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bungkee Jan 14th, 2015 09:08 PM

Paris-Chamonix-Aix en Provence-Nice,need advice please.

Our group of 6 people would like to visit Paris , Chamonix , Aix en Provence and Nice in April.
We plan to go to Chamonix after Paris by train.
Drive from Chamonix to Aix en Provence via Col de Aravis and Annecy ,spend a night in Aix en Provence.Then head to Nice.
After Nice, fly to London.

Can anyone please advise if these routes should be fine or not?
Or should we drive from Chamonix to Nice instead of Provence down through Aosta Valley and along the coast to Nice ,base here, then doing a day tour to Aix en Provence.
Also, one big problem is that I'm afraid that no big van hire available from Chamonix, we may have to use private transfer service instead.
Thank you very much.

Jeff801 Jan 15th, 2015 03:41 AM

I think it unlikely that you will be able to get a van in Chamonix that will seat six comfortably, as well as hold luggage. But, you could take the train to Geneva, and then the drive to Chamonix is easy and in the range of 75 minutes. But, often the rental companies will offer a car that seats seven or more, but only with two in uncomfortable jump seats in the back. We got caught in such a situation last May. Now, when we need a big car, we make a point of checking the seating configuration independently. The additional rental cost will, I think, far less than the cost of a car service from Chamonix to Nice.

Tulips Jan 15th, 2015 04:43 AM

I don't know if you would want a van for travelling through the Alps, even if you can find one that's big enough for 6 people + luggage. I know that area, and wouldn't want to drive a rented van there. There's often still snow in April. If you are a group of adults, why not rent two cars?

A private transfer service would be very expensive.

bungkee Jan 15th, 2015 05:08 AM

Thank you very much for both answers.They're very helpful.

StuDudley Jan 15th, 2015 07:55 AM

How many days do you plan to spend in the Mt Blanc area??? In April, there could be lots of clouds and/or fog - so you might not be able to see much. If you are only planning on an overnight, I would hate to waste 2 full days training/driving from Paris to Chamonix to Aix - and only get to see clouds. The alternative would be to take the 3 hr TGV from Paris to Aix and spend extra time in Aix. If this was my trip, I would try to determine the weather conditions in Mt Blanc while in Paris, and plan accordingly.

Do you realize that 6 people in a van, in perhaps snow conditions, going over the Col des Aravis to Aix, will consume about 7-8 hrs on the road??. So if you secure the van in the morning, head out around 11:00 - you'll roll into Aix around 6PM or later - just enough time to check into a hotel, clean up, and have dinner. Not much time to visit Aix.

Are all 6 passenger in the van going to be able to have good views out the windows??

Stu Dudley

Tulips Jan 15th, 2015 08:24 AM

Do stop in Megeve for a coffee or lunch if you drive Chamonix - Megeve - Col des Aravis - Annecy. It's a lovely small town.
It could be spring-like weather, but I know in 2013 there was still lots of snow at Easter.

As StuDudley says, it's a long drive to Aix that way. Better stay overnight in Annecy. Or don't do the mountain pass and drive to Aix via Albertville - Grenoble. You still have the mountain road through Megeve, but it will be easier driving.

bungkee Jan 15th, 2015 05:20 PM

Thanks so much for all of your advice. We initially plan to stay 2 nights in Chamonix and want to take a cable car up to Aiguille du midi,also we would love to have a drive passing through snowy mountains and small villages.The route -Chamonix - Megeve - Col des Aravis - Annecy is very interesting.

But if there's still a lot of snow, so no point going up to Mont Blanc.We've been to Zermatt in April a few years ago,it snowed heavily on Matterhorn and couldn't see anything.

3 hr TGV from Paris to Aix should save much cost and time.As we have only one driver in our group,so we have to strict with the van.

Can you please advise scenic routes around Aix with mountains and nice small villages.

Thanks again.

StuDudley Jan 15th, 2015 09:52 PM

Do you have my 35 page Provence/Cote d'Azur itinerary? If not, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach one to the reply e-mail. I've sent it to over 3,000 people on Fodors.

Stu Dudley

bungkee Jan 16th, 2015 03:16 AM

StuDudley,I'm already sent you an email.Thanks so much.

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