Help with Provence 4 day itinerary

Jul 30th, 2011, 02:38 PM
  #1  
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Help with Provence 4 day itinerary

I will be traveling with a female friend to the French Riviera and Provence the end of August. We plan to spend 5 days on the RIviera, and 2 in Aix en Provence as well as 2 in St. Remy. In addition to Les Baux (which is close to St. Remy), we'd love to visit the hilltop villages of Gordes, Bonnieux, Lacoste , Roussillion, etc, as well as Avignon, Pont du Gard and Uzes. We know this is a bit "aggressive", but we want to see as much as possible in the short time we have and cannot change our hotels/cities at this point. What are the best cities (from the above list) to see from Aix, and which are the best to see from St. Remy? Thank you so much!!!
Donalee_Jolna is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 03:37 PM
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How many nights in each location? That determines days--it looks like you have 1+ days in Aix and 1+ days in St Remy.

From Aix you could visit the Luberon--Bonnieux, Lourmarin, Gordes, LaCoste and Roussillon are possible but not on the same day. Check your days and find out if there is a market in the morning--Lourmarin is on Friday.

From St Remy--Les Baux, Avignon, Pont du Gard, Uzes and Nimes and there are many,many other sights and spots accessible--Arles? Glanum? St Mausole?

Depending on the days of your travel, I would look closely at your transfer days and plan to see as much as you can but be careful of parking with your luggage. You'll have a great time in an amazingly pleasant area. Have fun--Paul
macanimals is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 03:50 PM
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Thanks for your help Paul. I am actually driving from Monaco to Aix for 2 nights (arriving Sunday), then onto St. Remy for another 2 nights before I head to St Tropez.

Is there any way I could see the Luberon and squeeze Bonnieux, Lacost and/or a few of the Villages as well as Gordes and Roussillon into one day from Aix? If not, which cities do you suggest I visit for sure if I only have one day in that area? The other days I will definitely see Avignon, Pont du Gard, Uzes and Glanum and St. Mausole.

Again, I know it's an aggressive itinerary, but it's been more than 20 years since I've been to the French Riviera, and doubt I'll be back again anytime soon as my husband is a fan of Italy...not the South of France. (hence why I'm going with a female friend), so I'm trying to see as much as possible in the limited time we'll have.

Thanks for your suggestions.
Donalee_Jolna is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 03:54 PM
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You don't have much time.

Why don't you spend just one night in Aix, then visit the small towns of the Luberon en route to St. Remy -- then stay there for 3 days, with daytrips from there? That would free up a day.
NanBug is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 04:25 PM
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>>I am actually driving from Monaco to Aix for 2 nights (arriving Sunday), <<

Bad planning. All the shops will be closed on Sunday in Aix, and most will be closed on Monday morning also - opening around 2:30 on Monday.

If you really can't change your reservation for Aix, I would get a very early start from Monaco and bypass Aix on Sunday and go directly to Gordes in the Luberon. Then hit a couple of other villages in area. Shops will be open in Gordes & Roussillon on Sunday & Monday. Then return to Aix so you get there around 6PM or so. Next morning, visit Lourmarin, Bonnieux (most shops close Sunday), Lacoste, Oppede le Vieux - whatever you have time for. Return to Aix around 2:30 when the shops open - or get there at 1:00 & have lunch on the Cours Mirabeau (Deux Garcons - reserve ahead).

Stu Dudley
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Jul 31st, 2011, 06:56 AM
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Thanks Stu! I actually tried to change the dates of my hotel in Aix but no luck, and the St. Remy hotel we are staying at also was booked even if I could stay an extra night or exchange the dates! Guess I picked the popular places.

I will take your advise and leave Monaco early Sunday driving to Gordes and Loussillion, then on to Aix that first day and plan to spend the early afternoon in Aix the next day after we've seen a few villages in the am. That way we can have lunch on the Cours Mirabeau and see Aix when the shops are open! Plus we don't have to rush to get to St. Remy the next day (Tuesday) if we want to spend a little more time in Aix.

Thanks again for the suggestions!
Donalee_Jolna is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 09:50 AM
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Wednesday is St Remy's market day--7:30 to 1 pm--lots of traffic and parking issues as well as a lot of fun. Enjoy.
macanimals is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 01:06 PM
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>>St Remy's market day--7:30 to 1 pm<,

Are you sure it starts at 7:30?? We've been to around 50-70 different markets in France, & we usually get there when they first get-going. I don't recall one ever starting that early in the day. Vendors get there then & start to set up - but markets usually don't fully start till around 9. We've only visited the St Remy market once, however, and we didn't get there until about 9.

