Avignon

Old Nov 9th, 2017, 10:26 AM
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Avignon

The seniors want to visit Avignon from Barcelona by train. We are all experienced independent travelers, two are artists. We want a leisurely stay and possibly one day rent a car and visit a nearby town, possibly Nimes, Arles, or a recommendation from you and some countryside. We are considering those places because one of us loves Roman architecture and antiquities, while the other two would clearly enjoy it as well.

It would seem like 4 days not including travel days and one day excursion, would be plenty.

Can you recommend:

A hotel above budget but below extravagant
Restaurants
Sites or towns outside of Avignon.

Thank you
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Old Nov 9th, 2017, 11:30 AM
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When will this trip be?

IMHO there's much more to see in and around Arles and Nimes than there is in Avignon, but I guess Avignon is just one of those Have To Go To places. From Nimes and/or Arles, I suggest a trip into the fascinating Camargue and a visit to Aigues Mortes and the pilgrimage site of French gypsies, Saintes Maries de la Mer. I think the artists would like these

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camargue
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aigues-Mortes
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
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Old Nov 9th, 2017, 11:38 AM
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Art lovers - Arles and St-Remy-de-Provence - van Gogh stomping grounds -especially nice is the asylum at St-Remy where van Gogh committed himself after slicing off an ear in Arles -once there he put many bucolic scenes around asylum on canvasses- many now have copies just where painted.

Now trains - be sure to book early at www.voyages-sncf.com or www.thetrainline.com for nice discounts for Bar-Avignon TGV (shuttle trains into Avignon Centre station from there. Check www.seat61.com for sage help doing that - general info about trains also www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Nimes, Arles nice rail service from Avignon.

Les Baux not far from St-Remy is a popular site - the Dead City - remains of a medieval citadel topping a plateau is a must IMO.

Nimes for Roman relics. Pont du Gard also.
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Old Nov 9th, 2017, 11:47 AM
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Thank you all. Right now it looks like we will visit mid-April.

We will look into your suggestions.
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Old Nov 9th, 2017, 12:02 PM
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I really like Avignon, more than Arles actually. And I think it is the best base being central with good bus/rail connections.

From Avignon by train I would visit Arles or Nimes if you haven't been to any place around there.

AS for a place to stay in Avignon, the place I stayed was very modest so I won't recommend it and was more around Les Halles. But I have had my eye on stayed at the Hotel Bristol next time which I think suits your criteria. It's a great location on the main street between the train station and the main square, so very convenient if you do day trips by train, etc. It gets good reviews in all the usual places, anyway, and is not too deluxe.

http://www.bristol-avignon.com/en/
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Old Nov 9th, 2017, 12:06 PM
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Don't miss walking out on the Pont d'Avignon, from famous children's song - bridge to nowhere as it ends half way across the river but is a beautiful site IMO and Palace of the Popes is one of the most historic and imposing monumnetal edifices in France.
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Old Nov 9th, 2017, 01:55 PM
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I spent a few nights in Arles and day tripped by train and bus to Avignon and the Pont du Gard. I wish I'd based in Avignon instead. While Arles is quite a bit older, with its old Roman stuff (making it an essential visit at least as a day trip), it was really dead at night, whereas Avignon seemed more lively while I was there. Avignon is touristy too, probably, but I suspect at least there I wouldn't have had to hunt around for open restaurants at night...
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Old Nov 9th, 2017, 03:29 PM
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Thank you all again for your suggestions.

We will probably stay fairly close to the Palace of the Popes.
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Old Nov 9th, 2017, 05:33 PM
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Many years ago we stayed here:

Hôtel Cloitre Saint Louis Avignon

http://www.cloitre-saint-louis.com/en/

It was really lovely. Half of it is an old cloister and half modern, so be sure to specify if you have a preference. We had 1 room on each side and both the modern and the ancient sides were very nice but quite different.
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Old Nov 9th, 2017, 06:21 PM
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Thank you
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Old Nov 10th, 2017, 02:20 AM
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Visit Roussillon (gorgeous at sunset for dinner with a view) and Gordes. Pick up the rental car at the train station. Stay within the walls of Avignon. Fabulous.
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Old Nov 10th, 2017, 05:18 AM
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Thank you Starrs.
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Old Nov 10th, 2017, 07:36 AM
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Avignon, a swell place, operates an equally swell tourism information agency, both on the Internet and in the centre of the walled city:
http://www.avignon-tourisme.com/home-1-2.html
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Old Nov 10th, 2017, 07:58 AM
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Well, if you want to stay near the palace, there are really only a couple options, if you exclude luxury ones (ie La Mirande and Hotel d'Europe, both 5*).

There is the Mercure Avignon Palais des Papes and the Kyriad. I think that's it right near the palace.

A bit farther away are some pretty cheap hotels which you don't want (ie, the Mignon, Regina, Blauvac and Danieli). ALl are 2* but Mignon is 1*.

I think the REgina is the best of that bunch, if you don't want the Mercure or Kyriad. It looks ok for a typical 2* hotel
http://www.hotelregina-avignon.fr/chambres.php

At least in April you shouldn't have to worry about AC so much.
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Old Nov 10th, 2017, 11:10 AM
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Thank you Christina. We intend to stay within the walls.
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Old Nov 10th, 2017, 12:10 PM
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Some countryside: the Gorges de l'Ardèche and the Pont d'Arc (near Vallon Pont d'Arc).
Towns: Gordes, Ménerbes, Cavaillon, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Lourmarin ... All are in the Parc Naturel Régional du Luberon. Very scenic.
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Old Nov 10th, 2017, 04:22 PM
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Thank you Myriam.
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Old Nov 11th, 2017, 06:13 AM
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The week before and after Easter can be very busy in southern France as many Europeans and schools have two weeks off. Book early.
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Old Nov 11th, 2017, 07:13 AM
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Thanks. We checked to see and Easter is April 1. We are also trying to avoid familial conflicts, that is talk to them.
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Old Nov 13th, 2017, 02:54 PM
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I spent several days in Avignon in September 2016 (see my Trip Report, "Southern France, in the Footsteps of Thomas Jefferson", here: https://www.fodors.com/community/eur...-jefferson.cfm )

I was quite happy with the Ibis Avignon Centre Gare (41 Cours Jean Jaurés), just a few steps away from the train station. I booked a three-night stay @ 100.21€ per night. Avignon Centre Gare provides easy access by train to Nîmes, Arles, and Orange -- three lovely towns with extensive Roman history.

I also highly recommend Avignon Wine Tours ( www.avignon-wine-tour.com/ ). I joined owner François Marcou on his all-day mini-bus tour of the Rhone Valley Appellations of Cairanne, Rasteau, Gigondas, and Vacqueryras northeast of Avignon.

Finally, La Fourchette (17 Rue Racine, Avignon) is one of the best restaurants in Avignon.
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