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Monte Carlo or Provence (Toulon)

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We are looking at two different cruises in 2020 on the Constellation. The only difference is one visits Monte Carlo in May and the other goes to Provence (Toulon) in October.  Between these two ports, which one do people prefer? We have been to Monte Carlo once, but our son who is traveling with us hasn't been to Monte Carlo before and we definitely wouldn't mind going back.  

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We've done both of these ports, but both in the spring not autumn.  We loved Provence (Aix-en Provence), but really liked Monte Carlo, too (tour took us to Nice).  Weather would be about the same, although I prefer Europe in the spring. The temps are quite warm and less rain than in the fall. Also, all the spring flowers are starting to appear and it's lovely.  You're familiar with Monte Carlo, so is this something that would interest your son?  Why not ask him what he would prefer?  

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Monte Carlo is very special with lots to do.  Toulon on the other hand is a quaint seaside town (which we loved).  Toulon is also close to Aix en Provence (an hour) which I highly recommend.  You can’t go wrong with either.  Since you’ve been to Monte Carlo I’d recommend Toulon unless you or your son have a strong desire to go to Monte Carlo (check your dates as the Monte Carlo F1 race is in May and that would be awesome).

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FYI -  although Toulon is listed as the port, the larger ships actually dock in La Seyne-sur-Mer.   It is across the harbor from Toulon.   My vote is for Aix-en-Provence.   Did it from Toulon on a November TA.  Lovely fall weather.

 

Joe

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We loved both, but I’d say Monte Carlo is more exclusive and unique. Aix-en-Provence is where I’d recommend going if you do the Toulon cruise. It’s a picturesque village. Second to that would be Bourme les Mimosas, which is another picturesque village. 

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Both are nice. Visited both on last cruise in October.  October is very quiet time. It's not season.  Also, it rains in October often.  May is a better time to visit the French Riviera.   Monaco is a great port that is easy to see on your own.  The oceaneogrpy museum is excellent. Port info shows ways to walk from the ship using elevators to avoid steps. It was a a lovely short easy walk from the ship. On another trip in May, we went to Eze, Nice, Cannes, etc.  May is a great time.  Not much rain, long days, and lots of activity especially close to the Grand Prix race in Monaco.  May is warm with sunny days.  Flowers are in bloom.  Given a choice, I would go in May.

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Based on many trips to that area of France at all times during the year, the hill towns are wonderful at any time...and, for me, far more interesting than Monaco or Nice. 

 

St Paul De Vence is 46 minutes from Monaco and 1 hour 41 minutes from Toulon.  I'd pick the Monaco cruise...and arrange/book a full tour that took me to see the hill towns.  If you enjoy modern art, the Maight Foundation is a must see and while in the area, visit the Chapelle Du Rosaire designed by Matisse.

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I concur. We spent basically no time in Monaco and the surrounding areas are so wonderful, you would not want to miss Eze and Nice. Another little side trip that is close to Monaco is to take a car up to La Turbie. It is a picturesque village that overlooks Monaco and the views are amazing.  Sadly it is also where Princess Grace was killed in the car crash.  If you want to go to Aix in the future try to find a trip that docks in Marseille which can be a good point to visit not only Provence but also the beautiful little town of Cassis.   Have a wonderful trip.

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We’ve been to both Monaco and Provence A LOT. We definitely prefer May and as much as I love Provence, I’d probably opt for Monaco and tour to Eze and St Paul de Vence. We’re doing our 4th land trip to St Paul in April. Absolutely love it. But, there’s nothing wrong with Provence in October. 

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The Monaco Grand Prix is a double-edged sword.  If you are interested and can snag tickets, it would be a major attraction.  But if you don't care about F1 racing – or, more likely, can't get tickets – it disrupts the entire downtown and makes it very hard to get around [or even get out of town, if you want to take one of the excellent ideas suggested above].  So I would check the May dates very carefully.

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20 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

The Monaco Grand Prix is a double-edged sword.  If you are interested and can snag tickets, it would be a major attraction.  But if you don't care about F1 racing – or, more likely, can't get tickets – it disrupts the entire downtown and makes it very hard to get around [or even get out of town, if you want to take one of the excellent ideas suggested above].  So I would check the May dates very carefully.

They would be there the Wednesday after the Grand Prix ends on the Sunday. There could still be some tearing out going on but hopefully not too much disruption. 

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On 12/21/2018 at 4:14 PM, Lady Arwen said:

We've done both of these ports, but both in the spring not autumn.  We loved Provence (Aix-en Provence), but really liked Monte Carlo, too (tour took us to Nice).  Weather would be about the same, although I prefer Europe in the spring. The temps are quite warm and less rain than in the fall. Also, all the spring flowers are starting to appear and it's lovely.  You're familiar with Monte Carlo, so is this something that would interest your son?  Why not ask him what he would prefer?  

 

On 12/22/2018 at 8:36 AM, RickT said:

Monte Carlo is very special with lots to do.  Toulon on the other hand is a quaint seaside town (which we loved).  Toulon is also close to Aix en Provence (an hour) which I highly recommend.  You can’t go wrong with either.  Since you’ve been to Monte Carlo I’d recommend Toulon unless you or your son have a strong desire to go to Monte Carlo (check your dates as the Monte Carlo F1 race is in May and that would be awesome).

 

On 12/22/2018 at 1:46 PM, JoePDX said:

FYI -  although Toulon is listed as the port, the larger ships actually dock in La Seyne-sur-Mer.   It is across the harbor from Toulon.   My vote is for Aix-en-Provence.   Did it from Toulon on a November TA.  Lovely fall weather.

