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It’s been waaaay too long since we took a proper vacation. There have been the weekend getaways, even the short road trip we did last October through California, but not a REAL vacation. I’m talking passport packed, gone for two weeks, thousands of miles away from home vacation.

We’ve decided we are going to make this type of trip happen this year, perhaps in the very late spring or early summer. But here’s where we get tripped up — every time we start trying to plan what we want to do and where we want to go, we can’t decide if we’d rather visit the gorgeous coastal cliffs of the Amalfi Coast in Italy, or if we’d rather do a tour of Southern France, hitting up the lovely countryside in Provence and ending by the sea on the Cote d’Azur.

If we did Italy, we’d likely fly into Rome, train it down to Naples, then make our way from town to town along the coast. Capri is an option too, though I hear it can be touristy. If we did France, we’d fly into Paris and spend a few days (and yeah, that gives this itinerary bonus points, because hello, it’s Paris), then train down to the south. We’d tour the countryside for a week or so, then spend several more days in Nice, Antibes, Cannes, the works.

So if you had two weeks off and had to choose between the two…where would you go? And if you’ve been to one or both, share your thoughts in the comments for sure. I have a feeling Italy might be a hit with many of you, so Francophiles, put in your two cents!!

PS — My column ‘Double Take’ is up over at Young Sophisticates! Check it out here.

{Image Credits: Amalfi Coast 1 2 3; Provence 1 2 3}

46 Responses

  1. The Amalfi coast is gorgeous and perfect for a romantic vacation, especially Positano. Capri is cute but we only went there for day by boat from Positano and it was just enough. However, now living in Southern France I would have to say no city on Earth beats Paris. The Cote d’Azur is lovely (although expensive) but you can do lots of stuff, wine tasting, Cannes, Monaco, not to mention it’s only about a 3 hour drive from Barcelona meaning you can squeeze in Spain as well. And now I’ve squeezed everything into this comment. Both trips are ultimately worth taking.

  2. I would always choose Paris… but that’s also because I have never been and I’m somewhat obsessed! I would pick a place that you have been dreaming about for a long time. I know no matter where you go, the two of you will have a blast!!!!

  3. As you guessed, I pick the Amalfi Coast. I have never been anywhere so beautiful. Have you been there before? I did it as you’re thinking– flew to Naples, drove down, stayed in Positano, traveled out from there every day.

    Obviously, France is beautiful as well. Paris can’t really disappoint. :) You can’t go wrong!

  4. I don’t think you can go wrong but I love the Amalfi Coast. Positano is definitely a must but the whole region is so beautiful and its so serene ( I can give you recommendations b/c although I’ve only been once my parents go every summer now. Being retired has perks!)

    Either decision is going to be amazing!

  5. Oh that’s a hard one. I’ve been to both and I loved both. I’ve lived in Paris and it holds a special place in my heart, but Italy has such charm and great food.
    I think if it were to choose right now I’d go for Amalfi coast – great views, fun driving along the coast with a tiny car, great seafood and pasta, cute villages. I agree on Capri just for the day and I’m not a fan of Naples – Sorento and Positano would be my favourite and try and get at least one hotel with a pool. Lounging in the pool with views of the ocean is amazing.
    Provence, Paris and Cote d’Azur are great as well, but more expensive and chi chi snobby.

  6. There is no wrong answer! Both would be unbelievable!!

  7. Dude, you’ve just described a win-win situation. Never been to either, but I’m pretty sure there is no wrong option in this scenario! Just make sure you save enough space in your suitcase for a bathing suit, your camera and a certain 5’4″ inch New Yorker who hasn’t seen enough of the world yet.

    PS: Congrats on yesterday’s news…your passion for this medium is very evident in all of your posts, and I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors! One of my favorite quotes is “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life” and it seems like you really love what you do!!

