Riviera OR Riviera & Provence?

Old Feb 26th, 2024, 08:16 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Riviera OR Riviera & Provence?

Hello! I am in my 20s and am spending some time in Europe this summer. A friend is meeting me on my trip (they're traveling from the US) in southern France in late May. Initially, we planned to solely explore the Riviera, but I have seen so many wonderful things about Provence that I'm now considering combining the two! We love coastal towns, but also love the countryside and potential to stay around vineyards in Provence. Could anyone please give feedback on these itineraries? We are both first-timers to the region. Thank you!

OPTION 1: Riviera

- Nice (5 days, 5 nights): friend arrives in afternoon on Day 1 take the day settling in and explore the city, for the following 4 days see spots like Villefranche Sur Mer, Saint Jean Cap Ferat, Menton, Eze, or Cannes; on Day 6 leave for Antibes in the morning

- Antibes/Saint Paul de Vence (2 days, 2 nights): explore Picasso museum on Day 1 and the city, on Day 2 take train to Monaco for F1 race, on Day 3 leave in the morning for St. Tropez via 30 min train and 1 hr ferry

- St. Tropez (2 days, 2 nights): explore town and beach clubs, friend leaves on Day 3

OPTION 2: Provence & Riviera

- Uzs (3 days, 3 nights): pick up friend from train station in rental car in afternoon and take into town on Day 1, explore Luberon towns and markets on Day 2, on Day 3 road trip to Arles, Nimes, Pont du Gard, Aix en Provence, or Cassis, on Day 4 morning head to Vaucluse

- Vaucluse area (thinking Gigondas or Orange region with farm stay) (2 days, 2 nights): explore towns on Day 1, take a wine tour on Day 2, on Day 3 head to Avignon and drop off car

- Nice (4 days, 4 nights): take 3hr train from Avignon after dropping car in afternoon and explore Nice upon arrival Day 1, on Day 2 head to Monaco for the F1 race, for the following 2 days see spots like Villefranche Sur Mer, Saint Jean Cap Ferat, Menton, Eze, or Cannes
travelingtulip7 is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2024, 12:20 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 25,586
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
It really depends on what you like, I much prefer Provence over the Nice area but for we would need to know more about you not about the areas.
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2024, 01:44 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,519
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would any day choose Provence over the Cte dAzur, but its your holiday. If the latter, stay the whole time in Nice, its a great transportation hub and you can easily visit Antibes and St Paul de Vence from there, no need to shift bases.
geetika is online now  
Old Feb 27th, 2024, 05:02 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you very much for the thoughtful replies!

As for what Im looking for, Id love a mix of seeing a larger city while also exploring some quieter towns. I am active, a big foodie, love wine, and love to visit both bigger cities and quieter small towns. Im sure well see some crowds wherever we go, but Im hoping with diversifying where were staying we can get a mix of the larger city Nice and some smaller towns.

I think itd be great to diversify the vacation, but my bigger concern is is that too much travel or doable in our time frame? Doing both Provence and the Riviera would add some driving and a 3 hour train within our 9 day trip. Is this too much?

If we should stick to the Riviera, will it be extremely crowded wherever we go? And how do these coastal towns really differ?

Thank you!
travelingtulip7 is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2024, 07:09 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 16,418
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
""Day 3 road trip to Arles, Nimes, Pont du Gard, Aix en Provence, or Cassis""

This is not doable on 1 day. Aix will consume about 2/3 of a day, and Arles a half-day or more, and so will Nimes. The Pont another half day with a museum visit. And you will spend a good amount of time in the car getting around.

I would visit both the Cote & Provence.

My wife & I have vacationed for 47 weeks on the Cote & Provence. Attached is a 37 or so page itinerary that I developed.

Stu Dudley
Attached Files
StuDudley is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2024, 07:17 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Stu, thank you so much for the robust itinerary!!

I was not clear about that road trip - I just meant to list off potential options and we'd only pick a few from there depending on how we're feeling. It's great to know the time we should allot depending on the option we make. I appreciate the feedback there!!

Thank you SO much again!
travelingtulip7 is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2024, 07:23 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 25,586
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Provence for wine wins hands down.
Big city... not really anywhere
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2024, 07:45 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,269
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just to be clear, the Cote d'Azur is part of Provence, though it is a specific area of Provence and because of its popularity, gets its own guidebooks.

