Help with 4 1/2 days in Provence!

Old Aug 26th, 2008, 02:51 PM
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Help with 4 1/2 days in Provence!

I will be arriving in either Avignon or Aix de Provence from Paris on Sun 28th September and returning back to Paris on Friday 3rd October. I want to see the following places, Gordes, Isle Sur La Sorgue and Roussillon plus any other suggestions from yourselves! Where is the best place to base myself? I can rent a car from either Avignon or Aix so my base can be in either or anywhere around either of these. Sorry to be vague but it's my first time in Provence!
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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 03:11 PM
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I would add to that a visit to Les Baux and Abbye Senanque. If you have time, St. Remy is lovely as well. Be sure to time your visits with a market day.
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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 03:23 PM
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Avignon would be more central for visiting the Lubéron area, as well as seeing the Alpilles region (Les Baux, St-Rémy, etc.). If it's primarily the Lubéron you want to see, why not stay there?
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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 04:16 PM
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I think staying in the Luberon (Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux) would work best for you if you are mainly interested in visiting the places you mentioned. St Remy would work fine also if you want to stay in a small town where there are lots of restaurants & shops you can walk to. Personally, I prefer the Luberon because I think the countryside is prettier there.

I would not stay in either Avignon or Aix because you're arriving on a Sunday, and Sunday & Monday are not great days to be in those cities (shops will be mostly closed). Also, I think Aix is not centrally located.

This is what I would do:

I would try REAL hard to adjust your Paris schedule so you leave Saturday night for Provence instead of Sunday morning. That way you'll catch the Sunday morning market in l'Isle sur la Sorgue. If you can't do that, there is a TGV train that leaves Paris at 7:16am and arrives in Avignon at 10am. If you can rent a car pretty quickly, you may be able to make the market by 11:30am. Much of the market will start to close around 1PM. Spend the remaining part of the day visiting Gordes & Roussillon.

Monday morning, visit more of the Luberon villages - Bonnieux, Saignon, Oppede les Vieux, Goult, Menerbes, & Lacost. The idea here is just getting you around the Luberon Valley & seeing the pretty countryside. If you have time left in the day, visit Lourmarin.

On Tuesday visit St Remy & Les Baux. DO NOT visit St Remy on Monday morning - most of my wife's favorite shops will be cosed then. Drive around the Alpilles Mtns & visit Arles if you have time left in the day.

On Wednesday, I would head up north to Vaison la Romaine for a visit. Don't forget to see the medieval part of Vaison - which I think is more interesting than the "newer" area. Remember, shops close for lunch. Then drive around the scenic Cote du Rhone winegrowing region & visit some of the villages there - Seguret (wander through), Gigondas, etc. If there is time left in the day, on the return to the Luberon stop in Pernes, go to the tourist office, get a walking map & wander around - there are 30 or so fountains throughout town & it's fun to try to seek them out.

For Thursday, depending on how much time you spent in Paris, I would visit Aix (market day in the morning there) if you feel you want to return to a somewhat large city. If you want a little more solitude, I would visit Uzes & the Pont du Gard and also a walk around Castillon du Gard.

I have a 27 page itinerary for Provence & Cote d'Azur. E-mail me at [email protected] if you want a copy.

Stu Dudley
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 06:16 AM
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Thanks for the advice, I've now booked an earlier train from Paris on the Sunday to get to Avignon for 10:43, I'll prebook the hire car so hopefully will make it for the market. Is Avignon a good base with a hire car or am I better off in a smaller village?
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 07:16 AM
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If you arrive at the Avignon TGV station at 10:43, the earliest you'll get to l'Isle sur la Sorgue, find a place to park (difficult at that time), and get to the market will be around 12:15 - just when the market is winding down. It's a very large market, and you really won't have much time to see a good portion of it. The permanent antiques section continues after lunch. Try for the Paris departure that leaves at 7:16 and arrives at 10.

I would not base in Avignon because:
1. It's a large city, and you just left a large city. I would want some solitude and some "countryside"
2. Avignon will be somewhat dead on Sunday & Monday morning (compared to Tues-Sat)
3. Avignon is difficult and very "unsightly" to drive in & out of. Depending on which hotel you pick, parking may be difficult.

Stay in St Remy, near Gordes, Roussillon, or Bonnieux. You could stay in l'Isle sur la Sorgue too - but it's super-dead on Monday.

Consider Kevin's place in the Luberon
http://www.masperreal.com/index.html

Stu Dudley
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 07:21 AM
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I have read your enquiry with interest. Provence is indeed a wonderful place and you have picked some gems to visit.
Why dont you take a self catering villa with car for your stay? With a central hub to base yourself you can make forays into the countryside. There are many agencies that could offer such possibilities, including houses with pool as offered by my own site www.qualityvillas.com
I apologise for the plug, but maybe this might be of interest to you, or an agency like ours.
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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 09:52 AM
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Just wondering if its worth staying 2 nights in St Remy and 2 nights in Gordes or should I just base in 1 of these? I don't mind moving about.
Also which one of these is best suited for celebrating a 30th birthday?
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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 03:25 PM
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Personally I would base in just one. Distances are not far in that area. But then...I DON'T like to waste the time it takes to move around.
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