Need some more direction for Provence

Feb 20th, 2005, 05:10 PM
  #1  
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Need some more direction for Provence

I have read some of the threads on Provence and have a Michelin Guide with me. Like the Dordogne, the more I read the less I know.

Do I understand from what you have said here, that I can base myself in Arles and see everything from there?
Or is there another place(s) where we should go after Arles to get the Eastern portion of Provence? I have no desire to see Monaco, Nice, or the Riviera.

We have a car which will be dropped off in Avignon by the way so we can take a train back to Paris for the last 10 days.

These are the places I have marked as musts..if you know of others please let me know.

Les baux
arles/avignon?
aix en provence
luberon area (not sure even where that is..or if it is just a driving program through the area)
st. remy de provence?
orange? and the cotes du rhone?

We should have a week or more in this area the way I am planning it.

I welcome any help from all of you..I can research on my own as long as I get some direction. ..on the other hand I love to take advantage of your research.

Stu I have your itinerary. Will study it more when I get a better feel for the area.

Thanks
loisco is offline  
Feb 20th, 2005, 05:35 PM
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Lois, if you have a week in Provence I'd suggest dividing it up between two places, one in the east and one in the west. Otherwise you're setting yourself up for way too much driving and backtracking. You CAN'T stay in Arles and see everything from there because Provence is too large. A better use of your time is to base yourself in Arles or thereabouts and see Le Baux, Avignon, and St. Remy, all of which are nearby. You can throw in Nimes, Uzes, and Aigue-Mortes as well, because those are easier distances. Then pack up and stay in the area of Aix and sightsee around there. You can visit Moustiers, Cassis, Marseille, among other places from a base in Aix. A very good map to have is Michelin #113 for Provence and Camargue.
mermaid_ is offline  
Feb 20th, 2005, 05:45 PM
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Study my itinerary now, and it will give you more of a feel for the area.

Arles is in the southwest corner of Provence and a good base for visiting St Remy, Les Bux, Avignon, etc. It's not a great base for visiting the Luberon around Gordes, Bonnieux, Roussillon, Lavender fields, and not Vaison (skip Orange) or Aix. If you have a week, I would split it up with 3-4 days in Arles, and 3-4 days near/in Gordes. I would not stay near Aix, unless you want to visit Marsailles, St Tropez, Cassis, etc.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 20th, 2005, 05:45 PM
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I would visit some of the perched villages, such as Gordes, Bonnieux, Saignon, Roussilon, Menerbes. Also a bit north of Carpentras are Vaison la Romaine, Venasque. And if you are there on a Sunday, don't miss the large market at Isle-sur-la Sorgue.
Also, I'd look at a more reader-friendly Provence guide book than Michelin; I have the one for Normandy for an upcoming trip, and it's so thorough, it's almost overwhelming. To be sure, it's a valuable resource, but my impression when reading one is that I'd have to stay 3 months in the area to make a dent in it! Just MO!
Grandmere1 is offline  
Feb 20th, 2005, 06:03 PM
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I highly recommend a great little self-published guidebook called "Provence Byways."
http://www.provencebyways.com

We used this for a visit to the Luberon a couple of years ago and found it full of great tips and tours.

We stayed in Bonnieux at a B&B called Le Clos du Buis, which was a beautiful place, and a good base for touring the area.
http://www.le-clos-du-buis.com
nonnafelice is offline  
Feb 20th, 2005, 06:03 PM
  #6  
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Grandmere...and I thought it was ME. Michelin is overwhelming but I know when we get there I will love it, so I punish myself now.

loisco is offline  
Feb 20th, 2005, 06:08 PM
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Help..I can't find Gordes..it's in the Luberon isn't it?

Thanks so much for the help. I will read your itinerary Stu...once I find this place.

Next year hopefully I will be helping others...
loisco is offline  
Feb 20th, 2005, 06:20 PM
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I'm not in front of a map now, but I think I'd find Cavaillon (east of Avignon), and go northeast, slowly on map!
Grandmere1 is offline  
Feb 20th, 2005, 07:44 PM
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I like to stay in Bonnieux. Roads go out in four directions, so you can loup around when visiting villages in the area. The restaurant La Feniere [thank you, Stu!] is 20 minutes away.
RonZ is offline  
Feb 20th, 2005, 07:47 PM
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I also like Le Fournil.
cigalechanta is offline  
Feb 20th, 2005, 07:52 PM
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Finding the Luberon villages on the Michelin map is difficult because they're right above a fold--but you can find them ultimately.

I agree about basing in two parts of western Provence, Arles being one. The other could be in the Luberon, which has more than enough to occupy you for a few days (especially with the markets). On the other hand, I like the idea of staying in Aix and making a day trip over to the charming village of Moustiers-Ste-Marie, as mermaid suggested. That would be a trip of at least half a day, through beautiful country.

If you decide to spend a night or two in the Luberon, I strongly recommend La Ferme de la Huppe, a converted, rustic farmhouse with a fine restaurant. It's on a road just below Gordes.
Underhill is offline  
Feb 21st, 2005, 07:36 AM
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We stayed at L'HACIENDA, Isle sur la Sorgue, a B&B own&operated by an English couple. tel. 33.90.38.24.64.
Location ideal for Arles,Avignon,etc,breakfast is included, other meals optional.Les Baux
has 4* restaurant for lunch too.
Ideal location, great hosts.
jasco is offline  
Feb 21st, 2005, 07:53 AM
  #13  
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Please tell me Provence map I need.....I have been using bits and pieces from the Green guide.
Thanks. I will order.
loisco is offline  
Feb 21st, 2005, 08:15 AM
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Louisco.

Get map #113, like I indicated in the itinerary I sent you

Stu Dudley
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Feb 21st, 2005, 08:17 AM
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Lois, I mentioned it to you: Michelin #113. Although that one doesn't go to Moustiers; you need another map for that but I don't have the number. #113 covers Aix, Arles, Avignon, Nimes, Marseille, Montelimar and Montpellier. That should do you.
mermaid_ is offline  
Feb 21st, 2005, 08:29 AM
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Map #114 will cover Aix to Moustiers. this is on a scale of 1/100,000 which makes it easier to read for us over 50 people.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 21st, 2005, 08:57 AM
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I don't think we will go to Marseilles...so is 113 enough?
loisco is offline  
Feb 21st, 2005, 09:34 AM
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Lois, when we went to Provence, we managed quite well on the #113. It was only when we took the daytrip up to Moustiers from the Aix area that we needed to borrow our innkeeper's map. I think for the areas you want to visit, you'll be fine with it. I think we bought ours either at Borders Books or Barnes and Nobles.
mermaid_ is offline  
Feb 21st, 2005, 10:42 AM
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It would be very useful to have the complete Michelin map that covers Provence from east to west. You never know when you might need it.
Underhill is offline  
Feb 21st, 2005, 10:47 AM
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You might be on to something, Underhill. Lois has the travel bug--I think it would be just like her to work her way to the end of the map and over the edge!
mermaid_ is offline  

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