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Driving route/overnight between Chamonix and Robion (Provence)

Driving route/overnight between Chamonix and Robion (Provence)

May 24th, 2019, 12:43 PM
  #1  
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Driving route/overnight between Chamonix and Robion (Provence)

We are driving from Chamonix to Robion this summer with our three kids (9,14,16). We have a week booked at each end of the trip and need to plan a route and overnight spot in the middle.
‘We are debating a few opinions:
- a short drive and overnight in Annecy. I have heard it is lovely to wander the canals. My daughters thought it looked really picturesque and might be fun to explore.
- drive through Courmayeur with an overnight in Briancon. However, Birancon is not looking very appealing for a quick overnight stop from what I have found so I am not sure it is worth the extra drive time. We will have had a week of mountain vistas, hiking, and biking in Chamonix.

Are there any towns you recommend? We are not as concerned with the actual hotel (it just needs to be clean and comfortable) as much as a nice town to explore, have dinner, shop a bit that will be a little different from Chamonix and Provence.

Thanks for any ideas you might have!
Francewithfive is offline  
May 24th, 2019, 01:37 PM
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Have not been there myself but Briancon looks like a nice old two-tiered city in midst of lower Alps.

https://www.google.com/search?q=bria...w=1097&bih=535
PalenQ is offline  
May 24th, 2019, 02:49 PM
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I meant Briancon in my original post but auto-correct got me! It does look interesting but I was concerned that the town itself might not be a fun overnight spot. It looks more like a good base for hiking and biking rather than a town with character.
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May 24th, 2019, 08:47 PM
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We've spent 2 months in France almost every year since 1999, exploring different regions. If you use www.viamichelin.com to route your drive, it is a little over 5 hrs from Chamonix to Robion. Between these 2 regions, we have spent 1 week near Chamonix, 2 weeks near Annecy (Tailloires), 2 weeks near Briancon, 2 weeks in the Ardeche close to Lamastre, 2 weeks in the Ardeche near Aubenas, and 22 weeks in Provence.

Annecy is nice, but it is only 1 hr from Chamonix. Looking at the viamichelin recommended route - there really isn't much interesting along the way, unless you do a major re-route. Except for Chambery. Which is one of our favorite cities in France. It has a different "look & feel" than either Annecy or Chamonix. It is a "serious" city with lots of charm. We have visited it several times & stayed overnight once. It is a little less than 2 hrs from Chamonix.

Lyon is not much of a deviation, but I would not recommend visiting it unless you have about 2-3 nights to spend there. South of the Rhone from Lyon along the Autoroute, you have to deviate quite a bit to find something interesting. .

Stu Dudley

Last edited by StuDudley; May 24th, 2019 at 08:49 PM.
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May 24th, 2019, 10:29 PM
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Thanks for the info Stu. Yes, the drive is relatively short and as you said there is really not that much of interest along the way. I will take a look at Chambery.
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May 25th, 2019, 03:02 AM
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May be it could be nice to know whether you mean 84440 Robion close to Cavaillon or 84120 Robion close to Castellane.
neckervd is offline  
May 25th, 2019, 09:30 AM
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Oops I din’t realize there were two. We are near Cavaillon.
Francewithfive is offline  
May 25th, 2019, 10:07 AM
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My brother-in-law lives in Chambery so we visit there often. I think you would have fun there as an overnight stop. And since it isn't a very long drive from Chamonix you could kind of make a "day of it" and visit Annency and Aix-le-Bains on the way down. They are all very nice places both in terms of vistas and the town centers themselves. We like the market in Aix-but I can't remember if it is a daily market or not. Also Aix and Chambery are really only 20 minutes or so apart and Aix is quite a bit smaller in terms of the town size so you might want to consider spending the night there but really both are nice.
jpie is offline  
May 25th, 2019, 12:02 PM
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Briancon is a nice and interesting place, but the real gems along this itinerary would be Aosta and the many Aosta Valley castles as well as Turin, one of the most underrated Italian cities.
La route des Grandes Alpes (Petit St-Bernard - Iseran - Telegraphe - Galibier - Lautaret) seems shorter but wouldn't necessarily be faster. But it would be a real alpine experience with stunning panoramas to all kinds of glaciers and snowy peaks.
From where will you reach Chamonix? If it's Geneva airport, you could easily make a small detour via Annecy.
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May 25th, 2019, 01:40 PM
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We enjoyed Chambery a lot more than Aix. Old Briancon is quite small, and a bit touristy (but so is Annecy). Actually, the "old" part of Annecy is smaller than you might think. The last time we were there, we found ourselves walking down the same streets after about 30-45 mins - with minimal (perhaps zero) shopping.. But some kind of boat ride on the lake would consume a lot more time. If you are the type who wants several "visits" in two half-days - see Annecy, Aix, and Chambery. But if you will be in Chamonix for less than a week and Robion less than 2 weeks - I would spend more hours in the Chamonix region (if the weather is nice) and also more time in Robion/Luberon - and then just visit Chambery between these two areas.

