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lorraine Aug 9th, 2002 09:50 AM

indecisive about Provence
I am still planning our trip in October for France. I have the Paris part figured out, but am still struggling with the Provence part. We have about 9 days to devote to Provence. I know most of the cities that I would like to visit, however, I am confused as to whether I should spend 2 nights in Avignon then move onto Arles for 2 nights then move onto St. Remy and then onto someplace else, etc. Or should I stay put for a longer period of time? We are in our mid thirties and don't mind moving around, if it would make for a better trip. But I don't want to run ourselves ragged if it isn't necessary. <BR>Help!<BR>Thanks,<BR>lorraine<BR>

melissa Aug 9th, 2002 10:02 AM

I'll be doing a similar trip in Oct and plan to stay in Avignon and visit Arles, St.Remy and Les Baux. They are quite close and seem easily accessible by transit (if that's what you're using) I'd rather not drag my luggage around if I don't have to. Have you looked at<BR><BR>melissa

Uncle Sam Aug 9th, 2002 10:09 AM

Lorraine,<BR><BR>Unless you just want to pack and repack, not meant to be sarcastic, I'd suggest you connsider staying in one place the entire time.<BR><BR>We stayed for 10 nights last September in Avignon and found it worked very well.<BR><BR>We took the train down to Arles for the day. Rented a car for 6 days and each day took a comfortable day trip to Chateauneuf du Pape, Luberon hill towns, St. Remy etc. <BR><BR>Driving was not difficult at all and we found that it was very nice not having to pack abd repack.<BR><BR>US

Jim Aug 9th, 2002 10:24 AM

Lorraine,<BR>I Wouldn't stay in Either Avignon or Arles, but instead spend about 4 nights in or Around St. Remy. From there, it is an easy day trip to Avignon,Arles and Les Baux. <BR>I think I would spend the rest of my time in the Luberon visting Gordes, Menerbes,Lacoste, Bonnieux, etc. staying in any of these towns. Much more relaxing and interesting this way.

Phil Aug 9th, 2002 10:33 AM

My recommendation- pick one or two towns to stay in and cover the rest in day trips. Part of the pleasure of Provence is the leisurely morning or afternoon in the cafe, or just walking around. My personal preference would not be to pack, move, and unpack every few days..remember, it's a vacation, not an endurance trial. My wife and I recently stayed 4 nights in Lourmarin, a very pretty little town.

Jean Aug 9th, 2002 10:52 AM

In May we stayed in Arles (charming town) and took the train for a day trip to Avignon, and bus to St. Remy. Nimes, Orange, Pont du Gard, etc. are all as easily accessible if you stay in any one of the towns. You'd be wasting lots of time if you stayed in Avignon, then packed up to move to St. Remy which is just 45 minutes away by bus.

lorraine Aug 9th, 2002 11:39 AM

Wow! Thanks so much for the quick responses--please keep it coming.

Jenni Aug 9th, 2002 11:49 AM

Lorraine,<BR>I stayed in one place for visiting most of Provence, including Avignon, Arles, St. Remy, etc. There is no need to move from place to place since there is a highly efficient road system, if you are renting a car. The distance between the towns were managable and we did not spend more than 1.5 hours on the road to any town we visited. We based ourselves just outside of Avignon in the town of Villeneuve-les-Avignon, which is right across the river from Avignon. We stayed at a nice B&B called Aux Ecuries des Chartreux -- it was inexpensive (approx. $50 USD per night) and very charming. We found that with a car, it was much easier to stay outside of any town (lack of free parking) and it was faster getting on the highways to go on our day trips. We took the train from Paris to Avignon, then picked up our rental car right from the train station.

Phil Aug 9th, 2002 11:53 AM

Lorraine,<BR>I completely agree with Jim. I have been to this area many times.<BR>Not only are you able to do the Luberon, but you can also go into the Aix area.<BR>There is a wonderful Monestery in St. Maximin de Beaune :

Phil Aug 9th, 2002 11:57 AM

Sorry, I don't know what happened. This is a wonderful place to stay in with absoutely wonderful food that any mid thirty couple would love. Reserve early.

Linda Aug 9th, 2002 04:27 PM

Was also there in October. Based in Aix, we had a rental car and it was quite easy to drive out and about the area. Went to St.Remy, Les Baux and don't forget Cassis.

Uncle Sam Aug 9th, 2002 04:32 PM

I have yet to determine the love affair with Aix. We went there one day last September and the construction was terrible, the wait to get in restaurants unacceptable and quite frankly there wasn't much there...there!<BR><BR>Avignon or Arles for me.<BR><BR>US

Andi Aug 9th, 2002 07:17 PM

I was in Provence last month -we are an upper twenties/early thirties couple. We spent a mere 3 nights in Arles. I really liked Arles. It felt like a real working town. Watching a carmagne (sp?) bull fight in the ancient arena was so memorable. (They basically play with the bulls instead of killing them.) These are held every Wednesday during the summer season - 5 Euro per ticket.<BR><BR>Anyway, I'm already dreaming of going back. When I do, I'll definitely stay in Vaison Romaine. It was the cutest town with the best wine co-op and market. My husband is really into cycling so driving to the top to Mt. Ventoux was a pilgramage for us. The wine co-ops were so casual and fun. Cote du Rhone is the greatest table wine and so affordable. They had "gas stations" in the wineries. People brought in 5 gallon containers and filled them with 95 cent/liter delicious table wines. Lucky lucky.<BR><BR>It's easy to drive around and make lots of day trips. Pont du Gard is a must. Les Baux is for most. Provence was the end of our month long trip so we were in "not another museum?" mode.<BR><BR>Have fun!

John B. Aug 10th, 2002 04:28 AM

All the suggestions posted are great. The problem is making a choice. If you are interested in reading about our experiences in the Luberon, check out my diary postings in the archives at The Magic of Provence site that I started. The first bits are about the Ardeche but the last three or four are about some of the villages mentioned in the suggestions.<BR>Site is at:<BR>

tothe top Aug 10th, 2002 09:50 AM


Betsy Aug 10th, 2002 07:50 PM

Everyone has their opinion about which towns are favorites. I know that the next time I go to Provence I'll get a car. It makes seeing all of the towns so much easier. I think I'd probably choose a base to explore from too. I was in Arles a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed staying at Le Calendal. It overlooks the ancient arena and theater. It has a beautful courtyard tearoom for drinks throughout the day and the staff is wonderful. The price is unbelievable for all that this hotel offers. My room was one of the more expensive doubles at only 75 euros a night. IT had a huge bathroom, a terrace w/table, charis and chaise lounges and A/C. The actual bedroom was small. Anyway, I don't work for them, I just thought this hotel was incredible and since you're going, thought I'd plug it!<BR>

E. Aug 25th, 2002 03:33 AM

When we made the trip a couple years ago, the one thing that we would've changed was all the hotel moving -- really cut into our time. We stayed outside of Avignon, then St. Remy, then Arles, then Aix. Now I live in Aix and drive over to Avignon for lunch/shopping. It's much closer than it seems.

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