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Trip Report Nice, Avignon, St Remy and Toulouse trip report.

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Hi we are just back so I am going to start a bit as I remember things! First off thank you to all the helpers with insight. We had a great time.

1. why went went.. Academic Conference in Toulouse(April)
2. who were are. 'mature' couple. late 50's.. pretty fit.
3.what I was I thinking!... well dumb dumb, I always use my iPhone and one camera..just in case my I phone or camera gets stolen. I didn't bring an extra memory card. Who would think that you could not get one in any touristy Medieval city!! Found one finally in Toulouse. I also didnt bring my battery charger and that pooped out the last day.I did use a new app to transfer photos to my iPad, however the wifi didn't always allow to do that in some hotels.
4. wish we'd have brought more.. coins.. I knew there were toll roads and we did gather enough for the trip however one time we were literally throwing in every coin we had ,down to 20 cent ones. I had tried to research how much our tolls would be ,perhaps I never did find the right site. It would have been great had Map Quest figured it out somehow, It just says toll roads. !! We did spend I think almost $25.00 dollars going from Nice to Avignon. They did take credit cards but ours would not work)(chip issue) but two of them did take bills. I did not see a person in any booth ,which I had read there was. We also should have read up more on the road signs.
5.Not to be missed... Carrieres de Lumieres in Les Baux is absolutely amazing!!!
6. surprised at.. how much cash we went though. I just saw our bank account!! We did use our credit cards for most but cash for quite a few museums etc. We also found that more restaurants than you think do not take credit cards. The smaller ones we came to realize that ,but one night in Nice we were at a large very packed restaurant and were very surprised to find that out, as we quickly pooled our resources under the table! It was common for us to be paying $150.00 US in cash. We also paid cash for three very expensive cab rides. In the taxi from the airport there was a sign telling us that if you ask you hotel to get you a cab they will get a hired car instead.. which will cost quite a bit more. We paid 20 Euros to go three minutes in Nice to the car rental spot. The way the hotel clerk said it was if he arranged it now(the night before) we will have a firm price. he did tell us the price. It just didn't occur to us if we had asked him in the am .. and he had called a cab.. it would have been so much less. I did know it wasn't that far , ...oh well.
a. layering. we went from 56 and showers to 63 and rain. and then 72 and hot sun in four hours in Arles. Layers went on and off.
b. flexibility..I do keep colored files for each city and do an excel sheet with our schedule and travel plans but then we w heard about something new, the weather wasn't cooperating, we we tired. etc etc. so we juts changed our plans. go with the flow..
c. check check and triple check!! I never use a travel agent but on this trip I did, i had looked at that sheet and even had them change the itinerary ticketing because my husbands name wasn't quite right. on the last night I realized we were ticketed from the wrong city for the first leg. THAT was an expensive mistake. There were so many times it could have been crossed checked but wasn't. rats..

d. lastly humor!! important. As we started driving down the wrong way on a one way street and I was shouting out "wait! .. One way!!" husband calmy said "Ill drive fast "

tomorrow Nice. a lovely city for two days.

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    oops one more! Just saw a post about trains. We wanted to go to Carcassone on Sunday am at 9:49. The train was full!! so surprised. Had to take the next one. We had booked our tickets from Arles to Toulouse. But I thought the train to Carcasonne ,since it was only 40 minutes away.. would be fine, However it goes along to the other major cities . Although this trip was an add-on. , I could have bought the ticket the day before however. . maybe that would have been fine.

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    Very interesting and also a lesson to everybody to check details as much as possible ahead of time. On the main autoroutes, there are manned booths, but only one or two (usually on the far right) so I can imagine not seeing them when you reach one of those huge toll stations with 20 lanes.

    I am very sorry to say that in recent years it has become necessary -- even in April -- to plan just about everything ahead in France: hotels, train reservations, etc. The mass of tourists has gone beyond belief, particularly with all of the new tourists from the BRICS countries. China alone now sends 2 million tourist a year to France, and that is expected to rise to 4 million in the next two years.