Stu Dudley
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Aug 4th, 2011, 09:34 AM
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Stu,

I see there is a 20 min TGV train ride from Aix to Avignon. Rather than driving to Bonnieux, Menerbes, etc, from Aix my second day as you suggested, what do you think about us taking the train to Avignon versus driving (we won't have to deal with traffic, or parking, etc) and visiting Bonnieux when we're staying in St. Remy instead so we get back to Aix that Monday in plenty of time to see some shops since we'll miss them on Sunday? Or is Avignon a longer day trip that you suggest from St. Remy? Thanks!!
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Aug 4th, 2011, 11:24 AM
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We were in the area just 2 weeks ago.Incredible Lavender fields. It is not an area you can or would want to rush from one place to another. I would stick with Stu's recommendations. His plan maximizes your ability to see the majority of your list, even though its at a "If its Tuesday it must be Belgium" pace.To me the Luberon is what we think of as France.See France.You probably have seen a lot of Roman stuff with your husband in Italy.Go light on Glanum.The exception is Pont du Gard, which is world class.

Building on Stu's plan. On Tuesday there is a very nice market in Aix, so this would be a good time to see Aix, shop, and have lunch on the Cours Mirabeau (Deux Garcons - reserve ahead).

Have a great vacation.
dugi_otok is online now  
Aug 4th, 2011, 12:05 PM
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Thanks "Dugi"...I will plan on spending Tuesday morning checking out the market in Aix and reserve an early lunch at Deux Garcons before we head off to St. Tropez.

One question, Stu mentions driving from Monaco to Gordes and Roussillion then onto the hotel in Aix. Would I be close enough to see any other villages that day too, or is that all I can fit in a day? If so, which villages would you suggest I see the next day from Aix? Bonnieux, Menerbes, Lacoste, Saigon, Oppede le Vieux? I imagine we can't squeeze them all in a day, so will have to narrow this down.

Thank you so much for your input!!
Donalee_Jolna is offline  
Aug 4th, 2011, 12:06 PM
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Thanks "Dugi"...I will plan on spending Tuesday morning checking out the market in Aix and reserve an early lunch at Deux Garcons before we head off to St. Tropez.

One question, Stu mentions driving from Monaco to Gordes and Roussillion then onto the hotel in Aix. Would I be close enough to see any other villages that day too, or is that all I can fit in a day? If so, which villages would you suggest I see the next day from Aix? Bonnieux, Menerbes, Lacoste, Saigon, Oppede le Vieux? I imagine we can't squeeze them all in a day, so will have to narrow this down.

Thank you so much for your input!!
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Aug 4th, 2011, 05:52 PM
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Hi Donalee

Yes, route wise, you could drive from Roussillon to Aix via Bonnieux. You don't have to make the decision to stop in Bonnieux now.You could also visit Saignon by returning through Apt. Will you have time to visit Bonnieux or Saignon? That depends on what time you leave Monaco, time spent in Gordes and Roussillon, and what time you want to arrive in Aix. The drive time from Monaco to Gordes is 3 hours with average traffic,Gordes to Roussillon 1/4 hr, and Roussillon to Aix via Bonnieux 1-1/4 hrs.Also Gordes was packed with tourists on our visit. We visited Roussillon at dinner time and it was very quiet.There were few tourists in the other towns.

For Monday will you have time to visit 5 hill towns? It depends. All of these hill towns have some sort of climb to a view point or ruins. Will you be making any or all of these hikes? If I were to drop one town, it would be Saignon because it is a little out of the way although I liked it very much. My least favorite was Bonnieux because of a steep climb involved.

I hope this helps.
dugi_otok is online now  
Aug 5th, 2011, 08:32 AM
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>>Stu,

I see there is a 20 min TGV train ride from Aix to Avignon. Rather than driving to Bonnieux, Menerbes, etc, from Aix my second day as you suggested, what do you think about us taking the train to Avignon versus driving (we won't have to deal with traffic, or parking, etc)<<

My wife hoged the PC yesterday, si I had little time for Fodors responses.

Both the Aix & Avignon stations are out of town. The Aix station is out of town by quite a bit. There is no direct train from the "in-city" stations. Therefore you will have to drive or take a bus to the Aix station, wait, 20 min ride, arrive at the Avignon TGV station, then take a bus to Avignon. Same on the return. I would drive.

Visit as many villages in the Luberon as you have time for. We enjoy the drives through the vineyards & pretty countryside while going from village to village as much as we enjoy the villages.

Stu Dudley
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