I am getting married in Oct. My fiance does not want to know where the honeymoon is until the reception (which is one day before we leave to Europe). I have booked a flight to Nice to explore the French Riviera. We have two spare days, should we go to Florence as a romantic get away or should we spend time in the Cinque terre area. I have been to florence before but she has not. Should we explore more of Provence instead? Which would be more romantic? Also, should we rent a car or travel by rail?
Eric, I'm not sure that the Cinque Terre would be a good choice for October, as the weather may be a bit of a "gamble". It's certainly possible that you could get good weather for the entire time, but it could also be a bit rainy. The towns themselves are the attractions there, so there wouldn't be much to do in the rain. The weather wouldn't be as much of concern if visiting Florence, as there are lots of "indoor activities" to keep busy with. However, travel from Nice to Florence will take the better part of a day. Whether to rent a car or travel by train will ultimately depend on where you decide to visit. If you want to explore small villages in Provence, a car would be a better choice (not as useful in the cities though, especially as you'd have to pay for parking). I can't remember when the best time to see the Lilac fields is? I find that a combination of car and public transit is usually the best method. Is your return flight also from Nice? Another option would be to end your trip in Paris. I'm not too familiar with "romantic" these days, but Paris would seem to fit the bill in that regard. Congratulations and Happy Travels!!!
It's a 6 hour drive from Provence to Florence and at least 4 hours to the cinque terre. Never done it by train but the train line west of Genoa is slower than an American freight train passing at a railroad crossing when you are late for work. If you only have two days, stay put.
Just from a transit point of view, if you're going to be in the Nice area, it takes much longer than you might think to get to Florence or the Cinque Terre. Look at http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en to find routes and schedules (but not prices). In a quick look, the shortest connection between Nice and Florence was 7 hours with two changes). Between Nice and Monterosso was a bit over 5 hours with two changes. If you have to go round trip to get back to Nice for your flight out, that will eat up a lot of your two days. So, exploring more of Provence will be much easier. Of course, it's your honeymoon, and I wouldn't dare to tell you what you will or won't like, or should or shouldn't do. There's a lot of places to see near Nice. The following are all within a hour by bus or train (car also works): Menton, Monaco, Eze, Villa Ephrussi, St-Jean Cap Ferrat, Villefrance-sur-mer, Haut de Cagnes (Renoir's house), Antibbes, Juan-les-Pins, Cannes, Grasse, and St. Paul de Vence. And those are just the ones I remember, without looking at a map. I don't know if you want a busy or relaxing honeymoon, but either way, you won't run out of things to do in this area (although I certainly understand the desire for a different experience). If you want details of these places, Rick Steves Provence And The French Riviera has much more information than his general France book. His book is particularly strong on transportation between places.
There are tons of little romantic villages in Provence, but if neither of you has been to Paris, you could do the fast train for a whirlwind romantic two days in the City of Lights. I would definitely not do Florence since you have already been there... go someplace completely new for the two of you.
@Elle, Yes, Lavender fields, that's what I meant. I knew it was something that started with an "L".
All, We have both been to Paris and we both are not too fond of the city of light. I think Provence exploration might be the best solution. Anyone have more information on St. Paul de Vence? Should we travel on to Marseille? TY!
St paul de Vence and Eze are two wonderful villages...if you weren't too crazy about Paris, then how about someplace like the Carmague...the white horse and flamingos and the sea? I was with friends there once and they went horseback riding if you are in to that. Also, there is a favorite little town of mine called Gassin... very small village with wonderful views and just minutes from St.Tropez with its trendy stores and great market. I have also spent a ton of time in St. Remy and it's my favorite town to stay for long term in Provence. I enjoyed Marsailles but would not necessarily choose it as a destination over the other choices.