best base in luberon?

Apr 16th, 2011, 10:15 AM
  #1  
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best base in luberon?

I've consulted guidebooks, read some threads and links like http://www.provencebeyond.com/travel/itineraries.html and http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...nd-avignon.cfm at this point, so I have a fair idea of the Luberon and the Vaucluse.

I'm still wondering what the better base might be. I'm on a definite budget (70E/N, single room) and not especially fussy about room decor or "charm" as I'll have a car and be out and about most of the day anyway. Only other "must-have" is at least 2-3 restaurants nearby, ideally ones I can walk to.
296vancouver is offline  
Apr 16th, 2011, 10:42 AM
  #2  
 
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When are you going? Accomodation prices vary drastically based on that.

But basically if you insist on being within walking distance of several restaurants, even though you have a car, you are going to be really limited in places you stay as they will have to be in a city and then you may have parking problems with the car or have to pay for it. I just think you might rethink that criteria. And places will be more expensive in cities or large towns where you'd be within walking distance of several restaurants.

However, it's not impossible, I guess. I don't know, I mentioned once before I stayed in a 2* hotel in Roussillon that did fit your criteria but I'm not sure even that place was only 70 euro in the summer, and it was fairly basic. It was the Reves d'Ocre. Here is the link, it is about 70 euro in low season, but rates go up in high season for all places in this area, of course. Now they do about doubles with balcony (which is what I had) for only 80 euro peak season, it is a good choice for you.

http://hotel-de-charme-reservation-c.../region-en.htm

The other places I personally know at that level wouldn't be within walking distance of several restaurants as they aren't in the center of towns. I'm sure you could find such a place in some of the cheap motels in the area in the larger cities, like Carpentras or whatever. A lot of the more desirable places to stay aren't going to be in the center of towns, unfortunately. With a car, I don't think staying in some of the larger cities in the center is going to be that good a choice. Maybe there is something on the outskirts of some place someone else can recommend.
Christina is offline  
Apr 16th, 2011, 11:03 AM
  #3  
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Hi Christina,
Yes, I can re-think my criteria, my mind is open. What do you suggest? I'm going in July, probably the worst time of year for crowds and expense, I know! Thanks very much for the link -- I'll check it out
296vancouver is offline  
Apr 16th, 2011, 02:27 PM
  #4  
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Okay, I have something of a shortlist now for locations that have got accommodations available in my price range. I'd like to avoid too much back-and-forth along the same roads, so tell me if I am putting myself in a geographically foolish position.

Smaller (actually very, very small) villages: Cucuron, Saignon, Buoux, Oppede. Have any of you been to these towns?

Bigger towns: Apt, Cavaillon, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

Out-of-left-field suggestion: Merindol, which was on my list of must-see, then off it again because I thought it was too far. That is, until I found this http://www.francethisway.com/places/...l-vaucluse.php

Still considering Sault.
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Apr 16th, 2011, 02:47 PM
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Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a delightful place. There are some great places to daytrip to, and when you get back there are nice places to eat. It's fun to wander along the river. (I remember a nice Asian restaurant there) There is a huge antiques market on Sunday (I think) that if you are already there and parked...you will be happy as a clam not to have to look for parking.

We've stayed further out in the countryside in the region -- and in or near St Remy when we've driven TO the area on day trips to the Luberon. It seemed we always had a problem getting through Cavaillon so I don't remember it fondly. I know I've been through Apt, but I have no particular memories of it.
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Apr 17th, 2011, 11:32 AM
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Bonnieux would be a place to consider. It has several good restos.
I have stayed in Saignon(a favorite village of mine)and Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and have visited the others you mention.
Lourmarin is another favorite of mine.
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 17th, 2011, 12:01 PM
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I've been to Apt and Cavaillon, and prefer Apt. It has a good market and pedestrian old town, and would be an okay place to stay, but it isn't particularly central. However, if its location doesn't bother you, I'd give that a possibility. I didn't find Cavaillon as attractive.

