Paris and to Monte Carlo

Reply

Nov 23rd, 2007, 01:17 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 87
Paris and to Monte Carlo

Hi - Next summer four of us plan to travel to the south of France after finishing up a conference in Paris. We want to visit Monte Carlo and other than that, don't really have a clue. Does anyone have any input re the best way to travel (I'm thinking train one way and rental car back)good places to stay (around $CAN150 per night)and what are the must sees en route.
Thanks!
Hilda_Bell is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 23rd, 2007, 02:25 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,605
Your question is very broad for anyone to definitively answer, in my opinion. The "south of France" is a large area with many, many charming towns, lavendar fields, beaches, Roman ruins, lovely drives, vineyards...and so on. You will need to get some books and maps and help define some potential routes, I think.

There are some threads in the forum by (I think) Stu Dudley, very detailed driving itineraries, restaurants, etc. that he has enjoyed. We'll see if we can find those for you.

Here is a book to start with:
Frommer's France's Best-Loved Driving Tours (ISBN 0470105682)
http://www.amazon.com/
=1-1
Travelnut is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 23rd, 2007, 02:35 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
You would need to define how many days, what are your interests, and exactly when you are planning on going ...for example August is French holiday season, so getting accomodations might be an issue if not done early...similarly during Cannes film festival,etc...

High speed train might be the way to go (there and back), so that you cna maximized your time in the South..unless...you have more time and seeing the countryside is part of your agenda.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 23rd, 2007, 03:33 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,572
I've never been a big fan of Monte Carlo - expecially after four days in Paris. Too much concrete, noise, congestion, etc. I would want to head someplace where I could find a little more charm, natural beauty, quiet, etc. The Nice Hinterland just back of Nice is loaded with small cute villages, scenic drives, georgeous canyons, good shopping, etc.

I much prefer Nice to Monte Carlo. You could even stay in Nice to get your city "fix" or stay in a charming village like St Paul or Vence - less than 30 mins from Nice.

Like Travelnut mentioned, I have a 20+ page itinerary for the Cote d'Azur & Provence. It has several driving intineraries, an provence Market section, provence Fabric, cute villages, etc. E-mail me at [email protected] if you want a copy.

A lot depends, like Michel-Paris stated, on how many days you have to explore the "south". We've spent over 40 weeks vacationing in the Cote d'Azur, Provence, Languedoc/Roussillon, and Dordogne - all considered the "south of France". We're still discovering new and exciting nooks & crannies even after 40 weeks. There's a lot to see - and much of it depends on your interests.

I would not drive from Nice/Monte Carlo to Paris - too far. "Must sees" between Paris & Nice would take you another month or two - Alps, Burgundy, Loire just to name a few. If you have less than 6 days, just stay on the Cote d'Azur. If you have 2 weeks, the Cote d'Azur & Provence would make a good region to enjoy.

Also, a lot depends on the time of year. If you're there in late June or early July, I would not miss the lavender fields in Provence. If you'll be there in late July or August, I would head to Brittany after Paris.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 1st, 2007, 06:16 PM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 87
Thanks for that input! I'll check them out. When I get some more details re exact dates, etc., and need more info, I will ask.
Hilda_Bell is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 2nd, 2007, 10:19 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3
Dear Hilda,

My recommendations based on years of living in Paris and the Cote d'Azur are as follows:

1. The TGV is a great way to shoot down South, and beats driving no matter which way you look at it. I would recommend the TGV, or a simple flight from Paris to Nice, which is even less expensive than the train. Then, rent a car and travel the Cote d'Azur. Or, if you just want to hit Monaco, take the helicopter from Nice Airport: I know it sounds crazy, but it is a breathtaking ride, very glamourous, yet costs as much as a taxi to get to Monaco (around 80 euros per person).

2. Go in June, when their is a good buzz in the air because the Grand Prix is revving up, and before all the tourists flood in.

3. Regarding Nightlife, if you are looking for a sophisticated albeit pretentious time, stay in Monaco and visit some of the classic venues, such as Jimmy'z or Sass Cafe. Sass is a posh little restaurant with an adjoining lounge/piano bar, in a very central location. Jimmy'z is for dancing and showing off your best diamond jewelry.

4. There is no reason to stay in a hotel in Monaco, because the prices are tres cher. Better would be the neighboring town of Cap d'Ail, or Beaulieu/Villefranche, or staying up on the hillside overlooking Monaco, where there are also some great restaurants (this area is called BeauSoleil).

