Itinerary Paris/Provence July

Old May 12th, 2017, 03:43 AM
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Itinerary Paris/Provence July

Hi, need some help! We are booking a trip to France for 8 days in July (arriving day after Bastille). Arriving Paris 21/2 days. Then train to South of France. 5 full days there. Want to explore some small and larger towns (Cassis is one, Roussillon seems interesting, Aix? Avignon? any suggestions? ), have been advised to stay near Aix to be centrally located (?) We would like to rent a car. Have not done so before in Europe, usually use trains.

Have tix on hold out of Marseilles. Hearing conflicting stories about Marseille (will have to spend one night at hotel before leaving early am). Better to go from Nice (we also want to see St Tropez if possible and not too much?)?


2 scenarios I am thinking about:

1. If we are departing Marseille airport: Take train to Provence from Paris (which stop Aix?). Recommendations on which town to stay in (Aix difficult to get in and out of? Avignon? Another town?) Where/when/how to pick up car? Do a day trip to St Tropez using public transportation or tour (do not really want to drive if that is a tough trip)?
OR
Take Train to Nice from Paris. Spend night St Tropez (how far/transportation?), rent car and drive to our intended location 4 nights.

2. Depart from Nice airport (if can get reservation). Go to Provence area by train 4 days see Tropez last and spend night there.



Thoughts? Suggestions re: Itineary and also places to stay (air bnb/bnb or moderate priced hotels)Thank you!
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Old May 12th, 2017, 06:30 AM
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>>8 days in July (arriving day after Bastille). Arriving Paris 21/2 days. <<

What does this mean?? Bastille day is July 14. Do you arrive on July 21 & then spend 2 days in Paris?

>>Then train to South of France. 5 full days there. Want to explore some small and larger towns (Cassis is one, Roussillon seems interesting, Aix? Avignon? any suggestions? )<<

Five days is very little time if you want to visit Avignon, St Tropez (not a good idea - see later), Aix, Cassis, Roussillon, Avignon, & others

>> have been advised to stay near Aix to be centrally located (?) We would like to rent a car. Have not done so before in Europe, usually use trains.<<

Aix is NOT centrally located to visit the places most people want to visit. Avignon would be a much better base if you want to stay in a large city. If you want to stay in a smaller city but with easy "get in & get out", lots of restaurants & cafes, shops, and lots of English spoken - stay in St Remy. If you want to stay near a smaller village & be surrounded by vineyards, lavender fields - stay in the Luberon near Gordes, Roussillon, Menerbes.

Trains only go bewteen the large cities in Provence. They are OK on the Cote d'Azur - but not for St Tropez or Cassis.

>>Take train to Provence from Paris (which stop Aix?). Recommendations on which town to stay in (Aix difficult to get in and out of? Avignon? Another town?) Where/when/how to pick up car?<<

As I recommended above - stay in Avignon, St Remy or the Luberon. Take the TGV to the Avignon TGV station & rent a car there.

>>Do a day trip to St Tropez using public transportation or tour (do not really want to drive if that is a tough trip)?<<

Forget St Tropez in late July as a day trip from anywhere - for several reasons:
1. There is no public transportation (train/bus) there from Agivnon or Aix. There is no train station in St Tropez (I am not 100% certain about bus transportation).
2. There will be bumper to bumper traffic getting into St Tropez in mid/late July. You may never make it.
3. Mid day is NOT when you want to be in St Tropez in late July. Shoulder to shoulder people.

My recommendation:

Forget about the Cote d'Azur in July if you only have 5 days. Just stay in Provence.

- Land at CDG and immediately take the TGV from CDG to the Avignon TGV station & spend 5-6 nights in St Remy if you want a city, or in the Luberon if you want countryside (I don't recommend Avignon, unless you need to stay in a large city)

- Rent a car

- Explore the Luberon, St Remy/les Baux area, Pont du Gard & Uzes, the Dentelles & Cote du Rhone winegrowing region, Avignon, Arles, and RELAX and enjoy lazy Provence in the summer.

- Take the TGV back to Paris, spend some time in Paris & fly home from there.

My wife & I have vacationed for 20 weeks in Provence & 20 along the Cote d'Azur. We're going back for 3 more weeks on June 4. I developed a 33 page itinerary that describes our favorite villages, scenic drives, farmers markets, restaurants, etc. I've sent this itinerary to over 3,000 people on Fodors. If you would like a coy, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach one to the reply e-mail. Do so soon - we leave for France in 3 weeks.

Stu Dudley

.
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Old May 12th, 2017, 06:57 AM
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Thank you! I just emailed you! We are doing exactly as you suggest! Enjoy!
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Old May 12th, 2017, 11:31 AM
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Book TGV train tickets far in advance to get absurdly low discount fares - www.voyages-sncf.com; www.thetrainline.com - great info on trains at www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

I've been all over Provence several times and highly recommend the Avignon/Arles area as the best IMO for first-time travelers - take TGV to Avignon-TGV station pick up car and base in one town and have a plethora of great places and sights to visit in a compact area.

Then simply drive to Marseille Airport and return the car.
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