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My 7 day Provence itinerary... workable?

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Aug 19th, 2016, 09:04 PM
  #1
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My 7 day Provence itinerary... workable?

Hi,
We will have 7 days and 6 nights. Most will be focused on the west side, but after I see photos of Eze and St.-Paul-de-Vence, which is just beautiful, I really want to work it into my itinerary. We will rent a car. Travel on October 1.

Day 1 (Sat): 9am arrival @ Marceille airport. Go straight to Arles. Arles all day. Overnight in Arles
Day 2 (Sun): AM: Les Baux de Provence. PM: St-Remy. Overnight in St-Remy.
Day 3 (Mon): AM: Pont du Gard. PM: Uzes. Overnight in Uzes
Day 4 (Tues): Avignon all day, then drive to Luberon for the evening. overnight in Luberon area.
Day 5 (Wed): Touring villages in Luberon all day (Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux), drive to Aix-en-Provence in the evening. Overnight in Aix.
Day 6 (Thur): AM: Aix-en-Provence till 2pm. Head to St-Paul-de Vende. [email protected] Overnight in St Paul
Day 7 (Fri): AM: head to Eze. PM: Nice. Return car. TGV train to Paris @ 5pm.

Many on forum suggest to pick one or two towns as a home base, but that means travling back and forth to the home base. I will stay in different towns as I move from town to town to save travel time. Has anyone done this? Or is picking a home base really better in Provence? I will need to carry luggage in the car with me while I tour if I stay overnight in different towns. Is it safe to do so?

Is it a good idea to pre-book accommodation beforehand or better to book while there?

Will half a day for villages like St. Paul and Eze be enough?

For anyone who have visited the Luberon villages and Eze and St Paul de Vence on the east side, are these villages all fairly similar that I won't miss out on anything if I don't go to the Riviera side?
I am okay not going to Monaco or not spending a lot of time in big cities like Nice. I also don't like crowded beaches. I just loved the photos of Eze and St Paul, but if it's similar to the Luberon villages, I won't need to go.

Some advice greatly appreciated. Thank you
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Aug 19th, 2016, 09:20 PM
  #2
 
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St-Paul-de-Vence and Eze village are two of the most touristy sites of the Côte d'Azur. See them if you must, but you'll be missing other, more interesting spots--such as Villefranche-sur-Mer, Nice, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, and much more. I think you just don't have time to do justice to the Côte d'Azur; save it for another visit if you can. St-Paul is similar to some of the Lubéron villages but really packed with visitors, although October should be less so.
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Aug 19th, 2016, 10:17 PM
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In St. Rémy, look for the walk from the village up to the Asylum of Saint Paul Mausole (Van Gogh) - following that path (with the occasional Van Gogh reproductions to remind you that you're on the right path) puts you in the leisurely frame of mind that lets you appreciate the whole thing when you get there. If you drive up in a rush, you're more likely disappointed - there is no big "there" there. But it's touching when you think about it. Van Gogh walked that same walk, with his friend who accompanied him from Avignon on that fateful day.
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Aug 20th, 2016, 12:32 AM
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I also say no to the Côte d'Azur. I also advocate 2 bases of 3 nights each.

Day 1 (Sat): 9am arrival @ Marseille airport. Drive 30 min to Aix for a half day. Drive to the Luberon with a stop in Lourmarin.

Overnight here for 3 nights: http://masperreal.com/index.html

Day 2 (Sun)- AM:Isle-la-Sorgue market. PM- Gordes, Roussillon.

Day 3 (Mon)- More Luberon

Day 4 (Tues)- Drive to Uzes with stops in Les Baux and St Remy.

Overnight Ezes for 3 nights. Stay here: http://www.maslaurent.com/en/

Day 5 (Wed)-AM: Ezes market, PM: Pont du Gard

Day 6 (Thurs)- Arles

Day 7 (Fri)- Avignon. Return car. TGV train(2-3/4hrs) to Paris

The Mas Perreal and the Mas Laurant are 2 fantastic B&Bs!!!
You will love them.
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Aug 20th, 2016, 02:52 PM
  #5
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OK... I am completely stressed from planning this trip.... I don't know if I will come back to France in the near future... It's a long trip for me from Canada... That's why I picked only a couple of towns that I love in the Cote d'Azur. Ironically, I have no desire to visit Monaco, Cannes, Antibes, Nice...

