A practical guide for visiting Paris without spending a fortune. 

On a Dime Destinations

Provence, France

The Provence region of France is easy to reach from Paris by the TGV trains, leaving from Gare de Lyon. In just about 3 hours you will arrive in sunny Provence. Tickets are cheap when purchased in advance. A round trip to Avignon or Aix en Provence can cost as little as 50.00€. Once there I suggest renting a car so that you can stay in a smaller village and have the opportunity to explore areas that are not accessible by train. 

Sunflowers on the Valensole Plateau

I recently spent 6 nights in Cotignac, France. There was so much to see do there and in the area that I could have easily stayed for month, or even more. And with some advance planning a trip to Cotignac, or any other town in Provence can be affordable too. Doing a quick search on AutoEurope I found a 7-day rental car originating at the Aix TGV station for $96, in the shoulder season of October. For self-catering Airbnb has places as low as $65.00 per night. By self-catering you can save money by eating some meals at home.  Local wine is cheap averaging 5.00€ - 10.00€ per bottle. And the cheap stuff is very good. 

Local Vineyard

The restaurant meals I had were reasonably-priced. A 3-course dinner at La Terrasse was 23.00€, plus wine. Three of us shared a bottle that was priced at 24.00€. My hamburger at La Table des Coquelicots was 17.00. It included fries and a salad and the burger was huge. Dessert was 10.00€ - which included an after-dinner drink. But over 6 nights I only had the two restaurant meals. One night we we had the Moules-Frites at the Boulodrome for 8.50€, plus wine at 8.00€ per bottle. Otherwise we ate at home. 

Rooftops in Cotignac


Here’s what I spent for my 6-night trip:

Round-trip train ticket from Paris                        75.00€

Restaurant Meals                                                 60.00€

Other Meals/Snacks                                             80.00€

Miscellaneous (wine and market goodies)        100.00€

Trip Total                                                             315.00€ 

My room with a view


Train – www.capitainetrain.com

Airbnb - www.airbnb.com

Cotignac Hotels - http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g616122-Cotignac_Var_Provence-Hotels.html

AutoEurope - http://www.autoeurope.com/

Via Michelin maps and driving directions - www.viamichelin.com

Cotignac Office du Tourisme - http://www.la-provence-verte.net/ot_cotignac/

Provence Living Blog - http://provence-living.net/