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29 year old couple to Paris and Provence and need advice

My husband and I are planning a trip to Paris and Provence this year. We would arrive in Paris the last few days of August and stay for 4 nights. I was then planning on taking the train to Provence and staying for 3 or 4 nights before heading to the Cote d'Azur for 3 or 4 nights. We would come home around Sept. 6th. I've been to Paris once before about 6 years ago. My husband has never been to France.

We love to travel and get lost wandering around and finding cool places..but we also want to see the tourist spots. We love to eat and love wine too.

I'm looking for advice for a place to stay in Paris (not an apartment) and ideas of where to stay and what to do in Provence and at beaches of the South. I would be open to B&B in Provence.

Thank you.

Posted by
3313 posts

Andrea - just to get you started -

Rent a car and drive to Provence. Stay in St. Remy and do day trips to the small towns nearby as well as Avignon and Arles. Drop the car and train to the Cote d'Azur and see if you can find a place in Villefranche sur Mer. But it is extremely high season there until the first week of September, so check availabilities ASAP.

Posted by
4125 posts

A car in Provence would greatly extend your reach. But I'd take the train from Paris and get the car in Provence.

It's a long drive; the train is quicker.

You and yours should hit the books--travel guides--to discover what shorts of things you want to do in Provence and the Cote d'Azure.

There are lots of choices, and depending on what you learn you might want to alter the balance of time between Provence and the Cote.

Don't worry about a place to stay until you know where you want to spend your time, e.g. Luberon versus Rhone valley area.

August is high season in the south, so reserve early, but there will be arts and cultural events to choose from too.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
13 posts

Thank you both for your help. I am going to get Rick's Paris and Provence books soon and start doing some research.

Posted by
4125 posts

Rick's books are really first rate, but I would not limit myself. There are books for foodies and books for wine fans and books of country walks and just about everything else.

I'm not sure what's at the BPL but Somerville's library used to have a great travel section.

Posted by
1078 posts

Suggest you take the train to Valance or Avignon and then rent a car. We have used karenbrown.com for B&B's and also gitesdefrance.org(?)and have not been disappointed, however, you better start now as half of Europe will be in the area for holiday.

Posted by
8700 posts

I'm with Adam. Don't limit yourself to Rick's books. Lonely Planet guidebooks are excellent and are more thorough than are Rick's books. A new edition of the LP Provence & the Cote d'Azur guidebook is due out this month.

Posted by
1280 posts

I agree that with three or four nights, you should focus on either the Luberon area or the Rhone area. St Remy is a wonderful town and you could visit Pont du Gard, Les Baux, Nimes, Uzes, Avignon, and/or Arles from here. I recommend the Mas de la Dame outside Les Baux for wine tasting. If you choose the Luberon area, you could base in Carpentras or Roussillon and visit the hill towns as well as Isle sur la Sorgue, Vaison la Romaine and Aix en Provence. The Mourchon winery outside Seguret is fantastic. Getting a book or two and choosing what appeals to you is a good first step. And I also recommend taking the train and renting a car once you get to Provence. Enjoy!

Posted by
950 posts

I second Doug's recommendations! I also loved Vaison la Romaine. It was a great place to stay also.

Bon Voyage!

Posted by
8055 posts

Don't know what your budget is but our favorite hotel is Hotel de Lutece on Ile Saint Louis, our favorite area of Paris. It's the little island behind Notre Dame which is right in the heart of Paris with beautiful views all around you.

Posted by
9110 posts

It's actually gitedefrance.com (not org); I've only found it really useful for week-long stays, but it's absolutely great for those.

"Karen Brown" won't fit in the same sentence with "my wallet", but she does list some really spiffy places.

Posted by
361 posts

My husband and I did the same trip last year! Take the bullet train from Paris to Avignon (2 3/4 hours)and pick up the car right outside the train station. We stayed in St. Remy which is a lovely little town. Don't miss the Wednesday Farmer's Market. The hotel, Sous les Figuiers, is more like a B&B--we loved it. Nice people, lovely rooms, peaceful surrounding, and right in town. You can't go wrong here. We stayed in a smaller room without terrace. It was decorated tastefully and looked new.

http://www.hotel-charme-provence.com/

We drove to Nice for the last 2 days of our trip. Skip Nice. Large, touristy, and nothing much to see. I'm sure the smaller nearby towns are lovely. Enjoy!

Posted by
8700 posts

I have to disagree with Kathy's statement that there is nothing much to see in Nice. Outside of Paris, Nice and the surrounding area have the best art museums in France. Both the Chagall Museum and the Matisse Museum in Nice are stunning. The Orthodox cathedral has the reputation of being the best of its kind outside of Russia.

However, I do agree that surrounding towns like Antibes with its walled old town and nearby perched hilltop villages are definitely worth one's time and attention.

Posted by
8293 posts

Yes, Tim, and the Nice Museum of Modern Art, about which there was a huge financial scandal when it was built, is definitely worth a visit.

Posted by
8700 posts

Norma, thanks for including the Museum of Modern Art. The only reason I didn't is that during my five-night stay in Nice I ran out of time and didn't get there. And there were lots of other things I didn't get to do either. As Rick says, "Assume you will return."

And as long as we're talking about art museums, the Picasso Museum in Antibes is great, not least of all because along with paintings on canvas it includes pottery created by a friend of Picasso's on which Picasso did some wonderful drawings.

Posted by
1280 posts

If you're a Renoir fan, the house he lived and worked in at the end of his life is in Cagnes sur Mer, a short bus ride from Nice. The house and grounds are really wonderful. It's worth seeing and not usually crowded at all.