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Itinerary for Provence and Riviera this fall

I’d love reactions to my proposed itinerary for a 3 week driving vacation in Provence and the Riviera.
Possible stops are as follows:

Days 1-3 Nice (without a car). Old city, Eze, gardens, Menton. Question: use bus service or hire private car for Eze etc?
Day 4 St. Paul de Vence for Matisse Chappelle du Rosarie
Day 5 Moustiers La Bastide— a must for scenery and Michelin restaurant
Days 6 - 8 L’Isle sur La Sorgue for seeing the Luberon. Chosen over more touristy towns but wise? Could have booked in Lourmarin or St Remy. Hard to know!
Days 9 - 11 Vaison La Romaine for the cotes du Rhône wine region and Pont du Gard
Days 12-14 Avignon
Days 15-17 Aix en Provence , on way stopping in Arles but not overnight
Days 18-20 Cassis for boat ride thru Les Calanques and wind down
Day 21 Cagnes sur Mer - beautiful villa & close to Nice airport. Better to stay in Antibes?

Day 22 fly out of Nice

We like art, food & wine, history, cultural tours and strolling on our own through scenic places, from small villages to cities.

Anything comments or suggestions will be appreciated!

Posted by
3799 posts

Hi!
Your time allocation is good overall, I just have a few comments!

  • I do not love the fact that you spend time in Nice both at the start and at the end, but I do not see any solution except flying into Nice and out of Marseille, if possible?

  • No need to sleep in St Paul de Vence on day 4. I would just drive on to Moustiers and spend two nights there, the area deserves it!

  • l'Isle sur la Sorgue is a very good base. Actually, I would use it to cover Avignon and Arles as well - it is super close, and a car isn't terribly convenient when staying in Avignon! Thus I would reallocate the Avignon nights to l'Isle sur la Sorgue, and spending 6 nights there. Or perhaps just 5 nights, and giving another night to Nice at the beginning. As you wish!

  • Vaison is a good choice. If you do head to Pont du Gard, you can combine it with the theater in Orange, which is on the way, and relatively quick to visit with easy parking.

  • No comments on Aix and Cassis; make sure to drive the Route des Crêtes while in Cassis

  • No opinion on Cagnes vs Antibes ; airport transportation will be easier from Cagnes and Haut-de-Cagnes is charming...but so is Antibes.

Posted by
21039 posts

Menton has at least two large hillside gardens, neither of which is near the center of town. At least one of them has bus service. I believe I ended up taking the bus one way and a taxi the other. The other garden is out near the eastern-most of the two Menton train stations. I found it walkable from the station.

The gardens at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild on Cap-Ferrat are also worth a visit, as is the villa itself.

I suspect you're interested in art (the reference to the Matisse Chapel), so I highly recommend the Fondation Maeght in St-Paul-de-Vence. If found the village itself pretty but massively overrun. I much preferred the time I spent in Vence. If you do like art, note that Nice has six art museums, and you're not going to have much time for any of them.

If you're in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on Sunday, make sure you have an easy path for taking your car out of town if you plan to leave L'Isle during market hours. The market brings a great deal of traffic.

Cassis is attractive, but I think it's pretty small for a 3-night stay unless you plan to take the train into Marseille for the day.

Posted by
8388 posts

Yes, return the car in Marseille and fly out from there rather than backtracking to the Nice area. You can add a day onto Nice at the beginning.