Carcassonne, Avignon, or other

Old May 8th, 2017, 11:01 AM
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Carcassonne, Avignon, or other

We will be visiting Barcelona next Spring, were we have been on many previous occasions. We have never been to the area of Carcassonne or Avignon, but we have been to France many times including the Dordogne.

How you would qualify these cities taking into account history, sights, architecture, general beauty, museums, and restaurants? Shopping is of no concern and we will worry about hotels at a later date. Are there are any other cities or towns in that general area you would recommend?

We would be driving and taking the coastal road to avoid the Pyrenees.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 11:09 AM
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I did Carcassonne as a side trip from Barcelona a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've also been to Avignon and am not sure they are really comparable. Avignon is much larger and there is a ton of stuff to do within a day trip from there. Carcassone was very impressive to see and very glad I saw it, but half a day or so is enough. We spent 1 night so saw it afternoon/evening and next morning and that was plenty. We also visited Ceret, Collioure, Cadaques and Besalu - all of which are small and can be seen in a few hours. Here's my trip report from that trip :
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...and-france.cfm
Here are my photos from that trip.http://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p789827808

Are you going back to Barcelona? And how long do you have? Avignon can it's side trips can easily fill up a week or two.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 11:13 AM
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How much time do you have? Carcassonne is a stop of just a few hours, as only the fortified town is of any real interest and is basically a museum with shops.

Arles is interesting, as is driving around from there, wither into the Camargue or visiting towns in the Languedoc. It might be a better base than Avignon, especially if you plan to be there during festival season--http://www.provenceguide.co.uk/festivals-and-events/avignon/avignon-festival/provence-4616829-1.html

I wrote a trip report from our travels in that area; click on my name to find it. The reference to pictures is no longer valid as Flickr has blacked out the slide function that allowed comments, so here they are in a different format:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca...7645955097003/
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Old May 8th, 2017, 11:30 AM
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While Carcassonne can be visited in a day (or less) , there is a lot to see in the area : Cathar castles, ERoman abbeys, Canal du Midi etc : http://www.payscathare.org/en

You don't have to take the coastal road (though it is very scenic) to avoid the Pyrenees : there is a highway and the highest pass (Le Perthus) has an elevation of 271 meters !
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Old May 8th, 2017, 12:49 PM
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Thank you all for you suggestions. We will take a look at them and they are much appreciated.


Time is not an issue. We have visited Barcelona once every decade since the 1970's. We are visiting this time because a friend has abruptly decided to move there and someone has to visit her. I also like to see how far the have gotten with Sagrada Familia without me.

The only consideration I did not include, is that we do want a hectic itinerary, as we are getting too old for that.

Thank you all again.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 01:01 PM
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Same as Pvoyageuse.
I'm also in love with Avignon.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 01:04 PM
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Avignon-Arles for me - though Carcassonne is a nice museum town -rebuilt from rubble in 1800s -the modern city is not much but Toulouse just down the road is a real gem -especially for architcture.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 01:29 PM
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Thank you. Our friend has a deep interest in Romanesque and Gothic architecture, so we will enter that into the equation.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 07:39 PM
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I liked Avignon but really enjoyed Arles. Carcassonne is a much distant third to those first two cities although beautiful to walk through at night.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 07:49 PM
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Thanks KTravel.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 08:40 PM
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There is a lot to see in Arles and it is a wonderful town for walking.

I prefer Arles to Carcassonne, because Arles does not seem like a pretend place, but I visited Carcassonne only for a few hours when it was somewhat crowded and I stayed a few days in a house in Arles. It is always different when you spend a night in a place. Having lunch in Carcassonne was very nice though.

Consider spending a night inside the walls at Aigues Mortes. It is so authentic, you can almost sense the crusaders. Visiting during the day is too touristy. Don't do just that if you can't stay over because night is magical. Do have dinner in St Louis Square.

Avignon has a lovely center.

If you have the time, Aix is really beautiful, IMHO, nicer to stay than Avignon or perhaps even Arles.

Whatever you choose will probably be very satisfying, especially if you can spend a night or two.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 12:35 AM
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My wife prefers Aix she finds Avignon dominated. By big ugly (plain) medieval buildings.

I prefer Avignon because it has big sturdy castles and buildings.
My wife is unimpressed by the bridge whilst I love it.

I guess I didn't grow up and still like to okay the pkaymobil castle.

Ah. Something to pay attention to in Aix : lots of nice shops. Cost me a fortune each time we stop by.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 06:42 AM
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Thanks Sass and Wo for the suggestions.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 07:27 AM
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Another suggestion. Actually, I did not get there, so,this is not first hand, but many people seem to love Uzes, so that might be a nice place to stay.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 08:16 AM
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I think that Uzès is better as a day trip from Arles.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 09:49 AM
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We have no preconceived notions of what and where to go, so all are options. But my wife and our friend are artists and they will want time to sit and sketch. That gives me a chance to do nothing and to try and look pensive.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 11:09 AM
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They are two very different areas. Languedoc Roussillon is not as densely populated as PACA, there are less tourists especially off season and chances are you won't run into busloads of people (except during the day at Carcassonne). It is also cheaper!
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Old May 9th, 2017, 12:49 PM
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We really enjoyed Nîmes, from which we made a day trip to Avignon. You could do the reverse. From Nîmes, we also visited the Pont du Gard, which I highly recommend. It's in a very nice park, and we felt we should have allowed more time for the visit.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 02:10 PM
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Les Baux and St-Remy (de Provence for both) are great easy exursions from nearby Avignon or Arles-Les Baux the 'dead city' high on a plateau and St-Remy for the asylum Van Gogh committed himself to after slicing off an ear in Arles - copies of his many paintings he executed in those bucolic surroundings have been put up where he painted them.

There is alsoI believe a ***Michelin restaurant in modern Les Baux down below.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 03:12 PM
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Thank you all again.

If at all possible, we will not travel in high season.

BTW, how do you pronounce Aix?

Thanks
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