5. Monaco is 1/4 the size of Central Park, meaning you will see it all in one day. Of course, there are places you could sit out in for hours, so it is well worth a relaxing 2 days-- have dinner at Quai des Artistes and walk along the port. Take a walk from Plage Mala in Cap d'Ail along the coastline pathway that takes you into Monaco (stunning walk).

5. After 1-2 nights seeing Monaco (skip Nice, it is dirty, dangerous, and tacky), I would recommend a road trip towards the west, stopping in charming towns like Villefranche, Mougins, St. Paul-de-Vence. Going up into Provence is also a great experience (beautiful drive), and there are affordable hotels like Chateau des Alpilles, which is a true gem.

6. There are some delightful pit-stops along the coast where you can have lunch in 5-star hotels for manageable prices: the Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat is stunning. Stop for tea at Musee Ephrussi de Rothschild at Cap Ferrat. Going into Antibes is also a fun trip, and as you pass Cannes, the restaurant by the pool at Hotel Eden Roc is an unforgettably chic experience.

7. Cannes and St. Tropez are to be avoided at all costs. During this season at least. Driving too close to them is not advised either: 4 hour traffic jams are the norm.


Hope this helps. Don't hesitate to contact me for more advice!

xx, PetiteBrigitte.com
PetiteBrigitte is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 2nd, 2007, 12:18 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,572
>>skip Nice, it is dirty, dangerous, and tacky<<

When did that happen?? - we were there just this past July.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 17th, 2007, 01:45 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 87
Hi - Great information. A bit more input about Nice would be appreciated. Also, the two men are golf nuts. Would love to tell them there are no courses but... Any suggestions for golf in the southb of France? We definately want to spend a day or so in the Monte Carlo casino/s. We now know we only have 11 days after Paris so I will take the suggestion not to drive all the way down there but may drive one way or is that still too time consuming?
Hilda_Bell is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 17th, 2007, 02:02 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,982
Nice is much more interesting than Monaco. I thought that anybody who has been to both places already knew that. Unless, of course, they are millionaires.
kerouac is online now  
Reply With Quote
Dec 17th, 2007, 02:07 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,486
In June, the Grand Prix is not revving up...it's over.
Judy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 17th, 2007, 02:07 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,982
Hilda, there are plenty of casinos all over France. Unless your real desire is to rub elbows with the Russian mafia or degenerate Saudi princes, I'm not sure that you would really want to spend much time in a casino in Monaco.
kerouac is online now  
Reply With Quote
Dec 17th, 2007, 02:23 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 278
There is a decent golf course just west of Cannes in Mandelieu/La Napoule.

There is a new Four Seasons about an hour west of Cannnes with quite a nice golf course. I don't remember what town it was in offhand, but the hotel is beautiful. You can probably dig it up on the Four Seasons web site.

I agree that Nice is tacky, and is not a place that I enjoy, other than a couple of hours at the market or in a Museum. The beach is also unpleasant as it is not a sand beach,it's made of of stones!

There are many beautiful, interesting towns along the coast, I just don't think Nice is one of them, though many on this web site might not agree.

We have done the drive to/from Paris a number of times as we frequently have too much stuff with us to take the train. It's a long drive, not particularly pretty
as you will be using the autoroute
( though a lot prettier than turnpike driving in the U.S.), and really only pleasant if you have unlimited time to do some exploring along the way. It's about 8 or 8 1/2 hours from
Cannes to Paris.

We prefer Cannes to Nice. It's an upscale town and the beach is great and so is the shopping.
LynFrance is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 17th, 2007, 02:35 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,233
We have gone from Paris to Nice a number of times. We've driven, taken trains, and flown. We now fly Easy Jet. It's much cheaper than train or car (if you book well in advance. And even allowing for the transportation times at both ends and the required early arrival at the airport, it was still over 2 hours quicker door to door than by train. (Use Orly, not CDG in Paris).

I actually kind of like Monte Carlo (am I the only one?). One year we stayed there for three nights or so. We've been back as day trips several other times.

We've also found that we'd just as soon take trains (and sometimes busses) along the coast from town to town. When we've driven, traffic and parking have been a nightmare in the towns. We'd often have to park so far away -- trains or busses pretty much take you right to the center if you're village hopping.

