South of France Itinerary...Too Much?

Old Nov 27th, 2001, 11:50 AM
  #1  
Nancy
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South of France Itinerary...Too Much?

These are my tentative plans for a trip in May to Provence, Cote D'Azur, Alps area, Paris for 17 days.

TGV from Paris to Avignon, pick up car there.

Avignon 4 nights, day trips to Uze, Pont du Gard, Isle sur la Surgue, Rousillion, Bonnieux, Gordes

Arles 3 nights, day trips St Remy, Le Baux, Aix-en-Provence, Cassis

Nice 4 nights, day trips St. Paul de Vence, Vence, Cap Ferrat, Eze

Annecy 2 nights, day trip to Talloires (sp?)

TGV back to Paris for 4 nights (this is our 4th trip to Paris).

Not sure if we are trying to accomplish too much, or if there are other towns we can add. We always base our trips on the premise that we will return.

We are thinking of dropping the car off once we get to Nice. Should we hang on to it longer?

Thanks for any suggestions.
 
Old Nov 27th, 2001, 12:33 PM
  #2  
hans
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Is this your first trip to France?
 
Old Nov 27th, 2001, 12:46 PM
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Nancy
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No, this is not our first trip to France. We have spent a couple of weeks in Paris, explored the Alsace/Lorraine region, some time in Beaune. This is our first trip to this particular area though.
 
Old Nov 27th, 2001, 12:54 PM
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Wendy
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It may be too much, you can always decide not to go to certain places once your there. IMO you can't go to Nice with out going to Cannes and Monaco!! 15 mins. each way by train!
 
Old Nov 27th, 2001, 12:58 PM
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Capo
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Hi Nancy. Sounds like a good plan to me. I've been to all the places you mentioned, except for St Remy & Annecy, and thoroughly enjoyed all of them, especially the breathtaking Pont du Gard.

You can take a bus to St Paul-de-Vence, Vence, and Eze Village, and the train to Eze-sur-Mer (a steep footpath leads up to Eze Village), and Cap Ferrat but, personally, I find driving along the corniche roads between Nice and Monaco/Menton to be one of the delights of the Côte d'Azur. I can't say whether *you* should keep your car while in Nice, but I certainly would. If you do decide to keep your car, I'd highly recommend three other places near Nice: the perched village of Peillon (my favorite, along with Eze Village and Saorge), Le Haut-de-Cagnes (the old city perched above Cagnes-sur), and the Roman Trophee des Alpes in La Turbie (La Turbie is on the highest of the three corniche roads, and there's a great view down into Monaco from the grounds of the Trophee.)

http://www.provenceweb.fr/e/alpmarit/peillon/peillon.htm

http://www.laturbiefrance.com/photo1.htm

 
Old Nov 27th, 2001, 01:13 PM
  #6  
Julie
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Your plan sounds sound. As another poster said, if you decide that you're biting off too much you can always scale back on what you attempt for day trips. But this does look doable to me. You'll love Annecy and Talloires. Cassis is one of my 6 favorite places so far in the world and I've been to Europe many times and to many places.
 
Old Nov 27th, 2001, 01:14 PM
  #7  
Nancy
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Wendy, I was thinking of bypassing Cannes because the film festival will be going on while we are there. We are on the fence about Monaco and may need to incorporate it.

Thanks for the links, Capo. Those villages sound wonderful. (By the way, we ate at Sorrento Inn last month and I owe you a thanks, we enjoyed it. You had mentioned it in a post on the Amalfi Coast.)
 
Old Nov 27th, 2001, 01:15 PM
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Nancy
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Julie, do you know if there is a boat to Talloires? I've found the bus information, but thought it might be nice to boat one way and bus the other. Of course, we may decide to keep our car longer and drop it in Annecy. Thanks for your thoughts.
 
Old Nov 27th, 2001, 01:27 PM
  #9  
PB
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Nancy,

One comment on this portion of your trip:
<< Avignon 4 nights, day trips to Uze, Pont du Gard, Isle sur la Surgue, Rousillion, Bonnieux, Gordes

Arles 3 nights, day trips St Remy, Le Baux, Aix-en-Provence, Cassis >>

Unless you are intent on changing hotels, and like staying in a busy city (Avignon), every place you care to visit (and more) are day trips from Arles or one of the nearby villages.

a good way to arrange day trips in this area would be:

Pont du Gard and Uzs

Gordes, Rousillon, Bonnieux, Menerbes
(If you like lovely embroidery, I would also recommend the village of Lumires, not far from Rousillon - Edith Mzard has a lovely shop there)

If you're here on a Sunday - l'Isle sur la Sorgue for the antiques and 'everything' market and Pernes la Fontaine

St. RŽmy, Les Baux, Eygalires

Arles and Aigues Mortes in the Camargue

Aix and Cassis

PB





 
Old Nov 27th, 2001, 01:47 PM
  #10  
Wendy
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Nancy, while in Nice 2 years ago the Grand Prix and the Film Festival were going on. It was actually quite exciting to walk around both towns and watch all the fabulous people parading around. Whatever you end up doing you will have a wonderful time!!!
 
Old Nov 27th, 2001, 01:48 PM
  #11  
Capo
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You're very welcome, Nancy. Nice that you remembered me mentioning the Sorrento Inn. We just walked into it because we were famished and ended up having a wonderful meal. Then, later that evening, we were talking to an American woman who runs a photo gallery in the old town. Her daughter was visiting and she mentioned they were going out with friends to a special place after she closed up shop. An hour or so later, I was walking past the Sorrento Inn, happened to look in the windows and I saw them inside so that confirmed my feeling that this was a pretty good place.

