Paris/Riviera Advice

Feb 28th, 2009, 06:35 AM
  #1  
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Paris/Riviera Advice

I'm planning a 10 day trip to France with my husband and would love some advice. I went to Paris for a few days in college, my husband has never been. Here are my questions.

1 - We plan to split the trip between Paris and the riviera. How should we split it? 5 days each, 6 in Paris, 4 on the riviera, other suggestions?

2 - We would like to avoid the crowds and extreme heat. Will the weather in Sept still be warm enough to lay by the pool and visit beaches?

3 - Which town other than Paris should we go to? Nice, Cannes, St. Tropez? We like nice hotels with pools, massages, etc.

4 - What area in Paris should we stay? I remember loving the Latin Quarter and the area near Notre Dame. We want to be centrally located and be able to walk to nice restaurants.

To give you a little context on our tastes, we love to travel but aren't too touristy. We like to eat, drink, enjoy the culture and take in some of the sights. We browse museums but aren't the type to spend hours there. We enjoy bus/boat tours, lying by a pool with a drink, etc.

Thanks for your help.
CateChicago is offline  
Feb 28th, 2009, 07:19 AM
  #2  
 
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If you'll be going the last half of Sept I would start in the Riveria, then take the train to Paris. Otherwise, start in Paris. Summer starts to dwindle a tad in very late Sept - especially if you want beach time.

The Riveria is not like Hawaii, Mexico, or the Carib. There are very few huge all-inclusive resorts with large pool areas where you'll spend most of your sunning time. Some hotels have pools & I suppose massage services - but that is not what most people do. I prefer Nice because it's a city with a huge beach (polished round flat stones - not sand), and lots of other activities too. There are private beach concessions on alternating sections of the beach, where you can pay admission, rent a chaise lounge, umbrella, there's a restaurant, showers, changing rooms, waiters to take care of you - it's quite decadent. There must be 50 of these private concessions along the huge strtch of beach. I like the Blue beach" - but pick on that has umbrellas that best match your swimsuit. There a much fewer topless ladies on the beach these days than there were 30 years ago.

Splitting time. Flip a coin - 5 & 5 or 6 & 4 or 4 & 6 - it really depends on your interests. Four days in Paris is about the minimum.

On the Riveria, If you choose 6 days, I would spend 3 in Nice & 3 in St Tropez. St Tropez has a lovely sand beach - but it is a 15 min drive out of town. It is even more decadent than Nice.

You can get to many of the other towns along the Riveria by train (except St Tropez). However, what I really love about the Riveria is the Nice Hinterland - with lots of cute villages, canyons, mountain ridges, etc. You'll need a car to explore these things. Perhaps pick up a car on your third day there.

There is a 5 hr TGV train that goes from Paris to Nice. There are flights - but I prefer the train. From home, I would fly into Nice & out of Paris - or vice-versa.

Sept is an excellent time to be in the Riveria & Paris.

For a first timer, I would stay in the St Germain de Pres area - not the Latin Quarter. The Latin Quarter is great for a young student traveling with a backpack - but it is a little scruftier & noisier than I like.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Feb 28th, 2009, 08:26 AM
  #3  
 
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1 - We plan to split the trip between Paris and the riviera. How should we split it? 5 days each, 6 in Paris, 4 on the riviera, other suggestions?

Given your preference for the beaches, 5/5 or 4/6 would be good.

2 - We would like to avoid the crowds and extreme heat. Will the weather in Sept still be warm enough to lay by the pool and visit beaches?

September is a perfect time for the Cote d'Azur. We have often been there by late October, and the sea was still warm enough for swimming. Enjoy the crystal clear azur blue water.

3 - Which town other than Paris should we go to? Nice, Cannes, St. Tropez? We like nice hotels with pools, massages, etc.

The Cote d'Azur is divided into 4 sections.

1) The westernmost stretch between Marseille and Frejus is called Cote des Maures - it has wide sandy beaches and rocky sections. Cavaliere and Cavalaire (these are different towns, although close) have pretty beaches. Ramatuelle is a charming mountain village with the most spectacular sandy beach below - Plage de Pampelonne (which is accessible by car only). St. Tropez is a former fishing village which has become a major tourist destination. Still charming. Further east, St. Aygulf has a spectacular beach. Frejus is more busy, like its twin city, St. Raphael.

2) The stretch between St. Raphael and Cannes is called Cote de l'Esterel. This is the most scenic section of the Riviera - bright red rocks, sharp mountains, blue water. Only a few sandy beaches (Agay), but spectacular bays with large red pebbles - perfect for snorkeling. You will find some good hotels in Le Trayas, Miramar, Theoule-sur-Mer.

3) The strech between La Napoule/Cannes and Nice is heavily urbanized and very busy. Here, you find all those world-class museums and other attractions. Cannes has a wide sandy beach as well as Juan-les-Pins. Cannes is a classic high-end seaside resort while Juan-les-Pins is more middle class. Antibes is on a somewhat quieter peninsular. In any case, avoid the stretch between Antibes and Nice: Heavy traffic, ugly beaches. Nice itsself is an beautiful city with outstanding attractions, but the beach is the second ugliest on the world (large grey pebbles - the ugliest beach is called Villeneuve-Loubet).

4) The section between Nice and Menton (including Monaco) has spectacular scenery - the famous corniches, but few beaches. The peninsula St. Jean-Cap-Ferrat has some good yet small beaches (hard to find a place for parking).

4 - What area in Paris should we stay? I remember loving the Latin Quarter and the area near Notre Dame. We want to be centrally located and be able to walk to nice restaurants.

Montparnasse is a good area, with moderately priced hotels and many good restaurants along Bd. de Montparnasse. Otherwise, location is not that important since the Metro brings you everywhere.
traveller1959 is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 04:55 PM
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September is an ideal time for Nice and the surrounding area. The French vacationers have left and the weather should be very pleasant. Beaches are well described above. As for culture, there are some wonderful museums in Nice, Chagall, Matisse, Modern Art. Antibes has the Picasso museum, one of my favorites. The whole area has great restaurants.

You won't need a car within Nice, as there is little parking and the buses go everywhere, but you'll want one if you wish to visit St Paul and the superb Fondation Maeght museum. Then there are the drives along the Corniches and the Cote d'Estorel. You could take the train to Monaco to see the Palace, the Casino, and the Botanic Gardens and Aquarium. Well, you'll also want to walk around in Old Nice.

There is no way to see everything in Paris and the south in one trip, but the contrasts will be stimulating and fun. And it won't matter if you spend 4 or 5 or 6 days in any area, because you'll know you'll be back after you've been there once.
AJPeabody is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 10:10 AM
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traveller1959: I appreciate your comprehensive reply to CateChicago since my husband and I are traveling to Paris and the Riveria (and Burgundy) this September as well and our interests are similar.

Given your comparisons, I am reconsidering Nice for our home base for 4 nights. We will have experiened Paris for 6 nights and do not "need" more city attractions or musuems - but are looking for a sunny place to unwind and day trip via car up and down the coast. We would like a nice, swimmable beach nearby and places to eat within walking distance. Our budget for a accomodations is 240-325 ($300-400) and we would like a sea view and pool if possible. Would love your advice. Thanks!
cbctraveler is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 08:13 AM
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Maybe this one:

www.villa-mauresque.com
traveller1959 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 08:38 AM
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Sorry, I do not know so many hotels in the area. We usually rent a villa.

I am hesitating to post it, but just to give you an impression how people live on the Cote, this was our last one:

http://www.labastidedelesterel.com
traveller1959 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 02:55 PM
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Wow traveller1959 - that villa looks amazing!
cbctraveler is offline  
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