I won't get into the Cannes vs. Nice debate. We've stayed in both several times, and I like the "charms" of both pretty much equally, although they are quite different.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Reply With Quote
Dec 17th, 2007, 04:05 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 209
There are several good golf courses just north of Cannes. I'd stay in Mougins (Royal Mougins Golf) or Valbonne (Grand Bastide and Opio/Valbonne golf courses), and from either of those towns it's quite easy to get to the coast.
fbc34 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 14th, 2008, 03:19 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 87
Hi - thank you for all the great advice. We now know that we (4 of us) will leave Paris on July 12 or 13 when my husband's conference ends. We fly back to Toronto from CDG on July 24th. I guess I had visions of a romantic beautiful drive to the south (including visiting that tallest bridge in the world)winding through lovely little villages and coming to south of France. Am I right now in assuming that we should take the train and then perhaps rent a car once we are south (a friend stayed at the Riva Hotel in, I believe, Menton). We would like to spend a day in Monte Carlo a visit a casino just for the sake of saying we've been there. I think we can easily get there from Menton. We would also like to see Provence. Would it be a good idea to drive from, say, Menton, and perhaps stay in Provence for two nights and find a golf course in that area and return to the south or go to Nice and then fly back to CDG. Sorry, but I'm totally ignorant about getting around France. Thanks again! You are all just the best!
Hilda_Bell is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 14th, 2008, 03:51 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,572
There are dozens & dozens of lovely little villages in southeast France - no need do seek them out on a winding romantic drive from Paris.

I would start the southern part of your trip in Nice. Your dates are around when all of France (it seems) heads south & it becomes a zoo there. I think Provence handles the crowds better than the Cote d'Azur does - so do the Cote first then Provence in your 12 days.

I would fly to Nice from Paris. Stay 4-5 nights there, visiting the coastal towns (Menton, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Antibes, Villefranche) by train. On the 4th day, rent a car & visit some of the cute little villages & scenic drives in the Nice Hinterland.

Then head west, visiting more cute villages on romantic winding roads on the way to St Tropez. Stay 2 nights in St Tropez. Reserve ASAP. Visit more cute little villages (Gassin, Ramatuelle, Bormes) around there, and spend a day at Tahiti Plage (beach) for some decadence, or play golf.

Then drive up to Provence (1 1/2 hrs) & stay 4-5 nights in St Remy and/or near Gordes. Visit more cute villages, lavender fields, beautiful countryside, Roman ruins, gorges, mountains, farmers & antique markets, etc.

Mid-day the day before your departure to Toronto, dump the car & take the train from the Avignon TGV station to Dijon & stay overnight there - it's completly different from cities in the south - and my favorite city after Paris. There is a very early departure from the Dijon train station directly to CDG airport that gets you there by 8:30am weekdays, and 9:30am on weekends (check schedule - it changes sometimes).

This is pretty much my "classic" Cote d'Azur & Provence itinerary that's detailed much more in the 27 page document I've sent (free) to hundreds of people on this forum. I revised it last week, so if you have an old copy, e-mail me & I'll send a new one.

Stu Dudley

StuDudley is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 15th, 2008, 05:32 AM
  #18
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 87
Stu - that is wonderful! I appreciated your extensive itinerary but found it a bit overwhelming. This is concise and just amazing information. THANK YOU!!
Hilda_Bell is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 15th, 2008, 05:49 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,260
Consider a visit to Grasse, the world capital of perfume industry.
There are 3 major perfume industries in Grasse (Galimard, Fragonard and Molinard), each one offering tours to visitors.

lobo_mau is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 31st, 2008, 04:57 PM
  #20
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 87
Four of us are travelling to Menton on July 12 from Paris (probably by train)and I have booked the Riva Hotel (friends have used it before) for four nights. Stu Dudley suggested after the Nice area to go to St. Tropez. We'll rent a car at this stage.I have spent hours looking for accommodation that isn't an arm and a leg! Do you know of anything around the 150-200 Euro price range in St. Tropez or is that totally unrealistic?? I'm told the traffic jams in the area can be horrific so don't really want to stay in an adjoining town. Is St. Tropez a must see?? The links to any B&B's I find very difficult to make sense of. I tried the Lou Troupelen that Stu suggested. Emails are returned, telephoned several times and have left a message with no return call.
Now I am wondering if an alternative would be 2 days to Corsica before driving to St. Remy, where I found accommodation (and golf for the men)for 3 nights. Will then take Stu's advice and drive to Dijon, stay two nights (looking for suggestions here as well) and then overnight at CDG (any airport hotel recommendations?)before flying back to Canada.
Thank you so, so much!
Hilda_Bell is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:43 AM.