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Week in January, French Riviera

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Week in January, French Riviera

Hi, I would like some advice and suggestions. My husband and I are travelling with our 4 month old baby for one week at the end of January. We are landing in Marseille. We would rather travel by car than use public transport. I have read that the coast is terrible to drive through in summer, what is the situation in January? Also we are very interested in (agritourisme) authentic food and sampling wine, more into the provence culture than the glitz and glam,(although we wouldnt mind a small dose). What are your recommendations? Since we are staying for only a week and travelling with an infant, I would not like to move accommodation too often, maybe just twice. Any recommendations for how to make the best of one week and visit the best places in the Marseille/ Aix en provence/ Nice area. Thanks! Any advice about accommodation, things to do and see, most welcome :) thanks

Louisville, Kentucky
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1. Re: Week in January, French Riviera

Welcome to the Trip Advisor forums!

As you have one week for your travels and are arriving in Marseilles, I would suggest staying in the western region of Provence. Your culinary/wine interests can certainly be satisfied in this part of Provence, and as you will have a car, you will be set to go. This region is best visited on driving tours. I hope this bump will get you some replies from members who know more about this part of Provence than I do (particularly, for a January trip), but in the meantime, these books might be helpful:

“Frommer's 25 Great Drives in France (Best Loved Driving Tours)”

“Back Roads France (Eyewitness Travel Back Roads)”

If you can't find these books in a local bookstore, they are usually available on Amazon.

Another option might be to fly into Marseilles and home from Nice (another international airport), but I think that might be a bit much, especially with a toddler.

Edited: 05 December 2013, 13:44
Louisville, Kentucky
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2. Re: Week in January, French Riviera

Oops! 4 month old...I would find that quite a challenge, but you will know what works for you.

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3. Re: Week in January, French Riviera

Thanks for your recommendation. I will look into the books as I would love off the beaten track routes and not to go to the most touristy places. About the idea of staying only in Provence and skipping Nice and coe d azur, well sounds good but then Id definitely have to return. As for travelling with a four month old, it is surely more challenging than travelling alone but at least not an age when they need to run around and be mobile and entertained. Lets hope. Id love to hear some helpful hints from people who have done it already

Louisville, Kentucky
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4. Re: Week in January, French Riviera

You might want to post on the Provence forum. There are contributors who focus on that part of the region and may not see this thread.

I know people who are so organized and good with being on the run that they can handle could handle a Marseilles>Nice trip, but especially with a baby, I know it wouldn't work for me. I would put either western Provence or he Côte d'Azur on this year's itinerary and save one or the other for another trip. I recommended western Provence as you seem to have booked your flights through Marseilles.

Let's see what others have to say, and I hope you get more responses.

California
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for Grasse
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5. Re: Week in January, French Riviera

I strongly recommend that you get a copy of the Michelin Green Guide to Provence, which has a wealth of information to help you plan your trip. The viamichelin.com web site is very useful for maps, estimates of driving times, and places of interest along the way. Western Provence has very little glitz and glam--that's more in the east (St-Tropez/Cannes/Monaco).

Driving near the coast in January will be nothing at all like in the summer months.

Since you'll be staying a full week you might look into renting a house.

Be prepared for cold weather, especially if the mistral is blowing.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Week in January, French Riviera

Yes, Provence in January and Provence in July are vastly different and the traffic is only one factor. As always, an excellent suggestion from Catullus regarding the Michelin Green guide and the apartment. A lot of vacation rental owners don't offer their properties in January because the demend is so low but it would be a big advantage to have a place where you can control the heat and an apartment / house would likely offer more of that than a hotel.

Be prepared that if you want to visit smaller villages that not everthing will be open. If you are looking for one base, I'd look for something larger (like Arles) where you'll have more choices of accomodations, restaurants etc.

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7. Re: Week in January, French Riviera

Thanks for your advice. House rental sounds lovely but as Im searching I cannot find any that are suitable for just the two of us and child, they all seem to cater for bigger numbers.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Week in January, French Riviera

Have a look here:

homeaway.com/search/…1

provence
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9. Re: Week in January, French Riviera

January is not my favorite month in Provence. Be prepared for it to be cold and very cold if the mistral is blowing - plus point to this is that the sky is a perfect blue when it blows!

I would think carefully about accomodation in view of the weather and book a hotel with guaranteed warmth that someone else has to worry about.

Have a look at the guide books and find an area in the Avignon/Aix area that appeals and come back for hotel recommendations. There are some lovely villages in the Luberon, Alpilles and Cotes du Rhone wine villages that will meet your requirements.

I too would mis out Nice this trip - the days will be short enough for sight seeing as it is.

10. Re: Week in January, French Riviera

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