    I will never plan restaurants ahead of time, though. I am not a foodie and refuse to be tied down to a specific place at a specific time. I want to wander and change my plans at will. If that means I end up eating crap, so be it.

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    In reply to kerouac yes I too prefer not to make dinner reservations, we do however when the city or time of year really calls for it..say new York. But I will only do a small percentage because it is more fun to wander and find things. We usually look for a nice restaurant for dinner ...that is not in the tourist plaza or on the Cours, I think would be the right expression. Lunch we may give in for the fun of it or we are just too hungry to search further. To complicate matters for my dear husband, who is usually hungry earlier than I am, my career before I retired was doing restaurant interior design. So I not only am looking at the menu (yes we are from the bay area in Calif and a like interesting food)I am looking for ambiance, a buzzy spot and great lighting as well! Sometimes hard to find and I just give in. We did have two reservations on this trip and I cancelled the one In Nice as when we got there there were just too many cute places so close by. The one I had made a reservation for , La reserve would have entailed an expensive cab ride. Anyway! We had pretty great food all around on this trip!

    Nice... we arrived at 2:30 and got to our hotel probably around 3:30. 29 Euros I think it was to the Hotel Suisse. GREAT location thank you for a tip and we asked for a top floor room .The view is spectacular and you are right in Old Nice. A bit noisy as we slept with the windows open. But they did have AC. The breakfast was a full buffet which we didn't need so we walked for coffee and croissants. The Old Nice area close to the water ,the very touristy area.. is very expensive. We paid thirty dollars for four tiny cappuccinos(not like in the US)and two croissants. The next two days we walked in further and for the same it was half the cost ..and just as cute. The first afternoon we walked above us to the big park .It was a great walk, large park and the cemetery is amazing. The views here too are fabulous and you see the port and the beach side.

    We decided on In Vino for dinner( I use the Michelin guide, trip advisor ,Conde Nast, various other sites and the hotel desk). It was actually our favorite meal of the whole trip. for various reasons. The food was excellent.. the staff so nice, it had a great ambience. AND they even made a take home container for us which they clearly do not usually do as it was put together in an odd fashion. The hotel did call ahead and make a reservation for us. Wouldn't have been needed, but this was a Tuesday in April. On the way there we saw the cutest ..tiniest little restaurant with a couple going in ,they said it was great.. and a fun experience. We went in and made reservation for the next night.
    The next day Wednesday we walked a lot..napped. and then did the hop on hop off tour for the afternoon, which was great .We did the Matisse and Chagall museums while on the tour. They are aways out of the area. We had a terrific lunch at a great small restaurant that was packed! why .. because there is absolute nothing else up there. and it was really good. We did not have a reservation so had to sit outside in the bit chilly weather .They were doing a lamb dish and another of mussels that day .The aroma wafting out was to die for. It was Restaurant Côte Sud...Cimiez.
    That evening we went back to the cute restaurant, I didnt even know the name of it. It tuned out to be La Merenda, which was on my list but it had said.. no booking, no phone, cash I thought I wouldn't even try. And here were were having dinner! You do only stay an hour or so, as you are sitting on little stools with no backs and you are RIGHT next to the next couple. They were very busy turning people away. Two sittings 7 and 9. People were coming in and putting their names on the list for 9pm. It was one of our favorites. The food was very good. Cash only. and a huge wine list of two ! wihite wine ,rose or red of two price points. pretty funny but it is SO small they couldn't have more. The restroom was very comical watching as it was two swinging doors that were probably twelve inches each .Everyone seemed to have a good laugh. It was as the couple had said 'an expeience'. On the way home we saw another very buzzy cute restaurant, with a nice menu. De Acchiardo. and made a reservation for the following night,Thursday.