If you want to visit some stunning Alps countryside between Chamonix & Annecy, follow the following route (It is from my Alps itinerary).

The most scenic way to get to Annecy is to take the D1212 through Megave to Flumet. Then take the D909 northwest through the Gorge de l'Arondine, over the Col des Aravis**, then take the very lovely D16 west through Manigod to Thones. Then the D909 to Annecy. We drove this route to Manigod from Domancy (Chamonix area), and also while we stayed in Annecy several years ago.

If you would like to receive my 35 page Provence & Cot d'Azur itinerary and my complete Alps itinerary, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach them to the reply e-mail. Specify that you want these two itineraries - I have many others. And do so soon - we depart for a month in France in a little more than 1 week from today

Stu Dudley
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May 25th, 2019, 02:54 PM
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Thanks for all of the help.

Sorry I cant remember who asked but our trip starts at the Geneva airport and we drive directly to Chamonix for a week at the same place for hiking and biking.

We are down to two options for an overnight stop at this point. After a week in the mountains near Chamonix I dont think we want to spend more time in the Alps (although I know there are lots of incredible vistas and towns along the way).
Options are:
1. Drive from Chamonix to overnight near Chambery with a stop in Annecy and possibly Aix. Next day drive to Robion.
2. Do a solid 4-5 or so hours of driving the first day with a stop for lunch and a wander somewhere along the way. Overnight somewhere near Avignon. Spend the next day exploring Avignon before checking into our house rental near Robion/Cavaillon. We have never been to Avignon so it might be a lovely little city to explore for a day before spending a week in the Luberon countryside. I imagine it is close in size to Aix en Provence which we all loved last visit.

Any thoughts?

Francewithfive is offline  
May 25th, 2019, 03:47 PM
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Avignon is certainly worth a visit. It is comparable to Aix en Provence - but we prefer Aix. Make sure that it will not be a Sunday when you visit Avignon. Shops will be closed then.

Consider Romans sur Isere for the lunch stop. It is just off the A49 autoroute and will not consume too much time. It will take 3 hrs to get there from Chamonix.

Do not get to Avignon via Lyon on a work day when you might encounter commute traffic. This happened to us once.

Stu Dudley
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May 27th, 2019, 03:16 PM
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Thanks Stu. We have decided to stay in or close to Avignon. Possibly Uzes because we will be there on a Saturday and apparently their market is AMAZING.
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May 27th, 2019, 03:43 PM
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Yes - great market in Uzes. The market kinda hides the architecture of the Place Aux Herbs, but if you stay in/near Uzes you can visit it on a non-market day to enjoy the town's architecture. We stayed very near there for 2 weeks in a gite, and our proprietor sold his goat cheese at the market.

Stu Dudley
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May 28th, 2019, 06:41 AM
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Uzs is a wonderful base. Just so you know, like many of the town in that area the parking can be difficult since most of the historic center is pedestrian only. There is an underground secure public pay lot which is where we left our car for the nights we were there-you won't need one for the immediate city itself and it is pretty easy in and out when you want to explore the surrounding area. We stayed at a couple of nice places in the city itself. Last year we stayed at a hotel in a very nice location called La Taverne de Sophie. It has AC but also does have a fair amount of stairs-although that sounds like it might not be an issue for your group.

We also have stayed in the Hotel Entraigues which is in a lovely building and it is one of the few hotels right in town with a pool which is nice. We were there with family friends with kids your age and they loved having the pool.

https://www.lataverne-uzes.fr/hotel/
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Jun 1st, 2019, 11:08 AM
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jpie Thanks you for the hotel suggestions for Uzes. Both of them are full already (not surprising for July in Provence). We found a lovely looking little place north of Avignon for the night - Chateau de Varenne. https://www.chateaudevarenne.com/ We will drive to Uzes - or Avignon - the next day for time at the market.
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Jun 2nd, 2019, 09:40 AM
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That looks like a lovely property-thanks for sending because, as you say, Uzs can be hard to book even 6 months in advance. So it nice to know about another places.

By the way, we ate at a very good restaurant not too far from where you are staying-25 minutes or so. It is in a lovely little village called Castillon-du-Gard:

L'AMPHITRYON
8 Place du Huit Mai
30210 Castillon-du-Gard, France

https://restaurant-lamphitryon.ovh/?...edium=referral

Here is a photo of the village at night as we arrived:



Castillon-du-Gard just before dinner
jpie is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2019, 03:46 PM
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We've dined at l'Amphitryon also. Very nice restaurant. You can actually see the Pont du Gard at night from Castillon du Gard. Ask someone to direct you to the best spot in town to see the Pont in the distance, which is lit up at night.

Stu Dudley
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