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Pam's Provence Trip Report Part 1V (The Final Chapter)

Pam's Provence Trip Report Part 1V (The Final Chapter)

Old Jul 24th, 2002, 08:02 PM
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Pam's Provence Trip Report Part 1V (The Final Chapter)

Thanks for your insightful comments, support and additional comments.
John, of course it is all a matter of personal taste but I adored Les Baux as did my family. The village is officially classified and labelled as "one of the most beautiful villages in France", and to me it is. Yes, it is very "toursity" but if you go early you can avoid much of the crowds. Parking can take some time if you arrive late in the day. I would have loved to have seen other hilltop villages if time allowed.
Maybe on another journey.
We visited Tarascon and Beaucaire our last day in St. Remy. We climbed to the top of Tarason'c massive,moated castle and were greeted with exceptional vistas and my son really loved seeing the castle.
Beaucaire's castle,in contrast to Tarascon's is a bit disappointing, being largely ruinous. However, the castle's Tour Polygonale is interesting for its shape (hence the name), for a small Romanesque chapel and the Musée Auguste Jacquet which houses an archaeological collection. The view from the ramparts is excellent and the gardens are lovely.

Old Jul 24th, 2002, 08:14 PM
mimi taylor
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Thanks Pam, enjoyed it all!!!!
P.S. I still visit les baux after several times there.
Old Jul 24th, 2002, 08:21 PM
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The Screamingly Rude Restauranteur:
Back to our home base in St. Remy for our final meal and pack-up. Originally, we had planned to spend another day in this area but called ahead to the hotel we were going to stay at in Nice (we were flying out of there in 2 days) and they could accomodate us. I was surprised they could, as people we had met along our journey informed us that Nice and Monaco were "flooded" with toursits, after having just left there themselves.
Our final meal was a disaster. We booked a local restaurant named "XA" and if I could convince you not to go there-I would. It's totally possible that you may have had a good experience in this restaurant and may have another story to tell but:
We arrived 5 minutes late. No excuses, but we couldn't find parking on the street too easily that night and it took 5 minutes longer than we thought. We apologized profusely upon entering and one of the female owners pointed to her watch and literally pushed us out the door. I really couldn't make this up and it was our ONLY really upsetting experience the entire trip and so for that I'm thankful. My husband turned around as she started pushing us out the door (in front of the other patrons) and tried to reason with this French witch. She said,(quite loudly I might add) "No monsieur...no. My husband was trying in his best "broken French" to once again apologize and then she said "Monsieur,you are in France now...learn to speak French!!. With that, she slammed the door in our faces. We were truly aggravated by the experience and while it was happening we realized that we could have responded differently, but my husband is a gentlemen and I hardly thought that the other patrons would want to have a screaming match as part of their first course. There are bad and good people everywhere but I would think that you wouldn't want to patronize this restaurant after reading this.
My husband asked if I would mind eating something other than French food that night and we ate at a lovely Vietnamese restaurant (very reasonable) during the thuderstorm which ensued. We just walked in without any reservations and the food was quite good. I don't remember the name of it but I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult to find in St. Remy.
A short "farewell" walk around St. Remy where there was a bandshell set-up and a rock band playing and a little amusement part that seemed to spring up out of nothing. I could swear it hadn't been there two hours before. We bought cotton candy (to remind us of home a bit),listened to the American rock n' roll which was being played by a live band while crowds of young people danced around the square and left with the vision of children enjoying their ride on the carousel which was the certerpeice of the event.
Back to hotel to pack for very early departure for Nice in the morning.
Old Jul 24th, 2002, 08:29 PM
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Very pleasant drive to Nice with no traffic. We stayed next to The Negresco (which is spectacular) at the Nice West End Hotel (Best Western). This hotel had a terrific location and was convenient to all. It is a bit pricey for what they offered us as our room was a nice size for one person (not 3).
We walked around Nice and ate lunch at a very reasonable local cafe which served delicious salads featuring avocados, peppers, eggs, meats, very fresh greens,corn and kiwi as well. Unusual combinations I thought, but it was delicious.
We then drove to Monaco and I needn't tell you how amazing that drive is. I am terrified of heights and so my husband agreed to take either the sea or middle level to get there. For me, the middle level was plenty high enough . Yes, it was a spectacular as everyone says.
We toured around Monaco and saw the Casino, Palace and enjoyed looking at the magnificent yachts which were harbored there. We drove around Monaco a bit before returning to our Hotel for our final dinner in France.
Old Jul 24th, 2002, 08:46 PM
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As we were quite tired we decided to dine at the Hotel restuarant (next door) and enjoyed the Tallapia and Skate which we ate there. The food was nicely prepared and the restaurant was very comfortable. The hostess was a young law student who we struck up a conversation with as well as a travelling businessman from Italy who was dining alone and seated next to us.
We crossed the street to the boardwalk area and as it was becoming night, the town became illuminated and was something to see. We went to get our camera to take some shots and met some Americans from Montana who had approached us asking to take a "group" picture of them. It was delightful meeting them and walking along the water's edge . Goodbye Nice.
We awoke at 7 a.m.,checked-out,loaded the car and headed to the Nice Airport which is only about 5 km from the hotel.
We were quite nervous about the return of the rental vehicle to Europcar as we didn't know how long it would take and if everything would go smoothly. Thankfully, it did and I can't recommend Europcar enough. From beginning to end this was a professional operation with very competent and courteous personnel. Our car was great and the pick-up and drop off went very smoothly. There was a shuttle from the car drop off to the airport and in no time at all, my husband,son and I were boarding our flight home to JFK.
BTW...Nice is a terrific little airport with the best security (including bomb sniffing dogs) I have ever gone through.
There were very thorough checks at this airport and very small lines to wait on.
I am so glad we decided through the suggestions of many of you to fly home from here. Thank You.
On time arrival at JFK (flew Delta operated by Air France). Terrific flight home, plenty of room to relax and very accomodating staff.
We were picked up and driven home without any traffic (which is a miracle) from JFK. We did not lose any baggage going or coming (6 bags in all).
I am still working on getting it down to a carry-on and a 22"...one day.
Thank you to everyone for helping to make this dream vacation a reality. Your suggestions and support were essential in helping me plan the entire trip.
If there is anything I can answer about hotels, restaurants or other trip aspects, I would be delighted to do so, if I can.
This is now my 3rd year coming up as a Fodorite. I have met so many wonderful people on these boards and continue to correspond with several who have become a part of my life.
Once again, merci.

Old Jul 24th, 2002, 08:53 PM
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Hope you don't mind if I specifically thank:
Mimi: For all your help (thought about you the moment I heard these lovely creatures in Provence)
Anthony: For all your help with St. Remy
Mellen: Who is undoubtedly one of the most helpful and knowledgeable posters here and to the fodorite (whose name has escaped me now) who sent out the excel spreadsheets listing all the Paris restaurants in "categories"
My friend Dee (who i met on these boards a long time ago) who continues to delight in new experiences
and most of all to:
Wendy for recommendations on everything (especially restaurants) and for inspring me to continue travelling and to return to France soon.
Old Jul 24th, 2002, 09:53 PM
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Oh gosh...totally left out that we stopped at Eze on our way after Nice. We were there only briefly which was unfortunate as this is another of those "magical" places. By all means, visit here if you can.
Old Jul 25th, 2002, 04:44 AM
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Pam,enjoyed travelling along with you. I am going to Paris soon and plan on using many of your restaurant suggestions. Glad you had such a wonderful time.
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