South of France

caro

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I want to visit the south of France next year. Let's say Monte Carlo, Nice, Cannes, St. Tropez.

- Which month to choose ? (No, I'm not interested in the GP, I want the travel to be cheap)
- How much money do I need ?
- Why do I need so much money ? How to make it cheaper ?

Probably I will go with 3 other persons, the car will be Laguna 2.0 DCI. Are the roads/autobahns expensive to drive in France ? Actually, I'm not a big traveller, so I'm glad with every little advice.
 

Red_Bull

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Try to learn a bit of French before you go. I'm sure they can speak and understand English ok, they just choose to pretend they cant and are therefore largely unhelpful.

I tried to buy a pair of bike shoes in a bike shop in Nice and the guy said he wasn't helping me until I could ask for them in French for him (or at least try). Had to try and remember anything I could from my Year 8 French lessons! Luckily he was a friendly guy and was only half joking but the message was there.

The Italians on the other hand genuinely couldn't speak English but they at least tried everything they could to understand and were generally very helpful and polite.

Nice is fantastic, very picturesque and the food is excellent.
 
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Interrobang

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- Which month to choose ? (No, I'm not interested in the GP, I want the travel to be cheap)
It?s also a question of weather I would say, or is it not? While the summer months should be avoided du to high costs and general buisyness, and even though this is the med and temperatures aren?t that bad in winter - I don?t see the point actually going in winter, even if it might be the cheapest option. Spring or Autum would be adviseable. Still warm and buisy, but not as buisy or expensive as the "main season" in summer. IMHO, winter would be a stupid idea from a tourist POV.
- How much money do I need ?
- Why do I need so much money ? How to make it cheaper ?
Buy and cook your own food at places like LIDL, do not eat out. Also staying in the coast-towns is a hell of a lot more expensive then staying something like 50km from the coast.
But both things I would think carefully about since this will somewhat reduce the quality of your trip.

Are the roads/autobahns expensive to drive in France ?.
The Highways/motorways are toll-routes. Can?t say for the med-region, but there are usally "route nationales" (a- and b-roads) serving the same purpose, but you will be traveling a lot slower.

As for speaking french, in the touristy spots around the med you will get by with just english, that is in summer, spring and autum ... in winter and "off the main roads" you will have problems communicating ...
 

Cowboy

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If you are not a big traveller, avoid France, really, you will risk putting you off travel for life.

Horrible food, worse people, pretty though, fuck France, go to Italy, just as pretty if not more so, friendly people, better food.
 
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MWF

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The weather in May is more than warm enough but it's not high tourist season and isn't too busy. Don't miss the local food though - better to buy a cheap tent or two on arrival and eat in local restaurants than pay for hotels and eat supermarket food.

Once you've ironed out a few more details PM me - Dearest lived in Nice for a year and we can give you a list of hints, tips and places to go or avoid.
 

_HighVoltage_

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Try to learn a bit of French before you go. I'm sure they can speak and understand English ok, they just choose to pretend they cant and are therefore largely unhelpful.

That is outrageous!

...and factual.
 

Cellos88GT

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I've spent several weeks in Cap d'Ail, Nice, and Monaco. I'd say the best month to go is mid september or early-mid june, just avoid going during July and August at all costs. Not just because of the costs but because of the worn-thin temperament of the residents and tourist workers during this time.

Lots of great food in Nice for reasonable prices. The best way to save money is through B&Bs found on www.booking.com or you can check out www.airbnb.com. With airbnb many places allow you to use their kitchen so you can cook food on those days you wish to save money and not eat out.

The language barrier isn't a huge issue and it really depends on the individual you're dealing with, I've encountered French people who welcomed my broken French and I've encountered individuals that got down right angry that I was "butchering" their language and would refuse my service. Either way knowing a few phrases and the numbers 1-10 certainly wouldn't hurt.

France and the French get a bad rap because 9 times out of 10, they're misunderstood. If you encounter a rude individual try not to let it bother you and move forward.

