After spending 4 nights in Paris, 4 adults traveling together are thinking about renting a car for 10 days. We would like to see the beaches of Normandy, Nice and parts of Provence. Is this too much area to cover in a car? Perhaps if would be better to rent a car when leaving Paris for Normandy then turn the car back in at the Paris airport and fly to Nice. Once we have left Nice we could again rent a car for the remaining days in Provence and drive back to Paris to return home. Any suggestions are most appreciated. Thank you, Venice
Yes, your 2nd itinerary...
"Perhaps if would be better to rent a car when leaving Paris for Normandy then turn the car back in at the Paris airport and fly to Nice. Once we have left Nice we could again rent a car for the remaining days in Provence and drive back to Paris to return home."
makes more sense and will be a more enjoyable trip for you, IMHO. My reasoning is, if you check the driving time from Bayeux to Nice, you'll probably find that you don't want to drive it. If you had 4 days to enjoy the drive and poke around, it would make more sense.
Sounds like your airfare is already set. If not, there are several ways some experienced travelers would cover that same ground, and here's one way:
Fly into Nice from the US.
See Nice and do day trips by train to nearby places, such as Monaco/other French Riviera towns.
Then high speed train from Nice to Provence, say Arles or Avignon; rent a car in Provence for a few days, turn car back in at Avignon or Arles.
Then from Provence to Paris by high speed train. See Paris. And at some point during the Paris stay, either do a mad day trip to the D-Day Beaches, or if one or more of you are especially interested in D-Day etc., you could train to Bayeux for one overnight, connect next morning with Battlebus tours; and then return to Paris the next night.
Resume Paris visit and/or fly out of Paris back to US.
This is an open jaw itinerary where you fly into one city, fly out of another, and save the transportation cost and time of having to double back to the city you flew into.
If you do drive in France, don't forget the tolls you have to pay. It got quite expensive, a couple Euros more than what came up on the map/directions from Michelin.
Also realize you could train it to Nice from Paris also if you prefer not to fly.
Driving is easy for Normandy, Provence. Skip it in Nice unless you plan on driving up to the corniches. A car in Nice and along the riveria anytime during tourist seasons is very heavy and frustrating!
Venice, I would also do the trip exactly as Kent suggested, it's an excellent plan.
Hi Venice, Forget all this train/plane stuff. Rent a comfortable car and ramble around for ten days. Do you like the scenery while watching the Tour de France? Those are the small towns and country-side vistas that you will see when wandering around in a car. Their worst roads are better than the roads in our part of California, and the French are good drivers. Have fun. Charlie, Lodi, CA