Off-Season Travel Bliss: Provence and Côte d’Azur Explored, Episode 497

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Category: Provence

Would you like to experience off-season travel bliss in Provence and the Côte d'Azur? In this episode of Join Us in France, Annie Sargent welcomes Riana Ang-Canning, a Canadian traveler who recently visited these enchanting regions in February. Riana shares her experiences and insights, painting a vivid picture of the joys and challenges of traveling to these popular destinations during the quieter months. You can connect with Riana at her blog Teaspoon of Adventure.

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Off-Season Travel Bliss in South of France

Riana and her husband, both in their early thirties, embarked on their French adventure from February 7th to the 18th. They chose to explore Provence and the Côte d'Azur, areas often bustling with tourists during the summer but offering a different charm in the off-season. For Riana, the allure of off-season travel lies in the lower crowds, reduced prices, and the unique atmosphere, even if it means encountering some closed establishments.

Toulouse and Carcassonne

Their journey began in Toulouse, from where they traveled to Carcassonne. Riana shares a practical tip for fellow travelers: using a luggage service in Carcassonne allowed them to explore the medieval city without the burden of their bags. They walked from the train station to the La Cité de Carcassonne, enjoying the stunning views and the less crowded streets. Visiting in February meant they had the castle and its ramparts almost to themselves, a rare treat compared to the bustling summer months.


Next, they headed to Avignon, staying at a centrally located budget hotel in Place de l'Horloge. Despite the rainy weather, they had an excellent time at the Palais des Papes, utilizing histopads to visualize the historical significance of the site. They also visited the Pont d'Avignon, appreciating the quieter ambiance of the off-season.

Riana highlights the practical aspects of their travel, such as the benefits of not pre-booking TER train tickets, which allowed them flexibility in their plans. She also notes the ease of driving in Provence, contrasting the tranquility of the countryside with the lively Côte d'Azur. In Avignon, they picked up a rental car, which they returned in Nice after exploring various Roman sites and picturesque villages.


Arles, with its sunny weather and Roman sites, left a lasting impression on Riana. They visited the crypts, the arena, and the thermal baths, enjoying the solitude of these ancient sites. Orange, with its well-preserved Roman theater, was another highlight. The interactive exhibits and detailed audio guides enriched their experience, making it one of Riana's favorite stops.


The journey continued to Nîmes, where the rain couldn't dampen their spirits as they explored the arena, learning about the different types of gladiators. Visiting the Pont du Gard at night offered a magical experience, with soft lighting creating a unique atmosphere. They had the ancient bridge to themselves, a stark contrast to the typical tourist rush.


In the Luberon region, they visited Gordes and Roussillon. The quiet markets and serene landscapes provided a peaceful retreat. Riana's experience underscores the benefits of off-season travel, even when some vendors are absent.

Aix en Provence and Camp des Milles

Aix Camp des Milles, a former internment camp turned memorial, was a poignant and educational stop. Riana emphasizes the importance of visiting such sites to understand the darker chapters of history.

Nice and DayTrips to Monaco and Eze

In Nice, they enjoyed a food tour, tasted local specialties like socca and pissaladière, and explored Castle Hill. The vibrant yet relaxed atmosphere of Nice in February was a pleasant surprise.

Their day trips included Monaco and Eze, where they marveled at the views and the quaint medieval village. In Antibes, Riana found her favorite town, with its lively market and beautiful coastal views.

Menton and La Fête du Citron

The Fête du Citron in Menton was a crowded but fascinating experience, showcasing giant sculptures made of lemons and oranges. They ended their trip with the Carnaval Parade in Nice, a spectacular event with floats, music, and vibrant costumes.

Recommended in this Episode

If you need a place to drop-off your suitcases for a few hours, look at Nanny Bag. They have arrangements with different stores to keep your bags for a few hours. Very handy when the train station doesn't have lockers, which happens a lot.


Apparthotel Odalys La Colombelie Toulouse: We only stayed here one night as we flew into Toulouse and then made our way to Avignin (with a stop in Carcassonne). It was a perfectly fine hotel; easy walk to the train station and restaurants. The room also had a mini kitchen.

Kyriad Avignon - Palais des Papes: Very convenient location in the old part of Avignon, right on Pl. de l'Horloge. Room and bed were quite small and parking isn't included, but they do offer a 20% discount off the public parking lot.

Villa Bougainville by HappyCulture in Nice: Very convenient location to the train station, which worked out perfectly for all of our day trips. Our room had a cool style and there were some fun perks (like free drinks) but not super high quality. Worked perfectly for our trip.

Paris 2024 Transportation App

This app was created specifically for folks traveling to Paris in spring/summer 2024 and will help you deal with closures etc. Look for this app on your App Store.

Anticiper les Jeux is the interactive map that shows planned restrictions for movement in Paris during the Olympics. During

Paris 2024 Transportation App


Riana's detailed account of her off-season journey through Provence and the Côte d'Azur highlights the unique experiences and benefits of traveling during quieter times. Her practical tips and vivid descriptions provide valuable insights for anyone considering a similar trip.

More Episodes about Visiting Provence

#TravelFrance, #Provence, #CotedAzur, #OffSeasonTravel, #FrenchRiviera, #ExploreFrance, #TravelPodcast, #VisitFrance, #HiddenGems, #FranceTravelTips, #CulturalTravel, #TravelInspiration, #FranceAdventure, #TravelExperiences, #HistoricSites, #FrenchHistory, #TravelPlanning, #TravelGuide, #FranceVacation, #DiscoverFrance


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Discussed in this Episode

  • Toulouse
  • Carcassonne
  • La Cité de Carcassonne
  • Avignon
  • Palais des Papes
  • Pont d'Avignon
  • Arles
  • Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
  • Orange
  • Nîmes
  • Pont du Gard
  • Gordes
  • Roussillon
  • Aix Camp des Milles
  • Nice
  • Castle Hill
  • Promenade des Anglais
  • Monaco
  • Eze
  • Eze Village
  • Eze Sur Mer
  • Antibes
  • Villefranche-sur-Mer
  • Menton
  • Fête du Citron
  • Carnaval Parade in Nice
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Riana and her husband in Nice, France
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Category: Provence