Finally, while you're there and getting tired of French cuisine, I highly recommend checking out a Lebanese restaurant, the cuisine is nothing short of amazing.
 
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MWF

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I'd agree that the rude and unhelpful reputation is mainly totally unjustified. We discussed on last year's Roadtrip how just about every French person we encountered was polite, friendly, helpful and charming (although having 3 French speakers in the group no doubt helped).

I concluded that's because they all realise that it's been too long since either us or ze Tchermannss popped over and gave them a bloody good hiding! :lol:
 

caro

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I've spent several weeks in Cap d'Ail, Nice, and Monaco. I'd say the best month to go is mid september or early-mid june, just avoid going during July and August at all costs. Not just because of the costs but because of the worn-thin temperament of the residents and tourist workers during this time.

I will go there early-mid may. Hope it's not that cold/not that expensive.

Thank you guys for all the infos.
 

MWF

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May will be fine. We were there in early May this year.
 

teeb

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The south of France is absolutely stunning. July and August, as mentioned, are hellishly busy; as every Parisian comes down south for the month. September and October are generally still sunny though less busy (and consequently cheaper). If you come in December or January you risk many of the seasonal shops and attractions being shut. April - May or Sept - Oct would be a good bet.

Eating-wise, make one meal a day very simple and very French: buy bread, cheese and cold meats from local shops (or a supermarket if you have to) and wash it down with a cold drink (wine if you're not driving, water if you are). This could be either lunch or dinner. There are plenty of picnic areas by the sides of roads where you can stop and eat. The toilets, however, may not be what you expect: motorway toilets tend to be a hole in the ground. You may wish to clench until you reach a supermarket or your hotel.

Breakfast: go and find a baker (France has hundreds) and eat pastries and get some coffee or hot chocolate from a cafe or orange juice from a supermarket. That will keep you going just fine. And it's cheaper than a hotel buffet.


In terms of saving money, consider either youth hostels ( http://www.fuaj.org/ ) or camping as opposed to hotels. Both would be cheaper, especially for three people. Look into budget hotels too - ibis budget, hotel F1 et cetera. These hotels can have 3 people in a standard room.


Monte Carlo, Nice, Cannes, St. Tropez.

- Why do I need so much money ? How to make it cheaper ?

You need so much money because you have listed the 4 most expensive places in France outside of Paris! There are plenty smaller places on the south coast worthy of a visit that would be cheaper. The further west you go, the cheaper it will be too - Toulon, Frejus etc are still coastal. As mentioned above, look a few kilometres inland for cheaper things.


And finally, as has been mentioned above, please learn a couple of French phrases. "Parlez-vous anglais?" [par-lay voo on-glay] is "Do you speak English?", and even that by itself makes a world of difference. The French do speak English, but there's a heady combination of shyness to speak a foreign language and pride in French as a spoken language that makes them reluctant to engage with anyone who comes blazing in, going "HELLO FRENCHIE. ME SPEAKA DA ENGLISH."
 

Heathrow

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I'd agree that the rude and unhelpful reputation is mainly totally unjustified.

Yeah, this is true if you make an effort to speak French and even more so en Suisse.
:nod:

I concluded that's because they all realise that it's been too long since either us or ze Tchermannss popped over and gave them a bloody good hiding! :lol:

Have you ever considered a job in the Diplomatic Service? :p
 

Interrobang

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[...] Have you ever considered a job in the Diplomatic Service under alternative universe PM Boris Johnson? :p
ftfy.

In my experience, the rudeness people put on 'the french' is based on experiences with french waiters. And they are (again, in my experience) mostly rude to tourists. French waiters are almost the exact opposite of american waiters. not fake. They hate you - they?ll show you as they are paid well even without tips, whereas in the land of the fake smile and the home of the underpaid waiters -> you may very think every waiter is trying to seduce you ...
Generally, I think the french are not ruder then us germans or the italians ... it?s just the maybe a bit too well paid waiters ...
 

Cowboy

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I think the french are not ruder then us germans

Must....resist......urge.....fingers......itching......mouth......very dry........must......step......away.....from......keyboard.....
 
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