    Thursday we did the tour in a van of Monte Carlo and Monaco. We had a great time as there was a younger couple with us from London . We got out a few times for a view. We did have to endure the perfume spot which every bus goes to and is basically one big sales event. We didn't stay too long and we did all buy some soap etc. I had planned on taking the train to Monaco but this worked out perfectly for us. It was fine to see the fabulous stores, which I wouldn't have been shopping at anyway... and the cars in front of the casino. We had time to walk up to the palace and around. It was perfect at $49.00 each for I think it was 4.5 hours. Oh and we stopped in Ezes for about 45 minutes which was enough. Would have been fun to have had lunch there if you had the time. The hotel had made the reservation of us. I guess they would have taken just us as the couple with us had done Cannes in the am by themselves.

    Back to the hotel ,quick freshen up and out for dinner.The restaurant was very busy, and so much larger than the last two. It was not our favorite meal but it was fine. Scored points on the buzzy ambience. Surprised at that it was cash only as well. I did see one lady who looked local holding her credit card out to pay her bill. Not sure what they do when you don't have enough cash,maybe they just try and dissuade you but will take it. ..or she didn't know.

    Next am we took the very expensive cab ride to the Europcar rental spot. I had forgotten to tell my poor hubby that I rented a standard transition ..and it had been ten years since he had driven one. Well the most agonizing part was just getting out of their garage. and then a truck parked in our lane. But all went well ,they gave us a nice SMALL golf, surprised that the car seems to shut off when you are still at the light. We were startled at first, but I think the car actually had something about it written on the dash, of course in French. I had had them send the GPS which is what they do. They fed ex it to you three days ahead of time. It was a Garmin like I own so it was easy and I input all of the addresses we were gong to and saved them as favorites. so we just plugged it in and input our next destination. I even had the parking garages in there, however we didn't always use those as others were easier to get to and clearly marked.

    I think thats it forNice. two and half days. Totally enough. Staying in or very near the Old Town area was perfect.

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    Thanks for all the great information. We leave for our trip to Provence and French Riviera next week. Great tips on the toll booths and the need to have a lot of cash on hand. I was hoping for better weather but guess layering is what you do at this time of year.
    Waiting for your trip report to continue!

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    Off to Aix-En -Provence.. yes the toll booths are like twenty deep. It was very confusing driving up to them looking for a cash sign,not the swipe card etc. Luckliy it wasn't very busy and we went slow to figure out which lane. was a great site. Coins coins the key word. (unless you have a credit card with the chip thing in it)

    Parking was easy to find very clearly marked once we got in to the city. We did leave our luggage in here. Probably should have at least taken the iPad out of the back pack . and now that I think of it all of my husband academic papers/books should have been taken out. If they had grabbed the backpack quickly he would have been very sorry.

    We were only going to be here for fours hours or so and I did have a small guide book map, with a self walking tour. But I had thought I would find a tourist info stand with a better map. Just didn't find it. Didn't look RELLY hard but gave it a good try. We did the walking tour for awhile but it was so busy and I was trying to read and walk ,without falling off a curb or getting hit, that we gave up after awhile.

    We had a nice lunch overlooking the main plaza/fountain..with again a pizza that the waiter said was 'for one'. mistake again. we had a salad and two pizzas which we left some of each.They were very good pizzas and light but still probably 14 inches in diameter.My husband just laughs every time I ask the question.

    So we probably didn't do Aix justice. I found it lots of students /people walking all over, narrow streets, lots of smoking, lots of stores that I didn't want to go in. and it was a bit of a gray day so that didn't help. The trees weren't really out yet so I am sure it would better in the summer when the trees are in bloom..but then it would be REALLY crowded.

    Off to Avignon!!

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    Friday.. we arrived at Avignon around 4pm, we stayed at Domaine Du Rhodes which was a 16th century chateau now B and B, which was fabulous. The hosts Francoise and Paco couldn't have been nicer with parking ,restaurant, market day etc tips ,and we had fun other guest staying there. We stayed in the Delacroix room which was lovely.

