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Suggestion on itinerary for Provence

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Suggestion on itinerary for Provence

Hi,

We are going to travel from Italy (Milan or Florence) to Provence on October 21 for 4-5 days. We would like to rent a car need recommendation what is the best way (less expensive) to do it in our case when going from Italy to France. We flying back to USA from Marselle.

We didn't any planning for France yet and any advise on the itinerary will be appreciated. Thank you

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Suggestion on itinerary for Provence

Taking a rental car from Italy to France is a bad idea. You will pay a substantial one-way drop off fee. Travel by train instead and and pick up your rental car in France.

Brisbane, Australia
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2. Re: Suggestion on itinerary for Provence

Agree with the previous post that you should take the train to France, then pick up your car, (e.g. Marseille or Avignon). Provence is a large region, so pick a town to base yourself from which to explore the region.

Lots of places to choose from. You can visit Arles, Avignon, Camargue, St Remy, Roman sites like Nimes, Pont du Gard, Orange etc.. There are also many small hill-top towns like Gordes, Bonnieux that are very pretty. You can group them together based on their location e.g. Arles, St Remy and Camargue in one day, then Roman sights like Nimes and Pont du Gard for another; and Gordes, Luberon region on another.

The drives on small country roads are beautiful and very enjoyable, but do watch your speed on the highways as there are lot of speed cameras around. Stay within your speed limit even if it seems like everyone else is speeding or you're being tailgated, otherwise you'll be greeted with a speeding fine when you return home.

Provence is amazing and you'll love it! Enjoy!

Imperia, Italy
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3. Re: Suggestion on itinerary for Provence

The best place to pick up your car is probably Menton - only Avis and Europcar are there, but it's a small place to get out of, much easier than Nice or Marseille. it will also be faster. It's a slow (though pretty) train ride from Menton to Nice, and to go on to Marseille or Avignon you'll have to change trains and wait around for the connection while instead you could be driving to Provence..

After the direct Italian train from Milan to Ventimiglia, the French trains from Ventimiglia to Menton take 10 minutes and run every 30 minutes most of the day. Book Milano Centrale-Ventimiglia on www.trenitalia.com after clicking the UK flag for English and entering the 'hour' of departure, e.g. '13' for 13.00. Buy Ventimiglia-Menton from ticket offices (not machines) in Milan or Ventimiglia for €3 - there are no reserved seats or advance reductions on these local French trains.

Dallas, Texas
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4. Re: Suggestion on itinerary for Provence

I am trying to figure out a similar journey, from Bologna to Provence. It looks like the journey by train takes about 7 hours total to get to Menton. Then you continue by car.

Alternatively, there is a 1 hour 40 minute direct flight from Bologna to Lyon, from where we could rent a car and drive south to Provence. Only thing is I have never heard of this airline. It's called "Hop!" Have you heard of it?

Would this be preferable to a long train ride?

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5. Re: Suggestion on itinerary for Provence

Thank you for all suggestions. We had some changes in our plan. We will be living Milan on October 22 in the morning by train to France (Ventimiglia) and we are flying out of Marseille to USA on October 26.

It is my understanding that the first stop of the train coming from Italy (Milan) is Ventimiglia and there is no way to avoid the change of the trains. Is it right? Can we rent a car in Ventimiglia and be on our way?

What will be the best place to stay as the base for the day trips? Taking into consideration timing (we basically have 2.5 days as we have to be at Marseille late on October 25 as we have to fly next morning back home) how should we plan our itinerary? We would like to see Nice, Monte Carlo and what else can we include in our itinerary for our first visit to Southern France.

We will appreciate your advise.

Thank you

Brisbane, Australia
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6. Re: Suggestion on itinerary for Provence

Ventimiglia is in Italy and if you pick up your car there and drop it off in France it'll be very costly!! It has to be picked up and dropped off in the same country to avoid that huge drop off fee.

You don't have many days so probably best to just concentrate your time around Nice and the French Rivera. I personally liked Marseille more than Nice and found to have more atmosphere and authentic feel, not just a touristy beach, but everyone has different experiences.

What you do will depend on where you base yourself. Gorge du Verdon is drivable. And if you are near marseille, Calanque looks like an amazing place. Arles is not to far from marseille either and has everything to offer from art to roman ruins.

Los Angeles...
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7. Re: Suggestion on itinerary for Provence

Sounds like you will decide whether to end your train trip and pick up the rental car in Menton or Nice (in which case you'll be farther east) or take longer but go all the way on the train to Marseille, since that's where you'll drop the car off. If you base around Nice you can visit the locales you mentioned (you might also check Villefranche-sur-Mer for seaside charm). If you go farther west to Marseille, you could base there or in Aix-en-Provence and see more of the locations that surround it (mentioned in one of the other posts).

8. Re: Suggestion on itinerary for Provence

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