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Nice, Vence, Provence, Paris trip July 10-24

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Mar 3rd, 2014, 12:59 PM
  #1
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Nice, Vence, Provence, Paris trip July 10-24

This will be my first trip to Europe. It will be my husband, myself and our 14 year old daughter. We are on a budget. Using Stu Dudley's advice, we are flying into Nice staying 2 nights, Friday to Sunday (July 11-13) with Genevieve Levert's bed and breakfast, 3 nights in Vence (July 13-16) at either Auberge des Seigneurs (phone is out of order and has not returned my emails) or Hotel Lalubiane, then 4 nights in provence (July 16-19) not sure where we are staying. Saturday the 19thTGV to Paris or Giverny (possibly 1 night in GIverny to see Monet's gardens) then 4 nights in paris with a studio rental. We would love to attend the 10 am Sunday service at Notre Dame but think Monet's gardens may be too busy to see Saturday after our TGV / bus ride into Giverny.
We will rent a car Sunday July 13 when we leave Nice and drop off the car Saturday July 19 when we take the TGV to Paris.
I would love any advice on inexpensive places to stay in Vence or St. Paul, Provence (near Gordes?), and Giverny area; as well as any advice on best/cheapest place to pick up the car rental near Nice or Vence. Thanks for all your help!
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Mar 3rd, 2014, 01:13 PM
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Why would you need to stay in or near Giverny, and there's no TGV to get you there. It's a simple day trip out of Paris.
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Mar 3rd, 2014, 01:30 PM
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We're picking up our car in Nice at one of the "downtown" offices (not railstation or airport), thus avoiding the station or airport fee. July 13 is a Sunday, and all the downtown offices are closed - except one. See www.kemwel.com to do research, but call them to reserve. We've reserved a VW Golf automatic.

Reserve ASAP for Provence - third week in July is almost peak season.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 3rd, 2014, 01:32 PM
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We have reservations presently for Sunday - Thursday in Paris and my daughter would like to add another day in Paris. So we would be taking the TGV into Paris on Saturday now. I wasn't sure if I should try to add a day to our studio rental in Paris or try something else. My daughter's one request for the trip is Monet's gardens. I know it would be another RER metro bus trip to Giverny out of Paris whichever day we decide. Thanks
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Mar 3rd, 2014, 05:27 PM
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whoops should say only 3 nights in Provence since we may be taking a night in Provence and adding to Paris which now becomes 5 nights
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Mar 4th, 2014, 05:19 AM
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Add the night in Paris and do the trip to Giverny from there.
If at all possible add the extra night to where you are booked... packing up and moving is a waste of your valuable time.

Take the train from Gare St Lazare to Vernon. From Vernon there is either a bus at the front door of the station (timed to meet the trains) or bicycle rental from a cafe across the street. Buy your train tickets the day before (from any station) and get the Monet tickets online or in Paris at a FNAC store. Be sure you get your tickets stamped in the machine as you enter the train platform. Buy return tickets... no money saved but saves time.

Do take the first train in the morning. Get off quickly and walk rapidly following the footsteps painted on the Vernon station floor. Grab the bus. Have suitable change for the 6 (ish) euro return fare. Sit as close to the front as you can. As you walk toward the gardens you'll come across a group entrance... because you have tickets you can enter here. Head for the pond and bridge using the tunnel under the road. You can now do the gardens in reverse and be at the most famous bit before it's thronged with tourists. You exit via the gift shop and allow time to shop... best gift shop I've ever seen.
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Mar 4th, 2014, 07:02 AM
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Great info, ParisAmsterdam. This type of feedback is what got me hooked on Fodor's.

Welcome, mjduncan! Do you have any special thoughts about Provence? Are you a van Gogh afficionado? Perhaps a base in Arles would be appropriate.

Will they be too late for lavender? Lourmarin (not sure if that's actually Provence) is a neat town and easy to drive to/from.
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Mar 4th, 2014, 08:50 AM
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Here is my trip report from last summer. I can recommend both the hotels I stayed in in Vence and in St Remy. Scroll down through the trip report, I give links to the hotels websites.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...swiss-alps.cfm
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Mar 4th, 2014, 09:15 AM
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Pick up your car at the Nice airport. Take inexpensive airport bus out there. Airport is very near city center and has easy access to autoroute.
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Mar 4th, 2014, 11:11 AM
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Wow thank you all for your kind replies. I booked Hotel La Lubiane in Vence and Hotellerie at Notre Dame de lumiers in Goult. Based on Isabel's recommendation above we could also consider St. Remy de Provence Hotel (I have not paid to reserve the Goult based hotel yet).
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Mar 4th, 2014, 11:13 AM
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The St. Remy Hotel is Hostellerie Le Chalet Fleuri
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Mar 4th, 2014, 12:35 PM
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Goult is a nice town to stay in - not too touristy but with some good restaurants & interesting areas to wander through. We'll be there for 2 weeks this June.

Stu Dudley
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