  8. That is a tough decision but I am seriously dying to visit the Amalfi Coast. It looks absolutely dreamy!

  9. I’m so partial to the cote d’azure. I visited when I was young, and again when I studied in Paris. It is honestly breath taking. And you’re so close to Italy and Monaco that you can go to both! I highly recommend it. The only negative — if you go in the off season lots of things will be closed. it will be cheaper and quiet, but you won’t get the full experience. And who doesn’t love a bonus trip to paris?!

  10. Everyone’s saying it, but the Amalfi Coast! I love Provence and have a stack of grade school art projects and reports to prove it… But the Amalfi Coast is like living in a dream. Capri, Sorrento, Positano, Praiano… A day trip to Pompeii… We had dream-like experiences there. For me, it was love at first pasta and I am longing to go back, hole up in a house on a cliff, and immerse myself in the local culture. Can’t wait to hear where you pick!

  11. I think i’m biased toward France because I’ve been to Italy several times. HOWEVER – a friend of my parents who has literally traveled everywhere in the work says that Almafi coast is her absolute, hands-down favorite place she has ever been.

    Touch decision ;)

  12. Well funny you ask because Kev and I are in the midst of planning our dream vacation. His grandfather is turning 90 in August so we are going to their hometown in Vila Nova de Cerveira in Northern Portugal. Then taking the train to Bilbao on the northern coast of Spain, continuing on into Bordeaux, up to Orleans and the Loire Valley and finally ending in Paris. Bonus, we’ll be in Paris for our 7th anniversary! Soooo, you and Joe should postpone for a few months and join us in Bordeaux or Paris!

    Of your potential trips… I absolutely loved southern France when I spent time there abroad: Grasse, Cannes, Antibes. It is all gorgeous though! Also never been to the Almafi Coast, so there is that too!

  13. i did a week-long trip through provence and the cote d’azur three years ago, and it was the most incredible experience.

    i would highly recommend nice, a stop in bandol to taste some rose, a day trip to chateauneuf-de-pape for some rich french reds, and antibes is gorgeous. cannes was so-so, in my experience. the best meal i have ever eaten was during a day trip to eze (le chevre d’or – life changing. do it.)

    in terms of timing, in spring it’s asparagus and lamb season!

  14. I think the Amalfi Coast is beautiful—a bit less traditional/stereotypical of a European vacation trip, and far more relaxing. That being said, I don’t think you could go wrong with either!

    Funny…until I was 19, I had never been anywhere except out of the U.S.! (I had never been to another state besides New York, but I had visited Spain twice and Canada several times, plus lived in Egypt.) Now it’s been four years since any international travels, and I’m itching to get back out there. I think Germany would be a fun trip too; the countryside, the cities, and the food and beer appeal to me.

    I hope you share with us soon which trip you end up taking!

  15. My suggestion is that you consider the personalities of each country and what you want to feel/experience while you are there. The Italians are lively, exuberant and have a zest for life. The French are more subdued and sophisticated. Both areas have beautiful scenery, outstanding food and lovely people you will enjoy meeting. I have personally experienced both journeys, and both are amazing! You truly can’t make a wrong choice!

  16. I went to both last May and while Cote d’Azur is absolutely beautiful, nothing can compare to Positano and those houses hanging on the cliffs. The atmosphere is much more laid back and it oddly felt less touristy than France.

  17. I do wish that was my predicament, I am feeling a bit vacation deprived and its high time for a real vacation over here too! We were in Provence about 2 years ago and I LOVED it, didnt’ want to leave truth be told BUT have never been to The Amalfi coast so that would be my personal choice. Is doing both out of hte question? 2 weeks is a long enough time to where I think that could be feasible?

  18. I highly highly recommend Italy! and definitely make sure you stop in cinque terre!

  19. You couldn’t go wrong with either one!

  20. I would always go with the Amalfi Coast! The nicest people, great food – hit up the smaller towns for meals to get away from the mass amounts of tourirsts! We stayed in Villa Scarapiello, and then we usually got lunch on the square in Atrani. The best little town for dinner was, hands down, Maiori! Ah I could go on and on – let me know if you want suggestions if you end up going!

