Vacation Recap: Nice, Aix-en-Provence and Vence in 15 days

Vacation Recap: Nice, Aix-en-Provence and Vence in 15 days

I thought it would be helpful to wrap-up our reports from the South of France with details on where we stayed and a summary for future reference. Rob and I planned this 15 day trip for the start of November in just a few days – a bit chaotic! We found a decently priced British Airways flight from San Francisco to Nice, stopping in London Heathrow.

We booked a top floor apartment through Airbnb on the edge of the Old Town in a classic old building. The central location was perfect for exploring the city and we had a great view of the busy brand new park from the deck.

  1. Our first day in Nice. Went to the flower market, hiked castle hill and swam in the ocean.
  2. Exploring the hills in Nice and the Matisse museum.
  3. Day trip to Monaco. Explored the deserted city and fell in love with the worlds best aquarium.
  4. Lazy Sunday. Modern art, lunch in the plaza and strolling along the beach. 
  5. Travel day. Before leaving by train, we discovered the Monday antique market.

In Aix, we rented a modern little studio with a garden below a villa. This was our smallest apartment and also our furthest outside the city center. A nice short walk from the studio to Cezanne’s old stomping grounds.

  1. Market day. We explored and ate at the many outdoor markets in town. Amazing raclette sandwich.
  2. Thoroughly modern. Quick trip out to the Foundation Vasarley for 1970’s graphic arts and a quiet afternoon in the park. 
  3. Stalking Cezanne. We walked up to the painter’s grounds, explored his studio garden and conquered the process of buying a roast chicken.
  4. Hiking Provence. An adventure to walk to the top of Mt. Sainte-Victorie outside of Aix. One of our favorite days!

Our smallest city of the trip. Vence is a old walled town in the hills above Nice. Our apartment here was our favorite of the trip – a modern renovated loft in an old building right in the heart of town.

  1. Travel day. A sleepy morning in Aix before taking the bus to Nice and then Vence. 
  2. Hike to St. Paul de Vence. Another favorite day! We walked to St. Paul de Vence and had a leisurely Sunday lunch.  
  3. Inside the ramparts. A rainy day of exploring Vence’s Roman and Medieval history. Plus, lunch with the locals. 
  4. Last day. Another rainy day. Shopping, lunch and then exploring the hills around Vence. 

I wouldn’t change a thing about our trip – aside from just wishing we could have stayed longer. We didn’t feel the need to rent a car while there – although it certainly would have been a bit quicker for traveling between cities. 

As for packing, I definitely brought too much – not knowing exactly where we were going after the first few days in Nice. A pair of slacks, a pair of leggings, a dress, a few tops and sweaters, a blazer, a bathing suit, a warm jacket and a couple scarfs would be more than enough. For shoes, a pair of dressier flats and either converse-style sneaker or flat boots is fine. I brought sneakers, but only wore them on the hike and could have done with flat boots. I should have brought an electrical converter, but it was a fun adventure to track one down in Nice.

Having a 3G Kindle was really great for traveling, it was so easy to buy books on the fly. I read A Year in Provence, Toujours Provence, Two Towns in Provence and A Room With a View among other things while on vacation.

I would highly recommend visiting the South of France in November! I think it would
be a great destination for families with young kids as well as those
traveling as a couple. All our apartments could have accommodated one or two little ones easily. 

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  1. Patricia at 6:25 am

    Hi Emily, I so enjoyed this little series about the South of France! Thanks for the round up, and for taking the time to document the trip on the blog. Hope you are getting over your jet lag!