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Honeymoon in Provence - 14 day itinerary help please

Honeymoon in Provence - 14 day itinerary help please

Dec 28th, 2014, 05:14 AM
  #1  
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Honeymoon in Provence - 14 day itinerary help please

Hi everyone,

I am planning a 14 day trip driving down from London to Provence, spending the majority of our time in the area with stopovers en route. This is our first visit to the area and will be our honeymoon straight after getting married on the 18th July.

We will be travelling from 20th July to 2nd August. I know this is a very busy time in Provence so we want to steer clear of the most popular tourist areas as we don't want to spend all of our time in the car. We will probably spend most days visiting villages / towns in the morning, have lunch there then relax by a pool / beach in the late afternoon. I'm wary of cramming too much in and packing/unpacking all the time as it won't be relaxing but also want to see several different areas as Provence is so large and varied. Ideally I'd love to visit all the coastal villages if we were out of season but I fear we'll spend too much time in traffic jams.

We love: eating out, wine, visiting villages, sunbathing and relaxing. Proximity to good local restaurants (not necessarily Michelin-starred) is a must, especially in the evenings when we won't want to drive so can walk to them easily.

Questions:
1. Are there enough restaurants in Les Baux / Roussillon / Bonnieux to eat at in the evenings (so we don't have to drive)
2. Is it worth including the Roussillon/Bonnieux leg of the trip or should we stay an extra night in Les Baux and Le Bastide so we aren't moving around too much? Or is there somewhere else we shouldn't miss?
3. Is it worth staying in a vineyard B&B? I've found a few such as Le Chateau de St Martin just outside Draguignan or La Domaine de la Fouquette north of Collobrieres. We love our wine and think staying there might be a nice experience and have its advantages as we can try the wine without having to drive afterwards.
Or do we visit the vineyards near Chateauneuf du Pape (as my fiance loves this wine)?
4. I love the beach so really want to incorporate this for at least 2 days so would love a quiet(er) resort with a few restaurants so we are not driving a lot on the busy coastal roads.


A first draft of my itinerary is below:

DAY 1 Monday 20th July: Catch an early ferry and drive to the Champagne region near Epernay. Any advice on a nice chateau/B&B with a vineyard would be appreciated
DAY 2: Drive to Aigueze on the Ardeche. Stay at Residence Le Castelas
DAY 3: Canoe on river / lunch. Stay at Residence Le Castelas
DAY 4: Drive to Les Baux. Stay at Mas d'Aigret which is in the village, probably relax by pool in afternoon
DAY 5: Visit Arles in morning / pool afternoon. Stay at Mas d'Aigret
DAY 6: Avignon. Stay at Mas d'Aigret
DAY 7: St Remy / maybe Maussane. Stay at Mas d'Aigret
DAY 8: Drive to Roussillon. Stay at Le Clos de Glycine (but no pool) OR Bonnieux at Le Clos du Buis (with pool) both near the village centres.
DAY 8/9: Explore east Luberon villages. Maybe rent a bike for the day?
DAY 10: Drive to Moustiers-St-Marie stopping at a village for lunch. Stay at La Bastide de Moustiers (this is a must as it's somewhere I've always wanted to go) explore the Gorge Verdon and Lac de St Croix
DAY 11: Continue exploring area or relax by pool. Stay at La Bastide de Moustiers
DAY 12/13: Head to a quieter coastal resort and relax on beach / visit local vineyards if possible. I've heard good things re. Gigaro and the Pellegrin beach in Bormes les Mimosas - any good?
Drive up to Beaune in Burgundy for last night. Stay at Jardins des Lois.
DAY 14: Beaune - London

Any advice is much appreciated, thank you.

