Nice to Barcelona

Old Nov 10th, 2022, 12:44 PM
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Nice to Barcelona

Hi all.
I am looking for some ideas to plan our upcoming trip to Europe in May/June next year.
We fly from NewZealand to Turkey in mid May and spend approx 2 weeks there.
We are wanting to visit the south of France and travel onto Barcelona ( approx 11 days) where we meet up again with our son to travel the south of Spain.
The date we are looking to arrive in Nice ?? Is May 29. The Grand Prix and Cannes film festival both finish the day before. Is this likely to impact Nice at all with regards to being ultra busy etc?
Was only looking at Nice as a possible starting point in France, as we can get a direct flight, so open to suggestions.
I do want to visit Provence , but also like to visit the Côte d’Azur and here’s the next snag….. we will ONLY be using public transport .
We can get from Nice to Avignon easily by the look of it via train, and the train to Barcelona also passes through here. Is Avignon a good place to base ourselves for ease of using buses/trains etc to see other places nearby?
Or is there another place you suggest as a different option for us?
Of course 11 days is nowhere near long enough, but we also do not want to be crazy town-hopping down to Barcelona either. I would envisage 2-3 nights in a place before moving on if that makes sense.
We are late 59 &61 and are interested in art/history/walking/good food/ water activities but we also would probably prefer somewhere a little more laid back, as we are not really city people and not that fond of crowds.

The other two cities we could fly into are Lyon and Toulouse ( Also Marseille, but think its far too busy for us!)

Interested to hear your suggestions, as at the moment, I have no idea what places are feasible to visit given our travel restrictions…..and we are certainly open to any ideas at the moment, as the only things that have been booked are our flights to and from Europe (arrive IST and depart AMS)

Many thanks
Sharon



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Old Nov 10th, 2022, 02:21 PM
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Last month I spent a week in Nimes, a bit further on than Avignon. Still easy to get the train to Barcelona.

It's a great area to tour using public transport. The town is not too big and has lots of Roman history. While there, I took day trips to Montpellier, Avignon and Uzes, all by public transport. I was in Arles on my previous trip but that's also easily doable.. It's an interesting Roman town.
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Old Nov 10th, 2022, 02:39 PM
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Avignon good bus hub, but there are lovely places you will miss. Avignon also good basic train centre. On route to Barcelona look out for Girona and Narbonne.
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Old Nov 10th, 2022, 03:10 PM
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Thanks I will check those out as well
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Old Nov 13th, 2022, 10:16 AM
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We made the mistake of going to Nice during the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Gran Prix, the end of May. Many attending those events were staying and dining in Nice which was a madhouse. Then they were gone and Nice was lovely, restaurants weren’t packed. We enjoyed it after the crowds had gone.
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Old Nov 13th, 2022, 01:26 PM
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Well before I started posting here, my DH and I traveled by train from Barcelona to Montpellier to Nice to Paris. We made each a base. From Montpellier, we made day trips to Arles and Avignon.
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Old Nov 13th, 2022, 07:31 PM
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kiwifarmer, a couple of questions. When you say 11 days, does that include your time in Barcelona? If it does, you may wish to consider flying into somewhere like Montpellier and exploring that southeast corner of France near the Spanish border. And would it be possible to meet your son a little earlier and fly from Turkey into somewhere like Seville or Malaga? That means that your journey to Amsterdam may be easier logistically and allow you to meander northwards using trains and stopping along the way.
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Old Nov 14th, 2022, 12:27 AM
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Why not skip Nice and go directly to Avignon?
You could take a taxi from Marseille airport to Vitrolles railway station (about 1 mile) from where you can reach Avignon by direct train about every hr (58 min journey).
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Old Nov 14th, 2022, 06:29 AM
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Agree with neckervd that Vitrolles to Avignon makes a lot of sense. As I mentioned on that other forum, your small town and kayaking interests could lead you to Isle sur la Sorgue and Fontaine de Vaucluse. Are you active enough to bike?

Nîmes is a possible second or final stop, as it is rewarding in itself, a good train/bus hub for places like Pont du Gard, Aigues-Mortes and Arles, and also the best jumping-off point for direct TGVs to Barcelona. Check SNCF-connect.com and you’ll see what I mean.
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Old Nov 14th, 2022, 04:13 PM
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The peak after the two big events tends to die down pretty quickly in Nice. Just avoid Cannes and Monaco the day or so after as there usually is a lot of teardowns happening of temporary structures and barriers. You could chose to stay in Antibes as well, a much smaller town. However, public transport up and down the coast and into the hills is quite good. You'll have art there that won't be as accessible/available in western Provence.

