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Provence to Paris ideas please

We have 4-5 days to get from Nice to Paris. Do you recommend driving or taking trains? We are looking for suggestions for a route to see the countryside and small towns, Arles and Avignon, a winery or two, and a castle or two along the way. I suspect that's not as much time as it sounds. I've read the advice not to try to see too much and save some for the next trip. So all advice is very welcome.

We will be there the beginning of July. Should we make reservations for lodging along the way or can we leave room for a couple of nights of travel spontaneity? Thanks.

Posted by
29 posts

Thanks for the suggestions Kent and Doug. Reservations it is. Perhaps someone would recommend whether to stay in Nice one night or not. Chateauneuf du Pape sounds like a good stop for wine on the way north. Is the Point du Gard aqueduct too far out of the way for a day and a half of time in the area? Or is it worth it and skip something else?

Posted by
3313 posts

I agree with Kent on driving and with you that 4-5 days is not as much as it sounds. Here's one suggestion: Pick up your rental car in Nice and drive to St. Remy (about 15 minutes from the Autoroute du Soleil). From there you can easily visit Arles and Avignon as well as Les Baux, Chateneuf des Papes and some of the Provencal countryside.

Then you could drive north a few hours to Beaune and have the Burgundy countryside at your disposal. From there, Paris is an easy drive.

I would reserve hotel rooms, at least a day or two in advance. If you try to find a vacancy the day you arrive you'll spend at least a couple of hours knocking on doors when you could be getting out to see the sights.

Posted by
3313 posts

If you have a rental car, Pont du Gard is easy and well worth it. You could always go swimming below the bridge, too!

If you go that direction, the town of Uzes is fascinating as well. And then Nimes is just to the south. You can cover a lot of ground in that area with a car and a good map.

Posted by
1158 posts

If you want to see the country side and drink wine, then rent a car.It's worth it.
A few years ago we rented a car from Very good price then.
We went from Paris down to Nice, on Loire Valley. Full of castles and wineries.It might be slow, but very cool everything.
I wouldn't make reservation ahead of time. You never know where you want to stop and how tired you will be.
We were able to find budget hotels in small cities.There didn't have a receptionist, but they has sort of ATM where you pay and get the key or a peper witha code to get in. very high tech, never seen those hotels in the US.
Get a good Atlas of Europe from a bookstore here.
Borders has them for about $25

Posted by
25 posts

In May 07, 4 of us took the TGV from Lyon to Nice, spent 5 days on the coast, then drove back to Lyon via Provence (4 days).

We loved having the car, its GPS system & A/C. The train was fun, but we wouldn't have had enough time for as much sight seeing as we wanted to do if we'd stuck with public transportation.

We'd already spent a day in Antibes, but stopped there for lunch (Toscana's) on the way out of Nice because we enjoyed it so much. See the Pont du Gard (can't recomend this highly enough - take swim gear & picnic), Arles (very nice, crowded, good spots for picnicing), wineries (Rick has a suggested route in his book). We really enjoyed Avignon as well. Stayed at The Hotel Europe, which is a joy and a bargain. Stop in Valence for lunch at Pic Bistro (not restaurant next door). Lovely!

I would make hotel reservations before you go. July is high season and you'll want to get your requests in early for the rooms with A/C, regardless of where you stay.

Bon voyage!

Posted by
852 posts

Lots of people take touring bicycles on trips such as "Paris to Provence". You could find blogs online of such trips - and many include great photos of interesting finds along the way. You could get to those blogs if you "google" the subject - and while you may not have time to do bicycle tours, you may find tips you can use in your travels by auto. bon voyage!... P