Please critique Provence itinerary

Old Jul 26th, 2013, 04:09 AM
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Please critique Provence itinerary

We are a family of three with daughter being 10 yrs old at time of trip. Will be in south of France for 14 days (not including travel) from end of March through early April in 2014. We will have a car and are interested in spending time in the Cote d'azur and Provence. I have read a lot of the posts and Mr. Dudley's itinerary. I am now trying to finalize # of days in each location so I can start to book hotels, etc. We are flying into Nice (arrive ~ 10AM) and out of Marseille.

Day 1-4: Nice (day trips to St Paul de Vence and Monaco)
Day 5-6: St Tropez/St Maxime (probably stay in St Maxime)
Day 7 - 8: Gordes with day trip to other Luberon towns
Day 9-11: St Remy with day trips to Avignon + more TBD
Day 12 - 14: Marseille (including AIX & Cassis0

We like being by the sea for walks, museums, castles, amusement parks, tourist traps, shopping and pretty much anything there is to do. We do not mind staying only a few nights in a place, which you will see above.

I think the first 6 days is pretty set but open to suggestion. Is 2 days in Luberon enough for a small tasting or should I take one of the days from St Remy and add it to Gordes?:

I was also thinking to do 2 days in Gordes, 2 days in St Remy and then 4 full days in Marseille and day trip from there.

Thank you for any suggestions anyone may have.
mhdavidson is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2013, 05:22 AM
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Lucky you going to Provence! I would make a slight change when you are in the Gordes/St. Remy area and suggest that you choose one place and day trip from there. I would recommend St. Remy over Gordes as I found Gordes to be more touristy. There is an interesting archeological site, Glanum, on the outskirts of St. Remy which both you and your daughter might enjoy. Also the abbey/hospital of St. Paul de Mausolee where Van Gogh spent a number of years is in St. Remy and it has a lavender garden with copies of his paintings showing each view he used to make them.

We stayed in a charming hotel called Castelet des Alpilles in St. Remy. It has a garden and some rooms have balconies with views of the Alpilles. We then daytripped to Gordes, Arles (interesting Roman ruins including a coliseum), Nimes (again a coliseum but used for a lot of music concerts so sometimes closed- interesting Roman Temple Maison Carree which has a show that your daughter might like), Aix on Provence (beautiful town and well worth the trip), Avignon, Baux on Provence. Less upheaval staying longer in one place, especially with a child.

Not sure if your daughter is into castles, but at that age mine was and so I suggest you might like to add a castle to your itinerary. I have no idea of castles/chateaux in Provence, but it might be worth looking into.

Have fun and enjoy your trip!
designatedplanner is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2013, 06:32 AM
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Cut down on days in Marseille and add to The Luberon. There is much more to the area than St. Remy and Gordes. I would stay in one spot and do day trips in The Luberon.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 06:41 AM
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We did a walking tour in Marseille. Our guide, Patrick( he spoke very good English)was great! Sign up ahead of time. A great way to see the highlights.

We did a walking tour in Aix using the guides at the tourism office. They are in English.

We like doing walking tours as they help you not "wander" aimlessly, but rather purposefully. After a tour, you feel a bit more familiar with city/town and then can explore on your own with a bit more confidence.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 07:22 AM
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I would also suggest that you spend more time in the Luberon/St Remy area than in Marseille. Perhaps leave the Luberon for Aix around noon on day 13. Stay overnight in Aix (not Sunday) and then see more of Aix the next morning. Then drive to Cassis, visit, then on to Marseille, visit, and stay overnight before your flight home the next day. I would not want to be in Cassis if the weather is not good - so adjust your itinerary and leave the Luberon late in the day on day 13 and skip Cassis if the weather is not cooperating.

I actually found St Remy to be more touristy than Gordes. Just don't visit these two villages mid-day when all the day-trippers are there. Actually, unless you are visiting around Easter, I don't think either village will be too tourist-infested in March/April.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 09:39 AM
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Possibly the best castle to visit would be the ones in Tarascon/Beaucaire, facing each other across the river Rhône. They are not far from St-Rémy if you're in the area.

I agree about limiting the time in Marseille.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 09:56 AM
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I think your itinerary is fine and don't agree with the ideas of spending more time in the Luberon and cutting Marseille to nothing. Besides, you wanted to visit Cassis from there (and Aix), so that leaves no time anyway. You are already spending 5 days in Provence otherwise.

However, given Aix is in-between the Luberon and Marseille, I could definitely see staying there overnight and then driving to Marseille from there rather than somehow doing it has a day trip from Marseille (which I guess you could do by train).

I don't really see a need for you to stay in both St Remy and Gordes, either.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2013, 11:20 PM
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Your itinerary sounds great but I would indeed shorten the Marseille and stay longer in St Remy (aix is only 1hr drive)
You can get plenty of info of the St remy / luberon region on this blog
Hope this will help
PhilippeProvence is offline  
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