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Southern France, an introduction

If we set aside the French towns bordering Spain, when I say Southern France, I refer to the Mediterranean coast side Côte d’Azur and the inner region Provence. Even though each region deserves at least a week on its own, it is also possible to visit the highlights of both regions in a week if you plan your itinerary carefully. You do not even need to have a car for that. Almost all parts of both regions are accessible by train except for the mountain villages of Provence. You can even start your trip in Paris and get down to Marseille in three hours with “double TGV”. Marseille is connected to all other Provence cities by a rail network. For Provence, you can base your self in Aix-en-Provence and combine a city trip with the villages of Provence. On the alternative, you can choose Avignon as your base and your trip can focus on other towns of Provence such as Arles. Watching the movie “A Good Year” featuring Marion Cotillard and Russel Crowe may be a good idea to raise your spirits up before a trip to Provence. If you are more of a suspense fan, the physiological drama Swimming Pool taking place in a Provence estate may be a better alternative. When it comes to Côte d’Azur, you can travel from Aix-en-Provence to Nice within three to five hours by train (depending on the type of the train) following a very picturesque coastal road. You have to rely on suburban express after that. Menton is a good base for accommodation purposes if you have budgetary constraints. Otherwise, Nice is located right in the middle of the region, close to everywhere. It is however a quite big city. Even in Côte d’Azur, you should still not miss the village towns, which – such as Roquebrune-Cap-Martin - offers amazing sea views.

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