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London to Provence (via Paris - I guess?)


London to Provence (via Paris - I guess?)

Old Mar 30th, 2004, 08:50 AM
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London to Provence (via Paris - I guess?)


I should know b
Old Mar 30th, 2004, 08:56 AM
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OK. And I thought Monday was bad!

Here is what I wanted to say before I hit the "post my reply" button. Egads.

I have to admit I haven't done a lot of research YET, but wanted to seek the advice of experts on this board. I am heading to Paris via London in May. I want to go to Provence and then take the train to Paris to celebrate my birthday there.

From what I've read and researched, it appears as if I have to go through Paris to get to Provence. I don't want to fly unless necessary. I would prefer to go via train, etc. I looked on the eurostar's website and found a really cheap fare to go from London's Waterloo station to Paris-Nord. However, when I go to SNCF's website, I have to leave from another Paris train station to get to Provence/Avignon.

Can anyone recommend the best way to get from London to Provence/Avignon? I land in London on 12 May at night; therefore, I may have to leave for France on 13 May. I will not have a car and will be traveling solo.

Old Mar 30th, 2004, 09:08 AM
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If you are determined to go the whole way by train, yes, you have to switch stations in Paris.

There are trains to Avignon from CDG airport, so if you caught a flight from London to CDG you could easily get to Avignon from there.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 09:16 AM
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A friend's English relative goes regularly to the Provence, and I believe that either it is a direct train from London or an easy transfer, since I remember a travel time of 5 hours or so. But I might have misunderstood.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 12:11 PM
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you can take the eurostar to Lille and switch at the same station to a Nice bound train (goes through Avignon).
Warning: it;s a long ride! We left London at 6:30 am arrived in Lille at 9:18 (one hour ahead). Out train departed at 10:20 and arrived at 2:20. Please note that the train will only stop at the statoins for three minutes before the doors automatically shut. Be quick!
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 01:42 PM
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I think I'd get a cheap flight from London to Nice (if possible) then take the train to Paris. Will you rent a car in Nice to "do" Provence?
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 02:00 PM
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Thanks for the responses. Now I'm looking for cheap flights from London to either Paris or Nice.

Uhoh_busted: thanks for the Nice recommendation. It didn't even cross my mind!

Will I need a car to really see Provence? I've never driven in Europe so this might be a very interesting experience!

keep the suggestions coming.

Old Mar 30th, 2004, 02:03 PM
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I'd suggest flying London to Nice on easyjet.com. Really low fares, and friendly employees. Warning--they're serious about one bag per person and carry ons must be less than 15 pounds, so no big American-style roll-aboards. Someone was kind enough to teach me, so I share their kindness. You can get a train from Nice easliy enough.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 12:22 AM
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The direct London-Avignon train runs only once a week, and only in high summer.

If by Provence, you mean the inland area centred on Avignon, you might find Marseilles (there are direct buses from the airport to Aix, and it's not much more than half an hour from Marseilles station to Avignon) or even Montpellier more convenient airports to get to from London: it really can be a schlep from Nice to Avignon or Aix.

It is possible to see a lot of Provence from a base in Avignon or Aix, using local buses and trains to get about. It's just about possible to see a reasonable amount from a base in Arles, using buses.

I'd suggest that trying to combine the Avignon-Aix area with the Cote d'Azur and its hinterland (centred on Nice) by public transport would involve an awful lot of time hanging round bus and railway stations. But we've had an enjoyable time seeing lots of Provence from regional buses.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 07:05 AM
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I did this trip a couple of years ago solo and it was so wonderful. I got a great fare to London, and then got a cheap BMI fare London to Marseilles, then Paris return to London. I rented a car from Marseilles airport and drove directly to St. Remy for a base. It was really an easy drive out of the airport.

I took day trips each day, once in the morning geared to markets, a rest at noon, and another trip in the afternoon/evening.

After St. Remy, I moved to Isle sur La Sorgue for the weekend and Sunday antique market. By staying in Isle Sat. & Sun. I did not have the hassel of finding parking for the market as I was in easy walking distance. I returned the car to Avignon train station ( easy drive from Isle) and took the TGV (3 hrs) to Paris for a few days, then returned to London for one day and home. I think my round trip on BMI was around $150 then.

I have been to Provence twice and cannot imagine not having the freedom of a car to explore. I really found it easy to drive in France. By the way, I rented from Nova rent a car (on the internet) for several Europe trips including Provence and France and it was a very reasonable rate with no problems.

Whatever you decide, have a safe and happy trip!!
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 08:33 AM
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Which London airport did you fly out of? I tried to do a search on BMI and didn't see Marseilles as a final destination point. I'll keep searching.

Thanks for the information!
Old Mar 31st, 2004, 09:15 AM
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SL Hogan:

Why are you searching bmi?

BA and Easyjet both serve Marseilles from Gatwick, with two flights each most days.

And, extraordinarily, you can fly there from Coventry on Thomson.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 10:30 AM
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We just booked our Marseille to London (Gatwick) flight on EasyJet - it's cheap and they fly twice a day. The other option was RyanAir from Nimes in Provence. They fly into London Stansted which I understand is more of a hassle in terms of getting from the airport into town.

We had also hoped to go by train -- but it was MUCH more expensive. From London we fly on Norwegian Air shuttle to Bergen - also cheap.
Old Mar 31st, 2004, 01:26 PM
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Thanks for all of the responses. You guys and gals are awesome!

jk_seattle: I also booked on easyjet the same as you. Mega-cheap fare!
flanneruk: I searched bmi due to ggnga's post, but since I couldn't find anything, I searched easyjet and got the amazing fare. Thank you for the other airline recommendations, though.

Now all I need is to secure lodging! The next chapter begins . . .
Old Mar 31st, 2004, 03:41 PM
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For lodging ideas in Provence, check the . PB - St. Remy Lodgin postings on this site. I tossed my list in.
Old Mar 31st, 2004, 04:09 PM
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Doesn't Ryanair fly to several airports in the south of France? Nimes? others?

I'll leave it to you to look up.

Best wishes,

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Old Apr 5th, 2004, 10:43 AM
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You can get the Eurostar to Brussels and then get the TGV direct to Aix or Toulon depending if you want to be near the coast or innerland...you can always mail me [email protected]
Glad to help out !
Cheaper is a flight...
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