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Four days in Provence including a Sun & Mon

Four days in Provence including a Sun & Mon

Feb 15th, 2016, 06:38 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 66
Four days in Provence including a Sun & Mon

I’m in the midst of planning a longer itinerary for two weeks in France the end of September and need help with the Provence ‘section’ of the trip. It’s going to be my mother and I, driving a car from Sarlat, arriving on Sunday and leaving from Aix on Wednesday night for a train back to Paris for our flight Thursday morning. The flights are already booked (using points, hence the traveling back to Paris) and I believe the last train leaves at around 6:00 PM so we have a pretty full day to use up Wednesday. My problem is trying to figure out when to visit the towns on our list given the Sun/Mon constraints of shops not being open, and trying to visit few on market days. We are staying in St. Remy at Hotel de I'Image, but I just received an email that Château des Alpilles does have availability during out stay. My only issue with Château des Alpilles is that it’s outside of town and I think we’ll want to be able to walk to dinner, etc. in the evening and not have to drive. Anyone have thoughts on that, or alternative suggestions? Budget is about $200-$250/night. We would like to visit the following towns and so far I have the itinerary as:

Sunday: Avignon, Roussillon, (Gordes?)
Monday: Uzes, Pont du Gard
Tuesday: Aix-en-Provence, Arles
Wednesday: St. Remy (market day)/Les Baux

Thank you for all your help and as always, open to any of your suggestions (it’s where I get most of my travel ideas!)
olive22 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2016, 07:15 AM
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I agree about being in walking distance for dinners after a long day of touring! Most often, DH and I stayed in a hotel with a restaurant for that reason (and for breakfast as well).

You might have time for Orange on Monday if it is of interest to you.

FWIW, DH and I made Aix our base for touring the area and loved Hotel Aquabella. It has garage, restaurant, a spa and a thermal pool. They also arranged a van tour as we didn't drive there.
TDudette is offline  
Feb 15th, 2016, 07:31 AM
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Why are you going to Avignon on Sunday if you know the shops will be closed??? Do you have zero interest in shopping - (inside shopping or window-shopping)?

Why are you taking the TGV to Paris from Aix instead of Avignon - which is very close to St Remy?

I would do:
Sunday - market in l'Isle sur la Sorgue, Gordes, Roussillon, Luberon countryside

Monday - Pont du Gard, Uzes (shops are open in the afternoon)

Tuesday - Avignon, Cote du Rhone region, Seguret, Vaison, etc

Wed - brief stop at the market in St Remy if you are not "marketed out" after markets in the Dordogne & l'Isle sur la Sorgue. Les Baux, Arles, TGV to Paris from Avignon

You'll see plenty of St Remy if you stay there - no need to allocate time for a half-day visit

IMO, Aix, Avignon, and Arles is too much "big city" - considering you have zero plans to visit the wonderful countryside in Provence. The countryside is what keeps us returning to Provence.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Feb 15th, 2016, 09:12 AM
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Thank you both!
I was thinking Avignon on Sunday because it seemed big enough there would be other things to do besides the shopping, but I like the suggested itinerary much better. And I had Aix as our return because originally we were going back on a Thursday and thought we could spend the morning there, have lunch then drop of the car and go. I was going to switch when I started driving myself crazy with the Sunday/Monday thing but didn’t know what else to do so just left it.
olive22 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2016, 09:21 AM
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We were in Provence last year and stayed at Château des Alpilles for 4 nights. The drive into St Remy is easy for dinner, but dinner at the hotel is very good. After being in St Remy, I would much prefer to stay in a quieter place which Chateau des Alpilles provided.

We loved the Sunday market at l'Isle sur la Sorgue. Try to get there before it opens cause parking is a nightmare. We got there after the market was up and we left after everything was taken down. It took us so long to find the car because all the landmarks had changed with the market gone! Make sure you know where your car is.

I agree with Stu that the villages are the way to go rather than the large cities. Don't miss Gordes.
topeater is offline  
Feb 15th, 2016, 09:22 AM
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Good luck, olive22. As I've said on other threads, I'd rely on people with real experience like Stu rather than me who visited only a few days!
TDudette is offline  
Feb 15th, 2016, 10:16 AM
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Olive - do you have my Provence/Cote d'Azur itinerary and also my Dordogne itinerary??? I've sent them to over 4,000 people on Fodors so far. If you would like copies, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach them to the reply e-mail. Specify which itineraries you would like because I have others I get requests for.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Feb 15th, 2016, 12:26 PM
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I can't imagine touring so many towns/cities in one day, I spent an entire day just in Avignon or Aix (more, actually, as I've stayed in both a couple times). There is really more to life than shopping, I don't understand the horror of going to Avignon on a Sunday vs. anywhere else, I think it's a good day to go for the reasons you cite.

I do have zero interest in shopping, but still, you can't shop every day everywhere you go. Avignon isn't any special shopping experience anyway, so what difference does it make.
Christina is offline  
Feb 15th, 2016, 01:15 PM
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On Sundays when shops close, they turn off the lights so you can't see inside, and then most of the shops will pull steel bars or aluminum shutters over their storefronts. Often (certainly in university towns) the aluminum shutters will be covered with graffiti. Walking down a street when most of the shops have steel bars sealing their storefronts, reminds me a bit of walking past the cell blocks on a tour of Alcatraz. France has perhaps the prettiest shop displays in Europe - why not experience these shops & streets when the shops are open. My wife stopped going inside shops about 5-7 year ago - but window shopping is just as enjoyable (and less expensive).

If you only want to experience the museums, Palais, and have a lunch outside on the Place de Horloge - then go on a Sunday when fewer people will be in Avignon - although the architecture is not as enjoyable, IMO, with the graffiti-covered aluminum shutters & steel bars distracting things.

Shops in towns that have their farmer's market on Sunday, have the shops open - like l'Isle sur la Sorgue. Tourist towns like St Remy, Gordes, Roussillon, and St Tropez have shops open on Sundays also.

We were in Nancy for Patrimoine weekend on a Sunday last Sept - and all the shops were closed - just about 100%, except a few food shops - and they were closed in the afternoon.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Feb 15th, 2016, 01:24 PM
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I tend to agree with Stu...the atmosphere just isn't there in a town with everything shut up and covered in graffiti.

Sunday's are made for long Sunday lunches in the sun. We always book a good lunch on a terrace somewhere and just relax on Sunday's...
jamikins is online now  
Feb 15th, 2016, 02:00 PM
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Hi Stu – I do have your itinerary, thank you! Part of the reason I changed my itinerary to include more days in Provence, although still never enough. Sigh.
olive22 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2016, 03:55 PM
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Do you have my Dordogne itinerary also??

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Feb 15th, 2016, 07:11 PM
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I do thanks!
olive22 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2016, 07:08 PM
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I'm following this thread closely because we arrive in Avignon on a Saturday for a week stay at a villa in Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne. I was also wondering what to do on the Sunday after we arrive. We were planning on l'Isle Sur La Sorgue and maybe a jaunt through Avignon. Suffice it to say, we will leave our exploration of Avignon to other days.

Great thread!
buckeyevet is offline  
Feb 27th, 2016, 03:39 PM
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Agreed! Thank you everyone for the input!
olive22 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2016, 04:08 PM
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<< Make sure you know where your car is.>>

I take a photo of the street signs at the closest intersection of where I am parked.
joannyc is offline  
Feb 27th, 2016, 06:56 PM
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I like Avignon stayed 2 weeks but I don't drive. I prefer the villages especially the perche ones that I visited with my late husband who drove.
cigalechanta is offline  
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