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Week in Southern France

We are touring France iin late May early June mostly by Riverboat. Our cruise ends in Marseille and we are taking an extra week to explore the area. First thoughts are to rent a car in Marseille and go from there. Looking for advice on the best way to spend this week. Do we drive up the coast towards Nice and spend single nights in different locations or pick a location as our base and take daily excursions from there. Would like to include Cannes and Nice in our travels. Suggestions on places to visit, places to stay would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


Posted by
308 posts

Hi Wayne,
I did something similar this past May. We based ourselves in Nice for a few days and then Bandol and took day trips from each city. From Nice, we took the train to Villefranche sur Mer and Antibes. I loved both these towns and wished we could've spent more time. We also took the Train des Pignes from Nice up into the French Alps and visited the hill town of Entrevaux. That was sweet and relaxing. From Bandol we visited Sanary sur Mer and Cassis. Cassis is lovely and the Calanques are superb, visit Cassis if only for the Calanques. You could also do a boat tour of the Calanques from Bandol and Sanary but the boat ride is longer because its farther away. Bandol and Sanary are ok compared to Antibes and Villefranche sur Mer. There are a few other day trips from Nice I did not take like St Paul de Vence and Cannes but that's for next time! Nice is a great place to base yourself for day trips. Connections are fantastic. Bon Voyage!

Posted by
1825 posts

How much of Provence will you have seen on the tour? That is the obvious choice to spend time since you are already there. Where do you fly out of at the end of the week because logistically I would want to be heading in that direction (or someplace with an easy connection) during the week. I'm guessing Paris will be involved and if you haven't been, that would be my choice for the week.

Posted by
11294 posts

Rick's book Provence And The French Riviera has much more information on this region than his general France book, so I'd start by looking at that.

Richard made two good points that I want to emphasize.

  1. Whether to focus on this region or somewhere else in France will depend, in part, on how much of it you are seeing as part of your cruise.

  2. Marseille and Nice have major airports. If you are ending your trip near one of these, fly out from there to the US (with a connection). It may not cost much more than a round trip flight from the US to Paris, and will save lots of time and hassle. Of course, if you're headed back to Paris for the end of your trip, that's different.

Posted by
4 posts

If you are going east towards Monaco, don't miss the medieval hilltop village of Eze.

Posted by
16894 posts

I prefer a middle ground between moving house daily and keeping one base for the whole week. That means two or three overnight bases.

Since you will have a car, I will mention the very old-school youth hostel on the wild hillside above the Calenques near Cassis (hike to them). Bunkbeds, no showers, bring food to cook.