Skip Navigation

South of France

Travel Forums Europe South of France

Last Post This thread is marked as being about France
1. Posted by aileenk88 (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

We are visiting Southern France from May 13 onwards, during our two months travel in Europe.

We are on budget, and will travel by train/bus, and enjoy scenic views, markets, architecture, photography
(less museum and no wine tasting).

Hope to do many day trips to nearby attractions where public transport is available.

Kindly advise how many days we need for Southern France , and how many nights each to stay in
Avignon, Provence and Nice if we have 10-13 nights to spare.

Please also recommend convenient locations of accomodation.

Thanks in advance.
Aileen

2. Posted by OldPro (Inactive 400 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

No one can tell you how many days you need in any given place aileenk88. That depends entirely on your personal interests. One person may be tired of Avignon in a day while someone else still isn't ready to leave after having been there for a week.

All anyone can tell you is how many days they spent in a place and whether it was enough, too little or too much for them.

I personally for example would spend all 13 days, in that area, in Antibes. But that is my personal preference based on my personal interests

[ Edit: Trying to make it less derogatory ]

3. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 518 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hi Aileen. If I had a choice of 10 to 13 days in southern France, I’d choose the 13-day option. There is so much to see and do there that even 13 days won’t be nearly enough.

You have suggested Avignon, Provence and Nice. First, Provence is a very large region and Avignon and Nice are cities within this region. Avignon is on the western edge of Provence and Nice is near the eastern border so you are really looking at two places, Avignon and Nice, both of which are in Provence. That makes you list a little shorter which is good.

As far as time, we recently spent a month in a gite (country cottage) near Avignon and didn’t run out of things to see and do so decide what you want to see and plan your time accordingly. Both Avignon and Nice are great cities to visit and both have lovely surroundings.

We have a car so I’m not going to be much help with regional transportation. However, when we’re in Nice where we often fly in and out, we never pick up our car until we’re ready to leave Nice and venture into the countryside because public transportation in Nice is good and is cheap. You can get most of your bus information here: http://www.lignesdazur.com/
Train information here: http://www.voyages-sncf.com/

You don’t say where you are coming from or how you are arriving. If you are coming in by train, Avignon might be the place to start your Provence adventure because there is an excellent train connection by TGV (high-speed train) from Paris. If you are coming in by plane, the Nice International Airport is wonderful and you can walk out to a bus stop (#23) right into the heart of town . . . or stay at one of the hotels across the street from the airport.

Since you won’t have a car, I’d suggest staying right in Avignon and right in Nice and splitting your time between the two.

In the Nice area, you may want to look at St. Paul (usually referred to as St. Paul de Vence), Tourrettes-sur-Loup, Vence, Antibes, Cagnes-sur-Mer and Eze in addition to all the things to see in Nice itself. These places are all easily reached by bus.

In the Avignon area, don’t miss the Pont-du-Gard Roman Aqueduct. Here is their web site: http://www.pontdugard.fr/en/ancient-work-art

Also in the area are St.-Remy-de-Provence with a wonderful market, the Van Gogh Asylum and Glanum, a wonderful Roman archeological site . . . all an easy walk from the center of town. You will want to visit L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue with an antique market, lots of waterwheels and the accompanying waterways. A trip to Arles by train is great fun and there is an incredible amount to do there from the fabulous Roman Coliseum to a fun Van Gogh Walk you can get for a euro from the Tourist Office.

You might want to look at Google Maps and see what is in the area and then check the local Tourist Offices because they always give excellent information.

Had you thought of renting a car for a day or two? Just curious because there are some wonderful perched villages not far from Avignon that you can easily visit but buses are very irregular and trains don’t go to most of them. Just a thought.

As far as places to stay, we use Gites de France and Logis de France but since you want to stay in town (and we prefer the country), I'd suggest www.booking.com which is an excellent hotel web site that offers hotel rooms, B&Bs, and apartments. They have reviews written by people who actually have stayed there. It's the web site we use when we're staying in larger cities and we love it.

Let me know if you have any more specific questions.

4. Posted by Me-Heidi (First Time Poster 1 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Quoting aileenk88

We are visiting Southern France from May 13 onwards, during our two months travel in Europe.

We are on budget, and will travel by train/bus, and enjoy scenic views, markets, architecture, photography
(less museum and no wine tasting).

Hope to do many day trips to nearby attractions where public transport is available.

Kindly advise how many days we need for Southern France , and how many nights each to stay in
Avignon, Provence and Nice if we have 10-13 nights to spare.

Please also recommend convenient locations of accomodation.

Thanks in advance.
Aileen

Hi Aileen,

I lived in Villefranche-sur-Mer for six weeks in language school in 1986 (wow...so long ago)...and sometimes many things do not change, which is why I chose to respond to your thread, as I do suggest staying overnight in Villefranche-sur-Mer considering you are on a budget, and the accommodations may not be as pricey as Nice. In addition, maybe also more quaint and less chance of a busy city with more potential crime (my experience also then unfortunately...not to be fearful, just aware).

Be sure to purchase a seat on the train in addition to your train ticket, as I had to stand for hours traveling from Geneva to Villefranche-sur-Mer, which was my experience while traveling by train in France.

In Antibes, there is the Picasso museum (I know you stated less museum), though to note: the art there can only be seen there and nowhere else, if interested.

Yes, there is much to see and do in the areas you mentioned...so do as much research as possible and plan accordingly. I had a delightful time in every place and space (and didn't even have internet yet, nor a cell phone when I was there!)

In-Joy!
HEiDi

5. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 518 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Things have changed a little since 1986. On the TGV (high-speed trains), you have to reserve a seat. On most of the local trains that you may take sightseeing in the area of either Avignon or Nice, you can't reserve a seat but probably won't have to stand . . . at least we never have. Even if you do, these are very short trips between, for instance, Nice and Eze or Avignon and Arles.

Unless you are out running around at 2 in the morning, you are going to be perfectly safe in Nice. Villefranche-sur-Mer is beautiful and I encourage you to visit, but it puts you a little out of the way for taking day trips in the Nice area. You will have to go to Nice first and then on to your sight for the day.

The Picasso Museum in the Château Grimaldi at Antibes is small and very nice and the views from the windows and the terrace are marvelous. Going there is a very good idea. There is another Picasso Museum just up the hill in Vallauris in the Priory of a former Abbey. There is a small chapel that contains Picasso's War and Peace and if you don't see anything else, that is worth the trip. I remember standing there looking at Peace and feeling very strange and insecure. I turned and there was War (huge) looking over my shoulder. You are actually standing in the middle of the painting. Here is their web site: http://www.vallauris-golfe-juan.fr/The-national-Picasso-Museum.html?lang=en

Here's the Nice Tourist Office web site to help you schedule. Right now they are heavily advertising Carneval but there is all the usual information too. http://en.nicetourisme.com/

Enjoy your trip.