Nimes is smaller than Avignon, with the Roman theatre and proximity to the Pont du Gard. From Avignon, you may also join some short day tours into the more beautiful villages of the Luberon or to go wine tasting in the southern Rhone. Basing out of one of these villages is more challenging due to the limited bus service in the most charming. Arles is another potential choice, with the Roman ruins and some Van Gogh related attractions.
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Old Nov 15th, 2022, 07:20 AM
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FTOttawa is right: Nimes is the better place if you plan to go on to Barcelona. IAt Nimes, you can easily find hotels close to the railway station (among them 1 Ibis) whereas at Avignon, you will need a bus or a taxi most of the time in order to go to the "right" railway station (Centre or TGV). And a train ride from Nimes to Avignon Centre lasts only 1/2 hr (trains about every 30 min).
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Old Nov 15th, 2022, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr View Post
We made the mistake of going to Nice during the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Gran Prix, the end of May. Many attending those events were staying and dining in Nice which was a madhouse. Then they were gone and Nice was lovely, restaurants weren’t packed. We enjoyed it after the crowds had gone.
thanks very much for this info. This is exactly what I was thinking could be the case so close to these events.
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Old Nov 15th, 2022, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by dreamon View Post
kiwifarmer, a couple of questions. When you say 11 days, does that include your time in Barcelona? If it does, you may wish to consider flying into somewhere like Montpellier and exploring that southeast corner of France near the Spanish border. And would it be possible to meet your son a little earlier and fly from Turkey into somewhere like Seville or Malaga? That means that your journey to Amsterdam may be easier logistically and allow you to meander northwards using trains and stopping along the way.
we are travelling with our son around Turkey to begin with, then he. Has to return to work for about two weeks, after which he will meet us in southern Spain. We then have another month of travel after Spain before we fly home , we are heading to Uk, Norway then Belgium and the Netherlands, so logistics to get to Amsterdam will not be an issue. The eleven days will not include Barcelona, so the extra three days will be spent there ( may be less, but I am not worried, we cannot do everything )

thanks for your reply
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Old Nov 15th, 2022, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by neckervd View Post
FTOttawa is right: Nimes is the better place if you plan to go on to Barcelona. IAt Nimes, you can easily find hotels close to the railway station (among them 1 Ibis) whereas at Avignon, you will need a bus or a taxi most of the time in order to go to the "right" railway station (Centre or TGV). And a train ride from Nimes to Avignon Centre lasts only 1/2 hr (trains about every 30 min).
thank you. Ease of travel is definitely worth considering !
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Old Nov 15th, 2022, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by gooster View Post
The peak after the two big events tends to die down pretty quickly in Nice. Just avoid Cannes and Monaco the day or so after as there usually is a lot of teardowns happening of temporary structures and barriers. You could chose to stay in Antibes as well, a much smaller town. However, public transport up and down the coast and into the hills is quite good. You'll have art there that won't be as accessible/available in western Provence.

Nimes is smaller than Avignon, with the Roman theatre and proximity to the Pont du Gard. From Avignon, you may also join some short day tours into the more beautiful villages of the Luberon or to go wine tasting in the southern Rhone. Basing out of one of these villages is more challenging due to the limited bus service in the most charming. Arles is another potential choice, with the Roman ruins and some Van Gogh related attractions.
Many thanks. Since we are looking to arrive on May 29, it might just be better to avoid, as it could still be a madhouse . I will definitely look into Nimes as a base
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Old Nov 15th, 2022, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by FTOttawa View Post
Agree with neckervd that Vitrolles to Avignon makes a lot of sense. As I mentioned on that other forum, your small town and kayaking interests could lead you to Isle sur la Sorgue and Fontaine de Vaucluse. Are you active enough to bike?

Nîmes is a possible second or final stop, as it is rewarding in itself, a good train/bus hub for places like Pont du Gard, Aigues-Mortes and Arles, and also the best jumping-off point for direct TGVs to Barcelona. Check SNCF-connect.com and you’ll see what I mean.
Many thanks.
We are regular bikers, so biking would be something we would enjoy. I did check out the kayak opportunities at the above, and have made a note of them. I do need to look at Nimes more closely as a base. I have looked at the trains to Barcelona and found that Girona is on the line, so we may well have a couple of days there after we leave France ( not GOT fans, but the walking of the ramparts really appeals )
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Old Nov 15th, 2022, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by neckervd View Post
Why not skip Nice and go directly to Avignon?
You could take a taxi from Marseille airport to Vitrolles railway station (about 1 mile) from where you can reach Avignon by direct train about every hr (58 min journey).
Thank you. That is definitely worth looking at.
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Old Nov 15th, 2022, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Avignon good bus hub, but there are lovely places you will miss. Avignon also good basic train centre. On route to Barcelona look out for Girona and Narbonne.
Thank you for those suggestions. I had thoughts about a trip from Barcelona to Girona…..makes so much more sense to just stop on the way !
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