|Subject: Re: Travel planning question|
Both your tentative destinations are so full of great possibilities you can hardly go wrong. Many Ziners are more experienced at traveling independenty (by car) than I, and I'm sure you will get lots of great suggestions. You will appreciate it more spending enough time in one area to feel satisfied, as you plan to do. My personal preference is Provence and, of course, if you choose to bypass the hurly burly of Paris (which I love) you can fly directly to Nice. Fellow Ziner, Frieda Lekkerkerker, is a real expert on Provence (see website: AboutProvence). In addition to varied types of information, the newsletter features a different town each month, and there is an option to go back and review previous places of the month. This was an excellent resource for me in learning about the different towns to know where I'd most like to spend time.
Another website, BonjourParis.com, has a newsletter with tons of info, not just for Paris but all of France, with what's happening at the time, plus articles each month on a particular wine region, etc. Excellent reading even if you weren't planning a trip.
I have no commercial interest in either site but feel they are very helpful and entertaining.
In the fall last year, FranceVacations.com advertised great prices for one-week stays either in Paris or Provence, through the spring months, with quite a selection of hotels. My travel partner backed out after 9/11, but the package we were taking was under $900 each for Paris, including air, hotel and breakfasts.
I've been longing to get back to Northern Italy to the lakes. No specific recommendations here, but it's all wonderful. So you've got it wrapped either way. Just enjoy whatever you decide.