Anna
Anna2707 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2014, 07:18 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
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Two thoughts...first, fly 'Open Jaw" or Multi City into one city and home from the nearest airport to end of your trip in France. I can't see that you are spending any time in London. If not, don't fly there, fly to Paris or some other airport near to where you want to start your trip. Second, if you do fly to London, don't rent a car until you get to France, or you will have the expense of taking the car on a ferry (and back) and it will be a right hand drive vehicle which will be harder when driving on the right in France.
jane1144 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2014, 09:03 AM
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Jane - Anna lives in London.
StuDudley is online now  
Dec 28th, 2014, 09:10 AM
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>>DAY 1 Monday 20th July: Catch an early ferry and drive to the Champagne region near Epernay. Any advice on a nice chateau/B&B with a vineyard would be appreciated<<

We're staying at the Hostellerie La Briqueterie, which is just outside of Eperny and is also a Michelin 1 star restaurant.
www.labriqueterie.fr
DAY 2: Drive to Aigueze on the Ardeche. Stay at Residence Le Castelas
DAY 3: Canoe on river / lunch. Stay at Residence Le Castelas
DAY 4: Drive to Les Baux. Stay at Mas d'Aigret which is in the village, probably relax by pool in afternoon
DAY 5: Visit Arles in morning / pool afternoon. Stay at Mas d'Aigret
DAY 6: Avignon. Stay at Mas d'Aigret
DAY 7: St Remy / maybe Maussane. Stay at Mas d'Aigret
DAY 8: Drive to Roussillon. Stay at Le Clos de Glycine (but no pool) OR Bonnieux at Le Clos du Buis (with pool) both near the village centres.
DAY 8/9: Explore east Luberon villages. Maybe rent a bike for the day?
DAY 10: Drive to Moustiers-St-Marie stopping at a village for lunch. Stay at La Bastide de Moustiers (this is a must as it's somewhere I've always wanted to go) explore the Gorge Verdon and Lac de St Croix
DAY 11: Continue exploring area or relax by pool. Stay at La Bastide de Moustiers
DAY 12/13: Head to a quieter coastal resort and relax on beach / visit local vineyards if possible. I've heard good things re. Gigaro and the Pellegrin beach in Bormes les Mimosas - any good?
Drive up to Beaune in Burgundy for last night. Stay at Jardins des Lois.
DAY 14: Beaune - London
StuDudley is online now  
Dec 28th, 2014, 09:49 AM
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>>DAY 1 Monday 20th July: Catch an early ferry and drive to the Champagne region near Epernay. Any advice on a nice chateau/B&B with a vineyard would be appreciated<<

We're staying at the Hostellerie La Briqueterie, which is just outside of Eperny and is also a Michelin 1 star restaurant.
www.labriqueterie.fr

Only a one-nighter on your first day of marital bliss? IMO, you are trying to do too many things. You want to be relaxing & seeing the sites - not driving from A to B with one-nighters.

>>DAY 2: Drive to Aigueze on the Ardeche. Stay at Residence Le Castelas
DAY 3: Canoe on river / lunch. Stay at Residence Le Castelas<<

This is a very tiring/boring 7 hr drive with the sun in your face most of the way. I've driven every segment of that route many times - but not all at once. Budget 8+ hrs for this drive to account for toll booth backups in late July, pottie breaks, lunch, the un-avoidable road "deviation" where everyone is driving in one lane of the road at the speed of the slowest truck.

>>DAY 4: Drive to Les Baux. Stay at Mas d'Aigret which is in the village, probably relax by pool in afternoon
DAY 5: Visit Arles in morning / pool afternoon. Stay at Mas d'Aigret
DAY 6: Avignon. Stay at Mas d'Aigret
DAY 7: St Remy / maybe Maussane. Stay at Mas d'Aigret<<

Fine. Day 7 is a Sunday when shops in Arles, Avignon, and most cities will be closed - but not in St Remy or Les Baux.

>>DAY 8: Drive to Roussillon. Stay at Le Clos de Glycine (but no pool) OR Bonnieux at Le Clos du Buis (with pool) both near the village centres.
DAY 8/9: Explore east Luberon villages. Maybe rent a bike for the day?<<

Only 2 nights/1 1/2 days in the Luberon?

>>DAY 10: Drive to Moustiers-St-Marie stopping at a village for lunch. Stay at La Bastide de Moustiers (this is a must as it's somewhere I've always wanted to go) explore the Gorge Verdon and Lac de St Croix
DAY 11: Continue exploring area or relax by pool. Stay at La Bastide de Moustiers<<

I think you'll get a tad bored - but that's OK for a honeymoon. Do you really want to visit two gorges (Ardeche & Verdon) at the expense of something else"?

