We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Planning a multi-city trip? Starting in Aix?

Clarkston...
Level Contributor
28 posts
2 reviews
Save Topic
Planning a multi-city trip? Starting in Aix?

We are relatively new to travel in Europe. Visited Paris a few years back and then took a Mediterranean Cruise last Oct. During that cruise we spent time briefly in Marseille and Aix-en-Provence. We simply fell in love with Aix and wish to explore the area in more detail. Maybe venture in the Alps a bit as well? We wont have too many days 8-9 is probably all we can spare (children would be at home with grandparents).

My question is any advice on planning such a trip? Should we use a travel agent to help us work it all out? We live in a very small town-so I'm thinking we would use web based agency? We are fairly young (mid 30's) and usually do our own trip planning and research. I'm intimidated about planning this trip ourselves since we want to visit a few different areas-not knowing which would suit our interests and are doable in the time-frame we have. We for sure want to spend more time exploring Aix-everything else is up for debate!

1. Re: Planning a multi-city trip? Starting in Aix?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post has been removed at the author's request. The author may post again if desired.

Posts on the TripAdvisor forums may be edited for a short period of time. Once the edit period has expired, authors may update their posts by removing and reposting them.

To read more about editing your posts, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/help/how_to_edit_your_posts

Removed on: 03 February 2016, 18:39
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
13,325 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Planning a multi-city trip? Starting in Aix?

Good advice from Diz.....

Stay away from travel agents. The vast majority of them are worthless.

A couple more things to think about.

When to visit....July / August are heaving. September and June are excellent months to visit.

Renting a car will give you much more flexibility with your explorations.

A vacation rental (apartment / house) also allows for flexibility. You can shop the wonderful markets and have some meals in. Vacation rentals are in 7 day increments (Saturday to Saturday.)

I recognize that you enjoyed Aix, but you want to look at someplace smaller to base so you won't face a daily parking hassle in Aix.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
6,206 posts
458 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Planning a multi-city trip? Starting in Aix?

You don't need a travel agency. We can help with the details but I agree you need to do some research.

I like to buy used travel guide books ($1) from amazon, like Fodor's, frommer's, rick Steve's and Michelin. I do not use them for details like price and addresses. Those things change.

I use them for context and background and history. Those things don't change so used books are ideal.

I also suggest you watch YouTube on the towns you are interested in. Dennis Calin has a great series.

Do you want to visit the Cote d'azure -- Cannes, Nice and the coastal towns? Hill top perched villages in the Luberon?

Do you want beach and sea and sun ? If so summer is better or late spring, early fall.

Are you ok with driving a car?

With 9 days you can split between Provence (western Provence by Aix) and the cote d'azure /French Riviera. You can fly in and out of Nice, or fly to marseille or train from Paris to Avignon and out of nice etc.

Generally you are better off with a car in Provence and no car ( easy trains and busses) in the Nice area.

Clarkston...
Level Contributor
28 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Planning a multi-city trip? Starting in Aix?

These are all great recommendations-thank you! We are thinking of going early next autumn (late sept or early oct) or next May.

Le Bugue, France
Level Contributor
14,097 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Planning a multi-city trip? Starting in Aix?

Travel agents for trips like this are more of a hindrance than a help, especially since so many of them have never set foot in any of the places they recommend, never mind lived there or spent loads of time there. Do it yourself.

Get the Green Michelin Guide to Provence and the Côte d'Azur and pore over it until you have some idea what parts of the (large) area interest you. Get other guidebooks too. Look at maps to get a sense of distances. Scour the internet, starting with the official tourist offices of every place you think you might want to visit. There is no end to good information out there.

Next autumn or May will work beautifully.

Happy planning!

6. Re: Planning a multi-city trip? Starting in Aix?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post has been removed at the author's request. The author may post again if desired.

Posts on the TripAdvisor forums may be edited for a short period of time. Once the edit period has expired, authors may update their posts by removing and reposting them.

To read more about editing your posts, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/help/how_to_edit_your_posts

Removed on: 03 February 2016, 18:40
Edited: 03 February 2016, 18:40
Brentwood, Essex
Level Contributor
115 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Planning a multi-city trip? Starting in Aix?

If you don't mind parking charges then basing yourself in Aix is a great idea. We have bought a holiday home there but on our first ever visit we rented an apartment over the internet and booked car hire the same way. Hertz has an office in the town so having arrived from the airport by bus you can pick up a car in Aix at any time and then travel out for trips. Or try the train, which my husband loves. Go into Marseille St Charles Station then take a train along the coast to the various tops of the Riviera or go west along the Blue route.

A trip to the Camargue is great but you will need a car. The weather is still lovely in October. If you don't want to hire a car you could spend the money on tourist trips organized by the tourist office in the City Centre These are very good but quite expensive. The wine tour especially. If you do have a car then do go to the Gorge at Verdon, and villages like Gordes.

Experience has taught us not to try to do too much. After several years in Aix we still get enormous pleasure just walking around the town, drinking a coffee in cafes and finding out of the way shops and restaurants. Hope you do too.

Destination Expert
for Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
Level Contributor
3,639 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Planning a multi-city trip? Starting in Aix?

I seriously urge you to consider establishing a single base for the majority of your time in Provence, as it is a region that is easily explored via a series of day-trips from a well-centered base.

We always rent a house, and find that doing is simply the best way to explore the region, since constantly relocating wastes alot of time, and leaves your luggage in the rental car all day long, which, IMHO is NOT a good idea, even if it's in the trunk.

Keep in mind that virtually all house / apartment rentals are available only by the week, with the week starting on Saturday. We have spent the entire month of September in Provence every year since 1995, so, I guess that you can guess that we are totally hooked on the area. Our base is the lovely village of Maussane-les-Alpilles, which is situated just below Les Baux, and is not that far from St. REemy.

Personally, Aix doesn't do much for me - it is a bit too big of a city, and IMHO has little, or no Provencale ambiance.

Instead, I urge you to consider establishing your base in a well-centered village with true Provencale ambiance - that way you will have easy access to ALL of the important historical sites, AND be able to enjoy a true Provencale experience

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
6,206 posts
458 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Planning a multi-city trip? Starting in Aix?

I'll provide the counter argument to why multiple bases are better than one for me. There are pros and cons to both that OP should consider.

Less driving. To me this is huge. I don't find it time consuming to pack unpack and check into hotels. But I hate driving out an hour or so and back each day.

Related to that, we like to be able to drink a bottle of wine with dinner and walk home in our new base.

Day trips are very different than staying overnight. Some places simply are not at their best when you visit for a few hours in the middle of the day but magical early in the morning and evening.

It is a personal choice and partly impacted by what kind of trip you want. If you just want to rest I can see one base. For exploring, I always found more are best.

UK
Level Contributor
3,963 posts
91 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Planning a multi-city trip? Starting in Aix?

for me the advantage of more than one base is you get to see a range of towns and villages after most people have gone home. Even really touristy places have huge charm once the crowds have packed up. Also, you can't have large amounts of wine with dinner and then drive home, so if you are staying in different towns you get to try lots of different restaurants within walking distance of where you're staying.

Get answers to your questions about Aix-en-Provence