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Help with Provence areas to stay

Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 09:25 AM
  #1  
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Help with Provence areas to stay

I have been reading and reading and reading the topics here and am wondering if this makes sense? We will be flying into Nice in April and then heading out. We were thinking of this as far as just towns to spend the night in:
Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 somewhere near Moustiers
Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7 St Remy (or would Gordes be better)
Day 8, Day 9 -La cadiere d' Azur (or somewhere near that, maybe Cassis)
Day 10-Nice

We don't really care about the big cities but wouldn't rule them out to travel to if one was really worth a visit (Arles, Aix or Avignon) We like small villages and scenery. Places we can stop and get out and walk around without it being packed with people.
Stu-I will e-mail you for your itinerary

Thanks, You all are always so great. We had an amazing trip to Ireland in June, thanks to all the help on this board and I did write a full trip report when I got back!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 09:47 AM
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I think a first-timer would find the area around Gordes (Luberon) and the area around St Remy to be much more interesting than the Moustiers region. Moustiers is nice, but it's a 1 1/2 hr visit at most. The Gorges du Verdon is OK, but not that great if you have visited the Grand Caynon in the US. We like Riez, but that's more interesting for a 5th timer than someone wanting to explore Provence for the first time. We've had extended stays in several regions in Provence, but we've never found enought things to do near Moustiers to spend extended time there. We've stayed overnight twice and did a pass through once.

Get out a map of Provence and put a red dot next to every site, village, & scenic region you want to visit. I think you will find 10-20 times as many red dots close to Gordes/St Remy than you will have near Moustiers.

If you are lured to the Moustiers area because of the Ducasse hotel/restaurant there, I discovered 20 years ago that the three most important things to consider when deciding where to stay are 1. location, 2.location, 3. location. If you plan to spend most of your days hanging around the hotel, then that's a different thing.

I would visit Moustiers on the way from Nice to the Luberon, spend 3 days near Gordes, and 3 days in St Remy. If that's too much driving the first day, then cut out Moustiers, or stay there 1 night only & leave early the next morning.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 02:12 PM
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Stu- There really wasn't a reason to stay in Moustiers except I was trying to get out Nice but not have to drive too far and see a bit more of Provence.

I thought maybe Gordes and St Remy were too close together to stay in both towns. I realize that those are two great towns for basing yourself out of. So you would stay in both?

Would you recommend another spot (besides Moustiers) that would allow us to see some other area of Provence since it seems we will be spending most of our time in the Vaucluse region.

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Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 02:38 PM
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The Luberon and St Remy seem to be the two most popular spots to stay in while exploring Provence. Many like St Remy because it's a medium sized town with easy car access, lots of retaurants & cafes, good shopping, a nice weekly market, and very tourist friendly. Others prefer the Luberon valley because it has lavender fields, vineyards, lovely rolling hills, close to some canyons & mountains, close to 'rural" provence (Sault area), small cute villages, and Peter Mayle.

It's kinda like countryside vs. small city.

My third recommended area is close to Vaison la Romaine, where there are even more vineyards (it's the famous Cote du Rhone), access to the lavender fields around Sault, cute small villages, close to Mt Ventoux, mountains, remote Provence, Roman Ruins & a Medieval city in Vaison. All are close to Avignon

I would stay several days in St Remy so you can be close to the "big ticket" attractions of Arles, Nimes, les Baux, Alpillies, Pont du Gard, Uzes, and the Carmarque.

I would also stay several days in either the Luberon or Vaison areas so you can be close to the Luberon, the cute villages in the Luberon, the fabulous Sunday market in l'Isle sur la Sorgue, lavender fields & 'remote" Provence around Sault, canyons just south of Sault, Mt Ventoux, Senanque Abbey, Vaison, the Dentelles, Cote du Rhone winegrowing & the cute villages there (Seguret), Pernes & it's fountains, and Nyons. You could stay in either the Vaison area or Luberon and catch all of these big ticket items. I think most first-timers would prefer the Luberon.

Stu Dudley

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Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 02:53 PM
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I should have summarized what I tried to explain in too many words in the prior post.

If you stay in St Remy, it's a longer drive than I would want to make to visit the Lavender fields around Sault, the canyons around Sault, "remote" Provence (Simiane la Rotunde & north of Mt Ventoux - the Baronnais), Mt. Ventoux, Pernes, Vaison, Cote du Rhone villages & vineyards, and Nyons.

If you stay in the Luberon, it's farther than I would want to drive to visit Arles, Nimes, Pont du Gard, Uzes, and the Carmarque.

St Remy has a much different "look & feel" than the countryside around either the Luberon or Vaison. I like diversity and I don't like to do needless driving if I can avoid it. That's why I recommend staying in two different places if you're visiting for more than 6 days and want to get a feel for all or Provence.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 05:10 PM
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There's a website called www.chezprovence.com which led me to some very interesting ideas about that area - also had some good leads on rentals and the best deal on car rental I have yet found!
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 09:26 AM
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Sorry I have not responded, I was travelling and then working more on our itinerary. So here is my revised plan:

April 5, 6, 7: An area around Nice, maybe Cagnes s-Mer (or any recommendations?)

April 8, 9, 10: Gordes

April 11, 12, 13: St Remy

Fly out of Marseille on the 14

Does this sound OK? Am I staying too close to each other with staying in Gordes and St. Remy?

My thought was to explore from:

Nice- Vense, St Paul, Cabris, Grasse, Carros, etc,

Gordes-Forcalquier, Lurs, Banon, Rousillon, Menerbes, L'Isle-Sorgue, Gigondas, Vaison la Romaine, etc.

St Remy-Les Baux, Eygalierers, Grottes de Cales, Arles, Camargue, Cassis, Pourrieres, Vauvenargues, etc

From Nice can we day trip to the area around St Tropez to explore Grimaud, La Garde-Freinet, Bornes, etc?

Am I getting a good mix of Provence with this itinerary? Any input is greatly appreciated!

Stu I will be e-mailing you for your itinerary.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 10:37 AM
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I wouldn't stay at Cagnes sur Mer - it ain't that great. Either stay in Nice (we llike the Windsor) or near St Paul de Vence (le Hameau).

If you have less than 3 full days on the Cote, I would not go to St Tropez - although I really like that area. My itinerary has lots of suggestions for things to keep you busy in the Nice area for 3 days.

You said you didn't want to visit the big cities, but I would give Nice a look/see.

Stu Dudley
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