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Where to Stop? Between Nice and Paris

My daughter and I are off on a 3 week trip next Spring Break. Flying in to Frankfurt, heading down to Italy through Switzerland, then back along the coast to Nice, etc. Need to sort out good stops between the coast and Paris. I haven't been to that part of Europe before so no idea what would be good...advice much appreciated!

Posted by
6930 posts

How many days do you have between Nice (included) and Paris (included)? Have you been to Paris before?

Without further info, the most popular stops would be Aix, Avignon and surroundings, Lyon, and eastern Burgundy (Beaune / Dijon). Which one is best depends on the time available and on your interests.

I do worry that with 3 weeks to cover Western Germany, Switzerland, Northern Italy and SE France, you might not have much time at all, but I will wait for details!

Posted by
12 posts

Was in Paris a very long time ago, and really just caught a show and left (was a one night bus trip from Germany). Would like to spend at least 2 nights in Paris, and I am thinking one or two nights between Nice and Paris. Will be with my 16 year old daughter, so wherever we stop, needs to have some "teenager" highlights, such as castles, etc. I enjoy vineyards but her maybe not so much :-)

Posted by
12 posts

Forgot to clarify, that Germany is really just because good flight to Frankfurt. Will plan on heading down to Switzerland immediately, maybe one night in Germany along the way (possibly Triberg to buy a cuckoo clock!. Likely a night in Bern, then to Lauterbrunnen for a few nights, then off to Italy, then to coast, back to Paris.

Posted by
6930 posts

With just one or two nights between Nice and Paris, I would just fly or take the train from Nice to Paris. You'll enjoy having 3-4 nights in Paris rather than just 2.
But if you really want to stop over, then Aix is good for one night! Charming town with a large student population.

Posted by
7349 posts

Only two nights in Paris is really a short amount of time for a city where you could easily spend a week and be busy. I didn’t see how long you will be in Nice; I was there five nights and would like to return. There’s a lot to do along the coast, and there’s easy train & bus transportation to see it.

Otherwise, Aix en Provence is a natural stopping point. Lyon is interesting with the old (Vieux Lyon) area, but I would prioritize additional time in Paris vs. adding Lyon.

Posted by
6930 posts

Grenoble, a better choice than Lyon?!? Have no regrets 😂. I do not love Lyon either (minority opinion), but Grenoble just doesn't have much of touristic interest in comparison. A good art museum, a few cute streets and squares, an impressive viewpoint accessed by gondola...and that's about it. And it's not in the train route from Nice to Paris - neither is Geneva, by the way.

Posted by
12 posts

I think from reading all of the advice here, will likely stop in either Avignon or Aix-en-Provence with three nights in Paris. I’m not a big city person so hopefully three will be good.

Posted by
1161 posts

Your 16 year-old daughter will probably love Paris.

Posted by
378 posts

I’m not a big city person either but Paris has so many great “neighborhoods”, and it’s so easy to get around, that it doesn’t feel big city to me. Skip Lyon for sure, IMO.

Posted by
12 posts

We now have a full 4 nights in Paris, then I think will catch the fast train down to Avignon (wow, is it fast!), spend a night there, and then do the French Riviera with a base in Ville-Franche.

Posted by
7349 posts

Sometimes I think we get an impression of a city by where we stay in the city or the accommodations. When we stayed in Lyon, I booked an apartment on Booking where we stayed in one of the Traboule passageways in the Vieux Lyon area of the city. It was such a fantastic historical experience - picture being walked through a couple of dark stone passageways, up a winding stone staircase to a very heavy door to go into our place!

That set the stage to enjoying roaming through some of the other traboules the next day, going up to the top of our side of the river to the Roman museum (excellent!) and beautiful church interior (loved the light blue mosaics!). Then we could walk over the bridge to the center portion of Lyon and enjoy the neighborhoods that felt more like Paris. We would like to return sometime to see more of the city.

Posted by
14580 posts

My suggestions are Dijon and Grenoble..

Not Lyon. I was in Lyon twice in the late 1990s, didn't like it even on the second visit in 1999. Maybe after two decades it's time to see it once more.

Posted by
282 posts

Take a look at RS' "Best of Eastern France in 14 Days," as well as "My Way France in 13 days" tours for some ideas. And, of course a French train map. And, have your teenage daughter look at those as well. It's her trip as well as yours and her ideas merit consideration. In addition to Aix-en-Provence, Arles and Avignon, I see that Dijon, Champagne, the Marne and Disneyland would all be accessible. Not that I am selling Disneyland, but someone in your group might want a day, there.

I don't know all the areas well enough to suggest what you might do. From what I do know, I think 2 days in Avignon should be plenty. I don't think you mentioned Arles, which we quite enjoyed, even though we were there for only a few hours on Market Day as we meandered from Avignon to Arles, then through the Camargue and on to Cassis - by car.

Fred, from Seattle

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks Fred! We did decide on Avignon, but then heading over to the French Riviera, making a base in Ville Franche, and taking trains to Monaco etc. Hopefully the weather will treat us well.