    The B and B is outside of the town about 8 minutes so it did take a bit of planning so that we weren't driving back and forth. After arrival we went in to town and scoped things out. Francoise had made a reservation of us at 7:30 for L'essentiel, which was kind of humorous as we didn't know. She had tried to call when we left but they were not open yet. I don't use my phone in Europe so we went there just going to wing it. yes on a Friday. The hostess /owner gave us such a look when we said we didnt have a reservation but accommodated us by ourselves in the second room ,I chatted her up as she seemed a bit put off by us. I said she came highly recommended . etc. Then it all came around when she realized who we were and yes we HAD a reservation. After a bit she asked if we were fine where we were. Anyway if you go i would sit in the front room .It was very quiet in the back. But very good .Very contemporary. It wasn't exceptional but the price point wasn't either.

    Ok so THE mistake. not a biggy was that I should have stuck to my plans. My hubby got there and thought wow we need to go here and there etc. So we cancelled on Uzes and Pont du Gard and spent the day in Avignon. we were done by say 3pm. Really would have been two maybe. Did the Palais, the little train, another museum,lunch and walking. ..

    We then went to Pont du Gard, which was great, although somehow we missed the whole exhibition! really bad signage. We even used the restrooms and parking ticket machine right next to it!! It was 18 Euros per car to go, which I thought was high.. but then we missed that whole exhibit!! If you want to go and bring a picnic would be a great place.

    Went back to the B and B and lounged around in the great garden. and then walked to La Ferme down the road for dinner, which was cute and fine. Extra points for being able to walk there as we would not have wanted to drive back again in to town and park.

    The next day we drove to L'isle sur la Sorgue for the big market. Get there early if you are driving! I thought we would take the train but realized that would have been such a hassle with parking etc. It was an easy drive and parking wasn't too bad. We parked really far away on the street. Well at first I thought wow not what I had read. It was new clothes..all looked the same, soap soap soap. new stuff. we walked through it quickly. the little town with the water ways is cute. LOTS of people. Finally we found the antiques in the stores, rather large buildings that house many little vendors. We had lunch on the busy path La Rose D'asle.(Their card is hard to raw, I think this is right) an Asian restaurant which was really tasty. It was clear the really nice or 'in' places all were filled with reservations. We did find finally the few vendors on the street and bought a lovely pitcher. I think we go there at 10 and were done by 1:30pm. It was worth the trip and fun .

    Our hostess at the b and b had said "EVERYTHING is closed Sunday. which really translated in to every nice restaurant that is not in the touristy square. is closed. This was the afternoon we could have done the Palais du Papes and possibly the other museum ,as we were really done with the market. and it closes up at one. We drove back and went to the other side, where you can see the town from across the water, we took the ferry across We walked around Avignon but it wasnt that fun as everything was closed. Although there were.. again.. really no stores I wanted to see. There are quite a few homeless/beggars on the street with dogs. (as with everywhere these days). We were in search of charcuterie etc for dinner but nothing was open. We ended up with a sandwich .salad, dessert and we did mange to find a bottle of wine at a tiny little convenience store. They had great music back at the band B and B .. we ate by ourselves in the lovely dining room with our assortment. It was great .

    So that was Friday afternoon through Sunday night ..leaving the next am for St Remy.

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    ok a few minutes before we dash out so Ill just finish this one. We drove from Avignon after a lovely breakfast. decided not to rush. Too many times rushing about and miss the finer moments a breakfast in the 16th century chateau with great hosts.
    We were planning to go to Arles and leave our bags first in St Remy at the hotel. For some reason I felt we could keep our bags with us when we went to St Remy and Les Baux. Now I might have second thought reading further. But it was fine. We parked right outside of Carrieres de Lumieres in their parking lot and there are people circling for parking spots all the time. if we had parked way down on the road I might have had a second thought.

    Carrieres de Luminaires in our opinion is not to be missed. Cant even describe it and the website doesn't even do it justice. Everyone walks through this plain door and stands with their mouth open for a few minutes. Its amazing.

    We bought the ticket which included the castle in Les Baux and the host said we didn't have to move our car WHOO HOO!! I don't even think if we hadn't bought the other ticket anyone would know. We arrived at 10 am . by 2 when we left it was really busy , Lots of school trips etc.

