I never thought I would ever have a chance to visit France in this lifetime, and now the opportunity is here and I can tell you I am completely lost and overwhelmed!
For background, we (husband and I) land in Nice on 23 May, and fly out (from Nice) on 1 June.
We are obligated to stay in Cannes 26 to 28 May, and Nice 29 May (husband’s work – I am tagging onto his trip!).
When not based in Cannes or Nice we plan to hire a car to get places – this will involve driving on the opposite side of the road for us, in a very different time zone.
Of all the things I have read or dreamt of, standout items for the visit include:
- canoeing under the Pont du Gard;
- attending at least some of the Roma pilgrimmage in Sainte-Marie-de-le-Mer;
- checking out a market (I was thinking Apt on May 24),
- attending a course camarguaise (maybe Beaucaire on May 25),
- being invited to join a group playing petanque,
- going to Mass in Latin (sung by monks under beautiful stained glass!),
- driving around the Gorge du Verdon,
- driving around some of the Calanques via the Cassis road (or sea kayaking the Calanques)
- seeing Les Baux (I know, touristy, but as an Australian the idea of a castle is pretty amazing. I was hoping to visit Les Baux at dusk or at night to avoid buses, will we still see most things or is everything locked up?)
- taking the train to Entrevaux (probably May 31 or from Cannes)
- I also hoped to go to the opera in an opera house, and to see a show at a Roman theatre, but I'm fairly certain I have missed out on this
- I should also add that the Cannes Film Festival is still on when we arrive and my gut instinct is to miss this – would anyone disagree with me on this (and why?). This will be the only time I will ever get to this place at this time, and I do love movies, but I really don’t like celebrities or crowds (though there are some actors who I would be willing to share accommodation with if necessary – don’t tell my poor husband!).
Admittedly I am very ambitious when it comes to travelling and absorbing as much as possible.
I would really like some help with working out how I can fit in all of the above (most likely minus the opera / theatre / hunky actor)?? Or, at least, I would love to get an idea on travel and visiting times (i.e. time needed to see a particular place). I have checked out google and viamichelin for travel times, but I’m not certain these times factor in how often the urge takes you to pull over and take a photo, tractors on the road, getting lost etc.
With regards to accommodation, I would probably prefer to change accommodation every night until I get to Cannes as I am a light packer (though I do worry about parking the car with my luggage during the day). My main goal is to stay in villages which are more provincial than touristy. Somewhere the hire car will be safe overnight, where I can walk around at dusk and at night to marvel at stonework and old doors and cobblestones, and where the locals will be accepting of my terrible french. Somewhere I can be french for a day, not just a visitor.
So for those of you with the knowledge, if you had my timeframe and had to choose what to do and where to stay, what would you organize? What would you be unwilling to miss and why?
thanks so much for any posts and for all those who take the time to read half of this over-long message!