Arles! Plane,Train, Auto.

Old Oct 21st, 2002, 01:46 PM
  #1  
Joe G.
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Arles! Plane,Train, Auto.

We just returned from our trip to France to celebrate our 30th wedding aniversary. I want to thank everyone who helped with the planning and gave us the confidence to book everything ourselves. We flew non-stop Chicago to CDG via American Airlines. Took the TGV right from the same terminal to Nimes. Thanks to Peter, Billyb, flygirl, xx and others for suggesting TVG. It was fast, quiet, smooth and only 33 Euros each way per person. We rented through Avis right in the Nimes station. Our car was a Ford Focus 4 door hatchback (different from the USA version)We thought it served us very well. (@200per week +tax+gas) Getting out the the underground parking structure and out of Nimes was a little dicey but we found our way without any problem. Thanks to Vincent and and especially Giovanna for recommeding Hotel Le Calendal where we stayed all 8 nights. It was charming. We had a great room with a terrace, very clean & spacious modern bath, very helpful staff all for 75 Euros/night. We thought it was a bargain. Also very well situated. What really made our trip enjoyable were the terrific restaurant tips that we got from Patricia (PB Provence) We went to three of them (one was better than the next) I showed her list to one of the staff at the Hotel and she recommended another restaurant in the Camargue that was unbelievable. This is no revelation but THE FRENCH REALLY KNOW HOW TO EAT! I can't emphasize enough how significant it was to have such a list of dining spots. We really felt like we knew what we were doing. Plus we were able to make reservations and were really made to feel welcome when we arrived. Other than eating we spent time at all the local markets, went to Les Baux, St. Remy, Glanum, Isle sur la Sorgue, le Camargue, hiked the GR6 trail, spent a lot of time just hanging out in Arles and long drives in the countryside. Once again, the information from everyone on this forum was fantastic. Our trip went so smoothly. I can't believe this was our first trip to France. We felt like seasoned veterans.

Joe G
 
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 02:20 PM
  #2  
Patty
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
What restaurant in the Camargue did the hotel recommend?
 
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 02:27 PM
  #3  
PB
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Joe,

So glad you had an enjoyable trip... and managed to eat well ! LOL

Was the other restaurant in the Camague the one with the great vegetarian meals (I can't remember the name of it at the moment)?

Patricia
 
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 02:57 PM
  #4  
Joe G
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Patty and Patricia,

The restaurant in the Camargue is LA CHASSAGNETTE. It is on D36 in the direction of Solin de Giraud near Le Sambuc. We went there for lunch, many courses, 23Euros each, unbelievable! Most if not all organic, much of which is grown in their own garden. We did have duck breast salad and grilled tuna so I don't think it is only vegetarian. The other places we enjoyed were: LA CUISINE AU PLANET in Fontvieille, LE PETITE FRANCE in Maussane and LA GOUSSE D'AIL in St.Remy ( Bouillabaisse on Tuesdays.
 
Old Oct 22nd, 2002, 07:16 AM
  #5  
Judy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Dear Joe, How long did you stay? What was your itinerary like? Favourite places? Thanks for any info. Nows your chance to share your experiences!
 
Old Oct 22nd, 2002, 09:51 AM
  #6  
Giovanna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Joe: Belated happy anniversary. It sounds as if you had a perfect trip and I'm very happy I was able to help. I just didn't see how you could go wrong with le Calendal and it sounds as if you had the same room we did. It remains one of our favorite hotels and hope someday we can stay there again.

Again, glad you had such a great trip and I'm pleased my suggestion contributed to that!
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 09:08 PM
  #7  
Joe G.
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
To Giovanna,
Yes, it was the same that you stayed in (Chambre #4). We loved it.
Just sitting on the terrace looking out over the city is a memory that I will cherish forever.
Joe G.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 10:19 PM
  #8  
Joe G.
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Judy,
I spent the last two nights writing a lengthy synposis of our trip. For some reason it never prints. There must be a time limit or something. Anyway it's after mid-night now. Maybe I will try for a condensed version tomorrow
Joe G.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 08:00 AM
  #9  
Alice
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Joe, it might be that you need to split your lengthy tome into sections and post them one after another. Seems to be an issue with the length of a single posting...
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 09:50 AM
  #10  
Giovanna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Joe: After reading your recent post, I remembered suggesting you ask for that room because it was large and had the wide terrace. Don't remember if I mentioned it in that post, but toward the end of our stay we had a picnic on the terrace, something we love doing and try to do everywhere we visit in some form or another. We bought sandwiches at the "deli" across the street and to the left, as well as a bottle of wine, and feasted on the terrace!

I too would enjoy hearing about your visit in Arles. Did you go to Pont du Gard, the Camargue, etc.

Good advice above--do your report in sections on the same thread.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 09:54 AM
  #11  
Giovanna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Joe: Better clean my glasses. Obviously you did go to Camargue, even suggested a restaurant there!

