcelona
15 Barcelona

At the Côte d'Azur, I would suggest staying in Antibes or Cannes or the hinterland of Cannes. It would be a strategic base for driving into all directions. At the Côte, you will find many picturesque mountain villages.

For Provence, I recommend staying in Arles or St. Remy-de-Provence, again for strategic reasons. Arles has more attractions of its own which can be explores just by walking. You will find fascinating Roman archeology in Arles, Nîmes, Pont du Gard and south of St. Remy (Les Antiques) and medieval buildings in Arles (cathedral), Avignon (Palace of the Popes) and Les Baux (ruined medieval village).
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Old Mar 27th, 2016, 08:35 AM
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Drive to Narbonne and take the train from there. That is a father SW than the Provence.
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Old Mar 27th, 2016, 08:37 AM
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In Barcelona you'll have the local atmosphere Gracia festival going in August 15-21. Could be well worth a closer look: http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.c...barcelona.html
http://www.festamajordegracia.cat/

Followed directly by the Sants district's festival, August 23.-30.: http://www.timeout.com/barcelona/fes...sants-festival
http://www.festamajordesants.cat/

About the neighbourhood street festivals in Barcelona: http://www.barcelona-life.com/barcelona/festes-majors
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Old Mar 27th, 2016, 08:38 AM
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Great suggestions. Please keep them coming !!
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Old Mar 27th, 2016, 08:48 AM
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Is there no way you can push this out at least to September? It will not only be very crowded, it will likely be very hot too. Would you consider switching the Basque country for Provence?

I spent five nights in Barcelona last fall and did not run out of things to do (click on my name for my Moving South TR or go to mytimetotravel.wordpress.com for text with pix). For such a short trip I might consider just Paris and Barcelona, with day trips from Paris (several threads here on those).
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Old Mar 27th, 2016, 09:08 AM
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I know that September would have been far more preferable in terms of both weather and crowds, but unfortunately that is not an option, given our work commitments.

Also, Provence is high on the list, so we would be loathe to leave it out. I think with the suggestions above, it should be possible to cover Paris, Nice, Provence and Barcelona in 15 days.Coming from India, the heat will not bother us as much.

I think the consensus above seems to be :
4 nights Paris
3 nights Nice
4-5 nights Provence
3-4 nights Barcelona.

Undecided whether to make it 5 nights in Provence and 3 nights in Barcelona, or 4 nights at each place.
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Old Mar 27th, 2016, 02:16 PM
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Well we actually saw many menus for over 100 euros for lunch! We didn't eat at any of them. I guess it just really bugged me because I have been to Provence many times off season and the price hike was ridiculous. But then again, I guess the merchants feel they need to maximize profits during the high tourist season.

Now that I realize the OP is coming all the way from India, and that Provence is high on the must see list, then the other thoughts I have if they want to explore the heart of Provence are:

It is super convenient to catch a train from Paris (Gare de Lyon)to what is called the Avignon TGV stop. It is outside of the city stop 6km away and it is a great place to pick up your initial rental car. You just walk out of the station and there is a big rental car parking lots for all the agencies. It is much more convenient to drive from there then to start from other places IMO.

Also, if you don't know much about Provence, you might want to research the area pretty thoroughly as it is a region made up of 6 different departments and each one is nice and somewhat unique, so it is well worth really figuring the things that you really want to see. Here is a good link that describes the region pretty well:

http://wikitravel.org/en/Provence-Al...4te_d'Azur

Even though this is the "official" region, most people don't include cote d'azur in their thinking when they say they want to go to 'Provence".

I think if you are coming from India the heat should be too bad since that area is generally quite dry so not as bad a more humid type of heat.
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Old Mar 27th, 2016, 02:52 PM
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>>I think the consensus above seems to be :
4 nights Paris
3 nights Nice
4-5 nights Provence
3-4 nights Barcelona.

Undecided whether to make it 5 nights in Provence and 3 nights in Barcelona, or 4 nights at each place.
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Old Mar 28th, 2016, 09:01 AM
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Great suggestions everyone. Thanks a ton. Now I need to do my own research. go deeper, and come back later with specific questions.
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Old Mar 28th, 2016, 10:39 AM
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Sounds like a good plan. Regarding the train journey from Provence to Barcelona, which city should we be looking at boarding the train from ?>

Avignon would be a great place - the Avignon TGV station - shuttle trains from Avignon Centre go there - direct TGV trains to Barcelona - ditch the car in Avignon - maybe at the TGV station if possible and be in Barcelona in about 5 hours I think - book early for discounted tickets: www.voyages-sncf.com - full fare walk-up tickets can cost a fortune - for info on trains in general check www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com - check the latter's free online European Planning & Rail Guide for lots of options on where to go in southern France - the Nice area is great as is the Provence around Avignon/Arles - great bases from which to take public transit or drive to a mind-boggling number of great nearby sites.
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