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Paris to Provence with Lyon - Itinerary help requested

Paris to Provence with Lyon - Itinerary help requested

Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 09:27 AM
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Paris to Provence with Lyon - Itinerary help requested

Hi, all. I'm trying to throw together an itinerary for 16 days in mid-October (not counting travel days.) Have found good roundtrip airfare to CDG, but am wondering if I should try for open jaw (Marseille?)

This will likely be a solo trip. Interests include art, architecture, food and wine. Definitely want to visit some of the charming smaller towns and their food markets. (Not a big shopper otherwise.) Would love to do a 1-day cooking class if I can find something hands-on that fits my modest budget.

I am thinking about the following:
- 6 days in Paris, TGV to Avignon
- 6 days in Provence w/car (split between 2 bases? St Remy and ??)
- 4 days in Lyon (Keep car or drop? Or maybe that's too much time there and I could do 2 days each in Lyon and Dijon? Or add one more day to Provence area?) TGV back to Paris and home.

I can obviously shuffle this around to do Paris last, or split the time for three days on either end. And/or do Lyon before Provence. Any thoughts about that?

I know Paris pretty well and have ideas for hotels there. Have been surfing and text searching, but would welcome recommendations for places with a bit of charm in the other locations under about 125E/night (for a double room for single use.)

Thanks very much in advance!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 10:23 AM
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I've just planned our 10 days in Provence. Found lots of wonderful help at this web site:
http://avignon-et-provence.com/avi/gb/pres/p1.htm

I liked corresponding directly with B&B and small hotel owners to make reservatioans through this site. No third party. Good descriptions of things to see and do in villages. Some cooking classes also offered.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 11:04 AM
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We spent a couple of weeks in France last fall at around the same time. Wonderful time of year as everything stil open but tourists mostly gone! We spent three days at Crillon Le Brave (northeast of Avignon past Carpentras), which was fabulous but above your price range, but the Mont Ventoux area has lots of charming small towns and some wonderful markets such as Vaison la Romaine on Tuesday. As to Lyon, we chose instead to explore the Burgundy region south of Beaune with a car. We stayed in Puligny Montrachet at Le Montrachet, which was economical but still charming with an excellent restaurant. Have a great time- you can't miss where ever you go!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 02:27 PM
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Lesli -

You don't mention which carrier you are using. I do know that Delta has a non-stop flight to/from Lyon and the States (assuming you're coming from the States) but that Lyon flight might only be seasonal - all the airlines are constantly changing their schedules.

However, if you're using another carrier, you probably have to reconnect back at CDG. So you might want to TGV to Lyon, spend your time there, then head down to Provence ending with a day and night in Aix - from there the Marsielles airport is only 30 minutes (it's not in MRS, rather between AIX and MRS) so you'd fly from MRS to CDG and then home.

I have this thing (no backtracking) about moving in one direction, so the idea of going to Avignon (and in/around Provence) then back to Lyon and back to Paris doesn't do it for me. You might want to think about this suggestion.

Sorry I can't recommend hotels but St. Remy is a great base and then the 1 nite in Aix (and, of course, wherever in/around Lyon). Since you will be driving be sure to get the Michelin #245 Yellow map - it's great.
 
Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 03:00 PM
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Thanks for the input so far (especially Sandi re the itinerary order and flights.) I didn't mention airlines because the good low fares I've found thus far are with consolidators that only hint at carriers until you're ready to book, such as autoeurope.com - i.e., "Major German Carrier" is surely Lufthansa, "Major US Carrier" with lowest fare appears to be US Air and has less convenient times for me.... So I will call and ask about doing the open jaw with MRS outbound and see if that works. I agree that it's preferable to avoid circling back.

So if I did Lyon first, I'd either wait to pick up the car when I'm ready to leave, or even train Lyon - Avignon and pick it up there. Opinions on the better option?

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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 05:42 PM
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Lesli,
We're doing a similar thing in Sept. We have 2-3 days to get from CDG to Avignon, and checking the rates it is much cheaper by train (not to mention faster), but: you have to go direct. Inserting a few stops makes it expensive again. A direct train CDG - Avignon is 25euro, book at www.voyages-sncf.com.

I read the lonely planet book for provence cover to cover - highly recommended!
-Tim
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 06:14 PM
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You'll get an extra day if you don't backtrack and do the open jaw like sandi mentioned.

