South of France

Old Dec 28th, 2002, 08:12 PM
  #1  
xxx
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South of France

I just saw this question regarding Tuscany...is it possible to get by in the south of France without a car? A group of about 10-15 family members are considering this area for a vacation. Can we get by with trains and buses? I know nothing about this area as far as transportation goes. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
Old Dec 29th, 2002, 09:31 AM
  #2  
Tom
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The south of France is an area as big as the Florida peninsula, and it could mean places as geographically diverse as Lyon or Carcassonne or Nice.

Would you plan a trip to Florida with public transportation only? You're going to spend twice what you would spend on 3 or 4 rental vehicles.
 
Old Dec 29th, 2002, 10:05 AM
  #3  
xxx
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Yes, you can "get by" in the south of France with public transportation. Trains run between all major cities and some minor ones, and buses run almost everywhere else.
 
Old Dec 29th, 2002, 10:06 AM
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Christina
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Yes, of course you can, and I've done it. It just depends on where you want to stay and what kind of things you want to do and see. It isn't really the same as Florida because France has a much more developed public transportation system than the US, notably one of the best train systems in the world (IMO). (The US train system is virtually nonexistent except for trips between some major cities.) Now, it is true that there are no train stations in smaller towns and the bus system may not be the best in those rural areas, but it will be far better than the US.

If you want to see major sites and cities, you will be fine. YOu just won't be able to meander around country roads seeing fields and vineyards and stuff like that. I haven't spent time in SW France, but I think perhaps public transportation may be better in the Provence and Cote d'Azur area than, say, the Languedoc-Roussillon area, although those you know that area well will hopefully comment more on that (or you might clarify where you want to go).

So, you can get by, if you want. That is a very large group to manage, however, and cars might make sense for that reason, unless a lot of those members are children or elderly and not potential drivers.

YOu will get better advice if you clarify what kind of vacation you want. If you just want to know if it is possible, yes, it is. If I had that group, I might consider renting a large villa and just staying in one place and doing day trips around it. In that case, I think you will need a car as those kind of properties and stays are not convenient for public transportation. You might also specify why you would prefer not to have a car, as that might make for better advice.

 
Old Dec 29th, 2002, 10:57 AM
  #5  
xxx
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Thanks for the replies. Christina, any suggestions for an itinerary for first time visitors? I like the idea of renting a villa. We are an age group of mid 30's-early 70's, and a very energetic bunch. This will be our second "all girls" family trip...sister-in-laws, aunts, sisters,cousins,mother-in-laws. We went to San Franciso in '95 and had a great time. I did a search and found one interesting website, but any of your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
Old Dec 29th, 2002, 11:25 AM
  #6  
uncle sam
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xxx,

You do not mention your interests.

However, you can stay at either Avignon or Arles and very easily use the trains from there. Each of these cities are worth two days each to explore.

While you can use the train to visit most of the larger places like Arles, Avignin, Aix etc .... to get to the hill towns and some of the smaller villages you will require a car. A car can be rented easily in both Arles and Avignon. You may want to rent one., two or three for a couple of days only and visit places like the hill towns and other smaller sights.

US
 
Old Dec 29th, 2002, 12:17 PM
  #7  
Michael
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We once wer twelve people trying to get back from Dijon to Paris and I discovered by joking with the ticket agent that any group of more than 10 can get group discounts on trains as long as the tickets are purchased 24 hours in advance. This might apply to any public transportation.
 
Old Dec 29th, 2002, 06:06 PM
  #8  
xxx
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Uncle, our interests include historic sites, cathedrals, shopping, dining, and of course any suggested must sees. What town/city would be a good "base"? As I stated in my original post, I know nothing about the transportation, and even less about the region as far as itineraries go,except that we'd love to see it. Thanks for any thoughts.
 
Old Dec 29th, 2002, 06:46 PM
  #9  
StCirq
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xxx: WHERE in the South of France are you planning to go? As someone else has pointed out, it's a huge area. Are you headed to the Pyrénneés or the Dordogne or Provence or the Riviera or Gascony, or where?

Whether there is good local transportation depends on which area(s) you're planning to visit. In general, a car is better than local transportation, but again it depends on WHERE you plan to visit.

Can you get a map and delineate the area you plan to visit? The "South of France" is HUGE.
 
Old Dec 29th, 2002, 06:51 PM
  #10  
Patrick
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I have no idea exactly how you do this, but we ran into a similar sized group once who had hired a small bus and driver. (the bus was small, I'm not sure about the driver.) They were having a ball going to wineries, choosing their towns and destinations and being driven there by a local driver with a bus. I believe they hired him through a local travel agency in their main town -- I believe in Aix-en-Provence. I thought at the time that it shouldn't be any more expensive than buying 15 train tickets at a time or hiring three cars. And it sounded like a whole lot more fun.
 
Old Dec 29th, 2002, 07:34 PM
  #11  
xxx
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Sorry for not being more specific, but I suppose Provence would be our destination. Patrick, the bus idea sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for the tip. Also,what is the travel time from Paris to Provence by car or train? Thanks.
 
Old Dec 31st, 2002, 10:51 AM
  #12  
jean
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Hello xxx,

TGV (high speed train) from Paris to Avignon should take approx. 4 hours.
You may want to call 1 800 EURAIL to find out about group prices etc...

In regards to your vacation time there, why don't you do a hotel barge trip ?
You will all be accommodated in your "floating villa" and have a all inclusive package (meals and drinks on board, bicycles, tour guide with minibus etc...)...

You may want to visit www.francecruises.com to get an idea.

Hope this will help.
 
Old Dec 31st, 2002, 11:42 AM
  #13  
xxx
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Jean, I've never heard of that idea. Sounds interesting. Thanks for that, and the train info. Happy New Year.
 
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 11:25 AM
  #14  
mpprh
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Hi

just a little correction ..........

TGV Paris - Avignon is now down to 2.5hrs.

Peter
http://tlp.netfirms.com
 
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 06:09 PM
  #15  
xxx
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Thank you mpprh.
 
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