The feedback is still great though. Dugi_otok, your suggestion helps me judge how much time is considered okay in these places. If I leave even earlier from Aix, say in the morning, would visiting a couple of villages in Cote d'Azur be more doable?
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Aug 20th, 2016, 02:57 PM
  #6
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I will pick a home base for three nights though... It does seem a little scary to change hotels, because I have to find the place each time.
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Aug 20th, 2016, 04:59 PM
  #7
 
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You could drive Marseille airport to Eze (2h40) on day 1, spend the afternoon in Eze, then overnight in St-Paul-de-Vence.
This is a nice place: http://www.le-hameau.com/en/

https://www.google.com/search?q=eze+...HaUcCBcQsAQIGw

https://www.google.com/search?q=st+p...HSqkDBkQsAQIGw

Day 2- St Paul in the morning. Afternoon you could drive back to Provence for the night. Arles, Luberon, Aix are all less than 3 hrs drive. Or you could visit Nice in the afternoon and spend a second night in St Paul. But I would have hotel reservations each night.j
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Aug 21st, 2016, 01:00 AM
  #8
 
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I would really recommend just staying in 1 place the whole time. We've visited this area many times, most recently 2 weeks in a gite near lisle sur la Sorgue. Gites rent Saturday to Saturday so this could work out more economical even if you leave on the Friday. it is so easy to drive around this area and all the places you want to visit are only 35 - 50mins or so away. It will be so much more relaxing staying in one place rather than moving all the time (and having your luggage with you which is a worry).
Another time we stayed a week near Noves, another time 4 nights at St Remy and then a week over near Apt. We've also visited St Paul de Vence area several times and I'd recommend this time you give it a miss.
So I'd recommend basing in or near St Remy and drive to:
Aix-en-provence (perhaps arrival day)
Arles
Carrieres des lumieres
Pont du Gard - we've kayaked from Collias down to the Pont with Kayak Vert
Uzes
Avignon - park in one of the many parking buildings
St Remy has Wednesday AM market
l'isle Sur La Sorgue - Sunday AM market
Drive up Mt Ventoux via Bedoin and either back same way or down via Sault then go to Rousillon for lunch.
Luberon Villages - Goult, Menerbes, Bonnieux, Gordes
Fontaine de Vaucluse - we've kayaked from here back to L'ilse sur la Sourgue again with Kayak Vert.
Good luck!
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Aug 22nd, 2016, 02:06 PM
  #9
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I am re-doing my itinerary over and over.... Haha. Probably have 5 different versions now... Back to the drawing board.
I don't know if I can let go of the the east side of Provence, especially after I have found more places of interest. Tourrettes sur loup for example...
One thing for sure is I will base a portion of the trip near St Remy!
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Aug 22nd, 2016, 02:14 PM
  #10
 
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Hi, dana_s, I'm going to top my TR called Provence sandwich (we sandwiched it in between 2 Paris visits). You can read about our van tours and get an idea of times for some of the places you've described.

I loved Arles. We visited there from our base in Montpelier as a day trip--I wished we had spent more time.
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Aug 22nd, 2016, 02:18 PM
  #11
 
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It's topped--scroll down to Friday, Sept. 5th for the Aix section.
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Aug 25th, 2016, 02:42 PM
  #12
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Thank you all.
So I took dugi_otok's itinerary.
Drive to Vence area on Day 1. Tour the area on Day2, and drive to Aix.
Then tour Provence for the remaining 5 days.
It will be interesting to see how this tight itinerary works out!
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Aug 25th, 2016, 04:20 PM
  #13
 
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Dana,
As with other comments, I would really recommend selecting two bases for three nights each. You really will not lose much time since you will be going different directions each day most likely. AND you will not spend time packing, checking out, finding the lodging and checking in everyday! That alone could offset the driving. And the driving, by the way can be fun if you stop once in a while to look at the latest surprise view or get a cup of coffee or lunch. We used to move in one and two night stops but have grown to enjoy "getting local" a little bit, letting things soak in a bit more, talking to some people in the evening. So, we recommend finding a nice spot and staying three nights. You should get better rates, too.
Tom
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Aug 25th, 2016, 04:23 PM
  #14
 
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Dana,
One other sentiment. We used to run ourselves crazy trying to see everything...so many places, so little time. So, we do not really get the feeling anywhere, but we have our snapshots of everywhere.

Our solution for sanity: Just accept the fact that you will return to the spots you love, and visit the ones you have missed this trip..."we shall return."
Tom
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Aug 25th, 2016, 08:42 PM
  #15
mjs
 
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I also agree with selecting two bases for your 7nights and consider limiting yourself to Provence and do the Cote on another visit. We recently spent 11 nights in Provence with 3 different bases and it worked out quite well. Drove 1400 kms but the pace was not rushed. We had done the Cote on another holiday.
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