The Luberon and the Vaucluse are not separate entities. The Vaucluse is a department of France, and just like a state in the US, has a defined boundary. The Luberon massif is a mountainous/hill range that is mostly but not entirely in the Vaucluse.

I am not fond of Nice, so I prefer the idea of moving around rather than backtracking all the time. If you have a car, find lodging in villages rather cities.

If you like cities, I would not miss the port of Marseilles and the opportunity to take a boat to the Chateau d''f and Port Friou, which is part of les Calanques.

You almost surely have enough time to cover a broader range than simply the Cote d'Azur, but you can't hit all the places you listed, so you will have to pick and choose. I like a wide variety of experiences, including places that are even tinier than villages.





shelemm is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2024, 07:48 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 25,586
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
If I have to go to the south of France, and I generally don't, then I would prefer to go to Roussillon or Langedoc. Lots of small villages and as far from Monaco as possible.
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2024, 03:15 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 253
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The cote d'Azur is likely to be quite busy at that time with both the GP and the festival in Cannes.
Based on your plans, doing some math, you would have 6 days to explore, beyond Nice, Monaco and Antibes, which opens to lot of opportunities.
maybe a day road trip would be enough to explore the cote d'Azur, driving along the coast Nice to Monaco and back via the mountains and small villages ("villages perchs").
st Tropez? Not sure that the beach clubs will be open in May. I just don't know. But you could drive from Nice, have a look and resume the trip via the coast (Estrel, Gassin, Bormes...) and head for Cassis. Take a boat trip to visit the Calanques and maybe visit a winery (the local wine is highly regarded).
as you are in the 20's, I am pretty sure you will like Aix, a lively city with many students. You could base there to explore Provence. Nearby is the spectacular montagne Sainte Victoire with many wineries around (coteaux d'aix, coteaux varois, Ctes de Provence). If you prefer stronger wines, you would need to go further (Gigondas, Chateauneuf) or to the nearest wine shop...

Last edited by rouelan; Feb 28th, 2024 at 03:21 AM.
rouelan is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2024, 06:49 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you all for the feedback! rouelan, I hadn't thought about making a day road trip out of the coast, but I may mess with my itinerary a bit more now and see if I can go for that approach. I may be posting a modified itinerary on here soon for any feedback!
travelingtulip7 is offline  
Old Feb 29th, 2024, 04:39 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2023
Posts: 32
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You could base in Antibes and use the costal train to access the major sites from there. Then catch the TGV train direct to Aix en Provence for an overnight. You would need to catch the shuttle bus to get from the station to the old town. Finally, if you want to visit St Tropez from Antibes, you can catch the ferry from Cannes.
Green83 is offline  
Old Feb 29th, 2024, 10:18 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
After doing some more reading of Stu's itinerary, I'm a little unsure about staying in Uzes for our timeline. My friend is arriving on Saturday morning and I am driving them to Uzes and staying until Monday morning. However, I have now learned that many shops are closed Sunday and Monday in Uzes. Would this be a better itinerary to get the most of the village markets and to do more doing rather than more driving (compared to my last itinerary)? Any feedback is greatly appreciated!:



2 nights in Aix:

Day 1 (Saturday): friend arrives to Aix station, explore and sleep in Aix (think I may pick up car at this point for ease and early departure for Luberon on Day 3)

Day 2 (Sunday): explore Aix and the Sunday flower market, sleep in Aix

3 nights in Gordes:

Day 3 (Monday): depart in the morning to Pont du Gard and explore Nimes, maybe grab lunch/snack at the all-day market, head to Gordes when we're ready and spend the night in Gordes

Day 4 (Tuesday): explore Gordes and the market, drive through Menerbes, Lacoste, Bonnieux, Roussillon (stop as we feel), sleep in Gordes

Day 5 (Wednesday): Abbay Notre-Dame in morning, Beaucastle tasting or CdP group tour, sleep in Gordes

4 nights in Nice:

Day 6 (Thursday): Drop off car at Aix and take 3 hr train to Nice, explore Nice, sleep in Nice

Day 7 (Friday): day in Monaco, sleep in Nice

Day 8 (Saturday): Villefranche-sur-Mer and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat day trip, sleep in Nice

