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Advice on an Aggressive Provence Itinerary

Advice on an Aggressive Provence Itinerary

Old Aug 8th, 2013, 08:29 AM
  #1  
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Advice on an Aggressive Provence Itinerary

Hi All-

My sig other and I (30s, adventurous, foodies) have cobbled together the following itinerary for our 4 fun filled days in Provence in mid-September. Please let me know your thoughts! I'm bad at narrowing things down, and while I would rather include more options then less (if we get to the first village that day and decide to stay there and skip all the rest, I'm fine with it), let me know if there is anything you think I can drop if this itinerary is completely undoable. Or if there are any swaps/trades we should do.

Thursday - Nice to Provence
Leave Nice at 1pm and drive from Nice to Le Mas d'Aigret in Les Baux de Provence, stopping at Fayence, Chateaudouble, Tourtour, and Cotignac

Friday - explore Les Baux and St. Remy
Morning: visit the Château des Baux, the town, and Carrieres Lumieres
Afternoon and Evening: Visit Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and St Paul de Mausole

Saturday - Aix-en-Provence & Cassis

Sunday - Many a village/town
Morning: Market at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
Afternoon/Evening: wander around and explore Roussillon, Lourmarin, Gordes, Lacoste, Bonnieux, Ménerbes, Saignon, Goult

Monday - leave hotel and visit one or two last villages (maybe Apt and Cucuron) before driving back to Nice to arrive by 1pm
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 08:41 AM
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While not exactly relaxing, it is probably doable. You won't be spending a lot of time in each place, but for a first-time itiniery, you will get to see a lot. We did something similar a few years back, and have since gone back to spend a week at the places we really liked. Go for it!
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 08:42 AM
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Your Sunday itinerary has a couple of villages which would strain any reasonable plan. There are more than enough to keep you busy but I would not make the long drives to get to Lourmarin and Saignon after a morning in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.
Have fun.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 08:54 AM
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You might not have enough time to visit all the villages you have listed between Nice & Provence (where are you staying - St Remy??). I'm guessing that you have a copy of my Cote d'Azur/Provence itinerary because I recommended visits to all of those villages in the itinerary. The itinerary states that you can drive/visit them in about 4 hrs or slightly less (I timed it once). The itinerary starts in St Paul and ends in Le Val. You're starting in Nice at 1 pm and ending in St Remy (I assume). So if you leave Nice at 1 you'll get to the St Paul autoroute exit a little before 1:30. You'll get to le Val at 5:30. It is another 1 1/2 hrs to St Remy - getting there at 7PM. By the time you check in & get ready for dinner, it will be 7:30 to 8:00 - if everything goes perfect. You may have to skip a visit to several of the villages.

You can't possible visit all those Luberon villages in 1 afternoon on Sunday. Pick about 3 and visit them. Gordes & Roussillon will have shops open - others may not (except perhaps for Lourmarin). I don't think Saignon has any shops.

It is 2 1/2 hrs from St Remy to Nice - so you need to leave St Remy about 10:30 - which won't give you much time for doing things in the AM. I assume you plan on arriving in Nice at 1 for a flight at 4PM or later - if you are, in fact, flying elsewhere from Nice.

Stu Dudley
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 09:03 AM
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Thanks! That is helpful. We may at a minimum take Saigon out, although it is a shame because it sounds so lovely.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 09:05 AM
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We have to be back in Nice for a 5pm train and we want to make sure to get back in time for some lunch and a little walking before we jump on the train.

We are staying in Les Baux de Provence (first 2 nights) and Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt (last 2 nights).
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 09:06 AM
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From my perspective you will see little if anything, of anywhere. It's a 'tick the box' list and nothing more.

The way to SEE anything is to spend time IN places, not in BETWEEN places. Your ratio of one to the other is way off.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 09:14 AM
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If you are planning a Windshield Tour I think you got one....
Too rushed for me, this itinerary reminds me of the movie scene when the Griswold's visited the Grand Canyon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQJH5tZLGis

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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 09:15 AM
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leave hotel and visit one or two last villages (maybe Apt and Cucuron) before driving back to Nice to arrive by 1pm

That will not happen. Apt is not that interesting, I do not know about Cucuron. Neither are close to the autoroute and according to www.viamichelin.com, that trip will take 3hr55min; and Michelin time is optimal and the trip usually takes more time than indicated. Presumably these intermediate stops are mentioned because they are worth a visit. That represents at least 30 more minutes in the itinerary.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 10:39 AM
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I had done a rather similar trip in 2007, visiting most of the places you mention. I like to pack in as much as I can in a day y careful routing we did manage to fit in many villages within a day. But frankly, it was rather exhausting. If you want to have a look at my itinerary, check out my blog post http://sujaa.wordpress.com/2007/06/2...c2%a0provence/
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 10:43 AM
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There's really nothing to "explore" in Les Baux other than seeing the village and the ruins of the citadel. You don't need 2 days to do that.

I do think your itinerary is crazily crammed with too much for a single day.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 10:45 AM
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Do you have the Michelin Green Guide to Provence and the map for that vast region? It would be very helpful to you to look at the recommended itineraries in the Guide so you can get a realistic picture of what's possible in a day. The viamichelin.com web site is also very helpful.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 11:46 AM
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Suja, driving through a village is not visiting a village. It is not possible to VISIT many villages within a day.
Yes, you can 'fit them in', to a driving route, but you cannot VISIT them. Can you not see the difference?
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 11:46 AM
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Travel isn't supposed to be like fast food.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 11:52 AM
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Travel isn't supposed to be like fast food.

What travel is "supposed to be" is up to the individual.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 11:53 AM
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Travel isn't supposed to be like fast food.

What travel is "supposed to be" is up to the individual.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 02:29 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I find those suggestions as to what would be good to take out particularly helpful. Obviously, for someone's first (and maybe only) visit to the region, the goal for us is to feel as though we didn't miss something. I have looked up all of the places on the itinerary, and they all looked great to me. The challenge is eliminating options, which is harder to do when you are just reading lots of reviews/articles from people saying how wonderful each town is.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 02:33 PM
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Its hard to know whether one location will grab us and we will want to stay and wander around for 3 hours or whether we will just want to pass through. Suja, your blog is super helpful! Although I'm sure our amounts of time in certain places will differ, its great to read about how long you ended up visiting at your many stops.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 04:57 PM
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Your list of things to do each day in the Luberon made me chuckle, because this area, for us, was all about leisurely long lunches at wonderful restaurants, exploring one or two villages a day at most, and stopping and smelling the lavender so to speak. There is more than one way to travel, for sure, but Provence is also about leisurely (two hour) lunches of duck confit and wine on a view terrace overlooking the valley...make sure your schedule allows for that.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 05:33 PM
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>> but Provence is also about leisurely (two hour) lunches of duck confit and wine on a view terrace overlooking the valley...make sure your schedule allows for that.
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