Arles and Paris or more days in Paris?

Jul 29th, 2003, 05:32 PM
  #1  
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Arles and Paris or more days in Paris?

My husband and I (in our 60s) will be in Europe for the month of Sept with Eurail passes and have planned 2 1/2 days in Paris (first visit). We also were thinking of two days in Arles and Avignon before going to Paris. Should we skip Arles and spend more time in Paris? Would we really be sorry if we didn't see any of Provence?
happytourist is offline  
Jul 29th, 2003, 06:53 PM
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I love Arles. It's not too small, not too big with great sights and restaurants. I wouldn't miss it-2.5 days in Paris isn't enough either but Provence should be beautiful in Sept. If you decide to stay in Arles, I recommend HOtel D'arlatan.
swalter518 is offline  
Jul 29th, 2003, 07:17 PM
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We spent 2 1/2 days in Paris last spring(also our first visit) and, although we would have loved to have had more time there, we were glad we didn't skip a couple of days in Provence. We spent our first day wandering the streets of Arles, then taking the train to Avignon the next day, spending part of the day there and taking the bus to San Remy for the rest of the day. We loved experiencing both the excitement of Paris and the quiet beauty of the French countryside. Our only regret is that we didn't have more time for both Paris and Provence.
TravelerGina is offline  
Jul 29th, 2003, 08:16 PM
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If you are jetlagged, 2 1/2 days in Paris barely gives you time to get your bearings.
Not used to big cities, however, after 4 days I'm ready to back to a quieter place no matter how good a time its been.

It's up to your personal preference. good luck!
klondike is offline  
Jul 29th, 2003, 08:26 PM
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Oh, boy, this is a toughie! 2 1/2 days in Paris is so unbelievably not enough! But on the other hand, Arles is such a great place! Personally, I'd skip Avignon unless you have a real yen to see the Palais des Papes and high thee to Paris and spend an extra day there. That's what I'd do!
StCirq is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 07:24 AM
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I definitely would spend my entire allotment of days in Paris. Two and half days in Paris are not enough. I spend a week at a time and that just gives me enough time for a day trip out. I am heading there for my 9th time with my daughter as a 40th birthday present to her. High on the list to show her are le Musee d'Orsay, Sainte- Chappelle, Le Musee Rodin, to start the list. For a day trip I would recommend Fountainbleu and Barbizon. Bonne chance!
letstalk is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 07:43 AM
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What a wonderful dilemma! Provence is so lovely but if it is your first time, you will find it so hard to spend only 2 1/2 days in Paris. I have been to Paris 7 times and to Provence twice. I want to return to Provence but if it meant spending only 2-3 days in Paris, I would opt for skipping Provence this time. You will go back! And whatever you decide, you will love.
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Jul 30th, 2003, 07:47 AM
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happytourist,
My wife and I celebrated our 30th anniversary last Oct. based in Arles for 8 days. We loved every minute. We flew into CDG and immediately took the TGV to Nimes where we rented a car from Avis and drove the short distance to Arles. We found it to be a great base for day trips - Les Baux, St. Remy, Isle Sur la Sorgue, La Camargue. It was great having a familiar spot to come back to each day. There was so much to see and do in Arles to fill in the rest of the time. Just walking about was a great activity. Also the Arles market on Wed. and Sat. is fantastic. It seems that people that spend one day in Arles, especially those trying to drive through the old section, end up not really appreciating what it has to offer. We stayed at Hotel Le Calendal in a room with a terrace and huge modern bathroom for 75E/night. We thought it was a great bargain. We posted a trip report - Arles! Plane, Train, Auto - which you may find helpful. My suggestion would be to try to base there for at least 3 or 4 days so that you can absorb a reasonable amount of the local flavor.
JoeG
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Jul 30th, 2003, 08:16 AM
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We too love Arles and highly recommend the Calendal. We occupied the same room as Joe and his wife, one of the nicest rooms we've had in Europe and a favorite hotel.

