I am in the early stage of planning a trip through France and Italy. After a brief stay in Paris (3-4 days) we plan on splitting the remaining time between France and Italy (traveling by car the majority of the time). We will have 10 additional days in France and expect to be in the Nice area at the end of the 10 days. If we visit both regions our time in any one town/area will be limited (2 nights per stop) and will require quite a bit of driving. Or we could spend the entire 10 days in the Provence/Nice area (TGV to Lyon or Avignon and pick-up car there). If you have visited both areas would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.
I have visited the Loire (Amboise), Avignon and Nice. I am not clear on where Italy fits in your plans...is that after your 10 additional days in France? If so, 10 is more than enough to visit the Loire and Provence and probably a tad more. Our trip was 4 nights Paris, picked up car and drove to Versailles - toured and then drove to Amboise for 2 nights. Then onto Avignon (if I had to do it again, I would do Arles instead) for 3 nights. Then ended in Nice for 4 nights with a day trip to Monaco. We dropped the car in Nice. That was 13 nights total. I would not spend all ten days in Provence. I would suggest giving time to Loire, we loved it.
Hello Steve, in my humble opinion, take the TGV to Avignon and pick up a rental car. There are plenty of rental car companies right at the train station. The Provence area is not that big, but combined with the Cote d'/Azur and/or Languedoc areas, that is 10 days of bliss. The drive alone along the Cote d'Azur, from La Lavandou to Monaco is a drive you will never forget. Be sure to take your time, stop to see the sights and stay in a small town along the way. Great way to spend 10 days or a lifetime!
We drove from Tours to the Loire, staying three nights and then drove to the Dordogne, spending two nights there. It was a lot of driving but enjoyable. On another trip we took the TGV from Paris to Avignon and spent a little over a week near there in a cooking class. You will have a great time no matter where you decide to to drive, there is so much to see and do in southern France. I think spending at least two nights per stop is a good idea. You won't need a car in Nice, the public transportation is very easy to use. Have a fantastic time.