>>DAY 12/13: Head to a quieter coastal resort and relax on beach / visit local vineyards if possible. I've heard good things re. Gigaro and the Pellegrin beach in Bormes les Mimosas - any good?<<

Bormes is inland. I don't know these beaches - but we've visited Bormes several times. Watch out for heavy traffic on weekends (12th is a Fri)

>Drive up to Beaune in Burgundy for last night. Stay at Jardins des Lois.

That's a 6 hr drive (budget 7) on a Sunday (less truck traffic, but roads are super-crowded on weekends in southeast France.
DAY 14: Beaune - London

Did you loose a night?? Where are you sleeping days 13 & 14???

If this was my itinerary I would stay Day 2 a little farther north so you don't have to drive for 8 hrs on your second day of your honeymoon. Perhaps Beaune or Dijon.

I would skip Bormes - too much moving around & long drives at the end of your honeymoon. Drive back to London from Moustiers, staying at 2 different places - Beaune and Auxerre, or Dijon and Troyes. Or Laon (cute town).

We've spent 40 weeks vacationing along the Cote d'Azur & Provence. I developed a 35 page itinerary that describes our favorite villages, cities, scenic roads, markets, sites, etc. I've sent it to over 3,000 people on Fodors. If you would like a copy, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach one to the reply e-mail.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Dec 28th, 2014, 10:22 AM
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Thanks Stu...I obviously missed that!
jane1144 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2014, 10:45 AM
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First, I agree with StuDudley that you are moving too much. So I would do some trimming of the list and spend longer periods of time in places.

I also agree it is too far to drive to Aigueze in one day. I like Aigueze and suspect you might even have got that idea from one of my posts about it. But getting there from the Champagne region would be a long drive for one day.

I'd stay longer in Aigueze, up to a week and include a few day trips from there if you want. Maybe do a 2 day canoe trip on the river. Take time to explore, not rush from place to place.

With 2 weeks and driving I would personally only plan something like this:
Day 1 ferry and drive to overnight hotel.
Day 2 drive off auto-route to overnight hotel.
Day 3 drive to Aigueze and Le Castelas.
Day 4, 5, 6, 7 stay in Aigueze (perhaps last night overnight on river canoe trip if you're adventurous)
Day 8 drive to second location in Provence.
Day 9, 10, 11 at that location with day trip to beach if you aren't staying on the coast.
Day 12, 13, 14, leisurely drive off auto-route with overnight stops enroute to home.

For places to stay I suggest you have a look at Sawdays.
This place for example is one I have found and stayed in using Sawdays. It is a Chateau with ONE room for rent. The room is the turret shown to the left in the photo.
http://www.sawdays.co.uk/france/pica...la-quincy#back

A relatively short drive from the ferry will get you there and still leave you enough time to relax and enjoy the day. Sawdays also has places in Epernay if you wish including a chateau at twice the price.
http://www.sawdays.co.uk/france/cham...-aulnois2#back

I find Sawdays very good for finding more interesting and unique places to stay.
Sojourntraveller is offline  
Dec 28th, 2014, 10:56 AM
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Just to add a bit. Personally, I would brave the driving for one day from Aigueze to Antibes where you would have the beach, restaurants and night life that a younger couple might really enjoy.

I'd stay at La Jabotte, cute and affordable which leaves more money to enjoy the food and wine in Antibes.
http://www.sawdays.co.uk/france/prov...a-jabotte#back

The only problem with going there will be that you will want to have had more time to stay.

Perhaps for a memorable meal I'd splurge on the Michaelangelo restaurant. http://www.michelangelo-mamo.com/
Sojourntraveller is offline  
Dec 29th, 2014, 10:53 AM
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Thank you Stu and Sojourn. Your advice is much appreciated and I've taken it on board.

Revised itinerary below.

I've completely missed out Aigueze as my fiance has been to that area before and it's not a priority for us whereas longer periods of time in fewer places in Provence itself, is.

