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11 days to fill in Provence/Cote d'Azur

Raleigh, NC
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11 days to fill in Provence/Cote d'Azur

After five days in Paris next June, my husband, 12-year-old son and I plan to spend 11 days exploring Provence and slice of the Riviera. I have roughed out an itinerary, and wanted to seek thoughts or suggestions before the nitty-gritty of booking everything. Here’s our plan:

TGV to Nimes, arrive mid-afternoon

Two nights in Nimes, explore the town, Pont de Gard, etc.

Pick up rental car in Nimes, looking to base in small boutique or country hotel/B&B for 3-4 days to explore Avignon, L’isle la Sorgue, Remy, Les Baux, Gordes, etc. Ideal day would include visiting markets, sights, villages, returning to hotel late afternoon for pool, relaxation and dinner either at hotel or close-by. Will probably plan a rest day as well, so would like a hotel or inn that would be nice place to spend the day.

Want to see the Gorges du Verdon and Aix-en-Provence, but not sure which direction to head first. We’d have 2-3 days for this.

Lastly, we’d like to spend about three days in or around Villefranche-sur-Mer, enjoying the sun and visiting a few towns on the Riviera (Eze, perhaps Monaco).

We have a late afternoon/early evening flight out of Nice to Paris for our return trip to the US the next day. Assuming it would be easiest to drop the car at the Nice airport?

General thoughts? Too much? Any ideas on where to base for the 3-4 nights after picking up rental car?

Thank you!

Raleigh, NC
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399 posts
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1. Re: 11 days to fill in Provence/Cote d'Azur

Bump

Palo Alto...
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2. Re: 11 days to fill in Provence/Cote d'Azur

Our family of four just returned from a 30-day vacation and we spent 13 of those days in Provence doing much the same thing that you describe, except we arrived from Barcelona. I posted a similar question on TA in January and received suggestions of L'Isle sur la Sorgue, Bedoin Uzes, Vaison La Romain, Maussane les Alpilles and Arles. We chose L'Isle sur la Sorgue as a base and it turned out to be an excellent choice. We wanted to be able to walk into town and have a choice of restaurants and also base ourselves in a market town. Take a look at the rentals on homewawy.com or VRBO although they usually rent for a week, but you may want to consider spending a week in one place in Provence and using that as base to visit both NImes and western Provence. For example, we went to Pont du Gard and Uzes one day from L'Isle sur la Sorgue and did not feel rushed in either place. We rented a 3 bedroom house (one bedroom was a loft that we never used) that is a five minute walk from the market, had a small pool and was on one of the branches of the Sorgue. The house was actually more beautiful than it looked online. We had to go to Marrakech from Provence so we dropped our car off in Marseille but if you decide explore eastern Provence, you should drop the car off at the beginning of that portion of the trip. We traveled through Nice, Monaco, etc. last year and a car is definitely a liability there whereas you will definitely need it for the Languedoc Roussilon and western Provence portion of the vacation.

Raleigh, NC
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399 posts
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3. Re: 11 days to fill in Provence/Cote d'Azur

Thank you! I wasn't thinking a weekly rental would work but I am going to check into it now. Love the idea of walking into town for dinner.

New York City, New...
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4. Re: 11 days to fill in Provence/Cote d'Azur

Look at staying in clos de Bois in Bonnieux. A car is good for Provence but you can drop it off before going to the Nice area since the places you list are coastal and easy by train.

Raleigh, NC
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5. Re: 11 days to fill in Provence/Cote d'Azur

Our schedule is being tweaked a bit. We're now considering renting a villa/gite for a week in Provence, however they seem to rent Saturday to Saturday. Since we're leaving Paris on a Wednesday, we're now thinking about going to Villefranche-sur-Mer first for for three days, then decamp to Provence for a week.

I guess one question is really about transportation options. Would you fly from Paris to Nice, then take train or car to VSM? Or take the TGV to Aix, then pick up car and drive to VSM? Is there another, better option?

The other is where to base for a week...considering we'd like to see the same sights in my original post. Would like to be walking distance to a village with some enough restaurant choices but not too big of a town. Looked at St. Remy or L'isle-sur-la-Sorgue but would like a few others to research. We'll take the train from Avignon to CDG on the following Saturday and fly back to the US the next day.

Thank you for your help.

6. Re: 11 days to fill in Provence/Cote d'Azur

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