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Please help, after Bedoin, four nights

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May 21st, 2015, 11:53 AM
  #1
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Please help, after Bedoin, four nights

Hi

We'll be leaving our apartment in Bedoin on Saturday, October 3, heading home from Nice on Wednesday, October 7, 12:30 pm flight.

Looking at the map, frankly there seem to be a lot of roads around Nice, and we don't want to end our trip frazzled, with the driver ready to strangle the navigator (me) or at the very least, tense and exhausted. I'm thinking maybe we should drop the car in Nice, wherever that might be, and take public transport.

We'll have three full days if we get to Nice Saturday:

One day in Nice,

One day bus or train to Eze, Juan les Pins, Villefranche sur mer. Is this doable in one day? Just starting to read the Hare with Amber Eyes, so would like to visit Ephrussis.

Third day, not sure. Ideas?

Alternative is to keep the car for one day for St. Paul de Vence, and environs.I wouldn't take the bus there, as the winding roads in a bus aren't great for motion sickness. Bad enough in a car. .

I wouldn't mind trying to fit Verdon gorge in, but DH wouldn't even consider narrow mountain roads with a steep drop off, out of the question.

Is there a way to experience the gorge from the ground without climbing? Hope that's not too stupid a question!

Would it perhaps be better to stop along the way from Bedoin, leaving three nights in Nice, two full days?

Sorry, this sounds very disjointed with lots of questions! I'm waiting for my Michelin guide and maps to arrive, but can't wait to get started, I'm very excited and impatient today!

Any help or advice greatly appreciated.
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May 21st, 2015, 12:02 PM
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If you are apprehensive about driving around Nice, drop the car off and take train
trips to V-sur-M one day and Antibes on another.

The hill towns are wonderful, but the roads would be challenging if you suffer from
motion sickness plus you will probably be doing the Vaucluse hilltowns during your
stay in Bedoin.

Lots to do in Nice for that amount of time w/o leaving the town.
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May 21st, 2015, 12:33 PM
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The most scenic section of the Gorge du Verdon is the Route des Cretes - which is a narrow road with a shear drop. I got scared sh..less there.

I think your plan of 1 full day in Nice and then other coastal village by train or bus on another day, and then St Paul & surrounds by car on a 3rd day - is fine. However, I don't think you can do the three coastal sites you mentioned on the same day. Not sure why you would visit Juan les Pins and not Antibes.

We were in Nice for 2 weeks last year (and many weeks before that in prior years) and did the following day-trips by train or bus:

1. Bus to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild then on to Villa Grecque Kerylos.
2. Bus to Menton and back through Villefranche sur Mer. This bus went through Monte Carlo - which isn't one of my favorite cities to visit.
3. Train to Antibes & Vauban fort.

I think one of these trips would be great. However, unless you do a lot of studying first - but bus routes are a little difficult to "absorb" at the last minute.

Here is my St Paul de Vence & Loup loop driving/visiting itinerary from my larger "Provence/Cote d'Azur" itinerary. If you would like the full copy (with a lot of info on the Bedoin area), e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach one to the reply e-mail.

Explore the perched medieval village of St Paul**. It’s probably the most popular small village on the Cote. Shops are always open (although we’ve never been there on a Monday). I advise people to get there by 9:00 and leave by 11:30 to avoid the crowds. It is especially crowded on Sunday in the summer season. We’ve stayed just outside of St Paul at Hotel Le Hameau several times & it’s quite nice – nothing fancy.

Head north of St Paul on the D2 toward Vence. The “old section” of Vence* is quaint. Look at the map in the Green Guide under VENCE to locate the old section at the east end of town. There is a walking tour described in the Green Guide. There’s an underground parking garage under the large open space on your right, just before you get to the old section. There are several stores in Vence where you can buy Provence fabric (see write up about Provence Fabric)

After Vence, follow the signs to Tourrettes-sur-Loup (D2210), which is west of Vence.

