After spending 9 days in Paris this June I would like to explore some areas south of Paris. I will go to Lyon for 2-3 days and then would like to go south to Provence and then on to the coast (maybe Cassis and Nice area). I would love suggestions on the best cities to explore in those areas. I am planning on doing this trip by train so please offer suggestions based on that. I considered renting a car but since I will be traveling alone I think I would be more comfortable with train travel so I need cities and towns that I can travel between on public transportation. Any thoughts or suggestions greatly appreciated. I have done a lot of traveling alone and have no qualms about doing this trip on my own, but would like some guidance as to how to see the most interesting areas. I love exploring cities and towns, museums, street markets, shops, etc. I do not speak French but am learning the basics.I would like areas I can just wander around and enjoy the history, sights, sounds and ambience of that particular area. I am a 55 year old active, fit female, love to walk and be outdoors. I would like to see both cities and countryside but will be limited to public transportation unless I decide to rent a car in Lyon. Any ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Hi Lori, My best friend and I spent little over 2 weeks in France last year and we had an amazing time. We spent 5 days in Paris, took the train to Avignon where we rented a car, stayed 4 days in Tavel with a bunch of day trips (St. Remy, Arles, Le Baux), 1 night in Cassis, and then 4 days in Antibes with day trips to Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo. I drove during our trip and it was completely manageable. GPS assisted us greatly. I don't speak French at all and was blown away by how easy it was to get around. The people were lovely and so welcoming. After my experience, I would say go for it. I can't wait to return to France, I loved everything about it. I recommend driving because it allows you so much freedom to explore on your own and at your own pace instead of being restricted by the train schedule. For me it was challenging to sort out getting tickets for the train. Based on what your looking for Southern France has everything. Good luck with planning your trip. Hope this helped a little.
Lyon, Avignon, Arles, Toulouse, all easily reached by inter-city trains.
Easy by train from Lyon: Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. Lucky you. Happy travels.