Day 9 (Sunday): Menton and Eze OR Antibes OR just stay in Nice for day, sleep in Nice

Day 10 (Monday): friend travels home
travelingtulip7 is offline  
Old Feb 29th, 2024, 10:52 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 16,418
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Not a good idea to be in Aix on a Sunday. Re-read my itinerary - where I describe how many shops & such are closed & boarded up on Sunday. Flip Gordes & Aix.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Old Feb 29th, 2024, 05:46 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 323
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Whether it’s in Aix or Uzs, it’s going to be a French Sunday (BTW, where does your travel fall with respect to the May 19 and 20 public holidays?). Not many shops will be open, whatever the town. So the question really is, what do you want to do other than shop, and where can you do that pleasant thing?

Saturday night and Sunday lunch are fine times to be in a restaurant — Sunday and Monday evenings, not so much; careful planning required. Many art galleries and museums will be open; hiking and biking are always an option depending on the weather. Cute small villages will be available to wander. Pro tip, they are easier to wander through when it’s NOT their market day.
FTOttawa is online now  
Old Feb 29th, 2024, 08:40 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 16,418
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by FTOttawa
Whether its in Aix or Uzs, its going to be a French Sunday (BTW, where does your travel fall with respect to the May 19 and 20 public holidays?). Not many shops will be open, whatever the town. So the question really is, what do you want to do other than shop, and where can you do that pleasant thing?

Saturday night and Sunday lunch are fine times to be in a restaurant Sunday and Monday evenings, not so much; careful planning required. Many art galleries and museums will be open; hiking and biking are always an option depending on the weather. Cute small villages will be available to wander. Pro tip, they are easier to wander through when its NOT their market day.
Ditto everything FT says!!

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2024, 02:49 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,951
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Heads up from an F1 fan: the Monaco Grand Prix is May 26th this year, with testing on the 24th and 25th. This is a street race, with streets used for the race closed off for obvious reasons, and the town very crowded. One day when we didn’t have a ticket we watched practice from a hill above the harbour. Both times I’ve been to the F1 race I stayed in Nice.

I think it would be sad if you stayed the whole time on the Cte d’Azur. Apart from the major attractions in the area, I enjoyed driving through Grasse, the perfume capital of France. We didn’t take a tour of any of the perfumeries, but the scenery and the scent in the air were remarkable.
Heimdall is online now  
Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 08:57 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 391
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Your current itinerary looks like it is workable, other than the Sunday concerns in Aix (it really depends on what you like to do, as you have a car and can always hit the close-in villages like Lourmarin). Note the overlap days between the Grand Prix (pre-race) and the Cannes Film Festival can be crowded. (Don't be tempted to stop in Cannes the day after the festival has ended --- aka race day -- it is like one big construction zone as they tear all the tents, booths and cordons down). Nice is the right choice for that time period and for travelers in their 20s.
gooster is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2024, 12:54 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Mar 2024
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'd definitely choose the Riviera. I have lived in this region for over 45 years, and I'm still discovering charming gems everywhere, especially around Saint Tropez (I live in a village a 10 mins drive away), and I'd potentially add a day or 2 for the westernmost end of the riviera based in Saint Tropez, as there is a wealth of great things to do (and less touristy!). 7 days for the rest of the riviera is more than enough, but this is a good thing as you really get to take your time more than if visiting Provence as well.

It's also worth noting that Provence (and getting there from even the western Cote D'Azur) is deceptively far so you'd be spending valuable sightseeing time in a car/transport!

Have a great trip
TravellingTofu is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2024, 06:49 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 16,418
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bormes is a gem. There are just as many "cute little villages" in the Nice Hinterland and around St Tropez, north of St Tropez (Cotignac, Tourtour, Seillans, Bargemon, Mons) as there are in Provence. But no Pont du Gard, Aix, Avignon, Arles, Nimes, fewer Roman ruins, lavender fields, & pre-historic cave paintings (Ardeche).

It is a 1 1/2 hr drive from St Tropez to Aix.

We'll be in Nice & surrounds for 3 1/2 weeks this coming June. This will be our 22-24 1/2th week there.

Last edited by StuDudley; Mar 3rd, 2024 at 07:12 AM.
StuDudley is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -