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Paris in early July Hotel Bonaparte Driving to Provence also

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Apr 22nd, 2004, 07:34 AM
  #1
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Paris in early July Hotel Bonaparte Driving to Provence also

Hello, we are staying at the Hotel Bonaparte in Paris in July for one night, then driving to meet friends in St. Remy de Provence at a rented villa for the rest of the week. There will be three of us, my husband, myself and my 14 year old stepson. Does anyone have any recommendations on the best to see in such a short amount of time with a 14 year old? I am planning on walking, mapping out from the Latin Quarter. We also will probably stay at the same Hotel Bonaparte one night on our way back from Provence. I called and spoke in English to the Hotel Bonaparte, the man who I spoke to was so nice and spoke beautiful English when I stumbled too much in French and I asked if he spoke English. This will be our first time in France; I am very excited yet very nervous in planning this. We will be driving from Paris to Provence; would like to stay in Beun or somewhere in the Rhone Valley region (any recommendations PLEASE) on the way to St. Remy. Ideally, we are looking for something very quaint, scenic and small town. We have our 14 year old boy with us, so I want this to be a wonderful experience for him. We are all well traveled in that we are scuba divers and have been to many islands and tropical destinations in the Caribbean and Pacific but never to Europe before!!! My husband is a oenophile, so staying in the wine region would be fabulous for him. We plan on staying only one night somewhere during the 7 hour drive from Paris to St. Remy, enough so that we can enjoy the country side driving (and anticipate any potential delays) yet not make it too difficult for us with the distance. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice? Thank you so much!!!
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Apr 22nd, 2004, 08:04 AM
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For a stopping-off point between Paris and Provence, I would recommend either Tournon-sur-Rhone or Tain l'Hermitage in the Northern Rhone Valley (located directly across the Rhone from each other).

Although I wasn't super crazy about the decor of our hotel in Tournon (Hotel le Chateau--decor was very 1970s), it was clean, staff was helpful, and the location was great. Our room offered such a great view of the Rhone, the gorgeous illuminated bridge, and the terraced vineyards just about Tain across the river that I forgot about the shag carpeting.

There is an excellent small restaurant within walking distance that is well-known among oenophiles. It's called La Chaudron. The night we were there we were seated next to a table of Australian sommeliers who were touring the vineyards of the region.

Tournon is not exactly mid-way between your starting and final destinations, probably more like 2/3rds. Which means your first day of driving would be a little more intense than if you stayed in Beaune.

Staying in or around Beaune would be the opposite--your first day of driving (Paris-Beaune) would be pretty easy but Beaune to St. Remy would be intense.
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Apr 22nd, 2004, 09:47 AM
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Rather than drive to St. Remy I would take the TGV to Avignon and rent a car there. If you did that you could spend two days in Paris. It is only a 2 1/2 hour train to Avignon--vs. 8+ hours of driving.
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Apr 22nd, 2004, 12:43 PM
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I strongly second the train suggestion. Driving out of Paris is enough of a challenge without considering the distance issue. Take the train!
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Apr 23rd, 2004, 03:42 AM
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Thanks so much for your advice. We are going to pick up the rental car outside Paris, maybe back at the airport- our travel agent is taking care of this. However, my husband really wants to drive so we are going to spend the second day after we arrive in France (the first night spent in Paris), driving to Beune. I found some detailed recommendations in Rick Steves' book. Do you think this will be a bad idea? I am worried. I think it will be a lot of driving; which my husband enjoys (I don't!!!); he insists we'll be able to see the countryside more. I fear it will be more like a National Lampoon Vacation movie...! It will be an adventure. Is it really only a 2-1/2 hour train ride to Avignon? That makes much more sense! Any more advice will be appreciated; all the travel agent is doing is setting up the air fare and car rental (her rates on both were cheaper than I found online or elsewhere). Thanks - I feel very blind going into this, I love adventure but this might be more of a comedy of errors!!!
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Apr 23rd, 2004, 07:26 AM
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ira
 
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Hi joanne,

It is true. The TGV Paris Lyon to Avignon TGV is only 2:40.

You can also buy your tickets online from SNCF. RT for the 3 of you is 300E in 2 cl.
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Apr 23rd, 2004, 07:45 AM
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You can often get PREMs fares Paris-Avignon on the TGV (yes, it's under three hours) for 20-25 euros. Sure beats that long drive.
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Apr 23rd, 2004, 07:54 AM
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Forgot to mention. That was the PREM fare.
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Apr 23rd, 2004, 07:54 AM
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We did the drive and loved it, but we did it over the course of several days. First day was Paris-Beaune, with a stop in Chablis; second day was Beaune-Tournon, with a stop in Buxy and a detour through Beaujolais; third day was Tournon-Vaison-la-Romaine, which is not nearly as far into Provence as St. Remy.
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Apr 23rd, 2004, 08:52 AM
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If you drive, Easycar is a nice option (many non-airport Paris locations). Also, we stayed in a ancient converted manor house in nuit-st-george. sorry, do not know the name. good luck
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Apr 23rd, 2004, 09:40 AM
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A very nice place to stay en route from Paris to Provence is the Château d'Igé, in the village of Igé. The hotel is one of the less expensive Relais et Châteaux group, and it's located just about halfway along your route. We enjoyed our stay very much; it's more like a private house than a hotel. The breakfasts are wonderful!
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Apr 23rd, 2004, 10:08 AM
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Not to beat a dead horse but your husband can drive around Provence and see a lot more of interesting things. Your travel agent may be arranging it but you can bet it will be at a premium, particularly if you have to go back out to the airport to pick up the car. AT the very least, if you're renting at an airport be sure it is Orly so you will at least be on the southern edge of Paris--not the north at CDG. The very easiest thing to do if you are wedded to this long not terribly interesting drive--don't spend a night in Paris--rent the car and go south. Add Paris on at the end of your trip. You are really breaking your travel up into small very unmanageable parts. You will spend a lot of time finding your hotel, moving in and out and gettng back on the road. Just my opinion, of course.
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Apr 23rd, 2004, 04:37 PM
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I can only underscore what Gretchen advised. It sounds like you have 9 days. Why spend the first 3 days moving in/out of your hotel in Paris, finding the car rental, getting lost! (yes, you will), and trying to figure out the traffic signs?! For instance: Green direction signs point to "free roads," as opposed to the blue signs that say "peage" which amounts to "pay up for the toll roads." A sign on the right pointing left generally means that you go straight ahead. The same sign on the right pointing right means "turn right" at the first opportunity...see what I mean?

You're going to be tired that 2nd day...please consider the train! By the time you get to Provence you could be well-rested and ready for long drives.

If you do stay in Paris, don't plan to see too much in one night, and a jet-lagged night at that! Simply walk along the Seine with its beautiful bridges and watch the lights come on on the Eiffel Tower and other monuments.

Paris is more than just "things to see". Much of the charm of Paris comes from seeing it in different light, different times of day...how one neighborhood is different from another. You will not experience any of that.

If it were me, I would take the train south of Paris somewhere and rest that first night. The next morning either pick up the car or, better, train to Avignon and p/up the car there.
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Apr 23rd, 2004, 05:13 PM
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I agree with everyone about taking the train. I have a 25 euro Prem ticket from Paris to Avignon for my up-coming May trip.

However, I also second Underhill's suggestion for the Chateau d'Ige as a great place to stop. I stayed there 2 nights and didn't want to leave. They had the most beautiful English-type gardens, and the dining was great. The owner is a very lovely French woman, who treats you as a special guest. I told her I was coming back for sure - and I intend to!
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Apr 23rd, 2004, 10:20 PM
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I wonder if ragedrooster is referring to Domaine de Loisy in Nuit St. Georges. We stayed there for 5 days as a base and were very pleased.
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Apr 24th, 2004, 03:51 PM
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Can you stand another recommendation for taking the train directly from CDG to Avignon and renting your car there?

I did this a few weeks ago and spent that that first "tired" day safely riding in comfort to Provence. Next day I picked up my car at the Avignon Central station. Spend the extra day in Paris on your way back.
Enjoy.
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