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Southern France & Tuscany or Southern France & Naples/Amalfi Coast

Southern France & Tuscany or Southern France & Naples/Amalfi Coast

Apr 22nd, 2015, 07:09 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 11
Southern France & Tuscany or Southern France & Naples/Amalfi Coast


My fiance and I are planning our honeymoon (Sept 24 - October 4/5). We fly into Paris and plan to spend 2 full days there, but we are just so torn on whether to take a train from Paris to Provence region then finish up in Tuscany and fly home from Florence. Or whether we should go from Southern France to Naples, Amalfi Coast, Capri, et cetera. OR perhaps there is a third itinerary we aren't even contemplating.

Here is what we are broadly looking for/what we enjoy:

- Wine
- Beautiful country & Beautiful coastal towns
- Great food
- Great ambiance
- Historical sights
- Ability to bike to different locations or wineries would be great
- Museums/Metropolitan culture (though I think we will accomplish that in Paris).

My fiance really wants to go to the Tuscan region, however I've been previously been (though I haven't focused my time on wine while I was there). I'm open to going back so long as the experience isn't wholly repetitive. We are both open to other wine regions, including places in France I haven't mentioned.

Please feel free to make suggestions!!
emerylk is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2015, 07:19 AM
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Based on your interests, Provence and Tuscany, or all the time in Provence.
Sassafrass is online now  
Apr 22nd, 2015, 08:48 AM
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It seems that you only have 10 full days available. In that case, if you want to visit Paris - I would just stay in France. It would consume most of an entire day (shorter daylight hrs in Oct) to get from the Cote d'Azur into Tuscany or the Amalfi coast - and you don't have many days to waste. You mentioned coastal towns and bicycling.

None of the coastal towns/areas you mentioned are any place I would want to bicycle around.

You mentioned "wine" but not anything about visiting wineries. You can get wine anywhere in France or Italy, but I don't recall an abundance of wineries to visit in the Italian coastal towns you mentioned. There are not many "visitable" wineries on the Cote d'Azur until you get to Bandol.

Also, "summer on the beach" will have "wound down" in early October. The Cote d'Azur is farther north than Milwaukee WI (if you are from the US & know where Milwaukee is).

If you are young & like moving around a lot, I would fly into Nice & spend 4 nights in Nice. Then rent a car, drive 2 1/2 hrs to Provence, and spend 3 nights in Provence for your bicycling & winery requirements. Ditch the car at the Avignon TGV station & take the 2 3/4 hr train back to Paris for your remaining time. If you have already purchased RT tickets to Paris, then fly to Nice from CDG when you first arrive.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Apr 22nd, 2015, 09:25 AM
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I should have said wineries, sorry about that! Which was the predominant reason we were considering Tuscany or another region in Italy known for wine production.

emerylk is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2015, 09:36 AM
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Then visit some of the famous wineries in the Cote du Rhone/Chateauneuf du Pape area of Provence.

I see you are new to Fodors - welcome!!! Do you have my 35 page itinerary for Provence & Cote d'Azur. We've spent 40 weeks vacationing in these regions, and the itinerary describes our favorite villages, cities, scenic drives, sites, markets, wineries, etc. I've sent it to well over 3,000 people on Fodors. If you would like a copy, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach one to the reply e-mail.

Stu Dudley
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Apr 22nd, 2015, 09:38 AM
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Provence has some excellent wineries, especially in the Chateauneuf du Pape and Gigondas areas.

Last year we booked a lunch at l'Oustalet in Gigondas with a menu based on the wines of the Perrin Family (they own the restaurant)then drove to Chateau Beaucastel, owned by the same family, for a tour and tasting.

The winery makes the Miraval wine for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and they happened to be there when we were there (not that we saw them.....the vintner is a friend of my daughter and mentioned he had to leave them to come speak to us) It was an incredible day but definitely not bikable.

I would think for a honeymoon you might want to minimize travel days and have more days enjoying one area and Provence has everything on your list.

Have you been to Paris before?
Judy is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2015, 09:51 AM
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Gigondas is up on a hill, and I too have had many wonderful dinners at l'Oustalet - it's mentioned in my itinerary. There is also a co-op there that features wines from many of the big name wineries. We usually go there to "stock up" early on our trip to the region.

Beaucastle (also mentioned in the itinerary) gives an excellent tour - and the rocks are "interesting". Reserve ahead, however. We just "showed up" for a tour while on our June/early July trip to Provence, & they were "sold out" for the entire week. We returned in Sept after booking ahead.

Stu Dudley
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Apr 22nd, 2015, 10:02 AM
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Stu, we are fortunate that Pierre Perrin (Beaucastel) was an exchange student at my daughter's high school many yeas ago. We visit there almost every trip to Provence.

Pierre's father was at l'Oustalet last year when we were there and loved the high school photos my daughter brought to show Pierre!
Judy is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2015, 10:59 AM
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This has already been so helpful! I really appreciate it. Stu, I actually emailed you last night for the itinerary because I was perusing Fodors threads well into the evening before joining and posting my own inquiry. The itinerary is amazing.

Judy, I have not been to Paris, my fiance was there briefly but I think it was 10-12 years ago so he is starting somewhat fresh as well.

I will continue to review the itinerary, but do either or both of you have recommendations as far as where to stay in the Provence region? Is Avignon worth a stay?

Thanks again
emerylk is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2015, 11:29 AM
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emerylk, do you have your plane tickets? If not, I'd fly into Marseille, pick up a car there and stay in Provence for 6 nights then train from Avignon to Paris for 4 nights, dropping the car at the Avignon TGV station.

I think Paris deserves more than 2 days and we like to travel to our farthest destination first and work our way back....plus I tend to shop in Paris and don't want to carry my purchases all over the country.

We usually stay in rental properties for a week or two so have no lodging recommendations. We like the Luberon in Provence and I'm certain others will have specific recommendations for where to stay.
Judy is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2015, 11:55 AM
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Where to stay.

We retired early in life so we could travel more. We love France (plus my wife speaks French) and have been going there "pretty much" twice a year for 1 month each trip since 1999. We stay in Gites while in the French rural areas (not Paris or Nice). We started in Provence in '99 and spent 2 week near Gordes in the Luberon, 2 weeks near St Remy, and 2 weeks near Vaison. A few years later we returned for 2 more weeks near Gordes & 2 weeks just outside of Uzes. Next trip was 2 weeks in Bedoin at the foot of Mt Ventoux. Then we returned to Bedoin for 4 weeks, and again for 2 more weeks. Last year we spent 2 weeks in the Luberon.

Our two favorite regions are the Luberon and in Bedoin near Mt Ventoux & the Cote du Rhone. We prefer the rolling hills & lavender fields in these two areas over the more rugged/craggy/arid area around St Remy & the Alpilles.

However, lots of tourists love St Remy. We do too - but as we spent more & more time in Provence in other areas, we liked St Remy less & less. I tell others (especially first-timers) that if they prefer to stay in a village where they can walk to shops, restaurants, cafes, and encounter lots of other American tourists - stay in St Remy. If they prefer a more remote area where they may have to drive to shops & restaurants - stay in the Luberon.

We love Avignon and have stayed the night there once (many day-trips to Avignon). But I don't enjoy starting and ending the day by driving through the ugly urban sprawl that surrounds Avignon in all directions except west. That's not what I want to experience in Provence. Aix is too far away from the sites most visitors want to see in Provence, and to a degree - so is Arles & Uzes.

Stu Dudley
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