We are two couples in late 50s. We plan to visit south of France (first time) for about two weeks in early June 2020. We are interested in art, architectures, and scenery. We are not interested in shopping or antique. So market day may not be appealing to us. We also like to see variety of scenery and do variety of activities in one trip. For example, we would like to see different village/town in Provence with different characters, but not multiple towns with similar vibes.
2-3 days in Paris
Tentatively, we plan to fly out of east coast of US to Paris and back. Stay in Paris for 2-3 days to get adjusted to jetlag. We all have been to Paris before. We will just revisit selected areas/museums in this trip.
4 days in Avignon area
We will then take TGV train to Avignon and rent a car there. We want to pick a base for all 4 days there and take day trip to visit nearby towns. We would like to get a two-bedroom type of accommodation for 4 of us. I would really appreciate your input for the following questions:
1. Where is a good base for this area?
I would like to have a base that is centrally located with easy (inexpensive) parking and reasonable selection of restaurants nearby. We usually stay at mid-range accommodation. Any specific lodge recommendation?
2. Is the time allocation reasonable?
We will have 3 &1/2 days there and plan to visit the following places.
Day trip to Pont Du Gard, Nimes, and Uzes.
Day trip to Roussillon and Gordes
Day and half for Arles and Avignon
We would like to keep a reasonable pace (not rushed between places) but also plan enough activities in a day. Please critique if the time allocation is reasonable. Is there any other place we should add or drop in this region? We are flexible time wise (can add another day if needed).
2 Days in Marseille
We plan to return the car in Avignon and take the train to Marseille. We plan to stay 2 nights there. Major sights to visit: Nortre-Dame de la Garde, Panier District, Old Port, etc.
1. Is La Charte museum or boat excursion to nearby islands worthwhile?
4 Days in Nice
We plan to take train from Marseille to Nice and stay there for 4 days.
Day and half in Nice
Day trip to Monaco, Corniches, and Eze via train and bus
We would like to visit St Paul de Vence, Villefranche, (maybe Cap Ferrat). I am not sure they will fit in a day trip. We can add another day here if needed.
1. Is there any place I should add or drop in this region? What is the best way to arrange the side (day) trip for the places outside Nice?
2. Traveling between Nice and Paris by Train or by Plane?
We plan to go back to Paris from Nice and connect to our international flight directly to US. I understand it is 6-hour train ride or 1 hour flight between Nice and Paris. What are the pro and con of travel by train or by plane; cost, comfort, convenience in either end, connection with the international flight, etc.?
I know there are a lot of experts on this forum. Your help would be greatly appreciated!