  21. Girl, you read my mind! This will be the year we get back out and finally take a real vacation abroad as well. I’m with the consensus- The Amalfi Coast. It’s where we’re heading. I’ve only previously traveled as far south as Sorrento, but you can not go wrong with Italy- ever.

  22. I would go with Italy! The Amalfi Coast is just too incredible to pass up. I’d stay at the Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento or Santa Catarina. And there’s some really incredible cooking classes that are offered at Villa Ida. Have fun planning this amazing trip!

  23. Geeza!!! I think either sound/look incredible. I don’t know much about either so I can’t say much. But seriously??? I envy your dilemma!

  24. No matter where you go, I request lots and lots of photos! Both sound beautiful, but I’d go to Italy just for the gelato :) but that’s just because I’m obsessed with it haha

  25. This is a really hard choice – but I vote Italy! I’ve been to a bunch of cities in Italy (and had a trip planned to to Almafi Coast that we had to cancel last minute) and it’s truly amazing! Food plays a big roll in this decision and Italian food cannot be beat in my book!

  26. We’re having the same dilemma! I think we’re leaning towards a combination of Florence and Amalfi coast, though the Greek islands are still a contender as well. Either way, it will be a much-needed break from reality and internet!

  27. P.S. I loved the week I spent in Paris, but I wouldn’t say it’s relaxing if you’re the type who feels compelled to see the major sights (as I am) and explore all the neighborhoods.

  28. What a tough choice! I would go to the Amalfi coast, only because I’ve dreamed of going there forever! You really can not go wrong with either locale, though… both would be amazing. Oh, I need a vacation!

  29. Amalfi. Done.

  30. Wow! That is a hard choice to make but I think I would have to go with option 2- Provence and the southern coast of France. I went to the Amalfi coast in October last year and as beautiful as it was we were running out of things to do after a few days. Positano is definitely the most beautiful of the coastal towns but an overnight stay is enough. Pompeii is incredible and definitely worth a visit, skip Naples and Sorrento is very small touristy as with Capri. Go with Provence and you have the best of both worlds- the country and the sea! I’ve got some photos up from our trip on my blog. x


  31. I can totally relate, my husband and I have done a lot of domestic travel to visit family and weekend trips, but I am craving an extended international vacation! We’re thinking of taking one later this year to Israel/Turkey because it’s somewhere we’ve never been that seems fascinating! Both places you’re looking at sound incredible…I’ve never been anywhere in France besides Paris but I hear the coast is lovely….but I’ve been to Italy twice and I absolutely adore it there, so that would be my pick! Two years ago, my husband and I spent some time in Cinque Terre which is a little further north and we absolutely loved it! Xoxo


  32. You can’t go wrong with either one! I just took a trip to Paris and it was so amazing! I mean, its PARIS! We didn’t make it all the way down south, only as far as Burgundy, but I’m dying to go. That being said I’ve also been to the beginning tip of the Amalfi Coast with a stay in Sorrento and Capri and was left longing to go south to Pompeii, Positano, Amalfi and etc.

    You can’t go wrong with either one but God it’s hard to choose! But what a blessed problem to have! I just can’t pick but good luck!

  33. Amalfi Coast, for sure! Positano is my favorite, but Capri + Anacapri are worth a day trip. You could also explore Rome, Florence, and Tuscany! Italy is super easy to get around.

  34. Either sounds amazing. I would go with Italy – but it’s a hard choice!

  35. Been to both – love them both. 2010 trip was Paris and then South of France (Pelesannes) and the west end of the Riviera. Tres incroyable! On the other hand, Cinque Terra needs our tourist dollars after their devastating mud slide last fall. Or consider Rome, Capri, Amalfi coast and then explore Umbria…bring back some great ceramics from Deruta. Stay at Pambuffeta in Montefalco and buy some molto bene linens. Great wineries all around. Tiny mountain town a few hours away, Castelucchio?

