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The south of France: Riviera, Provence, Rhone Valley and/or Burgundy?


Mar 3rd, 2013, 07:22 AM
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The south of France: Riviera, Provence, Rhone Valley and/or Burgundy?

Hi there,

My husband and I have about a week or so to spend in the south of France this summer (as part of a larger trip, which is why the duration is flexible).

I'm just wondering where we should focus the majority of our time. We'll be arriving in France by train or rental car from Italy, and we're interested in seeing potentially Nice, Marseilles (I've been told not to bother with Monaco - do you agree?), then over to Aix-en-Provence, then potentially up to the Rhone Valley and/or Burgundy area.

In terms of what we like doing, we like good food, good wine (which I know is anywhere in France!), hiking/views, seeing architecture, some museums, and would love spending some time visiting vineyards/wine tasting. We're likely going to rent a car, so small towns/countryside are an option.

In terms of the Riviera, we spent a week lazing on the Amalfi coast in Italy a couple of years ago for our honeymoon and LOVED it, but I get the impression that the French Riviera is rather more "posh", while the Amalfi coast was more relaxed (we had a room in a small villa right on the ocean below the coast road with private ocean access - it was quiet and lovely). We love seeing "the sights" but we don't want a crazy pace - we'd rather relax. Perhaps two-ish main bases in the week would be alright and then do day trips from there?

In which areas do you think we should concentrate our time? Any areas you'd suggest to give a miss in favour of somewhere else?

We need to decide this aspect of our trip rather quickly, because we have to decide which airport to fly out of on our way home (our flights need to be booked quickly for work reasons, and then we can fill in the details later). If we stay around Provence, it would make sense to fly from Marseilles. If we go up to Burgundy/Rhone Valley, perhaps Lyon or Geneva instead.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to help me with this - it is greatly appreciated!

(FYI - this is a clarification from a previous post - realized I needed to decide exactly what I'm DOING in the south of France before I can decide where to fly from, and I thought posting a France-only question might help instead of complicating it with the rest of my trip!)
caralin is offline  
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Mar 3rd, 2013, 11:26 PM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 63
I would suggest you break your trip in 2 legs,
The riviera, base yourself in Nice or around. I would go to Monaco for a 1/2 day, worth seeing... Like an outside museum so clean and tidy...
And then head to inland Provence, nr Avignon where all the above mentioned applies, wine, food, history (roman, medieval, renaissance,popes, Van Gogh, Cezanne and much more...)
I suggest you base yourself in a village, either the luberon or St Remy.
For St Remy, check this link on what to do around
Hope that helps
PhilippeProvence is offline  
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Mar 4th, 2013, 07:40 AM
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I agree with Philippe. Stay near Nice for about 4 nights and then on to Provence (St Remy/Luberon) for 4 nights. You can fly home from Marseille or take the 3 hr TGV to either Paris or directly to CDG airport to get home.

"Up the Rhone" is not that interesting once you get past northern Provence & until you get into Burgundy. The places of interest are either 1 - 1 1/2 hrs west of the Rhone in the Alps, or 1 hr east in the Ardeche. Lots of ugly commerce along the Rhone in spots.

My wife & I have spent 34 weeks vacationing in the Cote d'Azur & Provence. I developed a 27 page itinerary that describes our favorite villages, scenic drives, markets, lavender fields, etc. I've sent it to over 3,000 people on Fodors. If you would like a copy, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach a copy to the reply e-mail.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 4th, 2013, 09:10 AM
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I would stick to the Côte d'Azur and the Provence. Between the cities (Nice, Antibes, Aix, Marseille, Avignon, Arles) and the villages, you will have more than enough for your week or so of travel. You'll need to rent a car; check out prices at www.kemwel.com

Michael is offline  
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Mar 4th, 2013, 09:16 AM
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Don't arrive in France by rental car from Italy. That will add another $500 or so to your vacation budget.
StCirq is online now  
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Mar 4th, 2013, 02:12 PM
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Thank you so much for your replies. I think your advice to stay in the south makes sense - we will go that route!

We will have a car rental for our week in Tuscany the week before, but we will return it to Florence and take the train to Nice. We'll rent another car in the region, as you suggest.

Thanks again!
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