France or Turkey

We are planning an 8 day trip in October to Provence and friends of our suggested Turkey as being a much better trip. We want relaxation along with sight seeing so the large cities are not exciting me. Any suggestions from folks whom have travelled to both?

Posted by Sharon
2727 posts

Just one opinion but for a relaxing trip that's 8 days in length, I'd pick France. Istanbul is a huge city and getting to other parts of Turkey can be complicated. I'd save Turkey for a trip when you have more time.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
851 posts

I think many people would agree that Turkey is a good value for the money and that's what makes it stand out. You can have a fairly inexpensive trip, relative to Western Europe, and still see some wonderful sites - particularly ancient ruins, Ottoman architecture, and lots of beautiful coastline that is much less developed (and great food, especially if you like fresh fish, kebabs, and mezze). Check out Lonely Planet's Turkey book and see what areas look appealing. If you do go to Turkey, you don't need to go to Istanbul but can go straight to the coast (although you'll always have to fly through Istanbul) or the Cappadoccia region (among others) if you want something more laid back. It's a huge country so it just depends whether something there piques your interest. You should ask your friends what they meant exactly by "better trip" - you'll probably get a far more useful answer than asking random folks to make a comparison without knowing your interests or preferences.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
4763 posts

I love both Turkey (only been once) and France (been multiple times), but I, too, am puzzled by your friends' statement that one is "much better" than the other. They are certainly different, and both are very popular places to go. It's like saying that seeing the Bryce, Zion and Arches National Parks in Utah would be a "much better trip" than seeing New York City and Washington, DC - they are two different kinds of trips, and it's not a contest as to which is better, except for individual interests, logistics, etc. If you want to learn more about Turkey, you can start with

Posted by Dina
Fontainebleau, France
893 posts

The two trips would be very different IMO. Turkey is one of those countries I would really like to explore more. But unless you go to the "Turkish Riviera" for the whole time, I don't see how it would compare to just hanging out in Provence for 8 days. Istanbul is a great city, but it's a really sprawling large city. I guess you could go some place like Izmir (which is a large and modern city) and hit Ephesus, Pamukkale, and other cities around it, which would be interesting, but way different than Provence. If Provence is what you want, I would say to go to Provence.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3254 posts

Agree with all above posters... can't even begin to compare. I have been to both and Provence many times, and for the style of trip you are looking for it is Provence, hands down. I love Turkey, but it is definitely intense and takes a bit more 'mental work' than France... but, if you decide you are up for a beautiful country and culture, then go for it. I would go back in a minute.

Posted by David
42 posts

Thanks too all, we are going to Provence!
To the Ann Arbor folks whom have been to Provence many times; would you focus on Nice area or the Aix area?

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3254 posts

I would most definitely focus on the area away from Nice, but I love the countryside and small villages and nature. I also do not care for Aix that much. I usually stay in St. Remy (my absolutely favorite town) and use it as a base to see all the villages and markets. I also have enjoyed the Carmague and it was a day trip from St. Remy. I have spent the night in Nice as I flew out of there and had fun, but would not want to spend a lot of time there.
If you PM me I can send you to my website where you can see some of my images of Provence (I am a photographer) so you will understand why I love France!

Posted by Jerry
Madison, WI, US
80 posts

Hi David - I went to Turkey in 2012 and Provence in 2011. I enjoyed both very much. 2 completely different vacations. The Turkish towns on the Aegean Sea were very relaxing. If you've been to France before go to Turkey. My family of 4 flew into Istanbul, stayed a few days, then flew is Izmir and rented a car. The went stayed in Selcuk and Sigacik. Turkey is more of an adventure. In Provence we stayed in Nice, Ruette, Aix en Provence, Arles, and Avignon. All nice cities...but I got what I expected. My vote is for Turkey.