 

Joe

 

On 12/23/2018 at 4:17 PM, cruisequeen4ever said:

We loved both, but I’d say Monte Carlo is more exclusive and unique. Aix-en-Provence is where I’d recommend going if you do the Toulon cruise. It’s a picturesque village. Second to that would be Bourme les Mimosas, which is another picturesque village. 

 

Did any of  you visit Aix-en-Provence on Celebrity's shore excursion from Toulon?  The description online is woefully inadequate. There is no mention of what sights are actually visited in Aix on arrival, whether there is any free time to walk around, etc.  

 

Normally I would just arrange a private tour but the timing is tight and I have a lot of OBC to burn, so thought if the tour was reasonable I'd just book it.  I would LOVE any feedback anyone can share.

 

 

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32 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

Did any of  you visit Aix-en-Provence on Celebrity's shore excursion from Toulon?  The description online is woefully inadequate. There is no mention of what sights are actually visited in Aix on arrival, whether there is any free time to walk around, etc.  

 

I did but can't recall what the name or description was.  It was very basic with a bus ride to Aix and then pretty much free time to explore on your own.  I'm not sure they even did a basic walkaround.

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1 minute ago, RickT said:

I did but can't recall what the name or description was.  It was very basic with a bus ride to Aix and then pretty much free time to explore on your own.  I'm not sure they even did a basic walkaround.

 

That would be excellent for my purposes -- just wish that they would say so if that's the case. 

 

I imagine a call to Celebrity is unlikely to get me any additional info?

 

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4 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

I imagine a call to Celebrity is unlikely to get me any additional info?

 

Probably better to ask onboard.   That said, don't discount Toulon.  On our second trip there we rented bicycles from a company at the pier and had a nice ride into town.  We did some walking around, had a nice lunch and then headed back to the ship.  It didn't take that long so we continued along the road past the ship and visited a nice beach area with restaurants and such.

 

We felt the road was safe for biking and when in doubt took to the sidewalk.  Sorry but I can't recall the exact distance.

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Just now, RickT said:

Probably better to ask onboard.   That said, don't discount Toulon.  On our second trip there we rented bicycles from a company at the pier and had a nice ride into town.  We did some walking around, had a nice lunch and then headed back to the ship.  It didn't take that long so we continued along the road past the ship and visited a nice beach area with restaurants and such.

 

We felt the road was safe for biking and when in doubt took to the sidewalk.  Sorry but I can't recall the exact distance.

 

Thanks for the idea, it sounds like fun. Unfortunately we will be there in late late October, so I am a bit hesitant to plan something highly dependent on good weather when I know it can be cool and showery that time of year.

 

Also, we will be at the Le Seyne sur Mer port; were you there or in Toulon proper?

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We also docked in Le Seyne sur Mer as well.  It's about 7 kms to Toulon.  A little too far to walk but very doable on a bike.

 

In case you change your mind, here is a link to the company that rents bikes at the pier.  https://www.mabicyclettebleue.fr/

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

Did any of  you visit Aix-en-Provence on Celebrity's shore excursion from Toulon?  The description online is woefully inadequate. There is no mention of what sights are actually visited in Aix on arrival, whether there is any free time to walk around, etc.  

 

Normally I would just arrange a private tour but the timing is tight and I have a lot of OBC to burn, so thought if the tour was reasonable I'd just book it.  I would LOVE any feedback anyone can share.

 

 

We did a private tour.    Used this guide (Delphine) who was excellent.   http://www.provence-private-tour.com/about-us.html

 

Joe

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I must have visited a different Toulon than others. My wife and I and others traveling with us thought it was a dump. Many of the stores were permanently closed. Celebrity wanted $25pp for the boat shuttle from Le Seyne sur Meto Toulon that only went once per hour. We used the nearby public ferry for around 2.50E pp. We spent about an hour in Toulon and returned to the ship.

 

If you do Toulon, I would suggest a tour to Aix or Cassis. We would have gone to Aix, but had been there the year before from Marseilles, which is much more convenient.

 

We've been to Monte Carlo several times, though tendered in Villefranche and took the train to Monte Carlo and Nice. The train works very well to go between them. I would also recommend a private tour to St Paul de Vence and Eze.

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On 12/25/2018 at 12:43 AM, Cruise Junky said:

We’ve been to both Monaco and Provence A LOT. We definitely prefer May and as much as I love Provence, I’d probably opt for Monaco and tour to Eze and St Paul de Vence. We’re doing our 4th land trip to St Paul in April. Absolutely love it. But, there’s nothing wrong with Provence in October. 

We visited Monaco, Cannes and Nice while living in Germany years ago.   Also, we have ported in the South of France on a MED cruise, as well as taken a Rhone River cruise that visited places like Aix, Avignon, Eze and Arles.   There is so much to see in the South of France it is hard to decide what is at the top of the list.   However, one small hill village, St. Paul de Vence was our favorite.

Yes, Monaco was great, loved Arles, Avignon, Aix and Pont du Gard (Roman aqueduct).  Nice was nice, as was Cannes.

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5 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

Did any of  you visit Aix-en-Provence on Celebrity's shore excursion from Toulon? 

 

No, we did a private tour with Ingrid with Kultours.fr.  In fact, we have done five tours with her.  She is excellent. 😊

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9 minutes ago, Texed said:

 

No, we did a private tour with Ingrid with Kultours.fr.  In fact, we have done five tours with her.  She is excellent. 😊

Agree. We used her from Villefranche to Nice, St Paul and Eze. One of the best guides we have had.

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