I'd do 4 days in Lyon and tentatively plan a day trip to use from there only if you need it. I was in Lyon this May and hardly scratched the surface with a 3 night stay. Between the sightseeing and the food I really didn't want to leave. Thankfully I'd made arrangements so I had to drag myself away and enjoy the rest of my trip.

In Lyon look at restaurants along r. des Marronniers. I had an excellent meal at the "bouchon lyonnais" in the this family of restaurants with my Dad: www.chabertrestaurant.com If you have a sweet tooth try the communard. It's beaujolais wine mixed with kir.

If you're in Lyon on Sunday morning there's a market in front of the Perrache train station. It has several vendors of puppies and kittens that were adorable.

Personally I like the train so I'd train from Lyon to Avignon for the car. But it may be cheaper to rent in Lyon than take the train. It's only a couple of hours or so of driving between the two cities.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 06:28 PM
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I will share with you what we did a couple of years ago in early November. We arrived at CDG and took the TGV to Avingon. We picked up a car there and stayed four nights. We returned the car and took the TGV to Dijon picked up another rental car and spent four nights. Then TGV to Paris for five nights. We were pleased with this itinerary and it was an easy trip. However, we are in the planning stages for a trip next year with my 21 year old nephew. He has never been to Europe. I am thinking that we will do this same trip with a few minor changes. One is I would like to spend four nights in Lyon instead of Dijon again and four nights in Aix or another Provence town. This is just to make it a little different for my husband and me and not because we were unhappy with the other itinerary. We are also interesed in a one or two day cooking class. My nephew and my husband are both great cooks. I have been looking into some of these classes and am wondering if they are just superficial and somewhat of a tourist rip-off. As you learn more about them I will be interested in your opinion. Keep us posted on your itinerary and the cooking courses.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 06:47 PM
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Lesli, hope you get some more input on this. I, too, have a mid-October trip planned solo, and am trying to figure out an itinerary. I already have my ticket booked (frequent flyer miles)into and out of CDG, and have 14 days not including travel days. I had planned to train to Lyon from CDG to spend several days, then train to Avignon and pick up car (or just stay in Avignon and do daytrips, which seems to be possible). Then TGV back to Paris.

However, at this point I'm thinking maybe this is all too much for the 14 days, with the backtracking to Paris.
Now my latest idea is to stay in Paris a couple of days to recover from jetlag, train to Lyon for 3 days, then train to Dijon or Beaune, pick up car and just wander around Burgundy for a week, and train back to Paris from Auxerre for 2 or 3 days. Burgundy seems to have lovely little villages to explore. I did this kind of thing in the Loire Valley in May, and loved it.
I'm dying to go to Provence, though, as I've never been there. There are so many places to go in France - so hard to decide! Hope you'll get more on this, as it's great to get feedback on this site - people are so helpful.
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Old Jul 24th, 2003, 08:50 AM
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Thank you for your replies. I'm finding very little in the way of appealing accomodations in my price range in St Remy, so am seriously considering Arles instead. Both Le Calendal (http://www.lecalendal.com/) and Hotel Mirielle (http://www.hotel-mireille.com/) look great and have received good feedback, and are on my short list.

I'm running into the same problem in Lyon, and since I was also thinking about the Burgundy region, may well end up in Beaune instead. I'm still looking here, but two possiblilities include Hotel de la Poste (http://www.hoteldelapostebeaune.com/) and Chateau de Chorey (http://www.chateau-de-chorey-les-bea...glish/home.htm), as well as sallyandbob's suggested Le Montrachet.
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 07:24 PM
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Okay -

I was unable to get an open jaw ticket that worked for me, so I will be flying in and out of CDG. Planning to spend 3 nights in Paris at the start of my trip and 4 at the end, and have hotels booked.

Still working out the middle section.... My current plan is to TGV Paris to Avignon and pick up a car there. Drive to Arles and base there - for 5 or 6 nights, unless someone advises me that that's too much time. Perhaps spend one of those nights in Aix before driving north to Burgundy?

4 nights in Burgundy, most likely in Beaune. Thinking about driving as far as Lyon and dropping the car there, where I can TGV back to Paris.

I appreciate any feedback on this. Thanks again!
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