Back to the Côte d'Azur... as I recall, Le Haut-de-Cagnes is kind of on the way to St Paul-de-Vence and Vence (both of which are wonderful villages, with St Paul, being much smaller, being move overrun by tourists.)

Eze is probably my favorite perched village of all, and is quite unique in that it's situated on the coast. I have been there both during the day and in the early evening and found the early evening, when the hordes of people were absent, to be far more enjoyable.

http://www.provenceweb.fr/e/alpmarit/eze/eze.htm

Personally, I didn't find "The Rock", the part of Monaco where the palace is located, to be all that big of a deal. Too much Grimaldi-this and Grimaldi that, I think. The part I did like was the casino, and the gardens leading down to it, in the part of Monaco called Monte Carlo, across the harbor from "The Rock." The casino is a beautiful building, designed by Charles Garnier, the architect who also designed the gorgeous Paris Opera.
 
Old Nov 27th, 2001, 02:38 PM
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Patrick
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Sounds like a great plan. I wouldn't drop off the car before Annecy. We were there for four nights and tried to do things by bus or train and just couldn't make reasonable connections. We really regretted not having our car there. Of course if you're just there for one day that isn't too bad -- haven't been to Talloires, so can't comment. In Provence we often do three and even four small towns in one day, so I don't think you're trying too much there. And don't forget you can always do St. Paul and Vence (or Cannes) on way to Nice from Arles, or incorporate other towns on travel days between stops which are all relatively close to each other.
 
Old Nov 27th, 2001, 04:14 PM
  #13  
surlok
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From Nice, besides St. Paul, Vence, Eze,and Cap Ferrat, do not forget cap D' Antibes.. It's lovely, and quite close. There's a beautiful Picasso Museum there, small, and displaying mostly pottery done by Picasso while he lived there. The setting is beautiful, by the corniche.

Surlok
 
Old Nov 27th, 2001, 06:07 PM
  #14  
Julie
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Nancy, glad to see that Patrick was able to advise you on car, boat or bus to get from Annecy to Talloires. I couldn't answer your question since we had a car throughout and I just don't know about bus of boat connections. Apparently Patrick had first hand experience and advises keep the car. I'd follow that advice. The road around the lake at Talloire is lovely. Pere Bise, Le Cottage, and L'Abbaye are all on it. We stayed at L'Abbaye and at Le Cottage and have eaten at all three. I'd advise to eat at Pere Bise and stay at L'Abbaye but if you're a big time foodie you may want to eat at Auberge de l"Eridan in Veyrier du Lac near Annecy.
 
Old Nov 28th, 2001, 07:16 AM
  #15  
Wayne
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Nancy--Your itinerary sounds fine, with enough flexibility to allow you to do many things, especially if you keep a car all the way through--which I strongly advise you to do. I can't imagine going to Annecy and not getting over to Megeve and Chamonix, my most favorite village in the French Alps. Also Annecy is only about a 20 minute drive from Talloires, so why take a boat? Also, your plan implies a long trip from the coastal area to Annecy, which would probably justify a nice stop along the way to break the trip into 2 days. If you do that, and if you are driving, take some of the lesser traveled roads and stop overnight in St-Veran, one of the most picturesque mountain villages you will ever see. Good luck.
 
Old Nov 28th, 2001, 12:11 PM
  #16  
Greg
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Just a word of warning, parking a car in Nice can be very difficult, even away from peak season. Off road parking is available but is quite expensive. I would still keep the car because it gives you so much flexibility but you should be aware of this
 
Old Nov 28th, 2001, 12:17 PM
  #17  
Nancy
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Thanks to all for your ideas. Wendy, you really got me looking into Monaco and the casino architecture is amazing. I also appreciate the additional link and info Capo. (Although these sites are making me want to go NOW!).

PB, great ideas. I have my "Most Beautiful Villages of Provence" book and see why you would recommend those additional stops. We split our week in Provence as a compromise between my spouses desires and mine. Plus the hotel we wanted was only available for 3 days in Arles, so thought if we had to switch hotels, might as well get the flavor of a new town.

Patrick,Julie, & Wayne, thanks for the advice on the car. I agree, I don't want to have to worry about wasting time on connections in such a beautiful area.And I really appreciate the idea of the town in between Nice and Annecy, we were looking for a possibility. Thanks for the restaurant recommendations as well Julie.

Surlock, thanks for the additional town of D'Antibes.Will check that out-how does the Picasso museum compare to the one in Paris?

I appreciate the help very much. I just wanted to make sure I was on the right track, and you all have made me feel much better. Thanks.
 
Old Nov 28th, 2001, 12:20 PM
  #18  
Nancy
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Thank you Greg. I checked into our hotel there and they do have parking, so hopefully we can walk while touring Nice.

There will be just the 2 of us, would a compact car be best for the roads there?
 
Old Nov 28th, 2001, 12:37 PM
  #19  
Capo
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You're welcome again, Nancy. Just keep telling yourself that patience is a virture. :~)

By the way, I really liked Antibes too -- it has a wonderful old town -- though I didn't make it to the Picasso museum there.

I also have "The Most Beautiful Villages of Provence" and that's how I first learned about the perched village of Peillon. Photos of both Peillon and Saorge are in the front pages of the book and, in person, they both were every bit as spectacular as the photos.

I've rented both a compact car (twice) and a Renault minivan (once.) We got the minivan for the same rate as a compact car since they'd assured me we could have a compact car with a functional tape deck and ours didn't work. A compact car was much better for negotiating narrow city streets (driving the minivan, small as it was, through the tiny streets of old Arles was quite a challenge!), for handling on curvy roads, and, of course, for parking in small spaces, but the minivan was much more comfortable for cruising on the autoroutes and other roads.
 

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