Need an idea for Southern France

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Steven Schwartz, May 14, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Pretty much done with our itinerary for Southern France. Three nights in Cannes and then on to Aix en Provence for five nights before heading to Paris. We'll have a car until we leave Aix.

    My question is that we will be driving from Cannes to Aix and wondering if anyone has any ideas about a nice place to stop and visit on the way - maybe a nice town to have lunch and walk around.

    Appreciate any insights. Many thanks.
     
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  2. janetadams

    janetadams New Member

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    To stroll around the Paris city and spending a full day and a full night at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower... It might be worth experiencing...
     
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  3. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I know is late but...
    http://www.st-maximin.fr

    This little place is where Mary Magdalene is encrypted. It's about 60km or so north east of Marseilles so it is a bit out of your way but...it is a gem of a place and is much, much less heavily touristed than other equivalent locations in the region, and has a few delightful, mostly modest restaurants and small hotels.

    Of course you can hardly miss finding a delightful little place almost anywhere on the route from Cannes west. During three decades of making such trips we always just left the A-8 when we wanted to find something and wandered on small roads. if feeling compulsive we referred to Gault-Millau guides for rankings, but also began to use Michelin more recently.

    if you are a fan of Pastis there is a crucial pilgrimage on your route. the premier brand Henri Bardouin was invented and is still made here:
    http://www.distilleries-provence.com/fr/produits/pastis-henri-bardouin
    there are a handful of decent small restaurants nearby, and the Henri Bardouin shop will advise you.
    For the record my spouse hates the stuff, but we still make the journey anytime we're in the area and I stock up on paraphernalia and a few bottles.
     
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  4. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Had a marvelous trip and thought I'd provide some feedback:

    1. Considered taking a bus tour of Monte Carlo from Cannes but some on FT convinced me to drive. Big mistake! Bottom line was awful traffic and parking is a nightmare. Very sorry we didn't take the tour.

    2. When we left the Grand Hyatt in Cannes (fabulous hotel!), I spoke to the Concierge and he suggested we stop at St Tropez on the way to Aix. Another nightmare. Totally stalled traffic, to the point we eventually gave up with 5 miles to go and what would have taken more than another hour and just headed up to Aix. Again, had thought about a short cruise from Cannes to St Tropez and if we ever go back, that's what I would do.

    3. St Paul de Vence is a wonderful stop

    4. Provence towns are all wonderful

    5. Tolls - big tip here. Thought I was so smart since I made sure to have credit cards with chip technology. Left the airport with our car, got on the highway and at the first toll both, NONE of my cards were accepted! Eventually a collector came over and took a bill and gave me change but I sure did not make a whole lot of friends on the line behind me! Make sure you have Euros and change before you head out.

    6. Returned June 13th and just received a speeding ticket from one of the radar cameras. Ticket was for 78 KMH in a 70! Cost 45 Euro. Speed at your own risk.

    7. For those who like to travel on points, the new Renaissance in Aix was a wonderful place to use Marriott points. Delightful new hotel.

    I could go on and on. Great trip I would recommend to anyone.
     
  5. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    IIt's better to arrive at St Tropez by boat. There is service from Antibes and other nearby places on the coast.
     
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  6. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    As one who recommended driving I apologize. I believe had I known you were trying to do this in July I'd have recommended against it because of the impossible traffic and congestion. However, I should have known and said so. Please accept my apologies!
    The concierge DID know when you were there and was ridiculous to suggest you stop at the single place most conquered by assorted Northern Europeans during the mid-summer.

    If you'd not liked my part-time home of 26 years I'd have been devastated. I'm very happy you liked it. It's hard not to love the small villages. Had i been in my right mind I'd have suggested a number of hilltop and interior villages few of which are overrun as are the coastal cities. I'd also have suggested skipping the A-8 and following the inside roads, toll free and sometimes not much slower than the deeply congested A-8 especially on summer weekends.

    Thanks for posting this. Ah, speeding violations. They are the bane of motorways all over Europe these days. I have stories...

     
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  7. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Don't you even think of apologizing. You were a wonderful and generous resource and bottom line - what an amazing trip. BTW - had lunch at a restaurant right insight the walls - Tilleul. Sat next to a couple and ended up having a lovely lunch conversation with them. In the end, they come from Melbourne Australia, we land there on Dec 1st and we're having dinner with them on the 2nd! Absolutely friggin amazing!

    World is crazy and getting crazier. May turn travel down a notch after Australia/NZ and concentrate for awhle in US. But what an amazing road it has been - and most often thanks to tips from generous people like you!
     
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  8. freebird

    freebird Silver Member

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    After 4 days in Rome for friend's wedding, we'll be in Biot, France for 8 days. Any additional tips or suggestions would be nice. We'll land in Nice and renting a car. I'm a little nervous about driving. I'll definitely keep in mind about having bills and coins for toll roads. We are staying at my cousin's vacation house in Biot. Thanks in advance.
     
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  9. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    We're sorry we didn't think about checking out the hours for the Picasso Museum in Antibes - got there as it closed for extended lunch so check it out before you go. The Chagall Museum in Nice was absolutely wonderful and worth the trip. Parking sucks and it's a funny story. Finally went down a street and saw cars parked on both sides of the road - much more room on the right so we finally parked. Afterwards, we discovered that it was apparently not legal and we were the ONLY car parked on the right - extremely lucky we weren't towed away. Still laughing about it.

    Bottom line - don't over program. It's a beautiful, laid back area. And be sure not to miss St Paul de Vence. Outside the city is an absolutely wonderful museum - Fondation Maeght. Amazing sculptures and a very memorable visit. Check it out online and be sure to include it in your trip to St Paul.

    Have a great time!
     
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