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Days out to quaint villages

Liverpool, England
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297 posts
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Days out to quaint villages

I want to take my parents on a day out to somewhere rural. We've done the Train des pignes before to Entreveaux which was lovely and were going to go all the way to Dignes les bains this time, however someone told me that it's not as good as Entreveaux?

I wondered if anyone could recommend another day trip to somewhere old and rural with nice places to eat. Somewhere reachable by train or bus would be best, and places that don't have huge hills as my Dad doesn't do great with hills!

Any tips would be great.

Louisville, Kentucky
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1. Re: Days out to quaint villages

I recognize you from previous posts, and I always enjoy that you take the time to plan something special for your parents. I don't know if this is of interest, but we are considering taking the Train Merveilles into the Alps (this is another route from Train des Pignes):

tendemerveilles.com/english/trains-touristiq…

...and I saved this link where I especially enjoyed Ed's replies about the villages:

tripadvisor.com/…40219870

I'm still working on the logistics for our trip in fall, so perhaps we can share this search!

Nice
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12,655 posts
52 reviews
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2. Re: Days out to quaint villages

It really depends what your dad likes-

Tende is ok in the more modern part [which is still fairly old =just not mediaeval] The old town is steep so not recommended and it is downhill to the river or to get a good view of the viaduct but the walk down to the viaduct isn't too bad . The walk to the musee des merveilles is pretty flat

Train -

Sospel, Breil and la Brigue , mouans sartoux are pretty flat

bus - valbonne , la turbie, Vence

Liverpool, England
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297 posts
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3. Re: Days out to quaint villages

Thanks v much Selkie - and Troggs - I'm looking at that same train journey! Great minds think alike ;-)

Louisville, Kentucky
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4. Re: Days out to quaint villages

jonnybaby, have you been to Tourrettes sur Loup? The view from the back is stunning, almost a small version of Eze, but without the steep incline...some incline but not bad.

tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g187243-Tourrettes_s…

tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g187243-Tourrett…

Tourresttes is a short distance above Vence. You can get there by bus, but it's tricky and contingent on schools being in session. If you're interested, I can share how I've done it, but you really might be better off planning to take the 400 bus to Vence and a taxi from there.

If it's not something you've already considered, Le Cannet is another destination you should consider. It's above Cannes and from the historic terrace, there is a sweeping view down to the sea. Bux #1 will get you from Cannes to Le Cannet, and the stop is opposite the tourism office. There are steps from there and a slight incline to the terrace, but I made the trip while I was recovering from a broken knee cap. It's doable, but you know what will work best with for your father. Several restaurants have tables on the terrace, and I've enjoyed Le Coin Gourmet. It's #8 on this list, but I think that's as much because only two reviews have been posted and they both describe our experience...wonderful and this is a "must do" when we return!

tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g207354-Le_Canne…

qype.fr/place/100321-Le-Coin-Gourmet-Le-Cann…

Selkie, thanks for your info about traveling into the Maritime Alps on this and another topic. Once again, you've come through for us! I've played with train schedules on both TGV-Europe and SNCF with stops in Saorge and Tende and it's complicated. For example, I can get routes to Tende from Nice, but not back and some other issues. Until the construction is complete, it's probably best for travelers to stay on the Nice side of the construction...correct?

Louisville, Kentucky
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5. Re: Days out to quaint villages

Sorry Selkie, I just reread your post on the second link in my first post. and was able to get a translation on the link below that you provided in that reply:

…ter-sncf.com/Images/Paca/Tridion/MR_09_SPRC…

I'll try the translated link here, but they don't always stay live:

translate.google.com/translate…

Jonnybaby, if the translation doesn't work. I got it by pasting the link into Google Translate. Selkie, I'm now trying to sort it out and make sure I'm reading it correctly. I am reading your link as showing train routes that are deletsd and alternate bus routes that are provided to accommodate the route changes. I'm focusing on travelers who are likely to be traveling into the Alps from Nice for the day. So I might understand this link, am I right in how I'm reading this?

1) The listings under "Train" are for train routes that have been deleted.

2) The "Car" column lists the bus substitutes. Where would one find these buses?

3) Do the blank spaces mean that the trains run normally, and Is this a fair analysis about how things are working: Once a traveler has been let off a bus at a train station, their journey continues on by train, and when one has to get off a train (or not be able to board), the bus will take them to where a train route will commence.

4) Mid day looks a bit tricky, and there are three separate buses, each of which will not make all of the stops that the train makes. During the mid day, all of the train routes appear to shut down. Connections for some destinations (for example, between L'Escarne and Breil) don't look like they are going to happen on a continuous bus route, correct? In the Nice Ville>Tende direction, you can either travel to L'Escarene, Sospel or Tende (with stops up to and beyond Breil, depending upon the bus) on separate buses. Am I right that the bus marquis will read "L'Escarene," "Sospel," or "Tende?" As an example, if during the mid day a tourtist wanted to travel to Peille, they would take the bus to L'Escarene in lieu of the deleted 12:05 train. If they wanted to go to Sospel, they would take the Sospel bus and to Breil or Saorge, they would take the Tende bus. For a return to Nice, everything here would apply in reverse.