Isle-sur-la-Sorgue isn't a place I am that fond of, but it would be central and definitely has plenty of restaurants (nothing great, of course, but food) near the river. So if you stayed within walking distance of them, that would work. It's really a madhouse there on Sundays which I guess is what I don't like, and I don't find a lot of the town that attractive myself. No place is perfect, I guess.

Now one of my favorite restaurants in the area is on the northern edge of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue next to a hotel/motel right on the river. I go there once every trip to the area. That isn't walking distance to the packed central part of town, though. That's the restaurant at the Cantosorgue which is right on the main road going north from Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Pernes-les-Fontaines (which is where I stay).

That would be in your budget and has AC, but wouldn't be very exciting and your restaurant choices might be limited to the one in-house if you must walk there (I sort of remember some other place next door or thereabouts). But if you don't mind driving a mile or two into town center to dine, it would work and you could eat there one night. It would have free parking, I imagine, and is definitely in our budget (cheaper) and a good central location for day touring
http://hotelprovence-luberon.com/
Christina is offline  
Apr 17th, 2011, 01:06 PM
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I also recommend Bonnieux or Lourmarin.

I stayed at this apartment in Lourmarin for two weeks, with day trips throughout the Luberon, and loved it-

http://www.rentourhomeinprovence.com/oustaloun.asp

I think the price is in your budget. The owners are in the US and very helpful. I found the parking surrounding the town to be fairly easy. The town is lovely, not too large but with plenty of choices for eating and just hanging around. The countryside surrounding Lourmarin is beautiful and easily accessed (the town is flat).
zoecat is offline  
Apr 17th, 2011, 01:11 PM
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I forgot to mention-

Be sure to purchase the Provence Byways guidebook for your trip. I cannot imagine visiting the area without it.

http://www.provencebyways.com/guides.htm
zoecat is offline  
Apr 17th, 2011, 03:14 PM
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a good restaurant in isle is Le Jardin du Quai, situated by the railroad station
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 17th, 2011, 03:15 PM
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Have you looked at Aix? We stayed in Hotel Aquabella. You'll need to check their rates but they have a heated pool and a restaurant. Also it is in walking distance to an entire area for eating, drinking and market! Garage is either attached to the hotel or just close by. We never drove so do check.

If you look for other hotels in that area online, you might find something closer to your price.
TDudette is offline  
Apr 17th, 2011, 03:19 PM
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Yes I can second zoecats recommendation of purchasing Provence Byways guidebook. We used it, it had excellent ideas and drives with village information. We stayed 2 weeks in a farmhouse in Buoux, we had a wonderful stay and absolutely loved visiting all the villages and sites near and far. I wrote a trip report if you are interested in our experiences, just click on my name.

Loved the village of Lourmarin (great market) and Bonnieux they would be great for a base, easy access. The smaller villages have more character, I would not stay in Apt, just a bit too big for my liking.

Oh how I wish I was back there...envy.
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Apr 17th, 2011, 03:19 PM
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oops clicked before I was finished
Daniel Hébet made his name at La Mirande in Avignon and Le Domaine des Andéols in St-Saturnin-lès-Apt before opening this bistro in his own image—young, jovial, and uncompromising when it comes to quality. Off a noisy street near the train station is the gate to this garden haven, with metal tables under the trees and an airy interior with a vintage tile floor. Hébet offers a single set menu at lunch and another at dinner, and the food is so good that no one is complaining at the lack of choice (though he has been known to substitute meat for fish on request): poached egg with truffles, Saint Pierre with a hint of green onion, lobster in ever-so-delicate pastry, and cherry meringue are all yumptious. This is where the local antiques dealers come to eat, and the place feels so welcoming that it would be easy to linger for hours. Inside on a chilly day, you will like
the ambiance. The chef is very friendly. I go back to this place whenever I can.
..
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 17th, 2011, 03:19 PM
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oops clicked before I was finished
Daniel Hébet made his name at La Mirande in Avignon and Le Domaine des Andéols in St-Saturnin-lès-Apt before opening this bistro in his own image—young, jovial, and uncompromising when it comes to quality. Off a noisy street near the train station is the gate to this garden haven, with metal tables under the trees and an airy interior with a vintage tile floor. Hébet offers a single set menu at lunch and another at dinner, and the food is so good that no one is complaining at the lack of choice (though he has been known to substitute meat for fish on request): poached egg with truffles, Saint Pierre with a hint of green onion, lobster in ever-so-delicate pastry, and cherry meringue are all yumptious. This is where the local antiques dealers come to eat, and the place feels so welcoming that it would be easy to linger for hours. Inside on a chilly day, you will like
the ambiance. The chef is very friendly. I go back to this place whenever I can.
..
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 17th, 2011, 03:45 PM
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It is hard to pick a "best" place in the Luberon. Every place is wonderful....you can't go wrong. We've stayed in many locations and haven't had a bad experience yet. Each location allows easier access to certain sites but they are all worthwhile.
Judy is offline  
Apr 17th, 2011, 04:14 PM
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Another book I recommend ,is out of print but check Amazon.
It's a beautiful hard cover , ESCAPE TO PROVENCE, by fodors.
Beautiful photos, and right on about destinations and where to stay. This was a 2000 issued. They should reissue it.
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 17th, 2011, 06:12 PM
  #17  
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Thanks to all for your suggestions. I have checked out most of your suggestions here, and also made some enquiries to some gites and cottages for rent. Thanks for keeping my budget in mind too - these suggestions are bang-on. I'll let you know what I find out.

