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Need Advice on Provence Itinerary for April, please

Need Advice on Provence Itinerary for April, please

Mar 8th, 2005, 06:19 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 307
Need Advice on Provence Itinerary for April, please

Please help me finalize our itinerary for this April. We will be in Barcelona for 6 days prior to France.

Please help me decide 1) whether or not to go into Avignon to see papal palace, and 2) whether to spend an extra day in the Luberon, verses going to Aix. We are early 50's and want a relaxing time, if that makes a difference.

I welcome any suggestions.

Day 1 - Train from Barcelona to Montpellier, rent car and drive to Arles. See ruins etc. and then drive to St. Remy to stay overnight at Mas de Carrissans.

Day 2 - See St. Remy, Les Baux, then go to either Avignon to see the papal palace or go to Pont du Gard and Uzes instead. Stay in St. Remy.

Day 3 - Drive over to Luberon area. Do some sight seeing. Stay in Gordes. (or in Bonnieux). (We could spend the morning doing something like Avignon or Uzes, then go to the Luberon area in the early afternoon.)

Day 4 - do more driving and sightseeing of Luberon. Stay same place.

Day 5 Plan A - drive down to Aix. Get there early afternoon - shop, see city sights and have dinner. Stay near Aix.

Day 5 plan B - Have another full day in Luberon/Sault area to drive many sightseeing routes.

Day 6 - Drive to Nice area. (Skip Aix?) Do sightseeing in hills above Nice. Stay in St. Paul at Le Hameau.

Day 7 - Do more sightseeing in hills and along coast - Eze and Villefranche?? Stay in St. Paul.

Day 8 - Nice. See Old Nice, eat nice dinner and drive to airport at 8:30 pm to fly home.

Any comments or suggestions? Thanks!!!


gopack is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 897

Your itinerary seems pretty good. Just a few thoughts:

1) Days 1 and 2 seem a little packed. Trying to get in a visit to Arles on Day 1 after a train ride and drive before heading to St. Remy may be tough, but I guess you can just play that by ear. On Day 3, maybe head to the Pont du Gard first, then see Avignon in the afternoon before driving over to the Luberon.

2) If you do that, then keep Day 5 for the Luberon.

3) You can still see Aix easily if you head off early in the AM on Day 6. If it is a Tues,Thur or Sat you will have the bonus of catching the market in Aix. Then after lunch, a leisurely drive over to the coast.

Hope that helps and bon voyage,
kevin_widrow is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 08:05 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 20
You are very ambitious! It does sound as if you've got a lot going on for day 2. St. Remy is a beautiful little town and Wednesday is market day (so fun!) I spent a semester studying in Avignon, and the Papal Palace is pretty neat, but to me, the Pont du Gard is not-to-be-missed! I haven't been to Uzes, but I think the smaller Provence towns are more interesting. Avignon is great if you want to shop or need a lot of restaurant choices.
mkloncz is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 09:32 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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gopack, while everyone has different tastes, I know what I'd do if I had to choose between the touring the Palais des Papes and seeing Uzès and the Pont du Gard. It would be the latter, hands down.

The Pont du Gard is a stunning site, all the more so if you have an interest in Roman engineering. Uzès is a charming town, with interesting shops and architecture. Place aux Herbes in central Uzès is a tranquil and leafy square; pause for a drink or lunch at one of several cafés that line the edges. Watch the fountain sparkle in the sunlight ...

The Palais des Papes is an austere maze. I found it one of the coldest and gloomiest places I have ever been, but I suppose it's all a matter of taste. It certainly played an interesting role in medieval church history.

However, as Kevin points out, you could perhaps find a way do see all three. It might be interesting to see them all and then decide whether you have a similar reaction.

AnselmAdorne is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 09:50 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 20,241
i'd trade the papal palace for the pont du gard in a minute--and also see the lubéron instead of aix-en-provence.
Underhill is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 05:41 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 69
I'm working on my Provence itinerary as well and wondered how much time it might be worth spending in Aix. Reviews on this forum seem mixed on Aix. If I fly into Marseille on day 1 and get to Aix by early afternoon and leave midday on the next day would that be enough to get the feel of Aix? What are market days in Aix? How long would it then take to drive from Aix to Gordes via Loumarin? Stu, I know your itinerary follows this route but it looks like a full day trip with several stops.
pegprescott is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 06:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 41,704
Aix is a very beautiful city. Market Day is Thursday. It is a student town so there are plenty of clubs and restaurants. It's known as the city of fountains at the Cours Mirabeau with its famed fountains.
cigalechanta is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 06:18 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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This was my decision on Aix. Some years ago I read my way through M.F.K. Fisher and was very enthused. I assumed when I went to France I would see Aix and Avignon. Now, I realize that I will be making my husband drive and he doesn't like very large cities. My theory is: we can always come back on a tour bus when we're 80 and they will hit the large cities! Or, maybe after more experience, we'll start driving into them. (P.S. Everyone we've talked to who drove around Ireland got lost in Cork, including us.)
hopingtotravel is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 06:32 PM
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"Two Towns in Provence" influenced me to visit Aix, but mostly her "Boss Dog."
cigalechanta is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 04:28 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Peg -

I lived for two years in Aix and never tired of it. It's clearly a city that grows on you. That being said, you can at least get a feel for it with the afternoon and following morning. Ideally you would be there for the morning market on Tues, Thurs, or Sat.

It take us exactly an hour to drive from Aix to our place in St. Saturnin via the Combe de Lourmarin (which is absolutely the route to take as it is very pretty). Figure perhpas 15 minutes longer to get over to Gordes.

kevin_widrow is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 10:06 AM
Original Poster
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Posts: 307
Hi again,

I just want to thank everyone for their helpful advice to my original question here. You have all been so great with your tips and help!!! Sorry I didn't get back to thank you sooner - was busy with out of town guests, etc.

gopack is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 10:38 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1
Hi Gopack (Ginny), I have spent many vacations in Provence and love all the cities and sites - but I do agree that Pont Du Gard should not be missed! Also on your Day 6 or 7, check out the beautiful hillside town of Gourdon (40km from Nice, 14km from Grasse) if you have the chance - though touristy, the views are spectacular! Bon voyage!
Lovetogo4 is offline  

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