Off the Beaten Path Provence

Old Apr 11th, 2006, 05:17 AM
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Off the Beaten Path Provence

In May I am traveling to Provence, but have been several times before and am thus looking for an "off the beaten path" sort of excursion, sight, adventure, etc. That is, any suggestions for things to do that aren't a must see for a first-timer, but worth going to for those that have already experienced a great deal of the region? Would love any suggestions! Thanks!
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Old Apr 11th, 2006, 05:24 AM
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Several suggestions:

-have lunch or dinner at La Maison in the Domaine de Bournissac near Palude de Noves (sp?), near St. Remy de Provence
-attend Wednesday outdoor market in St. Remy.
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Old Apr 11th, 2006, 05:24 AM
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Well, I've only been once, and I don't know if this is off the beaten path, but one of my favorite places is the Monastery of St. Paul near St. Remy. The cloister is absolute perfection. And the Alpilles rise up majestically just behind it.
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Old Apr 11th, 2006, 06:12 AM
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Mayall -

Provence is a big place. Whereabouts are you going to be and I might have a few suggestions...

-Kevin
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Old Apr 11th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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Have you been to eastern Provence (the area around Nice)? There's a good deal of interest in that region.
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Old Apr 11th, 2006, 09:00 AM
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The drive around the Gorge of Verdon is a must-see IMHO.
Glanum, outside of St Remy, If you haven't,
The Sister monasteries if you haven't seen them,
The salins and the bird sanctary in the Camargue,
The Montmajour abbey,
The antique theater in orange where every summer there are opera festivals,
Museum Arlaten founded by the poet Mistral in 1896 using his Nobel prize money, this is a superb collection of folklore, customs, artifacts in 32 rooms. and so much more.
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Old Apr 11th, 2006, 09:16 AM
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Here is something I posted on another thread. Everything is "officially" in the Languedoc region, but close enough to Provence to count!!

If you will be visiting the Gorges de l'Ardeche, a "must see" is Aven d'Orgnac cave with stalactites and stalagmites - excellent cave.

Here are some very interesting non-touristy villages at the west end of the Gorges de l'Ardeche.
Labeaume
Balazuc
Roums (a little touristy)

On the way down the Rhone from Montelimar, visit Montont, which is mis-labeled Montant on the Michelin map. Several years ago a group of families looking for a nice place to live where they could buy a crumbling house & put in some sweat-equity, started to restore the crumbled medieval village. Soon others joined, and they now have a real gem of a village.

The D107 from Vivers to Alba is a very scenic road. Vivers is also an interesting town to explore. If you drive through town on the main road, it will look like nothing. However, the parallel medieval road just 1 block east has some very nice architecture on it.

The town of Beauchastel is very cute and so is Mirmande

St Vincent de Barres is an interesting village.

Crest & Dieulefit are all worth visiting - the latter has nice pottery. Many people enjoy Poet-Laval more than we did, but the restaurant and the views from the restaurant are excellent.

You will see some nice lavender along the D541 west of Grignan. Also along the D20 south of Richerenches (which is an interesting town)

We did not like Valres.

We enjoyed the trogolyte caves at Barry.

If you want to visit a town which has been "Wal-Marted", go to Bollene. We entered from the north, parked the car & walked through town. If has some interesting architecture, but the stores were boarded up & crumbling. We could not understand why. When we left town to the south, we saw the half-dozen or so huge box stores where people go & shop instead of doing there shopping in Bollene.

Up north from Montelimar, just west of Valence & high up on a bluff are the ruins of Chateau Crussol - you'll see it from the road. We enjoyed tromping around the ruins & taking-in the views from there.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 11th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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Vaison-la-Romaine, by all means--and the nearby towns of Nyons (great olive oil) and Dieulefit. Montélimar itself is a pretty little town, and you can visit a nougat factory if you're a fan.
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Old Apr 11th, 2006, 10:13 AM
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You can do what we did on our honeymoon - after renting the car and spending our first afternoon and evening in Arles, we drove quite randomly for the next few days, stopping in various villages and towns along the way.

Our first night was in Gordes, hardly off the beaten track, but our next night was in an interesting little town called La Roque D'Antheron, best known for a piano festival in August and for its 12th century Abbey, but otherwise a sleepy place.

In fact, we were the only guests in the hotel we stayed at - La Mas du Liverny (not sure if it's still there). It was fairly motel-like, but we toddled down for dinner that night to find we were the only diners there... and had one of the most memorable meals of our lives! Including our first and only taste of a between course liqueur he called "Le Trou Provence," which not only cleansed our palates but our brains as well - it may well have been 180 proof!

So count one vote for not making any plans at all, and experiencing Provence by the seat of your pants.
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Old Apr 11th, 2006, 11:14 AM
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......in no particular order and off the
top of my head:

Brantes
Beaumes de Venise
Crestet
Seguret
Gigondas
Mont Ventoux
Bedoin on market day
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Old Apr 11th, 2006, 02:37 PM
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Here's a list of market days , thanks to Ron Z.

http://www.livingfrance.com/lvfra/co...oFrance/?id=41
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Old Apr 20th, 2006, 05:46 AM
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Thank you for all of your suggestions! It is really helpful and there are quite a few things that I had not done before and in fact, forgot I had once been interested in. There is a great deal of new things to do here and I look forward to more deeply exploring the region and reporting back. Thanks again!
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Old Apr 21st, 2007, 11:47 AM
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Couldn't seem to post this in the correct area, so here I go again ;-)

Anyone stay at La Demeure Du Chateau in Grignan? It seems to be built into the wall of the city and either a castle, or much like one. We're thinking of staying there and can't seem to fine even one review. I've researched on these boards and found out great things about the town itself and the surrounding area (thank you, all!).

Also wondering if it's too much to travel from Aix-en-Provence by car to Grignan in one day, if we go straight through. We'll be spending the night in Grignan and via Michelin says it's roughly a 1-1/2 hrs. drive. I'm thinking it's probably worth the drive, since we'll be staying overnight and it looks like one of those out of the way, lesser-traveled destination, which we really love. How are the roads up there?

Thanks so much,

Annie


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Old Apr 28th, 2007, 07:54 PM
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Going from Aix to Grignan in a day won't be bad at all. You have the option of going on the autoroute for part of the distance, which is very speedy, or meandering up through the wine villages (Beaumes-de-Venise and points north) and Nyons.

For new sightseeing, visit the perched villages along the road from Montélimar (nice to visit) to Dieulefit, being sure not to miss Le Poët-Laval.
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