Please sign in to post.

Paris and Provence Honeymoon, October 23-November 4

Hi everyone! We've been reading up on this forum and RS books, but we could use a little more help. My fiance and I are getting married on October 22, then leaving the following day for Paris. Our plan is to get into Paris on Monday early afternoon (we're flying from NYC), stay there through Saturday evening, then take the TGV to Avignon. From there, we'll rent a car and stay in Saint Remy from Saturday night to Tuesday, then drive towards Nice, stopping in either (or, if possible, both), Aix or Marseille. Then we'll get into Nice on Tuesday night and stay there until our flight leaves on Friday, November 4 (since we haven't booked yet, I'm not sure what time on Friday we're leaving).

We are big travellers and prefer to be going on tours and learning about art and history rather than lounging around. We are also aware that at that time of year, it's going to be on the chilly side, so even if we wanted to, it's not a good time for sunbathing on the Riviera. That said, of course we don't want to run around like crazy people for the duration of our honeymoon. I have the general feeling that people might not be fond of tours, but we actually really love tours, and plan on doing quite a few.

Here's our outline for our time in Paris (with a museum pass):


Settle in, explore the neighborhood (staying in Saint-Germain, which is actually booked)


Food tour

Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle




Louvre some more (or we can divide it into two different days)

Eiffel Tower at night


Jewish Quarter



Musee d’Orsay

Champs-Elysees to Arc de Triumphe (in evening)


Enjoy our last day in Paris

We would like to get to the Basilique du Sacre-Couer, and potentially the catacombs?

Then we get to Saint Remy Saturday night, and Sunday we have plans to go on a pretty big Roman ruins tour of the area. Monday morning we'd see the Pope's Palace in Avignon, and likely spend the rest of the day in Saint Remy.

Then Tuesday we could do either Aix or Marseille - which is better?
Tuesday night, get into Nice.

Wednesday do some Nice-area tour, though we aren't dying to go to any place that's particularly fancy. We're more interested in quaint villages, eating, and Roman ruins, though we feel like we couldn't just skip Cannes and potentially Monaco.

Thursday, just enjoy Nice itself (considering staying by Castle Hill).
Leave Friday.

So all that is to ask - does this look reasonable? Are we planning to see too much? Are we missing anything major in any of those places? Should we shift one day back to the Avignon area (so stay there Saturday night to Tuesday night, then move on on Wednesday)? Is Aix or Marseille more worth seeing?

We so appreciate your help!!!

Posted by
605 posts

Sounds good to me. While in St Remy, go see this:

I'm not a big fan of Avignon, especially when it comes at the expense of what you can see with a car. While the Lavender won't be in bloom, I suggest that you consider wandering around the Luberon (and/or the Cote du Rhone) anyway.

Also, check out the podcast They have well over 100 episodes on places in France, including many on Paris and some on Provence. One recent podcast was a trip report with a woman talking about tours that she took from Paris to the surrounding areas. Definitely worth a listen if you are interested in swapping one of your Paris days for a day in the Loire, Normandy or Brittany. Also, their episode on Driving in France is spot on and highly recommended.

I've not been to Aix or Marseille. I have been to Nice and didn't like it. Based on your interests and the time of year, you may want to consider spending all of your 2nd half time in Provence, flying home from Marseille.


Posted by
5697 posts

We stayed in St. Remy in April -- don't miss the Roman ruins at Glanum, just outside St. Remy. Loved Arles, mostly saw the TGV station and car rental place in Avignon.

Posted by
7175 posts

With only 3 nights I wouldn't bother with a car in Provence. Choose Arles as your base.
Sat - train from Paris to Arles
Sun - day to Avignon by train
Mon - day to St Remy & Les Baux by bus
Tue - train to Nice via stop in Marseille / Aix en Provence

Posted by
15365 posts

Sounds great. I can't help with the rest of France, but I always have a few thoughts on Paris.

First, get the Navigo one-week pass. You'll need little photos (smaller than passport). Even if it doesn't save you money, it's worth the convenience. You can get it at the RER station at CDG and use it to get to Paris. Your timing is perfect for it, the pass always begins on Monday morning. It's good for all the buses and metros. Sometimes it's nice to just hop on a bus for even a couple of stops when you're feet get tired. Get info on the bus routes to/from near your hotel. The buses are nicer than the metro since you get to see the city and sometimes more efficient. The metro is fast when traffic is bad, but if you have to change trains, it involves going up and down stairs and/or long walks between lines.

Look for concerts at churches near you, like St. Germaine des Pres and St. Julian le Pauvre. You can get tickets on the spot. The best way to see Sainte-Chapelle is to go to a concert, no lines. Get there when the doors open and walk around, take photos, then continue to enjoy the stained glass during the concert. Binoculars are great here for the detail.

Consider spending Saturday in the Marais (Jewish quarter). Some of the streets are turned into pedestrian-only areas and the locals often outnumber the tourists. The Carnavalet Museum is interesting and a beautiful building and it's free.

Take a Seine cruise with Les Vedettes du Pont Neuf. If you buy tickets online (good for any day, any hour), you will save. My favorite is to get one that starts right after sunset. The Arc de Triomphe is another place that's good then. Watch the sun set behind La Defense, then the lights begin to go on along the Champs Elysees (which by the way is not worth walking along), and then the Eiffel Tower begins to light up.

If you like Impressionists, the Marmottan Museum (private, not included in the pass) is excellent (wonderful Monet collection) and never crowded (unlike the Orsay which seems always to be packed), and the Orangerie has Monet's waterlilies and a good collection of other late 19th-early 20th c. artists.

I'd add the Rodin Museum, if only for the sculpture gardens.

You should have time for the catacombs. I'm told it's interesting to visit the nearby Montparnasse cemetery, and it's worth going up the Montparnasse tower for the views. Parisians say it's the best view in the city, because it's the only one that you where you don't see the tower.

I took this "ghost" tour last April and everyone on the tour had a great time, even though we got rained on. It's entertaining . . . mostly historical tidbits. It seems to be pretty popular - a year ago, there was one guide and one tour a week.

Posted by
3696 posts

If you say you like smaller villages, etc. then I would skip both Aix and Marseilles. Aix is a much larger city than I expected and driving and parking there can be difficult. It does have some nice shopping and restaurants and is a college town, but it does not compare to all the amazing villages that are within easy driving distance of St. Remy (my favorite base in Provence) Marseilles is a rather gritty seaport and if this is your first trip to Provence I would not spend my time there. Even though the lavender fields are not in bloom, there are still the mounds and you can envision what it is like in full bloom... check out the Abbey de Senaque near Gordes.

Provence and the surrounding area is one of the best places to explore by car. You can move about on your own schedule, visit lots of markets, watch the sunsets, etc. Driving in this area is so easy... just like home. The Carmague is also a beautiful place, but maybe too far. You might find a day or two that will be warm enough to sit at the beach. One of my favorite beach towns is St. Maxime's ... a cute little beach town between Avignon on the way to Nice.

As far as Cannes... it is beautiful, but very trendy and busy in the summer... not sure about later in the year.
In St. Remy... be sure to check out the Lumieres as suggested above... also
Be sure to take a little morning walk to the hospital where Van Gogh was. We would walk there very morning and have a beautiful time watching the sunrise. You cannot get in that early, but you can walk around the grounds.

I would spend as little time in Nice as possible and enjoy Provence as long as you can.