After a cycling trip in the Dordogne, we have 3-4 days to enjoy Southern France before we fly out Marseille. Any suggest for a beach town or a town with close access to a beach to use as a home base while we explore the region? We will have a car.
Kent suggested that I might like to reply to this question. Hmmm ... Southern France. Most people immediately think of the Mediterranean coast. But I live in the FAR South (south west actually!) of France, near the Spanish border, in the rolling green foothills of the Pyrénées mountains, near the city of Pau, in the Béarn region. My house is nearer Madrid than Paris. If you are in Paris, Liverpool is closer than I am. It's a special part of the country. The nearest beach (the biggest in Europe) is an hour away. (It's still too cold to jump in the sea at the moment, anyway!) Spain is an hour away. Our wine region is Jurançon -- most people have never heard of that either. Very special - very unusual. It's one of the friendliest parts of France. You would be very welcome here, but we quite like it the way it is -- peaceful! :-)
Roger: Thank you for replying so quickly! and for providing information about your region.Rick does not cover your region in his books. We're now trying to divert all of Rick's faithful disciples to your region. Pau can become the next Cinque Terre! and will be overrun by American tourists within 10 years.:)
Jack: Someone who has posted here recently resides in that general area. His screen name here is Roger. I've sent Roger a PM that includes a link to your post, hopefully he will reply to your topic.Roger has recently told me that no one on this Forum visits his area, and that we're missing out. I told him that if Rick doesn't cover it in his books, we're not allowed to go there.
Keep this one quiet; Pau is a true beauty meant for relaxing walks and true enjoyment of France at its best. I speak as one who strongly prefers the south of France to any other. Tarbes is also another wondeful town that is a stepping stone to the Pyrenees. It really is beautiful there and worth a stay.
However, this area is a little far for cyclists. If you go east you will hit several beach towns; I am thinking of the tourist haven of St. Tropez to St. Raphael. I shy away from St. Tropez -- too full of itself, but worth at least one visit -- then check out the other surrounding towns. All of it is the French Riviera and you won't go wrong. Cheers.
Michael -- "However, this area is a little far for cyclists" ???? Au contraire. This is actually cycling Nirvana. One of them anyway. Until this year, Pau was the only city other than Paris to have hosted the Tour de France EVERY year. (There is outrage that the tour will not visit this year.) The Pyrenees sections traditionally always start or end here. And they are spectacular. As soon as winter is out of the way, the place is crawling (??) with cyclists. There are swarms of them backwards and forwards, past my place, every day.
I'm no beach connoisseur, but I think the beaches in Languedoc-Rousillon are better than those to the east--sandier, less pretentious.
We really enjoyed a 24+-hour stay in Coulloire, near the Spanish boarder. It's a very pretty town with a beach, and old fort, and a few things to do. But I'm not sure how well it would hold up for four days. Possible day trips: Carcassone, though that's a bit far; some of the old Cathar ruins at Peyrepertuse and Querebus (Pyreneean foothills), and Perpignan.
If you are leaving from Marseilles you might consider a shorter time in Coulloire and a few days in Provence, based on a small town like Arles or a smaller town like St. Remy. Lots to see and do there!
"I told him that if Rick doesn't cover it in his books, we're not allowed to go there." Brilliant! Hear that Rickniks? You are not allowed to stay anywhere in the Alps except Gimmelwald and Reutte, Belgium only has two cities, there's nothing in Germany between and north of Berlin and Cologne, and despite rumours to the contrary, the countries of Russia, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Macedonia, Belarus and Albania do not exist.