    We had a nice lunch .lots of places to eat, did the castle. i think we left by maybe 4pm . Staying in St Remy at Le Chateau des Alpilles. which was very nice. One extremely windy road. Did I mention the absolute need for GPS??? As the concierge pointed out most restaurants were closed on Monday .so we had dinner at the restaurant that night. We did walk around for a while. 15 minute walk, (although we were told not to walk there or back in the dark, too dangerous). We did see a few open so it wouldn't have been all closed ,but it worked out fine for us. We did have a very young man running in and out with his iPad showing some game . At first I thought the other couple were his grandparents, but no.. he went almost to every table. Where were his parents I wondered..

    Hotel really nice. staff great. it was a nice splurge. loved the property.

    Off to Arles for the day next day.

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    Yes it was only a twenty minute walk, but they(and we) would only suggest it in the light. Too dangerous ,even with a flashlight coming back.

    The restaurant was very nice.For one night and a busy day out it was perfect. . It was so quiet with three other couples. maybe June would be different. We also ended up eating breakfast two mornings there as well. Would have loved to have sat outside, but the weather did not cooperate. We ate at L'Aile ou la Cuisine Bistrot.. which was suggested by the concierge and she made a reservation for us.

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    We drove to Arles from St Remy for the day. I had been thinking of taking a bus so my dear hubby didn't have to drive all the time, but it was only about 25 minutes away and the parking was pretty easy. Although we are having a time of it trying to read the parking signs and not 100% sure were were ok for the day. It was a Tuesday , and pretty quiet except for some school trips. We did the Coliseum and the theatre and walked around quite a bit.I believe we bought some ticket that allowed you in to about four places. This was the day it went from 56 and showers, to rain and then hot 73 degree sun. We had a nice lunch. only ones in there, as we looked gloomily out the rainy window. I love the weather apps on my phone though! It said in two hours partly sunny. and it was correct. So we had hope. We went to the art museum while it rained and came out in the sun. I think We left probably around 9:30 and came home around 4pm. We missed one place.. too many kids with their school.Other than that I think we saw a good overview.

    Back to St remy. great massage for the hubby. champagne in the bar for me.. Dinner in the cute bistro(above notes)

    The next day was Wednesday day. We went back and forth on this as we had a full day and now wanted to to go to Galum ,the architectural ruins, and the were leaving on the train to Toulouse later in the afternoon. and dropping off our car. As it urned out they were about ten minutes away ..and they didn't open until 10. So all worked out well. We had a nice breakfast at the hotel and then walked in to the town. The concierge had said the market opens at 8.. but we arrived just after nine and people were still setting up.Maybe it was the season and also the weather ..sunny but blustery.

    In the end it was about the same as the big market on Sunday that we had gone to. We walked around for about 20 minutes and were done. It would be fun to be staying there and be buying the cheeses salami etc. Warmer weather for us would have helped too. We also were ready to pack up and get going.

    Galum was great ,we spent about and hour and a half there. They said they have a cafe ,but i didn't see we drove on to a small town on the way to Arles(car drop off..and train). There were two restaurants open! They did have some nice ones, but I suppose they open up later in the season. Quite a 'locals'l little town... Fontvieille. We did come across the restroom with the standing and the white porcelain ''contraption'' I just don't get that for women. I opted to wait to use the restroom until the train station ,only to find out it was closed. It had iron bars across it. A guy said you can ask for a key, but I could only imagine the worst at that point!!

    We returned our car to Europcar. and yes when we got there I knew there was a method to my madness for our timing, They were closed from 12-2... so we walked to go find the train station and see how easy it would be to walk with our luggage. or would hubby have to drop me off. so that was fine. walk would be ok.

    A little nervous at the train station ..since we had all of our luggage.. in determining where we should stand. I did finally see a computer screen which showed how many cars there were and by what letter you should stand. I think if you don't have luggage its not so bad, but we wanted to be prepared.

