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Cote d'azur for a week in sept/oct

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Rochester, Michigan
posts: 13
Cote d'azur for a week in sept/oct

I will be traveling with my wife to the french riviera in sept/ oct. (arrive 9/29/13 , leave 10/7/13)

We fly into Nice and are interested in seeing most of the major sites. (ie Monaco, St. Tropez, cannes, etc.) This is a honeymoon of sorts, we got married recently in Hawaii.

One thing we were hoping to do was do a wine tour. We love the reds from Rhone and were looking into a tour of the area. We found one from Avignon. I realize this is roughly a 3.5hr train from Nice, but it's a high priority. We would only really want to go for a day, maybe in the middle of the trip to break things up.

My questions are as follows:

1. Would most suggest staying in one place, ie Nice, and doing day trips to the cities, or moving around? It seems like a pretty big waste of time to check in and out every day or two.

2. Any suggestions for where to stay? Cost isn't an issue if it's worth it, not interested in spending just to spend.

3. Car vs trains/bus: I have read that if you stay in Nice, the public transport to everywhere except perhaps St. Tropez is easy and affordable.

4. Any wine regions closer than Provence and Rhone that might be worth while checking out in lieu of the long trip to Avignon? We like reds.

5. FOOD suggestions. We travel where the food it. Love experiencing high quality local foods, and not jus tthe $$$$$$ ones.

Thanks everyone, hope I gave enough info.

Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Destination Expert
for Monte-Carlo, Monaco
posts: 1,093
reviews: 168
1. Re: Cote d'azur for a week in sept/oct

Hi Brett

With just one week (and a bit, if I have read your dates right) I would suggest staying in two places, maybe Nice or Villefranche as a base to explore the Riviera then a couple of nights around Avignon for the wines and for places like Arles and Avignon itself. A car would be really helpful once you leave the coast, and would keep travelling time down.

I am going to stick my neck out and say you will not find red wines of exceptional quality until you get to the Rhone. Bellet is the only wine made in the Alpes Maritimes, and the great wines of the Var are mainly rose. Once you get to Avignon, you are a stone's throw from some of the great appellations of the Rhone, including Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Chateauneuf du Pape.

Enjoy your trip!

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 8,588
reviews: 52
2. Re: Cote d'azur for a week in sept/oct

The Cote d'AZur is very compact, so you really only need one base there. NIce, Antibes and beautiful little Villefranche all make good bases. You really don't need a car and you can move around quite easily on trains and buses. I would put Monaco and St Tropez down the list as "must sees" and make sure you spend time in Nice and Antibes. Eze village is a wonderful destination for spectacular views.

I would actually move to do your wine tasting to maybe Seguret...rent a car and do some exploring.

Edited: 6:44 pm, March 27, 2013
California
Destination Expert
for Grasse
posts: 7,354
reviews: 37
3. Re: Cote d'azur for a week in sept/oct

Bandol produces very good reds.

Ireland
posts: 3,271
4. Re: Cote d'azur for a week in sept/oct

Having visited both, I would be happy if I never visited Monaco or St Tropez again...but it's all about personal opinion.

Rochester, Michigan
posts: 13
5. Re: Cote d'azur for a week in sept/oct

Bandol is a very good suggestion for the location, but from what I'm seeing Seguret is actually further. I know what you mean about Monaco and St. Tropez. It's our first trip there (I'm sure we will be back) We probably won't include those locations again, but time to see them once. Probably a half day in Monaco.

Rochester, Michigan
posts: 13
6. Re: Cote d'azur for a week in sept/oct

The car issue is interesting. We found a tour that the owners of have been quite helpful. If we could train to Avignon, they would pick us up at our hotel and give us a full day tour at the wineries in the area. Then they would drop us off at the hotel. We would walk around the city a bit then maybe train back in the morning. Having never been, Is this unreasonable? I think a day of vineyard touring would be enough and probably a nice break from the riviera for a day or two.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 8,588
reviews: 52
7. Re: Cote d'azur for a week in sept/oct

Brett...as it relates to the wine tasting part of your trip...you have some choices. You certainly could take a train and a tour...stay in Avignon and return the next day. But do some thinking about this....the little wine producing villages of the Southern Rhone, Iike Seguret, are absolutely lovely and generally are very different from the villages and towns of the Cote d'Azur. Think about experiencing both. Most of the time on the coast and then drive up to the Southern Rhone for 2 or 3 days.

