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5 days Cote d'Azure/Provence end October

I have 5 unplanned days of travel after a month of studying French in Villefranche sur Mer (5 mins train from Nice) this fall. I will probably have seen most of the area around Nice by the time my month of school has finished. I am looking for recommendations for 5 days; I will start out from Villefranche and fly out of Nice on day 6 so I will want to stay overnight in Nice on day 6.

I love open air food markets and historical architecture; I am considering Aix and Isle sur la Sorgue and Carcassonne. I don't want to change hotels every night and hope to stay a couple of nights in 2 places. On a previous RS tour I stayed in Arles, Vaison la Romaine and saw numerous sites around Arles at that time. I will be relying on trains and buses for transportation. Any suggestions/opinions, likes/dislikes? Thanks in advance.

Posted by
10344 posts

"Open air food markets at Isle sur la Sorgue": The market days used to be Sunday and Thursday (in 2007); I don't know if that is still the case in 2010--but you'll probably want to try to confirm the days, so that you are there on one of the market days, otherwise you could be disappointed.

Posted by
10344 posts

Carcassonne is substantially farther west the the two other locations you're considering. I mention this because, given your timing, you'll probably want to take into account the train travel time back to Nice, before deciding between Aix and Carcassonne. Station to station time for about 90% of the trains, from Carcassonne to Nice, is about 6.5 to 7 hours (there appears to be one faster train daily but even that one is almost 6 hours), not including the time to get to the train station, wait for the train, etc.

Posted by
796 posts

Thanks Kent, great info about the train travel time. Just looking at the map it doesn't seem that far. I considered returning to Vaison la Romaine but the public transportation is not great, I'll have to do that next trip!!!

Posted by
10344 posts

You're welcome! To get an idea of train travel times, this website is useful.

Posted by
1319 posts

June - You could try St Remy (Wed market) or Uzes (Wed and Sat markets), both are pretty towns with great markets. Aix is also a good choice. As Kent said, the famous Isle sur la Sorgue market is on Sundays.

Posted by
4132 posts

If I were planning a break like that, after a month in Nice I'd probably look north, not west. The Alps or the Jurra or Burgundy.

I don't mean that the southern destinations aren't magnificent, but sometimes contrast is nice.

Posted by
796 posts

Thanks for the suggestions. St Remy is one of the places I considered. I had not thought about going to Burgundy, but I do love wine. I was just reviewing my RS Provence book last night; the problem is I want to go EVERYWHERE he lists!!! I guess if I win the 50 million dollar Lotto this week, I will be able to do that.