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French Riviera & Provence - 6-7 days enough time to explore by train or car?

I'll be taking a train from Genoa over to Nice and will be in the Côte d'Azur for 6-7 days before flying out of Nice. I'm torn between having a home base around Nice and just exploring Villefrance, Cap Ferrat, Menton, Cannes, Antibes, etc...or renting a car for a few days and driving over to Cassis, Aix en Provence, Nimes and Arles, Pont du Gard....maybe Bandol, Cassis, Six Four Les Plages...?

I know it's possibly to take a train, but am reluctant to do so all the way from Genoa as it seems a long trip (6-7 hrs) and one way international car rentals for one day are super pricey...and sometimes not even available....ultimately, I wouldn't mind taking a train over to Nice from Italy, then renting a car and driving west into Provence...I've looked into renting a car, but can't seem to get a consistent price.

Any suggestions, guidance or ideas would be much appreciated!

Posted by
1 posts

I have had great luck renting from Europcar through Expedia. In Paris I rented a car for Euro12/day unlimited mileage. Check with your auto insurance and credit card company to see if they cover rentals in Europe--insurance can be twice the price of rental. How about taking the night train from Genoa to Nice, then renting a car for the week, or purchasing a 1 week SNCF pass for travels along Cote d'Azur and Provence? Or travel Cote d'Azur by train and rent a car for a couple of days to go to Aix, Nimes, Arles, Pont du Gard, maybe Avignon.Parking is difficult and expensive in the old inner cities. Stay in the heart of town if using train/bus and on the outskirts at a hotel with free parking and near the bus, subway, or train into the city if traveling by car. Cg

Posted by
3696 posts

There often are not consistent prices for car rentals. I will go on Priceline and rent the cheapest car available. I never prepay. I will then check back every few weeks and if a cheaper rate comes up just make a new reservation and cancel the first. It almost always goes down. If you prepay you cannot do this. I usually rent with one of the bigger companies.

With 6 days I would go beyond Nice if you are interested in the Provence area. It is an easy drive. I prefer the Provençal area over the busier city of Nice.

Posted by
7175 posts

You can take the train from Genova to Avignon in 6hr 46min, changing in Nice.
Pick up a rental in Avignon and drive back to Nice for your departure flight.

Posted by
10 posts

okay! after some more research, i've decided to forego renting a car and instead take the train all the way to cassis (from genoa, italy) and use it as a home base to explore le calanques and the surrounding area of provence with arles, aix en provence before spending a few days in and around nice!

per what i've read on other posts, it seems le calanques do in fact close during the there any information to check on whether or not trails will be open the first week of june?

i greatly appreciate all of the help!