Edited: 10:22 pm, March 27, 2013
Louisville, Kentucky
Destination Expert
for French Riviera - Cote d'Azur
posts: 5,016
reviews: 26
8. Re: Cote d'azur for a week in sept/oct

The Cote d'Azur is compact, and via the region's excellent transit system, staying in one location allows you easy access to the others, including the mountain villages. Each of the coastal resorts has its own personality. They are all very different from one another, and the inland villages offer another dimension. If you don't mind changing hotels, think about combining contrasting locations, and your time doesn't have to be equally divided. For example, you can spend more time in a "city or town," and a few nights in a "village" or on a peninsula

I see the choice of a base is where you want to begin and end your day, and during the daytime, I'm on the go. We travel to Cannes for a convention and we've really enjoyed staying there, more of "glitz and glamour city" and a few nights in Villefranche, more of a quaint village. There are lots of combinations like this that might work: Nice or Cannes and Antibes; any of the coastal resorts and St. Paul, Eze, Vence or Cagnes sur Mer; Cap Ferrat and Beaulieu sur Mer and Nice, Cannes or Monte Carlo; and so on... I usually look at the coastal resorts as on one side of Nice or another and that's mostly about distance, but there's nothing wrong with moving from Nice to Villefranche or Cap Ferrat/Beaulieu sur Mer (about 10-15 minutes by train, but light years away in environments) or Cannes and Antibes or Juan les Pins. We have just kind of preferred moving from one side of Nice and the other, but you will know what works for you.

I'm suggesting this kind of combo because I find the contrast among the destinations in the Cote d'Azur the best part of traveling to the region. These aren't "cookie cutter" resorts or villages, and at the beginning or end of our days, we've really enjoyed the different environments. I've given you a "starter list" that can be mixed up and regrouped...see what others contribute. If this appeals to you, visit the TA home page for these and other locations that might interest to you, consider what other contributors might have to say, and see what might work for you.

(BTW, to avoid toting all of our luggage from one destination to another, we've packed "overnight" for our shorter stay and checked our larger bag at the Nice airport's storage facility. You have to have a valid airline ticket in and out of Nice to do this, but this has made our staying in two locations easier. It's not especially cheap, but it's not unreasonable and it was worth it for us. Between destinations, we found our way back to the Nice airport and picked up our other bag. We've done this upon arrival, and it's going to take an expert to tell you if you can do this in the midst of a trip with a departure ticket after your time in your second destination...we haven't tried that one!)

Edited: 10:59 pm, March 27, 2013
Louisville, Kentucky
Destination Expert
for French Riviera - Cote d'Azur
posts: 5,016
reviews: 26
9. Re: Cote d'azur for a week in sept/oct

Another thought, we've been to Bandol, and TBH, the resort is not on our "go back to" list. However, this is where we discovered Provence roses, and as these wines that are nothing like the "Kool Aiod' varieties we have in the US, i'm a fan . As others have said, this is a wine region, and we are there, again, attending a convention. We were taken on an excursion to a "mountain village" that was lovely. I can't remember the name of this village, but I think it started with a "C" and reminded me a bit of St. Paul or Tourrettes in the Cote d'Azur. It was "artsy" and quaint. I would choose to seek out this kind of destination over the resort itself, and perhaps someone can help you fill in my "blanks."

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 8,588
reviews: 52
10. Re: Cote d'azur for a week in sept/oct

troggs...read the post. The OP is intertested in the Southern Rhone and red wines, not roses. Why recommend Bandol? You probably went to La Cadiere.....

Edited: 1:09 am, March 28, 2013