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Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Travel Guide Europe France Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

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Introduction

Old Town Nice

Old Town Nice

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Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (or PACA) is one of 26 regions in France. It includes the former French province of Provence.

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Geography

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur consists of 6 departments:

  • Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
  • Hautes-Alpes
  • Alpes-Maritimes
  • Bouches-du-Rhône
  • Var
  • Vaucluse

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Cities

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.

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Events and Festivals

  • The Festival de Cannes, better known as the Filmfestival of Cannes, is one of the oldest and most prestigious filmfestivals anywhere in the world. The private festival is held annually (usually in May) at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, in the resort town of Cannes, in the south of France. The first festival started in 1930 and in 2012, the 65th edition will be a fact.
  • The Chorégies d'Orange are an opera and classical music festival. It takes place every summer in the ancient theater of Orange.
  • The Festival d'Avignon is the largest event of theater and performing arts in France. The festival takes place every summer in July in the courtyard of the Palace of the Popes in Avignon and in multiple theaters and places of the historical center.
  • The Festival international d’art lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence is a festival of opera and classical music that takes place each summer in Aix-en-Provence. This is one of the great European opera festivals, with performances outdoors.
  • Nice Carnival (13 Feb 2015 - 01 Feb 2016) - February/March: After Rio in Brazil, the Nice Carnival is arguably the largest and most colourful in the world, with amazing floats and animations sweeping through the seaside city. It’s an intoxicating scene, drawing crowds of more than one million people who line the streets to catch a glimpse of the giant puppets who appear to dance in the sky overhead. Address: Nice, Phone: +33(0).892.707.407

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Getting There

By Plane

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.

By Train

The region is very well linked to the rest of the country thanks to its extensive train network. The main stations are Marseille, 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.

By Bus

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

By Boat

Boats depart from Marseille and Toulon. Destinations include Corsica (companies: SNCM and Corsica Ferries) and various Italian and Spanish harbours.

For more information about departures from Marseille, please visit the official website of the harbour.

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Getting Around

By Train

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

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Drink

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".

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Sleep

Contributors

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This is version 25. Last edited at 12:41 on Oct 13, 14 by Utrecht. 19 articles link to this page.

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