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visiting south of France - any tips?

malta
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visiting south of France - any tips?

HI there

In August my wife, two kids 5 & 8 and my self will be visiting the south of France. We'll be arriving by Ryanair to Marseille.

Our plan is to spend about 6 days in the south of france befor catching an internal flight tot go spend some time in Paris and EuroDisney.

In the south of France we'd like to visit a couple of sites such as Carcassone and Lourdes. Anyone got any travel tips for us?

We'll prob rent a car to be able to explore the area.

Thanks! looking forward fr your comments

Philadelphia, PA
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for Cassis, Marseille, Manosque, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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1. Re: visiting south of France - any tips?

Definitively rent a car.

I think you need to buy a guide and or a map and determine which sites you would like to see.

Carcassonne and Lourdes are the south west. Coming back towards the east you have Avignon, Gordes, Pont-du-Gard, Arles,.... and further east Marseill, AIx-en-Provence, Cassis,...

provence
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2. Re: visiting south of France - any tips?

The two places you mention are a fair distance from Marseille.

Bear in mind that the south of france is a prime tourist area and August is THE peak month for tourists. If you have not made plans you might have difficulty in securing hotels etc now.

Edited: 22 June 2010, 18:49
Kennett Square, PA...
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3. Re: visiting south of France - any tips?

August is prime season for all of Europe to go on vacation. Make sure that you have hotel and car reservations pre-booked before you go!

Carcassonne is a VERY touristy town. We were there in May, 2008 and it was wall-to-wall people at that time. Personally, I would avoid it in August. It is much more charming to view it from the highway than to fight the crowds inside the stone walls. I have not been to Lourdes, but both of these locations are a long drive from Marseilles.

Why not spend your 6 days in Provence? We just returned home from the south of France last week. Arles is one of the most charming small cities to visit. Parking is not great within the Old Town of Arles, but once you park the car you an forget it (except for feeding the meter every few hours). There are many wonderful hotels in Arles; we stayed at Hotel de L'Amphiteatre. This was so much better than we ever expected for a 2 star hotel at €85/night. It was centrally located and had very good A/C. We also visited the HUGE market in Arles on Saturday morning. It is one of the biggest and best markets we have been to in Provence.

The Camargue is next to Arles. This is a great place to take kids! The Camargue is known for its "French" cowboys, white horses, black bulls, sea salt manufacturing and tons of birds! Horseback riding is readily available throughout the Camargue. The Parc Ornithologic is a fabulous place to see all kinds of birds. There are several miles of beautiful trails to wander through marsh land.

Cassis is another charming little town. We stopped there for lunch in 2008 and spent several hours in the town. You can take a boat ride to see the calanques. Another fun thing to do with kids.

Provence is packed with charm and tons of little towns and villages. Don't waste your time on the highway going to Carcassonne or Lourdes. Enjoy the sunshine, lavender, sunflowers and yummy food in Provence. Trust me, 6 days will fly by in the blink of an eye!

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: visiting south of France - any tips?

Will be travelling by train to Marseille 21/9/10 staying there two days doing train trips to Aix en Provence and Avignon. Reading a book at moment that says Marseille is the crime centre of France! does that mean 2x 65+ yr olds but young at heart should stay home for dinner!!! Also have read about Czanne's Atelier in Ax en Provence, can you do that on foot? Would be really interested in hearing other peoples views

Ohio, USA
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5. Re: visiting south of France - any tips?

It's been a long time since Marseille could accurately be described as "the crime centre of France." That said it is a very big port city and like any similar city anywhere in the world it is a bit rough at the edges. If this is your first visit to the region you might want to use Avignon or Aix-en-Provence as your base rather than Marseille and travel to the other town on a day trip from whichever you choose. You could allso take the train into marseille during the day and enjoy lunch at one of the many good places to eat in the city rather than worrying about walking the streets after dark

Cézanne's former home and studio is a bit outside the city and up a steepish hill so perhaps walking would not be the best way to get there. I'm sure there must be a bus that would take you close enough to walk from the bus stop. The tourist information office in Aix will be able to advise you.

Nice
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6. Re: visiting south of France - any tips?

bus to atelier cezanne

Bus n°1, from "Rotonde" to stop "Cézanne".

timetable here

http://www.aixenbus.com/votre-voyage/horaires

Edited: 10 July 2010, 14:11
7. Re: visiting south of France - any tips?

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