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Travel to South of France

My previous query pertainined to Paris in 7 days on a budget. I was delighted by the responses received. I am once again appealing to folks to assist with tips associated with the other leg of my daughter and my tour through France. We will be traveling from Paris to Nice, with Nice as our home base in early May (7 days). I'm under the impression that we can travel relatively inexpensively via the bus system within the region to various nearby cities/towns ie. Cannes, Monaco, Eze. Would also like to take a day trip via train to Arles as well as Cinque Terra (likely staying in CT 1-2 nights within the 7 day period). We will once again be securing reasonable logging through Airbnb in Nice/CT. I welcome any and all information pertaining what are considered must see sights/destinations within those/in addition to those locations I've listed. As well, is it reasonable to travel to the locations listed in France (perhaps more pending feedback) in addition to Cinque Terra within a 7 day-span. Many thanks.

Posted by
8502 posts

Arles, which is in Provence, is almost four hours from Nice because the train goes along the coastline and must go slowly. If you are taking the train from Paris, you should stop in Arles on your way to Nice.

Posted by
10344 posts

Just to give you some ideas, on one one trip, we stayed in Paris about 7 days.
Then took the TGV from Paris to Arles and used Arles as a home base to see, first, the Provence cities/towns on the rail line, such as Avignon, Nimes, and Arles (our home base). That was 2 or 3 days.
Then, still sleeping in Arles, I rented a car and we explored the Provence country locations best reached by car, such as St. Remy, Roussillon (and surrounding wine country), Les Baux, Pont du Gard, and other country locations. That was another couple of days.
Then we turned in the rental car at Arles, and took the train to Nice in the Riviera, where we home-based for about 3 days, exploring Nice on foot (approx 1 and 1/2 days), then spent another 3 days using the train to get to Monaco, Antibes, and Cannes, and then a combination of train and bus to see the delightful town of Eze-le-Village.

Posted by
10344 posts

IMO not a good idea to do Arles as a day trip from Nice, too far, too much travel time in the day will leave you with little time to do much in Arles. Same thing Bets is saying above.

Posted by
4776 posts

Sylvia,

According to Rome2rio.com, it will take 3 Hrs, 42mins. to travel from Nice to Arles by train, & 5Hrs,9mins by bus.

To get from Nice to CT, it will take anywhere from 5.5- 6 hours via bus or train with multiple bus/train changes.

Given above facts, I would not travel such long hours for a day trip.

I have visited Arles, but my home base was Avignon (a charming medieval city! )

I have also visited Nice but I preferred Avignon over Nice.

I'm sure others will chime in with more info regarding feasible day trips from Nice.

Posted by
24 posts

Thank you for your replies. Perhaps to be a bit clearer, we are flying via Easyjet from Paris to Nice and back (April 29 - May 6) so unfortunately, the train to Arles will not be an optionand I think it's becoming quite clear that Arles is too great a distance to manage. My bent would tend more toward the Provence region ie Arles but my daughter would like to explore Nice. That being said, what are the recommended destinations wthin a reasonable distance via local, inexpensive transporation. I see Antibes mentioned, of course Cannes, Monaco? others? The reality is, this is a trip of a lifetime for us and I'm wanting to see and do all that we can. If we skip Arles, perhaps Cinque Terra is more feasible despite the lengthly amount of time to get there?

Posted by
43 posts

Hi Sylvia

There are so many places which could be considered must see places in the Nice area. What are your interests, what are you wanting from the places you visit? Armed with more information we should be able to tune you in better. For instance Grasse could be considered a must but only if you are interested in perfumes and aromas. The train to Digne equally but only if you like the mountains.

Best

Peter

Posted by
10344 posts

I can't recall anyone on this site ever recommending Nice to Cinque Terra and back to Nice as a day trip.
For the reasons, look at the travel times and details provided by Priscilla.
Or click below to visually see why, look at the travel times:
http://www.rome2rio.com/s/Nice/Cinque-Terre

Posted by
207 posts

Nice is such a lovely city and I love to shop the local markets and all of the beautiful flowers in the spring. I am looking to do a mini trip solo to Nice from Atlanta during Easter week. It is doable to take the bus to Monaco and that is worth it and we previously stayed but that is not necessary and very expensive. But worth the visit.

My advice is to pick a few places and really get into the local customs and you are staying at a local B&B it sounds like. Send me a private message if you want me to stop by it to check it out if I do go.

Aix is also a lovely town I am looking at and how do I get there from Nice. I prefer smaller cities and town.

Then look to Italy and it looks like I may be able to travel via train to Naples, Italy or Rome. I am exploring the Amalfi Coast again and I home based in Sorrento last year. Very magical and I saw Pompeii and then we took the bus to Amalfi and Rafello.

Good for you taking EasyJet as I have not done that yet.

Kathy

Posted by
11613 posts

I split a week between Nice and Nimes, you might consider that if you cut Cinque Terre. From Nice, it's a short bus ride to Vence and St-Paul-de-Vence. From Nimes, you can visit Arles, Orange (who doesn't want to visit a city whose name doesn't rhyme with anything?), the Pont-du-Gard (you can raft down part of the river), and many other towns in Provence. I liked Nimes for its easy transportation links, but just about any city in Provence would make a good base.

Posted by
4776 posts

Sylvia,

If you really want to explore The Cinque Terre, you may consider flying from Nice to Pisa then train to La Spezia on to the CT.

Wherever you choose to go on your travels, you will make wonderful memories with you daughter!

Posted by
24 posts

Many thanks for your replies, we've some pondering to do. So appreciate the opportunity to hear feedback from "seasoned" travelers. I like a good many suggestions and feel we'll keep our travels to France and leave Italy for another time.