South France - 3/4 nights - where to go?

Old Mar 24th, 2011, 11:35 AM
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South France - 3/4 nights - where to go?

Hello!,

We are planning a europe trip in may-june timeframe, and were planning on spending 3 or 4 nights in south france during out 16 nights trip..

We have to go to Italy next from south france, so dont want to go tooo west in south france.

After reading Fodors Europe, looks like the places that are worth going to are - Avignon, Montpellier, Marseille, Nice, Cannes, Monaco..

1. We can may be do Avignon and Montpellier as they are kind of close to each other.
2. Marseille - is really just by itself.
3. Or we can do Nice, Cannes, Monaco area (not all, but may be two of them) as they seem to be close.

Not sure which one of the above two areas should we go to. Any inputs?
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Old Mar 24th, 2011, 12:02 PM
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By car or public transportation ????

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 24th, 2011, 12:58 PM
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I wasn't wild about Nice,nor Cannes, nor Monaco but I loved Eze en haut. I'm not a beach type and I really don't like crowds. Avignon and Arles are wonderful but my favorite is market day in St. Remy de Provence. We spend a week in the Luberon and loved every day trip in the region.
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Old Mar 24th, 2011, 01:44 PM
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Take Marseille off the list for a first trip to the south of France--there are places of more interest. I'd suggest that you get a copy of the Fodor Guide to the South of France, which has much more information on the Provence region than the France guide contains.

Are you planning to rent a car or travel by public transportation? If the latter, then Arles/Avignon and Nice/Antibes/Cannes/Villefranche-sur-Mer/Monaco would be a good plan.

If driving is your choice, you'll want to check the viamichelin-com web site maps and other information that will help you plan. Many of the roads in Provence and the Côte d'Azur don't make for quick driving; so you may need to decide whether to concentrate your time in western or eastern Provence.
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Old Mar 24th, 2011, 03:52 PM
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I second market day in St. Remy! Probably my favorite part of my trip to Southern France. Also, I really enjoyed Cassis which is just east of Marseille.
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Old Mar 26th, 2011, 03:10 PM
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StuDudley - Preferably public transport. But do we need a car in south france to go around? or is public transport better?

FouGras/off2CU - Thanks. I'll take a look at St Remy. Thanks for the suggestions..Did you need a car to explore the area?

Underhill - Thanks. We prefer to just take the trains, but if we need to rent, we can try and rent for a day or so. But would prefer exploring area's well connected by trains..
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Old Mar 26th, 2011, 03:56 PM
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We've spent 18 weeks vacationing in Provemce & 16 on the Cote d'Azur. We always travel by car in Provence - except to GET to Provence from long distances away - like Paris.

Trains are pretty much non-existant - except between the big cities - Nimes, Arles, Avignon, & Aix. There are infrequent trains serving Cavaillon and l'Isle sur la Sorgue - but I would not rely on them. St Remy has no train station. Bus service will put your short trip at the mercy of the bus schedule. GET A CAR or hire a driver.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 26th, 2011, 04:03 PM
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Oops - I "keyed in" on the St Remy location - not noticing that you are considering Nice/Cannes also. The coastal cities around Nice are well served by trains. However, for a short 3/4 night trip I would stay in the St Remy area or Nice - not both. Don't waste any travel time BETWEEN regions - spend all your limited 2/3 days exploring just 1 area.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 26th, 2011, 10:10 PM
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Recommend Nice and forget about renting a car. Public transportation is excellent and you will enjoy walking around Nice with a day at the beach or day trip to nearby town. Fantastic flea market with antiques on Monday. The boat ride from Cannes to Monaco is an excellent day trip. There's a bus in Nice that will take you within a few steps of the Cannes dock to get the boat around 9:30 am. It's a lovely boat ride, you'll see the entire coastline and then spend the day in Monaco, returning around 5 pm.
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Old Mar 27th, 2011, 11:20 AM
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Hi R,

For what you list as your requirements, I agree with CY.

Enjoy your visit.
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Old Mar 27th, 2011, 05:46 PM
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Thanks everyone..We would prefer not to do any car rentals. Having said that, I was planning on doing something like:

May 26 Leave from Paris to Avignon by train at 9 AM. Arrive at Avignon at 11:30 AM.
May 27 Enjoy Avignon

May 28 Leave from Avignon to Nice. Fastest TGV leaves at 10:27 AM takes 3 hrs to reach Nice at 1:30 PM
May 29 Drive to Monaco/Surrounding Nice towns
May 30 Drive to Monaco/Surrounding Nice towns
May 31 Leave to Venice. Leave at 7:58AM . Arrive in Venice at 5 PM. (8.5 hrs journey)

How does this look? Or should I drop Avignon? Is it not worth it?

Thanks
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Old Mar 27th, 2011, 09:10 PM
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Drop Venice.....

On May 31 you have waisted an entire day of the 4 days you have of "being there" (you loose 1/2 day on May 26 & 1/2 day on May 28). IMO, that is a lousy plan. If you don't want to rent a car, take the TGV from Paris to Nice & spend your entire vacation there. Why in the world would you want to take an 11 hr "door to door" trip to Venice??? I love Venice - but "slow down" so you can enjoy where you are instead of spending so much time on a train.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 06:32 AM
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Thanks all for all the responses. I'll be dropping Avignon as we dont want to rent a car on this very first trip to Europe. Instead we will divide the two days we were going to use in Avignon in Paris and Nice(1 each) or may be 1 day in Venice as we hardly have any time in Venice.

So plan currently looks like:
May 21-23 --> 2 nights in Amsterdam
May 23 --> Amsterdam to Paris (3 hrs)
May 23-27 --> 4 nights in Paris
May 27 --> Paris to Nice (5 hrs)
May 27-30 --> 3 nights in Nice
May 30 --> Leave to Venice. Leave at 7:58AM . Arrive in Venice at 5 PM. (8.5 hrs journey)
May 30-Jun2--> 3 nights in Venice
Jun 2 --> Venice to Rome
Jun 2-6 --> 4 nights in Rome (day trip if possible to Florence)

We feel like the first trip to Italy would be incomplete, if we dont go to venice. And from Nice going directly to Rome would be a really long journey. We have our flight back home from Rome. So we have to end our trip in Rome.
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