South of france and.....

May 7th, 2014, 11:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 6
South of france and.....

Hi everyone.

As a new member to this forum, I am hoping that you can share your advice with me concerning our family's summer vacation.

My husband and I and our 2 sons, ages 17 and 15, enjoy everything a mediterranean vacation can offer, including, museums, medieval villages, good food, beaches, staying up late walking and enjoying the towns and it's people as well as driving through scenic areas.

We have our return flights booked to Nice and have a total of 15 days (not including travel days) to spend on our vacation.

We would like to see Nice, Antibes, St. Tropez, as well as some medeival towns like Eze. How much time should we allocate to this region? Where should we base ourselves?

As well, we either want to drive east into Italy and see Parma and Bologna, or take a short flight to Corsica, and spend time there, with maybe a short ferry to Sardinia for a few days. We are leaning towards Corsica/Sardinia as we have visited Italy 3 out of last 4 summers, seeing many parts of that beautiful country.

If we do choose to go to Corsica, where should we base ourselves and how many days do we need? Are there medieval towns near sandy beaches? Would it be possible to allocate a few days to Sardinia?

Your help would be really appreciated.

Thank you.

AndreaLazarus is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
When are you planning this trip? You're heading to a very popular destination, so you need to decide on where you want to stay and find out what's available within your budget.
Robert2533 is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 11:44 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 6
Hi again,

We are leaving on the 22nd of July and returning on August 8th.

We would like to stay at reasonably priced 3 or 4 star (if possible) hotels or apartments and enjoy those places that are intimate and cozy.

AndreaLazarus is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 12:04 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,958
We were in Nice and Corsica in September.

We stayed at a hotel in Nice that got rave reviews on Trip Advisor but, frankly, our room left a lot to be desired.

Loved Corte, Corsica. If you go and want to stay where we did, Hotel Saint-Christophe, be sure to ask for a room that faces the Med and the Medieval walls, not a garbage bin! The good view rooms don't cost any more than the garbage ones. Our view from our terrace was to die for. Would go back again in a heartbeat.

Liked the North of Corsica more than the South. Mountains were fun although the mountain roads were damn scary.

ONE NOTE: The beaches on Corsica are beautiful, but water is chilly.

Our Itinerary:
Friday, September 06, 2013

Depart: 9:35 PM New York, JFK Airport
Arrive: 2:00 PM Saturday, September 7, Nice, France

Sat - Tues September 7 -10 Nice, France

Hotel Villa Rivoli Tel +33 4 93 88 80 25
10 Rue de Rivoli

Tues, September 10, 2013
Depart 3:05 PM Nice Airport,
Arrive 3:45 PM Calvi, Corsica --- Pick up car at Airport

Tues - Sat September 10-14 Calvi, Corsica

Hotel Saint-Christophe Tel +33 4 95 65 05 74
Place Bel’Ombra, Corte, Corsia

Sat - Mon September 14-16
Chambres d’hotes A Chjusellina Tel +33 4 95 47 13 83
Farm Leonelli, Lieu Dit Avantu

Mon-Tues, September 16-17 Bonifacio, Corsica

Nature et Design Tel + 33 4 95 73 16 81
Cavallo Morto

Tues-Fri, September 17-20 Ajaccio, Corsica

La Pinede Tel + 33 6 20 71 68 87
Route des Iles Sanguinaires

Friday, September 20: Fly home
kenav is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 12:09 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 617
I know that your flights are already booked, but, for another trip, you might consider flying "Open Jaw", arriving in one place and flying home from another. This is usually comparable in terms of cost and saves you the cost in $$ and time having to back track to your original destination. In this case you might have flown into Nice and home form somewhere in Italy.
jane1144 is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 12:10 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,958
BTW - Our room in Ajaccio smelled like smoke even though the hotel is supposedly non-smoking. It had not been refurbished in who knows how many years, so I'm guessing the cigarette smoke from years in the past got into the carpet, curtains, bedding, etc. Even with the terrace door open for hours each day, the room smelled. Great views, though!

Hotels in Ajaccio were very expensive and this seemed to be our best choice. Can't tell the smell from pictures on the web!
kenav is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 12:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 6

We were going to reserve "open jaw" flights, like we do on most trips, but the price we paid for our flights [$800 direct from Montreal return] was so good we could not pass them up.

Thank you for your itinerary. We will look it over tonight.

Was the water chilly beacuse you were there in September (we are planning to be there in early August)?

Should we consider instead to go to Sardinia? Or at least split our time between the two islands?

AndreaLazarus is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 01:01 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,958
Don't know if the water in Sardinia is any warmer. We've not been to Sardinia so I can't guess. Have no idea if it was because we were there in Sept. Very windy at that time, though, so that could be a reason too.
kenav is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 01:28 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,669
We've spent 16 weeks on the Cote d'Azur and are going back for 2 more weeks in June. You only have 15 days available - why would you fly/drive elsewhere (Sardinia/Corsica/Bologna) and consume/waste valuable time & money in travel?

I would spend 4-5 nights in Nice and do day trips to Antibes, Villefranche, and all the places you can get to by train or bus. On day 3, I would rent a car & visit St Paul, Vence, Tourrettes, and the scenic Loup Valley loop. Spend your last full day there visiting canyons, mountains (Alps), and isloated villages in the Nice Hinterland.

Then I would drive to St Tropez and spend 2-3 nights there (I suspect you won't be able to obtain accommodations this late, however). Visit Gassin, Ramatouelle, and Bormes. If you like sunbathing, do so at Tahiti Plage on Pampalonne beach just outside of St Tropez. The teens will love the "scene".

Then drive 2 hrs to Provence & spend 4-5 nights there visiting Avignon, Uzes, Arles, Pont du Gard, scenic drives through the lavender fields (if they have not been harvested yet), farmer's markets, etc.

Then head to the Gorges du Tarn area and visit the many caves, Gorges, Castles, & cute villages. Spend 3-4 nights there.

Then head back to the Cote d'Azur and spend your last night in St Paul de Vence & catch your flight home the next morning.

This itinerary will involve fewer complications and less travel time than Cote d'Azur, Bologna, Parma, Corsica, etc.

In addition to the Cote d'Azur, my wife & I have spent 18 weeks in Provence (we're going back for 2 more in June too). I developed a 27 page itinerary for the Cote & Provence that describes our favorite villages, scenic drives, markets, cities, sites - and it has a section on Provence fabric. I've sent it to over 3,500 people on Fodors and aol. If you would like a copy, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach one to the reply e-mail. Do so soon - as I stated earlier, we leave for Nice & Provence in 3 weeks.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 02:28 PM
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Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 6

We were in Provence two summers ago (part of a 3 week Paris/South of France trip) and visited many of the places you discuss above. We also do not want to switch hotels every few days and would rather base ourselves in two, maybe three, different places. To take a short 45 minute flight from Nice to Corsica or Sardinia seems more relaxing and less work then packing and unpacking and driving every few days, which we have done on our last few European summer vacations.

Although your itinerary sounds wonderful, we do have our hearts set on either heading east into Italy (seeing Parma, Bologna or even Cinque Terra) or take a short flight to Corsica and/or Sardinia.

In Corsica, are the towns chic and sophisticated with many visitors or more laid back and rugged, as in many of the Greek islands.

Thanks again.

AndreaLazarus is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,669
In late July/early August, St Tropez is too far away from Nice to visit it as a day trip by car. With no other traffic on the road, it is a 2 hr drive each way. Of course, it will be mobbed in late July & we've seen bumper-to-bumper traffic (each way) on the road for miles - in June. Budget on a 3 1/2 hr drive each way - or more). That gives you very little time to "be there". There are no trains to St Tropez.

Since 1999 when we retired early so we could travel more, we've been vacationing in Europe 2-3 times a year for 2-3 months each year. Before 1999 we visited once a year for 3-4 weeks each. Our opinion of flying versus driving is different from yours. We would much rather throw the clothes in suitcases/bags/anything that holds stuff - and drive for 2-3 hrs to the next destination, as opposed to packing for a flight, going through security, and having to do this on an airline's schedule - instead of our schedule. Also, there are usually more things to see (or stop & visit) along the way if you travel by car. We usually keep our destinations to a minimum, and no longer than 2-3 hrs apart. Last year for our early spring trip to Italy, we landed in Milan city airport, took a taxi to Milan central, then train to Verona. We then took a train to Bologna, then a train to Chuisi where we rented a car & spent two weeks in Tuscany. Then train back to Milan. We've never taken an airplane from one spot to another - in almost 35 years of travel in Europe (except on arrival & departure days).

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  

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