Holidays in the south of France

Nov 2nd, 1998, 01:53 PM
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Holidays in the south of France

We're flying to Paris in the evening on Christmas, arriving early Sat. am and taking the TGV to Avignon. Our plan is to spend the night there, and go to the big Sunday brocante/antiques market nearby in Isle sur Sorgue in the morning, then drive to the hilltowns north of Nice and spend 2 or 3 nights there, driving along the coast to Italy (or taking the train - but we'd like to be able to get on and off and see towns) one day, around the perched villages another. Then drive to Aix and base there for the rest of the week. We'd like to spend New Years Eve in a town/city setting rather than in the country - any recommendations? We'll train back to Paris Sat. am and fly home in the afternoon - so we'll have about 7 days there.
Are reservations recommended at this time of year? We enjoy small, charming, & authentic lodging experiences....but would like to be able to stay longer in one place if we really like the area, or move on if we're ready to.
Any itinerary or other ideas welcome! (I've already read through all the previous Provence postings on this great site).
Nov 3rd, 1998, 04:44 PM
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Sending this up again - still waiting for your good ideas and input!
Nov 5th, 1998, 01:27 AM
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Check out the website for Logis de France at it is an association of independant hotels ranging from the simple to the more luxurious. I have stayed at many hotels in this group and never been disappointed. The site can be a bit slow at times but it is worth the wait. I can't advise on your itinerary though I have been to Avignon and thought it was a wonderful city, hope this helps a bit!
Nov 5th, 1998, 07:30 PM
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My biggest surprise on my first trip to France last month was: the Loire Valley and the Cote d Azur areas were much more populated than I expected! I expected Cannes to be a beach resort, small town -- it was a good sized city with noise, traffic, modern, high rise condos
and beach-front hotels. St. Tropez was a bit more what I expected, smaller, no high rises, more French Rivera. Same with the Loire Valley. Yes, it's farm land, but quite populated and what I had expected to be very small towns were actually cities. Many of the more unique places were too small to be shown on most maps or in tour books. I picked up a copy of Fordor's "French Hotels and Inns of Charm" and stayed at 2 places selected from it. Both were excellent -- it covers all of France. Check it out for some interesting options complete with pictures and fax numbers.
Nov 6th, 1998, 12:03 PM
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Thanks to both of you - I'm checking the site as well as the book today.
Nov 7th, 1998, 10:35 PM
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May I tag on and seek some advice with you while offering some help of my own? My family plans a trip to France next summer with about a week of it in Provence. I have found a great web site( for places to stay, and I have seen many of these places in other web sites in discussions of trips of others or in articles. However, I found another small chateau near Carpentras northeast of Avignon called Chateau Talaud by locating their web site ( which looks really good, but I have not been able to find one article or review about it from anyone who has been there, and this seems strange if it is as good as it looks. Has anyone visited this chateau? Have you seen any discussion of it anywhere? I hope the above web sites help you in your search. A good friend has stayed at and highly recommends world famous Michelin 6-star chef Alain Ducasse's bed and breakfast, La Bastide de Moustiers in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie near Lake St. Croix in Verdon, and this place is also noted in the Relaischateau web site mentioned above and in its own excellent site at I hope this helps you, and I am extremely anxious to learn more about the Chateau Talaud I have now booked.
Nov 8th, 1998, 11:18 AM
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a couple of suggestions-we love Mougins-which is one of the best "eating villages" of that region (and of France). I think at one point it had the most number of 4 star restaurants in the country. It is a small walled vilage outside of Cannes in the hills and the most famous restaurant is just before you get to the entrance of the village called the Moulins de Mougins-very exclusive and expensive but amazing. It has been 15 years since we have visited Mougins-so it could well have changed-but we were there in the summer on Bastille day and it was great. Also, grasse is nice but it is really not the time of year for it (it is the perfume/Lavendar are) but also the Luberon area of France is really great-however, since it is nearer the Alps, it may be harsh weather that time of year.

Christimas in France anywhere is great-so I know you will enjoy anywhere you end up-definitely check out the relais and chateaux site-but be forewarned that they are pricey.
Nov 9th, 1998, 02:29 PM
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I have to agree with Jeanne!! My wife and I and another couple spent two glorious weeks in a chateau in Moujins this past July/August. What an incredible town with fantastic restaurants. There ia a Picasso photographic museum is atop the the village that documents his whole life by photos. Moulin de Mougins is still rated as one of the finest restaurants in all of France but it very expensive-about $125-$150(US) per person. Day trip we took were Antibes, Monte Carlo, San Remo(italy),St Paul de Vince, Cannes, Nice and others. As you can tell Mougins is paradise, let me know if you have questions.

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