Would still like to hear about your adventures there.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 06:07 PM
  #12  
Joe G.
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Here goes another shot at my response to Judy.
We stayed 9/8 nights which seemed to be a good time framed. We did so much and yet weren't totally depressed about coming home. I really enjoyed staying in one place rather than two or three. Arles seemed to be a good base to depart for day trips. It was very comforting to return to Le Calendal each evening. On days when we stayed in Arles such as Market Days (Wed/Sat)there was plenty to see and do. The hotel is right next to the Arena and Amphitheatre. The Van Gogh tribute exhibit is very worthwhile. Just walking around town was an activity in itself.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 06:26 PM
  #13  
Joe G.
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
II

I'm not proof reading these so sorry for spelling /grammatical errors.
We spent part of one day touring the ruins and town of Les Baux. Early October seems to be a great time to travel here - no crowds. We seemed to have the place to ourselves. Each day we stretched our limits a little further. We started to get familiar with the roads to the point where, after a late dinner in St.Remy we were able to drive the hilly, winding totally dark road to Les Baux without any problems. They light up the ruins at night which makes for a very awesome sight for miles around.
I was surprised at how quickly I took to the roundabouts. What a great way to keep traffic moving. Also we were warned about the French drivers coming up quickly from behind. This was true but they only wanted to pass and did so as soon as possible (or sooner). There was no sense of aggressiveness or hostility, no honking or obscene gestures.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 07:03 PM
  #14  
Joe G.
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
III

We wanted to hike the GR6 trail and on Sunday afternoon we found it by accident. We were driving back from the market at Isle sur la Sorgue. We took a very scenic route which I think was D24. We stopped the car at what we thought might be a trailhead. It turned out to be the GR6. We hiked only a short distance when we realized that rosemary was growing wild all around us. Also thyme and sage.I had to laugh out loud because for the past five years I've tried to gow this puny patch of rosemary in our backyard herb garden. Here it is growing wild everywhere. What a Country!
We hike past vineyards, olive groves, fig trees, a few other hikers and occasional horseback riders. We came to a clearing and noticed something flying overhead which turned out to be a glider. It flew right over our heads and landed not fifty yards away. I got some great photos of this. Perfect weather. Sunny, 70 degrees F.
A few days later we picked up this trail and followed it to Glanum. It was very eerie hiking through the woods and coming upon 4th century BC ruins.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 07:22 PM
  #15  
Joe G.
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
IV
Most of our days revolved around food, as you could probably tell from the original post. No matter where we ate - from the sandwich in the Paris train station to the bakeries, to the cafes, to the pizzarias, to the gourmet restaurants to the slice of smoked ham and croissaant at the Arles market.(which we ate on our terrace) - everything tasted unbelievably delicious. The highlight of the trip for Lynn and probably for me too was the lunch at the restaurant in La Camargue - LA CHASSAGNETTE. We drove to Les Saintes Marie de la Mer which in summer is probably an overcrowded beach town. Now it seemed rather quiet. We spent time just sitting on a bench along the beach taking in the sun and the sea breeze. We spent about an hour driving through La Camargue with very light to no traffic. We almost drove past the restaurant. Thankfully, though Lynn has a hard time with the map, she can really sniff out the restaurants. (I still can figure out how she spotted that place in Le Fontveielle) The lunch we had outside that day was spectacular!
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 07:39 PM
  #16  
Joe G.
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
V

We read tons of books prior to the trip and brought some with us. The Michelin Green Guide to Provence and the Michelin Map #245 seemed to be the most useful.
We brought one of those cheap collapsible suitcases and the day before we left we bought enough stuff at the Arles market to fill it - Olive oil, jams, tapenades, a tablecloth, candles, perfume, a cap, pottery, spices etc.
Using Euro currency made all financial transactions very simple. Also ATM's were everywhere and worked perfectly. We never used the moneybelt we brought. Never used the wet wipes. The zip lock bags were fantastic. Lynn was amazed when I showed her how much stuff I packed into my carry on sized bag (which we checked on the plane and had no baggage problems).Also I am pleased to report there were no problems with les toilettes.
The last night in Arles we just hung out at the Van Gogh Cafe, which is about as good a place as any to hangout.
We were really amazed at how relatively inexpensive this trip cost. We've spent as much going to New York City and Nantucket Island.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 07:46 PM
  #17  
Joe G.
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
VI

I could keep rambling on about our trip but I want to remark about one more thing. I admit that I had a real craving for CocaCola on this trip. I may be crazy - but I really believe that Coke tasted better in France. I have a theory. In France they use sugar, in the US they use corn syrup. Can anyone confirm or deny this? Or am I crazy????

Joe G.
 
Old Oct 25th, 2002, 04:45 AM
  #18  
PB
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I rarely drink Coke when I go to the States - I think it's way too sweet.

<< I have a theory. In France they use sugar, in the US they use corn syrup.>>

Yes - they use sugar here. I didn't know they used corn syrup in the US....

Patricia
 
Old Oct 28th, 2002, 11:42 AM
  #19  
junkie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Not only CocaCola but Snickers candy bars are better in France. Really. Better ingredients.

junkie
 
Old Nov 8th, 2002, 12:53 PM
  #20  
Skeptical
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I suppose the air is better in France too!
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO