South of France Itinerary Options

Nov 30th, 2014, 06:30 AM
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South of France Itinerary Options

A few years ago we spent about 10 days in Provence. Mostly Avignon with day trips.

One of the day trips was to Montpellier where we spent only a few hours. Upon leaving the train station we immediately were taken with the city and decided we could easily come back and use it as a base for a couple of days and a couple of day trips.

Our intention is to use AA air miles. The closest airport for AA (Iberia) is Toulouse.

So the first choice itinerary would to arrive in Toulouse, spend 2 days there plus day trips to Albi and Carcassonne. Then move to Montpellier for 2 days with 2 additional days for day trips (undecided where). The trip would end with 2-3 days in Paris (we've been to Paris 4 times over the years the last being 2012).

Anticipating AA being difficult for using air miles at the minimum (30k per person each way), I would like to have some backup destinations.

One possibility is landing in Marseille. However, on our trip to Provence we spent a day and a half in Aix-en-Provence before moving to Avignon where we visited, Montpellier, Pont du Gard & Uzes, Arles, St Remi, Isle sur la Sorge, Roussillon, Gordes & Les Baux.

While we would enjoy a day or so in Aix, I'm not sure what day trips would be of interest given what we saw on our previous trip to Provence.

Another possibility would be arriving in Lyon. I spent a week in Lyon at a conference many years ago. I don't remember much about the city and definitely didn't visit any of the surroundings.

One last thing. We absolutely, do not rent a car and try to do most of our travel by train although in recent years my wife has been able to do a couple of the tamer bus trips.

We would like to restrict travel on day trips to not much more (if that long) than a hour.

To summarize, we're looking for day trips from Aix that we didn't visit on our last trip or from Lyon.

Thanks in advance.
Myer is online now  
Nov 30th, 2014, 06:59 AM
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I think there are many more options from Lyon - which is kind of a "train hub" in France. However, several of my favorite cities are longer than 1 hr away by train.

Dijon 1 1 2/ hrs by TGV
Beaune 1 3/4 hrs several RE trains go on to Dijon
Chambery 1 1/2 hrs
Annecy 2 hrs
Grenoble 1 1/2 hrs

All are worthwhile cities to explore.

Dijon & Toulouse are our two favorite cities in France - after Paris.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Nov 30th, 2014, 07:03 AM
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If you choose Lyon, make sure you visit the Traboules

More are open in the am than pm. Often you'll have to ring the "buzzer" to get in. Pick up a Traboules map at the TI.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Nov 30th, 2014, 07:33 AM
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If you are restricting your travel to train only you can look at the regional TER-SNCF sites in France and get maps of the train networks for each region so you know what places can be accessed by train.

I must admit, using the ter-sncf site to find train network maps has gotten more difficult since they "updated" their site within the last year (i.e. - they made the site worse) and now this info isn't always so easy to find.

When you go to in the middle of the page on the right is a map of France a
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Nov 30th, 2014, 07:36 AM
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I agree with you about Paris. Probably our favorite anywhere in Europe (though Italy is our favorite country).

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll research them.

While there are 1:40 trains to Dijon, almost all are just over 2:00. That might be a bit too far. In the past it hasn't worked very well to do two places the same day. Usually rushed and tired.

However, I'll research Beaune and if it looks interesting enough we could plan an overnighter that would include Beaune and Dijon. We could then return on either the 4:21 or 7:20 train that are only 1:40. We did this type of thing twice on our Tuscany trip a few years ago.

If we did end up arriving in Lyon we would obviously skip Toulouse and Albi but could include Carcassone (if we wanted to) from Montpellier.

Thanks again for the good suggestions. I'll work on them over the next few days.
Myer is online now  
Nov 30th, 2014, 07:39 AM
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I was typing when you posted.

I learned something a long time ago. When somebody tells you they changed something and it's better, I asked for whom. For sure not me.

Thanks for the suggestions. I have that site bookmarked. I'll take a look.
Myer is online now  
Nov 30th, 2014, 07:42 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Darn, I got cut off. Anyway:

When you go to in the middle of the page on the right is a map of France and click on the region that interests you. Next, scroll down to the bottom and look for anything that says something resembling "carte du réseau". This used to be easy to find but now it can be buried within one or more links. It might be easier just to use google "carte du réseau ter (enter your region)".

At any rate here is a map of the train network for Provence-Alpes-Côtes d'Azur:

FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Nov 30th, 2014, 07:45 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Some interesting points in and around Lyon:
Roman theatres and museums at Fourvieres,
medieval Vieux Lyon with charming tavernas and city museum,
3 textile museums resp factories,
museum of resistance and deportation (incl. Claus Barbie story),
Roman buildings and museum at Vienne,
small medieval town of Perouges,

some interesting points around Marseille:
Calanques de Cassis,
Le Grau du Roi,
Aigues Mortes and La Camargue,

You might also fly to Barcelona and visit Figueres (Salvador Dali Museum), Cote Vermeille, Salses Fortress, Perpignan, Carcassonne, Agde, etc. on your way to Montpellier
neckervd is offline  
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