  36. The hubby and I are in a similar situation, can’t decide between going to Thailand or Italy…everyone says that Italy is amazing and neither of us has ever been. I have been to the south of France, honestly – I felt a little underwhelmed, maybe because coming from Paris everything else pales in comparison. But still, if your trip starts in Paris and you make your way down then it can be a very romantic experience…just don’t expect too much from the trains, they don’t look the way they do in the movies :)

  37. This is a trick question, right??? Because I’m pretty sure there is no wrong answer, they both would be absolutely marvelous…the only real question is “can I come with you???” (c:

  38. Ummm…either one would be — wait for it — Awesome! I’ll lose some weight and you can pack me in your suitcase, cool?

  39. I went to the Amalfi coast last summer and absoloutely LOVED it. I definitely wouldn’t avoid Capri because it can be touristy. It wasn’t too bad when I was there, and it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. As an added bonus, you can jump on a 15 minute ferry from Capri and be in beautiful Sorrento, which isn’t quite as touristy.

  40. I’ve actually been to both places (and while they are both amazing) I have to say that the Amalfi Coast was my preference! The french riviera towns can all seem pretty similar to one another, while the Amalfi coast towns are all different. And you can even rent a boat for the day and take a day trip to Capri.

  41. France, all the way. I remember swimming in the French Riveria, and it felt like bath water. But I may be a little biased, because I met my boyfriend there :)

  42. Amalfi Coast is on my list! But I did Paris-Provence-Nice and it was wonderful! If you go to Provence, check out this little town called Isle sur la Sorge. It has canals, a weekly outdoor market, and is the cutest ever. We even stayed in a small hotel there, and went wine tasting, then dinner on the hilltop town of Sablet. I’ll never forget it. And the people are much nicer than in Paris! Can’t wait to hear where you decide to go!

  43. I’m slightly biased towards France – but the Amalfi Coast has also been on my list for so long!! My mom sailed it last summer and swears it was beautiful! Regardless of where you go you’ll have a fantastic time – and if you choose France, hit me up for tips! I did pretty much that exact trip last summer :)

    Oh and, what Erika says! Isle sur la Sorge has over 80 antique shops to visit – hello!!

  44. Wow…that is really hard! Paris is my favorite city in the world, so I lean towards France, but I have also really wanted to visit the Amalfi coast (only been to Florence, Venice and Milan). You really can’t lose either way!

  45. Jealous!!!! I’ve never been to the Amalfi coast but definitely want to go :)
    – Sara @ Gameday Stylist

  46. thank you for choosing my photo of the boats at the amalfi coast. clearly, you have a discriminating taste. =) (double thank you for crediting me!)

    i can also weigh in on your trip. if you’re looking for the best of italy, i actually might recommend steering clear of the amalfi coast. i’m sure it’s a beautiful place to live, but it’s expensive and unfortunately very tourist driven. unless you plan on spending a bundle, you won’t get much authentic italy. (at least, we didn’t.)

    much, much better was cinque terre. it’s how i imagine the amalfi coast may have been 50 years ago. lots of tourism there, but not overrun or inauthentic. some of the meals we had there were so delicious, and it’s a wonderful day or two spent hiking all five cities.

    it would not be a mistake to spend some time in florence. the museums there rival any in the world. we did a great thing by signing up for a walking tour of the city and a separate walking tour of the museums, led by an art history phd student. these are great things to do as soon as you get there b/c it will help you get so much more out of everything else you see (and you get to skip the long lines when you’re part of a group!).

    we also spent some time in rome and naples, what can i say about those…we could easily spend another 2 or 3 vacations there. (i will happily plug rick steve’s guide thru italy…he didn’t steer us wrong pretty much everywhere we went. i’m not sure how he does it.)

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