On our last trip to France we stayed a couple of days in Paris and then drove to Lyon, where we spent the night, and drove to Arles the next day (with a short stop in Vaison la Romaine), where we stayed for 4-5 days, taking side trips to Pont du Gard, Camargue, Nimes, etc. We drove to Avignon, dropped off our car and took the train back to Paris for another couple of days before our flight home.

It's true that a couple of days is not enough for Paris, but we had been there before so wasn't a problem for us. Wish I had a pearl of wisdom for you, but as others have said whatever you decide you'll have a wonderful time.
Giovanna is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 09:19 AM
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A month in Paris isn't enough time. However, you'll have to decide what will be more meaningful to you. I've found that after my first visit (which was 3 days)that I like to visit Paris in small doses - 5 or 6 days at a time. I then have to get out of the city into the smaller towns and villages because for me, that is where I feel that I'm really in France.

Arles is wonderful and I enjoyed it just as much as I did Paris. I personally enjoyed Arles more than Avignon, but you'll find people you feel the opposite way.

Good luck in making a decision. You will love France.
Lynn_Gibson is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 02:58 PM
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Great responses! Thanks to all of you. Here's another option I just thought of: We're spending the first two weeks traveling with our daughter, who is in graduate school in Geneva. Then we were going to spend 3 days with her in Geneva (actually in Archamps, France across the border) and do two day trips: Lausanne and Mont Blanc. Maybe we should skip Mt. Blanc and go to Arles for 2 days and add one more day to Paris. I don't want to leave out one day trip in Switzerland as that will be our only time there. Should we drop Mont Blanc?
happytourist is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 03:06 PM
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Giovanna,
Good to hear from you again. Giovanna recommended Le Calendal, even the specific room. How great is that? It's so fun when someone brings this up again because it brings back such great memories.
JoeG
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Jul 30th, 2003, 04:48 PM
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Hi Joe: Yes the memories are good. When I read your post it took me back to Arles and our picnic on the terrace of our room, which I think you said you also did. Wonderful place, nice to reminisce!
Giovanna is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2003, 04:29 PM
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We dropped Mont Blanc, have two days in Arles with reservations at Le Calendal (room 4), and then 3 nights in Paris at Le Muguet. Thanks to everyone for all the great suggestions.
happytourist is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2003, 06:29 AM
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If your time in France is so limited Arles would never make my list of must sees. You will of course get lots of opinions on how to spend your time since tastes vary so much. So here's my recommendation. Stay the entire time in Paris but take day trips to Rouen (love that town and takes only 1 hour and 5 minutes by express train), a day trip to the Loire to see a couple of chateaus; Amboise (1 hour 20 minutes by train from Paris) is a good choice and you can take half day mini-van tours from there to the chateaus and maybe a day trip to Giverny if you are into Claude Monet's work and impressionism. Or spend a couple days at beautiful Annecy which is in the French Alps on the cleanest lake in Europe and has a charming old town section. The trip from Paris takes 4 hours by TGV train.

Just my 2 euros worth, others' mileage may vary. Just a note about Paris; I have been there three times per year for the past 6 years and still have a ton of things to see.

Larry J
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Aug 3rd, 2003, 07:00 AM
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I love Paris but think you should go to Provence as well. The landscape is so different. Very arid and dry. I stayed in Avignon for a night and thought it was ok. But the train ride from Paris is lovely and allows you to see some of the French Countryside. Really consider a night or two in the south. You won't regret it.
quebec is offline  
Aug 4th, 2003, 01:04 PM
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happytourist,
Le Calendal chambre #4 - that's it. One thing - there is no lift - so be prepared to lug your bags up the stairs. Very minor inconvenience. You won't be disappointed. Please post a report when you return.
JoeG
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Aug 4th, 2003, 05:05 PM
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Carrying bags is no problem--I've been lifting weights in preparation for this, since we're doing 30 days by train and carrying our own bags! Will certainly post a report. By the way, the gentleman at Le Calendal was great--he had trouble with my email address so he telephoned me to confirm the reservation.
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