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Two or three nights in Cinque Terre/two or three nights in vote s'Azur?

Two or three nights in Cinque Terre/two or three nights in vote s'Azur?

Feb 26th, 2014, 06:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 49
Two or three nights in Cinque Terre/two or three nights in vote s'Azur?

Planning a trip in late May and early June. So far, it's shaping up as:

Milan - one night, see the Last Supper then train to
Manarola - 3 nights, then train to Nice, pick up car, drive to
St Paul de Vence - 3 nights, then train/car/plane to
Paris - 4 nights

I'm wondering if I should adjust any of the early part of the trip - so as to perhaps spend a day/night before Paris driving there or take the train from Nice towards Paris but stop to see Versailles or Chartres etc. I don't want to be hopping somewhere else every day so I like the pace I have so far. Maybe I just need to remember I can always return for another trip.

Suggestions? Thanks!
Desinator is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 06:23 AM
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Sorry for the typos!!!
Desinator is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 06:40 AM
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I'd keep the itinerary as planned - you already have a lot to do and a lot of transportation eating up your time. Don't take a day away from Paris, especially if you have never been there before.

Always leave something for another trip!!!

There are overnight trains from Italy to Paris - my son and I did that once and really had fun.

Where are you staying in Manarola? My DH and I spent 4 nights there in September and loved it! You can check out my trip report:


I also wrote about the Cote D'Azur, St Paul de Vence, driving along the coast:


Just scroll (way) down to the appropriate sections.

Have fun planning!
kwren is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 07:31 AM
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I wouldn't adjust anything either. Your plate is full.

Fly from Nice to Paris - the train is slow. Definitely don't drive.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 08:33 AM
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I have to agree with Stu that the train is slow - I'd only do it if it was a direct overnight train for a different experience. We arrived in Paris about 7 am and had the whole day. Also saved on hotel.
kwren is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 08:51 AM
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Concur with the above on both points.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 10:09 AM
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or take the train from Nice towards Paris but stop to see Versailles or Chartres etc>

not possible - first you must go to Paris and then those are day trips but cannot be done en route to Paris.

There is also an overnight train between Nice and Paris - the day train can take 5.5 hours but if you want to see the lovely France in between Nice and Paris - Porvence and Burgudny then the train will be nice and flying may not be all that quicker - trains go city center to city center and see something besides tarmacs and airports- flying all in all involves about as much time. For lots on French trains check out these fine sites www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. Check www.voyages-sncf.com or www.capitainetrain.com for discounted rail fares Nice to Paris - sold in limited numbers book well in advance but then are not changeable nor refundable.

An overnight train can be fun and can save also on the cost of a hotel.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 11:15 AM
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Actually, I might consider taking the TGV from the Aix en Provence TGV station instead of flying. If I am presented with the choice of a 5 hr train trip vs a 1 hr flight - I would choose the train unless I was already at the airport (from an incoming flight).

You are staying at St Paul, and it's a 20 min drive to the Nice airport. It is 2 hr drive to the Aix TGV station. Returning the car in Aix is simpler & faster than at the airport or the Nice train station. Also, at the Nice train station you will likely hit commute traffic. The TGV from Aix to Paris is 3 hrs vs 5hr40min from Nice.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Feb 27th, 2014, 06:01 AM
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Thanks for the input. We will leave as is. We are covering a lot of territory but my traveling companion is 22 so he's not into moseying around like I am. I think after 2-3 days somewhere he'll be ready to move on.

I'll explore the idea of driving to Aix to the train. Net time traveling seems like it will be more or less the same but it might be nice since we won't otherwise be getting over that way probably. And driving into big cities like Nice to return cars is always slightly stressful.
Desinator is offline  
Feb 27th, 2014, 07:24 AM
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Returning a car in Nice Airport is fairly straightforward. I don't know which terminal domestic flights are - the rental car offices are at terminal 2. For terminal 1 you take a shuttle bus. Just make sure you get petrol before you get to the airport, the station at the airport gets busy, and is probably expensive too.

Have you booked your Last Supper tickets for Milan?
Tulips is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 04:54 PM
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Tulips, we did book our Last Supper tickets, I had to book a 3 hour walking tour for the morning we arrive from JFK. The Last Supper is at the end of the tour. Not ideal, but that was the only option since we are in Milan only the one night. I figured our hotel room probably won't be ready til after lunch anyway.

The way the trip is shaping up is Milan one night, staying at the Antica Locanda Dei Mercanti, then off to Manarola for three nights staying at La Lampara, then to Nice via train where we pick up our rental car and drive to St. Paul de Vence and stay at Les Orangers for three nights, lunch at Colombe d'Or, Foundation Maeght, Grasse to the Fragonard tour, Matisse chapel, other day trips and stops as we choose, return the car to Nice airport and take Air France to Paris where we will stay in an apartment on the Ile St. Louis for four nights, maybe a bike tour to Versailles, Rodin Museum, Berthillion, looking for great dinner options not too fancy or formal, church at St Sulpice, check out various sites as the mood strikes, then home.

I think it's going to be great! I've started going back to my trainer to get in shape again for all the hiking and walking.
Desinator is offline  
Mar 24th, 2014, 05:31 AM
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This is a great itinerary! Makes me want to go back right away! Have fun!
kwren is offline  
Mar 24th, 2014, 01:53 PM
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You don't need much time to see the Matisse chapel but it keeps whimsical hours so make sure you know it will be open before you head there. You probably need to book your lunch at Colombe d'Or immediately.

If you get rain in le Cinque Terre (it does happen in Spring) then Pisa is a doable day trip. It can also be nice to visit the town of Chiavari on a rainy day in the afternoon during the cocktail hour. It has covered walkways and is a totally different scene from le Cinque Terre (totally Italian).

In Milan you might find that an early dinner of snacks in a bar is preferable to a full Milanese meal. If your companion is curious about northern Italian food than Milan can be a very nice place to have a good lunch. The town also loves fast food, including American burgers and bagels, if your companion isn't adventurous that way. Plenty of great coffee to keep you going until night falls.
sandralist is offline  
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