5) There is a train from Nice to Tende that leaves around 9:00. At this time, can travelers from Nice go as far as Breil by train without taking a bus?

6) This link is good for routes between now and May 4, and new info will be posted after that date. Where would one find those updates?

Two other questions: Do you know how long this construction is likely to be going on? Is there a route number and brochure for these trains, similar to the "04" pamphlet for trains that run along the coast?

Please pardon my ignorance in reading this page. I live in a part of the US where we travel mostly by car, and train travel is an adventure for me (and a lot of people) when we travel. I'm not sure that this as a day trip would not be easy for the inexperienced traveler or the faint at heart.

Selkie, you are always so helpful. Thanks for your patience.

Liverpool, England
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6. Re: Days out to quaint villages

Hmmm not loving the idea of bus replacements etc. Might try the St Paul option. I went to Vence a couple of years ago but went straight through St Paul - is it nice there?

Louisville, Kentucky
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7. Re: Days out to quaint villages

Really...think about Tourrettes. St. Paul is going to be steep and crowded, and the way you've described what your father will enjoy, I think Tourrettes might be a good choice. It's lovely and unspoiled.

There's an aerial picture of the village on this link, and other pics are on the link I provided earlier:

fotopedia.com/magazine/…p1PvdlZZesg

I'm with you that the bus/train thing is going to be difficult until the construction is over.

Liverpool, England
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8. Re: Days out to quaint villages

Oh wow Tourrettes looks AMAZING. I like Vence too, we could go there for an hour or so then get the bus to Tourrettes, right? Sounds amazing!

Nice
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9. Re: Days out to quaint villages

St paul is nice, but busy, lots of art galleries and tourists and bus tours . far less steep than Eze -and you can avoid petty much all the steepness /get the views etc but not the tourists and art galleries by taking a circuit of the walls rather than going up the central street as you walk through the village gate

Louisville, Kentucky
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10. Re: Days out to quaint villages

The way I visit St. Paul is as Selkie is describing. Before you pass through the arched entrance to the village, turn to your right down a path that takes a turn to the left where you will see a market and souvenir shop. About half way down this walk is a restaurant that I have returned to over the 12 years we have been traveling to the region, La Sierra The restaurant has an elevated dining deck that offers my favorite view in Le Cote D'Azur. It's not stunning like you have in Eze, but it's beautiful, serene and and tranquilizing. Companions who have traveled with me have all had the same reaction. There will be stone (uneven) steps to this deck and seating is limited, so get there early (or late) and you will know if the steps will be right for your dad. I've posted a review on this link:

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187240-d188…

I really think that you can enjoy St. Paul without the hoopla and crowds on the main walkway if you continue along the path that fronts the village to the vantage point at its end. I've seen older travelrs make it to the top of this vantage point and I did it when I was recovering from my knee injury. The main pedestrian route will slant down from this point, and it may be a bit steep for your Dad, but maybe not...you will know what's best. In St. Paul, there is a smoother path in the center of of the cobblestones that makes walking a bit easier than I've experienced in Eze.

After St. Paul, you can then continue on to Vence via bus 400, and you might want to visit the Matisse Chapel. I'm not a particularly religious person, but I'm spiritual. There's something about this place that draws me, mostly because of it's simplicity and Matisse's motivation for building it: The care he received from the nuns when he was ill. From the bus station in Vence, I would suggest taking a taxi to the chapel.

…pagesperso-orange.fr/index02.htm

The story behind the design and the tiles on the back wall are moving if you can arrive there when the nun is giving her presentation in English. I've been lucky enough to do this twice, and you will know if this is something you family would want to do. I think you can contact the order on the link I've provided and possibly request a presentation at a tour when you expect to be there...at least, that's been my impression when I've been there. Another note about this chapel, this is a working convent and it's small. Openings are can be dependent upon the nun's schedule and health. From what I've read from other travelers, it's not a bad idea to contact them before you travel to make sure the chapel is going to be open.

With your father and if you've made the trip to the chapel, I would ask your taxi driver if he would meet you back at the chapel in - say - an hour to take you to Tourrettes. If the chapel is something you decide not to do, take a taxi from the the Vence "Gare Routiere," the town's open air bus station. This stop will be in what is obviously a retail center in Vence after you pass through an area in Vence that is lined with condos and residential buildings. From the back end of Tourrettes, your father will be able to enjoy a stunning view of the coastline that reminds me of Eze without the panorama and having to navigate the steep elevation and slippery walks. You can get a idea of what this will be like from the Fotopedia shot I linked.

For what it's worth, I often discover these places on my own and with other companions, and my daughter and husband are likely to be with me on a Sunday. This is the experience I want most for us to share, and I'm hoping we can do all of this on a Sunday. I still love that you're putting so much thought into doing something like this for your dad. I remember you from last year, and it's touching. My dad is gone, and it's an experience like this that will stay with you in another time.