DAY ONE: London - Epernay. Stu - L'Hostellerie looks perfect, thanks for that rec.
DAY TWO: Epernay - Beaune. Stay at Jardins des Loi
DAY THREE: Beaune - Les Baux - a long drive but we'll just have to brave it. Stay at Mas d'Aigret.
DAY FOUR / FIVE: Stay at Mas d'Aigret and visit Arles / Avignon / St Remy
DAY SIX: Move to Le Mas Perreal at St Saturnin Les Apt (again thanks Stu, this place looks perfect and we can self cater for a few nights if desired)
DAY SIX / SEVEN / EIGHT - visit the Luberon villages / cycle /visit Isle de la Sorgue market on Sunday
DAY NINE: Move to Antibes - thank you Sojourn, I had initially dismissed this area as too busy but I think on reflection we can amuse ourselves in the near vicinity without driving too far
DAY TEN / ELEVEN - Antibes and surrounds (and definitely eat at Michaelangelo!)
DAY TWELVE: Drive up to Lyon for a night's stay
DAY THIRTEEN: Drive up to a halfway point - to be decided
DAY FOURTEEN - We need to be back in London for work the next day so actually it's a 13 night trip!

I think with less moving around we are still seeing and visiting the places we want to and I hope all will be good bases. There is just so much I want to see in this area so we'll just have to plan a return trip!

Stu - you kindly sent me your itinerary a few months ago and I've been reading it with interest. I will certainly take on board your restaurant recommendations, particularly those in the Luberon.

Thank you both again,

Anna
Anna2707 is offline  
Dec 29th, 2014, 11:28 AM
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Lyon is a large city - second largest in France. It's tough to drive in & out - and they have big city commute traffic too (we got caught in it once). Lots to do there, however. Go to the TI and get a map of all the traboules & explore them. Punch on the door "buzzer" and the traboule will unlock.
http://www.francetoday.com/articles/...traboules.html

If you don't feel like tackling a large city after a 5 hr drive (and just coming from a city - Antibes) - consider Perouges, where lots of "Three Musketeer" type movies have been filmed.

I'm assuming you are ferrying back to London via Calais. If so, it's a 10 drive from Lyon to London (I'm sure you already know this). About half-way between Lyon & London & directly off the A26 is Laon - a "gem" of a town. We visited it in 2012. It's a 5 3/4 hr drive from Lyon.

When we stay on the Cote d'Azur & Provence - we go in June. We usually have accommodations booked 1 to 1 1/2 years in advance (we stay in Apts & Gites). July/Aug is peak season - book ASAP.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Dec 29th, 2014, 12:34 PM
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Thanks again, good advice re. Lyons and Perouges as an alternative. I think Laon will work well too.

I'm looking to book most places tomorrow so fingers crossed I'll get my first choice!

Anna
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Dec 29th, 2014, 12:58 PM
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ok, I stayed about 3-4 nights once in Roussillon, right in town so I could walk to places for dinner. There are plenty of restaurants that you won't even have to eat at the same place twice, certainly, for a couple days. They aren't super gourmet expensive foodie places, if that's what you want, though. But there are plenty of them. In Roussillon, the Clos de Glycine isn't just "near" to the village center, it is right at it, restaurants are within a block or two at most.

That hotel in CLos de Buis is "near" the center but not in it and I think it's a bit trickier to get there as there are a couple major roads you have to cross (like the D36 and the D3). Plus the village center is a lot higher, so there would be a bit of a hike up a hill, I believe. There are 2 restaurants fairly close to it, though (l'Arome and le Petit Coin de Cuisine, which has takeout, not sure if they have sit-down). So if you only want 2, it wouldn't be bad walking to them, although it would involve that major road. In Roussillon, you'd be right in the center and no cars are even allowed on that particular street where the restaurants and church are (which that hotels looks onto).
see
http://www.laromerestaurant.com/uk/official-site.php

http://www.karenbrown.com/Restaurant...uisine/390.php
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran..._Provence.html
Christina is offline  
Dec 29th, 2014, 01:37 PM
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Thanks Christina, that's good to know.
Anna2707 is offline  
Dec 29th, 2014, 02:09 PM
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Another consideration, though I am not sure if there is availability in the gites, but they do have a lovely chambre d'Hôte as well:

http://www.accommodationinprovence.com/

We stayed in a gite there in 2012 for 2 weeks and it was perfect! Fully equipped [everything you need] and in a great location for exploring the Luberon region. Lovely 15 minute stroll into town of St. Saturnin les Apt.
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