Explore Tourrettes-sur-Loup*. There’s a parking lot on your left, just off the road - except on market day (Wed) when the market uses this lot. If it's market day, park in the lot east of town and take the shuttle from there to the old section of Tourrettes (available on non-market days also) The shuttle departs every 10 mins. Tourrettes is a real cute town. It is much more "spruced up" than it was 20 years ago when we first visited it. Many people may prefer Tourrettes over St Paul. There is an excellent view of Tourrettes from the D2210 west of town.

Continue on the D2210 west & enjoy the Gorge du Loup** (see the Michelin Green Guide). Drive in the clockwise direction – D2210 through le Bar, then D3 to Gourdon. Explore Gourdon*. Like St Paul de Vence, it will be crowded & shops will be open on a Sunday & Monday. It is quite touristy. Continue north on the D3. From Gourdon clockwise to Pont du Loup, the terrain is very interesting - more so than the southern section of this loop. When you hit the D6, take it south back to Pont-du-Loup (this section is very scenic) & then retrace your route through le Bar and return to St Paul or Nice.

Stu Dudley
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May 21st, 2015, 01:12 PM
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I absolutely have your itinerary, Stu, and will be using it extensively. The Dordogne itinerary was invaluable last year.

We'll have had one week in St. Remy and one in Bedoin, so I'm wondering if binning St Paul in favour of one day Nice, one day villa Ephrussis and the other day head the other way to Antibes would be preferable, in the sense we'll have visited vaucluse hilltowns as mentioned by immimi(thanks, immimi).

If we opt for that, I'm looking at hotel de suede or hotel regence. Any opinions as far as easy proximity to trains we can take east and west.

If we do keep the car one day, how difficult is it to drive into nice on a Saturday in October. As I said, trying to keep the driving stress level down to a manageable level.
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May 21st, 2015, 01:22 PM
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Driving into the Nice on the Promenade des Anglais on a Saturday in October should be quite easy.

I agree - you'll see enough hill towns in Provence. Visit Antibes, Villefranche, two "villas", and Menton for something "different".

I would take the bus to the two villas and also to Menton/Villefranche. It is a very scenic drive, & there are stops almost directly in front of both villas. Train to Antibes is best, IMO. Not very scenic getting there

Stu Dudley
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May 21st, 2015, 01:55 PM
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Thanks, Stu. That's what I'll do.

whats the best/ easiest place to drop the car and bus to town? Airport? Train station?
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May 21st, 2015, 03:33 PM
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The train station is somewhat close to the center of town. Unless you have lots of bags, you might be able to walk to your hotel. Otherwise, take a taxi. On a Saturday, the traffic should not be that bad. We've returned or picked up cars a couple of times at the train station, and you return the car at the huge multi-storied parking structure above the hotel just to the left of the train station (as you face the station). I've gotten lost a few times trying to drive into the Nice Airport.

Stu Dudley
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May 21st, 2015, 03:48 PM
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Thanks.

Stu, can we do a nice drive from Bedoin to Nice easily in one day? Is it nice along the Riviera, starting from Cassis, and doable in one day? We'd prefer to avoid highways, but if that's the best way, we can certainly do that.

We'd consider stopping for a night en route, if you think it's worthwhile, instead of four Nice nights. Or just head on to Nice?
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May 21st, 2015, 04:23 PM
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Actually, the Autoroute is quite scenic in places - especially around the exit to St Tropez and the Maures Mountains.

I would definitely NOT drive the coast between Cassis & Nice. A very high percent of that drive is not scenic at all - portions quite ugly, actually, with some pretty messy commerce & dreadful development. And it would be a very slow drive through Toulon, Frejus/St Raphael, Cannes, Antibes outskirts, and Cagnes. The only "highly scenic" portion is a 23K stretch of the Corniche de l'Esterel between Agay & La Napoule. An inland drive would be much more enjoyable - but more "cute little hilltop villages" - which you have already experienced in Provence.

I would get to Nice ASAP. You really don't have much time in Nice.

Stu Dudley
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