I'm planning a trip for the end of August/beginning of September to France. I was in Paris over a decade ago, but haven't been elsewhere in France. My husband and I will be flying in on a Saturday and leaving on a Saturday. I've allotted the following amounts of time to each region:
- Cote d'Azur (5 nights) - stay in Villefrance and visit Monaco, Nice, Eze, Cap Ferrat, and Grasse
- Provence (4 nights) - stay 1 night in Marseille and 3 nights in Avignon and visit Cassis, Arles, Cotes du Rhone area, Roussillon, Les Baux, Pont du Gard, Uzes, Nimes
- Paris (5 nights)
My husband has now brought up that he'd like to see Carcassonne and some of the other Cathar sights, such as Albi, on the trip, which I know is geographically not very close to anything else we are seeing. We also didn't plan on renting a car, and for the locations in Provence we were going to rely on 1/2 day minibus tours to see most of the sights. I've looked at the suggested minimum days per region in the Rick Steves France book, and it looks like we could technically fit some more in, but I was hoping to hear from people who have done a similar itinerary. I don't know whether it would be better to save Provence for another time, and put Carcasonne/Albi in between Paris and the French Riviera, or to try and fit it all in, and take away a day from the French Riviera and Paris? And is a car needed?
Additionally, around this time of year, would you suggest going from north to south or the opposite? I feel like the weather would be nicer starting in Paris and going to the south of France, and that the crowds would be lighter as well. We aren't sure yet whether the dates will be 8/24-9/7 or 8/31-9/14.