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Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (or PACA) is one of 27 regions in France. It includes the former French province of Provence, the Comté of Nice (acquired in 1860 from the Kingdom of Piedmont Sardinia), the former papal state of Comtat Venaissin, and the South-East part of the province of Dauphiné in the Alps. The region is a major tourist area in France. It is pretty crowded during the summer months on the coast.
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur consists of 6 departments:
The region's largest cities are:
Other towns include Antibes, Arles, Aubagne, Brignoles, Draguignan, Fréjus, Grasse, Hyères, La Seyne-sur-Mer, Le Cannet, Mandelieu-la-Napoule, Menton, Mougins, Martigues, Villeneuve-Loubet, Saint Tropez, Manosque, Orange and, in the Alps, Gap, Sisteron, Digne, Briançon.
The weather is usually pretty nice and convenient in the south of France. On the seaside, during winter, the temperature ranges from 10 to 20 °C and during summer, it can get up to 35 °C. Then the region extends up to the Alps where the temperatures are colder during the winter period. You can even get some snow there.
Marseille and Nice are the main gateway, located in the west and east of the region respectively. Avignon is a good choice for some flights and has many budget airlines serving the region.
The region is very well linked to the rest of the country thanks to its extensive train network. The main stations are Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Toulon, Cannes and Nice. The main interregional trains are the TGV (train a grande vitesse), train Teoz, Corail and Lunea (night trains). Please note that the TGV trains here do not run at their high speed because of inappropriate rails: the high speed TGV line only links Marseille to Aix-en-Provence TGV and then Avignon and Lyon further to the north. The TGV trains that do run between Marseille and Nice only present the advantage of not stopping at all the minor cities and towns, and are therefore slightly quicker.
People under 25 will be able to get a "12-25" price without a railcard. Various railcards are available, but you usually need to be a French resident to get one. For more information on prices, please go to the SNCF website.
It takes approximately 8 to 10 hours by car to reach the region from Paris through the A6 highway (known as the Sun Highway, "Autoroute du Soleil"). From Lyon, it is closer, 3 hours to reach Marseille and 5 hours to Nice.
Eurolines operates a number of lines in the region. The main departing station is Toulon. Popular destinations include Barcelona, Amsterdam and various cities in Germany and Italy. All information about Eurolines' French connections and coaches can be found here
For more information about departures from Marseille, please visit the official website of the harbour.
There are several trains a day linking the smaller cities and towns like for example Cassis, Villefranche and Carnoule. Please note that the TGV trains here do not run at their high speed because of inappropriate rails: the high speed TGV line only links Marseille to Aix-en-Provence TGV and then Avignon and Lyon further to the north. The TGV trains that do run between Marseille and Nice only present the advantage of not stopping at all the minor cities and towns, and are therefore slightly quicker. If you are on a budget, the TER (train express regional) is the cheapest way to get around.
People under 25 will be able to get a "12-25" price without a railcard. Various railcards are available, but you usually need to be a French resident to get one. If you are planning to stay in the region for a longer period of time and are under 25, you can apply for a "Carte Jeunes Region PACA" that will give you 50% off all TER trains. This card cannot be used on other trains, especially TGV. But it is worth getting if you can: a train ticket between Toulon and Nice would cost you around €20 without the card, and €10 with the card.
For more information on prices, please go to the SNCF website. For all information about the regional trains within the PACA (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) region, please go to the SNCF regional website
From Marseille to Nice, the distance is approximately 200 kilometres and it takes a bit more than 2 hours by car via the A57 and A8 highways.
The region is proudly offering a distinctive refined cuisine with a lot of typical recipes like the Bouillabaisse in Marseille or the Ratatouille in Nice.
The region is most famous for her rosé wines (Bandol, Cassis, Coteaux de Provence), and for its Pastis. This aniseed-flavoured alcoholic drink is served with water - measurements vary, from very light ( usually teasingly called "the touristic measure" by the locals) to very strong ( locally called a "mummy" due to its colour). The two leading brands are Pastis 51 and Ricard. The pastis is so characteristic of the region that it is the object of several popular songs, including "51, je t'aime".
Ask Alain13 a question about Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Because I am now living in Provence
Ask EUTravelGuide a question about Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
First visited Nice in 2006 and never found a better place for a holiday.
Not that I am going to stage a Peter Mayle, but through all those years I had piled a lot of experience and even more photos which I am not sure I will have time to upload from my personal site.
On the contrary, my most easy-going itineraries will appear here as soon as I figure out where to put them up.
But don’t ask me how to see Cannes, Menton and Grasse in one day, I don’t do non-science fiction!
Ask Nice with BA a question about Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
I spend my time between Nice and Dublin, am bilingual English/French and am absolutely passionate about the French language, people, culture, food, history, traditions and scenery. I offer tours to discover the famous Nice food markets, followed by a cookery class given by a French local in my little home in Nice overlooking the colourful city and the Baie des Anges.
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