On a side note, I had scheduled 5 nights - do you think it is enough? I'd hate to go all that way and then miss the point of being in Provence. Ha! I've got 9 nights/10 days total to split between Provence and the Cathar region in the southwest.
296vancouver is offline  
Apr 18th, 2011, 06:14 AM
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I would never describe Lourmarin as being central with easy access to other places, but I guess other people think it is easy to go to/from.

I myself prefer larger places to small villages with character, so that's just personal taste. I find those small villages boring and without many options in terms of restaurants and shops. APt isn't a large city by any means, in fact, I didn't think it had that many good hotel options, but I suppose a few cheap ones. If you really want to do things by walking to them, it does narrow one's choices. Apt does have one of the most famous markets in that area, but it wasn't as claustrophobic as Isle-sur-la-Sorgue's to me.

What I meant about rethinking your criteria was just the idea that you wanted to walk to restaurants every evening. That just really limits the place you stay. For example, I don't believe there is any place in central Bonnieux (which is a very small town) which someone recommended with easy access in/out of town and parking for your car at the hotel. I almost stayed there last summer but changed my mind due to the car/parking problems. For example, I was going to stay at the HOtel Cesar right in the middle of town. It is within walking distance of the few restaurants that exist in that center. But it has no parking, so you had to park your car in some public lot down a hill and a ways away. No way was I going to leave my luggage in my car and I certainly wasn't going to drag everything up and back down from that hotel if I was only there one-two nights. I was traveling for several weeks and doing a variety of things, so had a 25 inch suitcase, for example. Even if I only had a smaller one, I wouldn't have wanted to do that and was really glad I did not once I saw the place and that situation.
Christina is offline  
Apr 18th, 2011, 10:38 AM
  #19  
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Hi Christina, I've taken a harder look at what I can afford. All of the b&b/hotels are in the 70E range (my original budget) My car is going to cost at least $70 a day (+ gas) so at the end of the day I'll be pushing $200 if I'm lucky. Can't afford that. Wondering what people think of this -- I guess I'll be trading ambience for cost and convenience. http://www.accorhotels.com/fr/booking/hotels-list.shtml -- the Etap motel in Apt's outskirts for 46E a night.
296vancouver is offline  
Apr 18th, 2011, 12:00 PM
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Vancouver,

I drive by the Etap Hotel in apt quite regularly. It's brand new (just opened last year). Although I've never been inside, I'm sure it is clean and modern, like all Etap Hotels, think maybe Holiday Inn and you won't be far off.

Location-wise, it's not a long walk into the Old Town of Apt (maybe 10 minutes), though along a less than picturesque street. But you'd be well placed from tehre to get out and about visiting as the Hotel is on the west side of Apt, which is the direction you'd be heading most often.

- Kevin
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