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Driving an auto through South of France.

Omaha, Nebraska
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Driving an auto through South of France.

Wife and I are thinking of driving the south of France visiting or staying in the following cities. Paris, Bordeaux, Marseille, Saint Tropez, Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo, Chamonix and then finally fly out of Lyon.

We are American and have traveled Europe before via train. This time as mentioned we're thinking of renting a car and driving the entire time. I've driven across Ireland so I am use to driving from the opposite side than we do here in America.

I suppose what I am looking for is to get some dialog going with helpful suggestions or insight from those how have made a similar trip.

Le Bugue, France
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1. Re: Driving an auto through South of France.

The French drive on the right, just as we do in the USA.

How much time do you have for this trip? Unless you have a few weeks and can spend them on the N and D roads instead of the autoroutes, much of this trip until you get to Marseilles will be a huge and expensive bore.

Paris, France
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2. Re: Driving an auto through South of France.

You would need at least 2 weeks after you depart Paris to visit all of those places. You really need to tell us when you want to do this and how much time you have.

The bulk of the locations you mention are along the Côte d´Azur. Bordeaux hangs by itself and you do not even mention the Dordogne, Tourraine, or Languedoc. Depending upon criteria you have not yet supplied, you might be better off simply taking the train from Paris directly to Avignon or Aix-en-Provence and then continuing eastward.

Paris, France
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3. Re: Driving an auto through South of France.

As much as I enjoy driving in France, this sounds like a miserable driving trip to me. To get an idea of what it may cost you in time, fuel and tolls try mapping some routes using www.viamichelin.com.

I like using cheap TGV train trips for long distances and limiting car rental to a more regional area, and little driving on Autoroutes.

For the Cote d'aAzur,a lot of the area along the coast near Nice can be easily seen by public transportation.

How much time do you have?

Takapuna, New...
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4. Re: Driving an auto through South of France.

You use the word "auto". I take this as an abbreviation for automatic rather than automobile. Be aware that most rentals in France are manual (stick shift) and even if you request an automatic, there is no guarantee that you will get one.

Omaha, Nebraska
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5. Re: Driving an auto through South of France.

Thank you all for the input so far. We'll have 10 or 12 days. We really want to drive and take out time visiting many of the small towns along the way. What we are looking for between Paris and Marseille are nice quaint French villages hopefully along some portions of the wine regions. Obviously, once we reach the coast and travel northeast up to Monte Carlo we'll be much more interested in the water and or beaches along with good food and French customs.

Paris, France
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6. Re: Driving an auto through South of France.

Absolutely essential that you include the month you want to drive along the coast. Do you have 10 to 12 days after Paris or 10 to 12 days total? If that is the total, how many days do you want to spend in Paris?

Omaha, Nebraska
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7. Re: Driving an auto through South of France.

10 to 12 days total but we've done the Paris thing already so really we'll be there a day at the most. Thats part of what I would like to hear about are the best months to travel to make this kind of a trip. Not quite sure about wine and grapes and all but will like warmer weather.

Paris, France
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8. Re: Driving an auto through South of France.

The drive from Paris south is long and not all that charming. I would suggest taking the TGV from Paris to Avignon and renting a car there. Pick a centrally located base in this region and take day trips from there. Then drive to the Nice area, stopping at or at least driving by St Paul de Vence and Tourettes sur Loup along the way. If you only have 10-12 days this is going to be a rushed trip if you are including time in Paris too.

Le Bugue, France
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9. Re: Driving an auto through South of France.

I agree with F1racegirl. Bordeaux should definitely be scrapped, as should the long, dull, expensive drive from Paris to Provence. The TGV will get you there in 3 hours. THEN you can start meandering through the charming villages and along the seashore. To avoid crowds, I'd go in May or after mid-September.

Edited: 4:56 pm, March 27, 2014
Paris, France
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10. Re: Driving an auto through South of France.

It would make more sense to start in Nice and end in Paris. Stay a few days in Nice and rent a car as you leave. Explore Provence, and work your way to Lyon. Lyon you can take the TGV to Paris. I'm not sure why you are flying home from Lyon - have you checked for flights to KC?