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Hotel base; train travel

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Hotel base; train travel

Hi there,

We would like to find a base for a one-week visit to Provence. We want old town feel, but need to be close to a train station b/c we won't have a car. We do NOT have any mobility issues. We would like to visit Nice, St Tropez, the wineries, lavendar fields. We'd like to use tour guides for day trips to all of Provence. We'd like to have restaurants nearby.

Any recommendations? If you have hotel names, that would be even better! We like good value hotels (nothing expensive but not budget either).

Nancy

Los Angeles...
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for Venice, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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1. Re: Hotel base; train travel

Nancy, lots of good things on your list but, IMO, challenging to accomplish without a car. Did you look at a quality organized tour? I know that Tauck Tours is expensive but very good http://www.tauck.com/ I am sure there are less expensive options. At the end of the day it may cost you close to what you would otherwise spend, including private guides.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Hotel base; train travel

There are not many places you can get to by train, and in general public transport in this area is sparse and timed to meet the needs of local workers and school-children rather than tourists. A car is almost essential to explore the area.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Hotel base; train travel

Nancy....not sure how much research that you have done regarding this trip, but you should re-visit it.

If you are going to visit the area in July, you can see lavender fields in bloom.....in the other 11 months....not so much.

St Tropez doesn't have a train station....so you pretty much can't get there by train.

Provence is a very large area and while Nice is technically part of Provence, it is a couple of hundred kms from what is generally regarded as "Provence."

Although travellers do sometimes combine visits to the Cote d'Azur (where NIce and St Tropez are) and Provence unless you have a lot of time, you are trying to do too much.

You can get around the Cote d'Azur quite well using public transport but to efficiently explore Provence you need a car. It's just that simple.

4. Re: Hotel base; train travel

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5. Re: Hotel base; train travel

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your thoughts. This raises a bigger issue with me, which is whether we should rent a car or not. I'm hesitant to do so b/c we're traveling in July and I've heard the traffic in July is bumper-to-bumper. To avoid this, and the stress of driving, I was leaning towards using tour guides to have day trips into the different areas of Provence. Am I wrong about this? Is the traffic that bad in July? Is it just the coastal roads that are super busy or are the country roads in Provence also very hectic?

We drove through Tuscany many years ago and after a few hiccups in the beginning, really enjoyed the drive there, but it was also very quiet when we went (we went in November).

Nancy

Edited: 04 November 2013, 19:08
Le Bugue, France
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6. Re: Hotel base; train travel

There is little, if any, bumper-to-bumper traffic on the country roads of inland Provence in July. Busier than early spring, fall, or winter of course, and busy in some towns on market days, but not daunting at all. Yes, IMO, you should rent a car.

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7. Re: Hotel base; train travel

Nancy, not at all terrible as far as traffic in July. I do not know where you live, but for us from SoCali, it is a piece of cake :) The coastal road around the Riviera will be busy in the afternoon and if you intend to travel to St. Tropez, do get an early start. Otherwise, I suggest you arm yourselves with a GPS pre-loaded with France maps, Michelin maps of various areas you intend to visit, and go for it. BTW, signage is much better in France then in Italy.

Los Angeles...
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8. Re: Hotel base; train travel

Oops, Toronto! Never driver there, so cannot compare.

Antibes, France
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9. Re: Hotel base; train travel

Getting from A to B in July or August anywhere on the coastal Cote d'Azur is not usually a problem - the problem is parking. Also, going into the back country around Nice, roads are next to deserted even in midsummer ( everyone is trying to park at the beach) altho' you may find winding roads with barely guarded drops on one side and ''danger falling rocks'' signs on the other somewhat intimidating .

Ed

10. Re: Hotel base; train travel

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