Please sign in to post.

14 days in South of France

Hi. Flying into/out of Nice. What 3-4 places would you suggest to use as a base in order that I thoroughly visit Nice/ Provence /Avignon/St. Remy, etc. (advice on hotels/B&B?) How many days to spend in each to maximize the trip? Any other quaint areas to visit? Finally, should I rent a car? Thank you very much.

Posted by
545 posts

Kim, Provence is very "user-friendly" so I think there are a number of good options. One possibility is to rent a car and set up a comfortable "home base" for the Provence part of your trip. I like Arles because it is big enough to provide options for dining, shopping, and wandering in the evenings after you come home from sight-seeing -- but it's not so big that driving in and out of the town will be a problem. Distances are very short, so day trips are possible to Avignon, St. Remy, Les Baux, Pont du Garde, etc. You could change to another "home base" closer to Nice at the end of your trip. With a car, you could also spend a few days north in Lyon, or west in Carcassone.

Posted by
1446 posts

My suggestion to you is to split your trip on an east-west axis: without a car first, then with a car. The French Riviera, between Menton (border w/ Italy) and Nice is not particularly car friendly. The corniche roads tend to have heavy traffic and parking is a pain. It's about an hour by by bus between the two, and that covers everything in between (inc. Monaco). There is excellent public transpo that covers just about everything that you may want to see, for 1 euro - can't go wrong with that!. You can choose to easily spend a week based in either Nice (my choice) or Villefranche-sur-mer, popular with folks here. I would do that on arrival. From your base here, you can easily explore from Antibes (painters' walk), all the way to Ventimiglia in Italy (Friday market). No car here and my suggestion is 4-5 days or so. It would be pleasant to arrive in NCE from a long flight and head straight to your accommodation closeby... which is why I suggest that you start here, rather than in Provence. For Provence, you will want a car! You can pick up a rental car either at the NCE airport or next to the train station (Ave. Thiers) and head to Provence. Take the coastal road, stopping in Saint-Tropez for a couple of hours and spend one night in & or close to Le Lavandou (rec: Hotel de la Plage), which will allow you to briefly enjoy a real beach, plus visit Bormes-les-Mimosas.

Posted by
1446 posts

Part Two: I'd aim for a week rental in a B&B or a gîte, around St Remy or Le Thor would work very well. LOTS of good suggestions if you search the threads, and coming in the next posts, I am sure ;-) I would head back to NCE airport through the northern route that loops through the Grand canyon du Verdon, looking to spend 2 nights around Grasse (B&B recs: Lou Pantail, Il Monticello or Mas Irenia). That would give you the chance to explore the area around Gourdon, Vence and St Paul de Vence by car on your last full day. Grasse is roughly 30 min. from the airport. I applaud your decision to concentrate your time in one corner of France - a wise choice, as it's beautiful and there's so much to do and see there! Hope this helps.

Posted by
4132 posts

Kim, I think Diane's advice is good. I'd just add that the kind of rental she suggests can be very agreeable (and less expensive than a hotel), but rentals get reserved far in advance and typically run weekend to weekend. We rented a place outside of St. Remy, with some friends and a car, and it was just a great setup for exploring the region. Most of the rentals in the area that are small (e.g. for couples or singles) are apartments in cities or towns, and your choices may be limited. I wouldn't rent a place in Aix, a charming town that is too far away from many of the sights. In your place I'd be tempted to try to find a rental plus spend a night or two up in the Luberon.