I am planning a 14 day trip driving down from London to Provence, spending the majority of our time in the area with stopovers en route. This is our first visit to the area and will be our honeymoon straight after getting married on the 18th July.
We will be travelling from 20th July to 2nd August. I know this is a very busy time in Provence so we want to steer clear of the most popular tourist areas as we don't want to spend all of our time in the car. We will probably spend most days visiting villages / towns in the morning, have lunch there then relax by a pool / beach in the late afternoon. I'm wary of cramming too much in and packing/unpacking all the time as it won't be relaxing but also want to see several different areas as Provence is so large and varied. Ideally I'd love to visit all the coastal villages if we were out of season but I fear we'll spend too much time in traffic jams.
We love: eating out, wine, visiting villages, sunbathing and relaxing. Proximity to good local restaurants (not necessarily Michelin-starred) is a must, especially in the evenings when we won't want to drive so can walk to them easily.
1. Are there enough restaurants in Les Baux / Roussillon / Bonnieux to eat at in the evenings (so we don't have to drive)
2. Is it worth including the Roussillon/Bonnieux leg of the trip or should we stay an extra night in Les Baux and Le Bastide so we aren't moving around too much? Or is there somewhere else we shouldn't miss?
3. Is it worth staying in a vineyard B&B? I've found a few such as Le Chateau de St Martin just outside Draguignan or La Domaine de la Fouquette north of Collobrieres. We love our wine and think staying there might be a nice experience and have its advantages as we can try the wine without having to drive afterwards.
Or do we visit the vineyards near Chateauneuf du Pape (as my fiance loves this wine)?
4. I love the beach so really want to incorporate this for at least 2 days so would love a quiet(er) resort with a few restaurants so we are not driving a lot on the busy coastal roads.
A first draft of my itinerary is below:
DAY 1 Monday 20th July: Catch an early ferry and drive to the Champagne region near Epernay. Any advice on a nice chateau/B&B with a vineyard would be appreciated
DAY 2: Drive to Aigueze on the Ardeche. Stay at Residence Le Castelas
DAY 3: Canoe on river / lunch. Stay at Residence Le Castelas
DAY 4: Drive to Les Baux. Stay at Mas d'Aigret which is in the village, probably relax by pool in afternoon
DAY 5: Visit Arles in morning / pool afternoon. Stay at Mas d'Aigret
DAY 6: Avignon. Stay at Mas d'Aigret
DAY 7: St Remy / maybe Maussane. Stay at Mas d'Aigret
DAY 8: Drive to Roussillon. Stay at Le Clos de Glycine (but no pool) OR Bonnieux at Le Clos du Buis (with pool) both near the village centres.
DAY 8/9: Explore east Luberon villages. Maybe rent a bike for the day?
DAY 10: Drive to Moustiers-St-Marie stopping at a village for lunch. Stay at La Bastide de Moustiers (this is a must as it's somewhere I've always wanted to go) explore the Gorge Verdon and Lac de St Croix
DAY 11: Continue exploring area or relax by pool. Stay at La Bastide de Moustiers
DAY 12/13: Head to a quieter coastal resort and relax on beach / visit local vineyards if possible. I've heard good things re. Gigaro and the Pellegrin beach in Bormes les Mimosas - any good?
Drive up to Beaune in Burgundy for last night. Stay at Jardins des Lois.
DAY 14: Beaune - London
Any advice is much appreciated, thank you.
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