What is the best way to get to Aix En Provence from Marseilles? My husband and I will be taking our first Med cruise together this October to celebrate our first anniversary, and we would really like to get out into the Provencal countryside when we stop in Marseilles. Any suggestions for how to get out there and have a truly Provencal experience would be greatly appreciated!!
We were there a couple of years ago on a cruise and teamed up with another couple on the cruise. When we got off the ship we negotiated with one of the many drivers ( one who spoke some english ) there for an all day drive in his car ( a Mercedes no less ). He had a map from which we picked several places we wanted to visit,including Aux in Provance, and took some suggestions from him.
It turned out to be a great 8 or so hours of travel to out of the way places in france for about 150 euros per couple.
Thank you for the quick response Ray! Have you heard of anyone taking a bus or a train to Aix? We would actually like to go a route that will cost us a little less money... We're paying big bucks for some other excursions, and wanted to go easy on the pocketbook for this stop. Plus - both sets of our parents will be on this trip with us (it's their 30th anniversaries) so I doubt we could find a car big enough for all of us.
Did this on a cruise a few years ago...went to the main railway station and caught a train to Aix en Provence....it was very easy then and no problem with trains there & back. There are two types of train ...the regional train that gets you to the town centre ...or the TGV a fast train service but the station is just outside the town.
If you consider using the train....make sure you are going to be ok catching one as I've heard that the railway lines in this area are being upgraded and there is major engineering works and some trains are being replaced with buses in 2007.Maybe other members can give you more up to date information.
The other cheaper option is to go to the bus station and catch a bus to Aix and returns should cost about 10 euros.The bus station is a bit of a way from the port so it may be better to hire a taxi to go there......regards jack
We were in Aix in June & we had a rental car& drove to Marseilles in less than 1 Hour, you could rent a van which would be better for visiting around Aix & the area .& as the previous poster said trains are not to reliable especially as you have to get back to the ship. In Marseilles they have two little Train/trams that take you around the city & to the Notre Dame & drop you off & pick you up in one hour.
Train connections are cheap and plentiful between Marseille and Aix so that is an easy way to make the trip. However, you will need to use the shuttle (or a taxi) to get from the ship into town (Marseille) and to the train station. Personally, we prefer to rent a car because it gives us more flexibility and the ability to stop at some smaller villages. However, since this is your first trip you might not fee comfortable driving in France.
How are you?
At our stop in Marseille, we want to go to the Luberon Villages area (some vineyards, etc.)and we don't want to rent a car. Just to do it and see some countryside (and to gain exp. for the train from Livorno to Florence later), we were going to take the train to Aix, walk around there for an hr. or so, then take a private tour of some Luberon areas that will drop us back at our ship. but, based on your comment of having to taxi to the station just tgo get started, should we just take the van tour right from the dock all day? what do you think?
Ahhhh the Luberon. Do I detect a Peter Mayle fan? We actually had a French gentleman tell us they hated that author in the Luberon because they preferred to keep the region a secret from the world. My thinking is that if you plan on taking a tour from Aix, it sure would be more convenient to just get the tour from Marseille assuming you can get a tour at a reasonable cost. As to getting to the Marseille train station keep in mind that you could use the ships shuttle into Marseille instead of a taxi, but most of the cruise lines charge $5 per person (one-way) for the shuttles and you still have to walk a few blocks to get to the station. I should add that Marseille is really not a bad place, in fact, the section adjacent to the old port (where the shuttles usually drop passengers) is pretty nice with plenty of cafes and the "water views."
By the way, Marseille is a "cake walk" compared to getting to the train station in Livorno
Hi Hank (intimate connoisseur)!
Had any good wine lately? My wife has us stuck on Markham Merlot!?
I'm surprised a little by comment to take the tour (8 to 9 hrs.?) from Marseille. When we talked last, your recommended the train to Aix. My real question was whether the train might go thru some prettier/more interesting areas than a tour driver? then, we could walk around old Aix for an hour, then take a 1/2 day tour (4 to 5 hr.s?) of the Luberon, dropping us back at ship in Marseille. I'll check the pricing and availability of full vs. 1/2 day tours.
As far as the train in Livorno, we have yours and others advice on getting to that. Will walk around Florence and try to "drop into" Pisa for awhile on the way back. a bigger concern for us is it's a Monday!? Academia and Uffizi closed!? (replace with a wine shop someone mentioned -- Toscana Mia???)
We're just going to take it easy in Mallorca (Smeralda?) and St. Tropez.(wine and cheese?)
Plan to take the train from Monte Carlo to Nice with a stop in Eze.
Plan to take a motor boat from Portofino to Santa Frutoso?(view, wine and cheese?)
Take it easy in Olbia?(wine and cheese?)
Try to take the Circumvesuviana from Sorrento to Pompeii, hitting Herculaneum on the way back?
Then, an easy day in Amalfi and Ravello?
Then two days in Rome at end. Have to do Vatican on Sat. and old Rome on Sunday?
Markham Merlot? Geez, you wife has pretty good (and expensive taste). We just finished dinner which we enjoyed with wine out of a box (am serious). We keep some Black Box Chard in the fridge since its Ok when you only want a glass and it stores quite well since no oxygen gets in the bag. So you see, we are kind of low class folks. Getting back to the tour thing, I only recommended taking a tour from Marseille since you seem to have decided to take a tour from Aix. Given the hassle of getting into town (Marseille), waiting for the next train, than going to Aix it just seems easier to have the same tour folks pick you up at the ship if the cost is reasonable. If you are doing a private tour (I thought this was your thinking) than the time is not an issue since you have full control over the itinerary. We have not been on that train line in over 20 years, so I have no memory of the views. But, if you have a car (be it a rental or a tour) there are options depending on your guide. If they stick to the Autoroute than the view is like a view from an interstate, but they also can deviate from the faster Autoroute and than you can see more of the quiet countryside. The problem with all of this is that you do have limited time, so you ultimately have to make choices. Your original plan to take the train is fine, but you will lose a good hour just getting from ship to train station + waiting time for the next train. As to Mondays in Florence or anywhere else, its a bummer for those that put a high value on visiting museums. However, we really like Florence and would be happy just walking the streets, strolling along the river, eating gelato, having a nice lunch, enjoying the architecture, etc. Have never been to that wine shop, but than again, we would enjoy any wine shop if it has tastings.
I love all your "wine and cheese" days. Its our style too although we tend to spend more time sitting in outdoor cafes, sipping wine or beer, and people watching. Mallorca is a place we normally consider a "beach day." We are very curious to hear about S Fruttoso since we have never been to that cliffside abbey. When we stayed in the area (at S Margherita) we had a rental can and I do not believe there are any public roads up to that church. As to Sorrento, keep in mind that Herculanuem is on the Naples side of Pompeii. Last year while we were staying in Praiano (about 5 miles East of Positano) I took my wife to both Pompeii and Herculanium on Mothers Day (she loves ruins cause they remind her of her hubby). Doing both ruins in one day is a lot of ruins, but its fun (remember, you can buy a combination ticket for both ruins that saves you a few Euros). Your plans sound absolutely wonderful and have us talking about our own plans (even we get selfish). Our plans will probably have us in Italy in May and October of next year and we are trying to plan some driving itineraries. At this point we are intrigued by the region called Puglia since we have never spent more than a few hours in that region (were once in Brindisi). So far, we have found that the region is not even mentioned in most tour books, and we are thinking that might make it an interesting region. But, you now have us thinking we might want to revisit the Portofino and Cinque Terre area..... what a dilemma. Such a wonderful country with so many neat places.