    Very nice train ride to Toulouse, three hours but it went pretty quickly and was so much more relaxing than driving. Hubby giving a talk at t conference so I did not want him tired for that.

    WEIRD cab ride from the train station, this guy was really pushing us to use a credit card. so much so that we were determined to pay in cash.. and it was only 8 euros. Very odd that.
    Wondered what the deal was.

    Toulouse. to come..

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    On to our final destination of a fourteen day trip. Conference is here, the reason for our trip. We arrived at 6:30 to the hotel, Le Grand Balcon. It is right by Le Capitole, a great location for wandering outside and suddenly being in the middle of everything. Unfortunately also in the middle of where everyone is staying out late at night. They had us in a lovely room ,top floor facing the street(I hear you can request a courtyard). I didn't hear anything(ambien.. thank you very much) but my husband was awake every night at 2 or so when the bars let out. The staff was very helpful with restaurants and even with our ticket glitch at the end for our flight home.

    We had dinner the first night at Le Bon Vivre, a very cute bistro on one of the plaza's. This was a Wednesday , no reservation needed. There is a large academic community here as well as a bustling city. Im not sure how much of a tourist destination it is. Dinner very nice anyway.

    The next day I was on my own and did by chance find the city bus tour. I did not find any info before leaving which was odd. A table tent at the hotel had infer so I was very happy to find it. is not a hop on hop off but I think it was about 1.75 hours or so all around to give you a good overview. There were supposed to be boat tours and I went there but they were not up and running. I suppose later in the season. so I guess there are quite a few tourists.

    I walked for about 5or 6 hours that day. I found the post office to mail my postcards which turned out to be a whole funny fiasco. People were very nice in pointing me to which line etc.

    People in general on the whole trip were very nice, always very helpful. Hubby speaks a teeny bit of french, and we can read the menus etc, he other printed material(what good my four years of French did in school!!)It was good, as has been pointed out, to learn a few phrases to greet and say thank you etc in french.

    We had dinner that night with the conference at supposed to be nice restaurant. Sorry didn't keep the name, as one reviewer called the wait staff.. 'sullen' that was the perfect word!!

    It was funny as it was a set menu, there were 24 of us. There were three entrees and then they announced they were out of one. did not substitute it. I am some what of a particular eater so I find these events are always a bit challenging.(Tai Pei was very difficult!) They were out of the cassoulet, which I had wanted to try, The other two options were pigeon or scallops. neither which are on my list! I asked for vegetarian and she gave me a hard time. They were fine in the end, and I did notice one other in our party just having a salad, and one other just not eating the pigeon at all ,so i didn't feel too out of sorts. This was also at the end of our trip where I just felt I couldn't eat anything heavy/rich for awhile.

    Next day I wandered around again and went to one of the museums. This was also the day I tried to find the boat tour to no avail, but got a great walk in. I did buy one beautiful.. although very expensive scarf, that I will enjoy Other than that shopping with the exchange rate, and just the expensive prices was not something I wanted to do.

    Last day of vacation.. I still had four hours by myself, found a small convenience store. went back to the hotel and watched a movie with my iPad, beer in hand. Now that was a treat!!

    Dinner that night was on the main square, one of the big restaurants, All in Art Deco, about three floors. Food very forgettable. I think my choice that night was duck confit and some fish.

    We did eat out about 7:30 every night, sometimes 8, but these two nights were 8 pm and then half of the group would be late, so we never really got started.. with wine!! or an aperitif until 9pm. that is late for us!!

    We enjoyed Toulouse, they are interested in having us stay for awhile We might think about a three month trip. Would really need to look at the location and see how many places we could go to on a weekend or three day trip etc.

    Carcassone tomorrow for the day.

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    ok last city we visited. We are still in Toulouse but on a Sunday am we are 'planning'..being the operative word. to take the 9:49 train to Carcassone. a 45 minute trip. However it was sold out, as it goes on to other cities and seems everyone was traveling then. We could get the next one so we bought our ticket, and it worked out fine. When we got off the train the city map wasn't that clear on where the 'old city' was, and not very good signage. I had the michelin guide map but it didn't really help and you couldn't see it from where we stood. A smartphone and one or two signs along the way.. we did find it. To me .. one going there is all about seeing the old city. The town ,while being nice was a lot of shopping for locals.., I think we then arrived at about 11 and returned home(hotel) at 6:30pm. (our train did get stuck for almost a half hour which did make us a bit nervous as our flight was the next am very early)

    The old city is a great adventure. The tourist info office is right inside the man in entrance . We went there first and were supplied with maps and found an English tour for 1:30pm,the only one in English.

    We had a nice lunch at L'escargot..there are so many to choose from .although I imagine in the summer all are full and the city is wall to wall with people.

    The walking tour was free and well worth it. She was a wealth of information.

    We then bought a ticket for the castle which was great as well. We did the audio guide which was perfect.

    Our train back was at 5;30 so we started back at 4 or so. I think it was almost a 35 minute walk from the train to the city. We did have return tickets, which I wasn't planning on doing as I really didn't know how much time we needed...but glad we did.

    I was thinking of doing a cooking class while hubby was busy .It was in Carcassone, but so glad I didn't now that I realize it was in the city ,not the 'old city' ,with the timing I probably just would have looked up at it and never gone there!

    Back to the hotel to pack up and discover our mistake in our plane ticket..:( Glad it was able to be resolved. That would have been horrible. Back on the train to Marseille. find a hotel. to catch the flight in the am. We have a trip to Brazil coming up. you can bet i will be going over the itinerary with a fine tooth comb!!

    We left in the cab..$52.00 USD to the airport 20 minutes away. because they had called for a car the night before. but it was 5:15 am so we weren't planning on finding one then. Funny to see the partiers out and going home.

    That was it! nice flight home..although hate those am flights. i watch almost every movie!!

    Had a great time..the one thing I wished I had done was to stay in Paris at the beginning for three days and take the train to Nice. That would have made it a 16 day trip and we prefer 12 or 13..but when we got home a friend said did you go to paris and take the train to Nice. that is the most beautiful! well rats..

    Looking at our credit card bills i wold say it was an expensive trip ,although we were not on a budget..I think with the exchange rate , all of the touristy castles etc, cabs/cars/, air mistakes, eating at nice restaurants. etc it just made it so.

    but worth it!!!

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    nice detailed report, to some new areas.

    I don't know what the deal was with the cabdrive in Toulouse and your CC, but your comments on restaurants is really unusual to me (that you had to use CCs sometimes). I can't even remember the last time I've been in any restaurant anywhere in all of France in the last decade where they didn't take credit cards. And I've been in some rather small towns. Of course, I usually pay cash if I'm just getting a coffee or something at some sidewalk cafe, but I still think your experience is pretty unusual, if you were buying anything over 10 euro. For a restaurant where your bill was 100 euro or more, that is really surprising to me, but maybe there are a couple wellknown places that are expensive where you are just supposed to know that. Most places advertise in the window or something anyway if they take credit cards, or on the carte.

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    sorry on the misspelling!

    ..yes we were surprised too about using cash for the restaurants(especially over 100 euros). The one ,which is tiny, we knew about.. but the others just had it inside the menu... sometimes at the very bottom of the menu, or even the back page. Maybe they are just doing a preferred type of thing and locals know they will really take cards. It was more in Nice.. well two out of three dinners.. One also in Arles, which was small.

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    A few years ago as part of a Provence trip we trained from Avignon (our base) to Montpellier.

    We were quite taken by the city.

    We're thinking of spending a few days in Montpellier and doing some day trips from there as well.

    Since the plane would arrive in Toulouse, we could spend a few days there and do fay trips to Carcassonne and Albi.

    You mentioned that you didn't think Toulouse was a tourist town. Was that before or after being there?

    We aren't really museum goers. We like to wonder around a city/town and just see the sights and various areas.

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