Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Please help me decide: Aubagne, France, or Amsterdam for August of 2012?

Please help me decide: Aubagne, France, or Amsterdam for August of 2012?

Old Dec 14th, 2011, 12:01 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Please help me decide: Aubagne, France, or Amsterdam for August of 2012?

OK, this home exchange planning has been quite a roller coaster ride. We are traveling with a 5 year old boy. We are currently considering two offers: one is in the center of Amsterdam, solid dates that work for us; the other one is in Aubagne, France, the dates are a bit difficult for us to accommodate (3 weeks). Both offers include cars.

We can probably do it or work around it but it is a bit of a stretch. Aubagne seems quite remote, although lovely. We need to make a decision soon, so your advice is welcome and appreciated!
Tentek is offline  
Old Dec 14th, 2011, 01:39 PM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Anyone?
Tentek is offline  
Old Dec 14th, 2011, 01:51 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,548
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Aubagne would put you in Provence when the lavender is in bloom, which would appeal to me. In the summer, for some reason, we tend to prefer rural to city vacations. Somehow cities seem hotter mid-summer.

I'm certain you have many variables to consider and probably both would be great!
Judy is online now  
Old Dec 14th, 2011, 01:56 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Judy, thank you so much for chiming in. We do have many variables to consider, but my heart is really with you. I have always wanted to travel to Provence when the lavender is in bloom. It sounds like a very relaxing vacation, while in France, so there is the cultural aspect to it too. I am just wondering if we would be able to see much from Aubagne.
Tentek is offline  
Old Dec 14th, 2011, 02:05 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,548
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sure, with a car, you have many options to head north to Aix, the Luberon and even Mt Ventoux. You would also be quite close to the coast so Cassis and Marseille would be great day trips. We stayed in Gemenos once after a week in Saignon and could have spent a few more days in the area.

Google a map of the lavender fields and you may find many within a reasonably short drive.
Judy is online now  
Old Dec 14th, 2011, 02:17 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
IS there still lavender blooms in August? I thought it was more of a June event. In any case, you are right, there is a lot to see. I think it is just so unexpected.
Tentek is offline  
Old Dec 14th, 2011, 02:28 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 21,427
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Amsterdam for its culture. I would not even bother with the car. Traveling by train to many areas (The Hague, Alkmaar, Enkhuizen, Haarlem, etc.) in the Netherlands is quick and convenient.
Michael is online now  
Old Dec 14th, 2011, 02:47 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Michael, thank you for contributing. I should also add that both my husband and I have been to Amsterdam before, although it has been 17 years for me. The convenience of walking everywhere and taking public transportation with a 5 year old who loves trains is very appealing. This is Indecision 2012 for me.
Tentek is offline  
Old Dec 14th, 2011, 03:51 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I thought Aubagne a bit of a hole. You'd have to drive a ways to see anything of interest. Well, it's not so far to Cassis. And the weather's good there.

Whereas you could do all those daytrips by train from Amsterdam.

Just a thought.
Mimar is offline  
Old Dec 14th, 2011, 06:07 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, Mimar. That's exactly the kind of feedback I was seeking. I knew someone here on Fodors has been to Aubagne. It sounds like we would have access to a car but we would rather not have to rely on a car all the time. Why was it a bit of a hole? Is it in the middle of nowhere?
Tentek is offline  
Old Dec 15th, 2011, 12:24 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 14,810
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Amsterdam also offers a zoo, some very child friendly museums, seaside not too far away should we get a great August, and some good days out by car too - maybe to the Batavia http://www.bataviawerf.nl/startpage.html so you 5 year old can explore a ship, or to Muiderslot. Plus with a car you can get out to the Hoge Veluwe and Kroller Muller easily. You can reserve a "bakfiets" so your son can sit in the front if he can't yet ride, and go for a bike ride through the woods. You need to do that at http://www.hogeveluwe.nl/en/14.

Where in Amsterdam in the house?
hetismij2 is offline  
Old Dec 15th, 2011, 03:27 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Amsterdam for me sunfrance.com would be fine in some areas
not yours odds are it will not be too great home exchange
pictures photoshopped a lot.Be very careful with insurance
issues in someone elses car and careful exchanging with
smokers partiers unless you want your home trashed stunk up
from past personal experience.Beware many scammers.But
Amsterdam center is awesome in August would be my choice.
Will not be crowded folks will be in France at the beach.
qwovadis is offline  
Old Dec 15th, 2011, 07:06 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, perhaps I am prejudiced. They were tearing up the streets in Aubagne when we were there. And it felt a bit in the middle of nowhere -- near but not on or even close to the Mediterranean.

There is a train station in Aubagne. From there you could go to Cassis to see the calanques, to Marseilles and Toulon, and with changes to Aix-en-Provence and Hyeres, both the latter 2 well-worth seeing.

The car might be better for Hyeres and points beyond. And for the nearer beaches. Others more familiar with the area could tell you where are the good beaches.

But in August this area will be very busy. It's the traditional summer vacation month for the French. And this is a popular vacation area.
Mimar is offline  
Old Dec 15th, 2011, 07:09 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 14,810
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Living in the Netherlands I'd choose Aubagne, but I had to put the case for Amsterdam .
The weather will be more certain in France than Amsterdam that's for sure, but half of Holland and a good chunk of Britain and France will be there too!
hetismij2 is offline  
Old Dec 15th, 2011, 07:13 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
qwovadis, are you saying we should not be doing home exchanges? I am not sure I understand.

@hetismij2, the house is here: http://maps.google.nl/maps?f=q&sourc....019119&ie=UTF

Does it look like a good location? It is a maisonette. The family seems very nice and responsible. they are experienced home exchangers.
Tentek is offline  
Old Dec 15th, 2011, 07:35 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 897
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tenek,

Aubagne is definitely NOT in the middle of nowhere. It's about a 15 minute drive to Marseille, France second largest city. An easy drive to Aix and as mentioned, a very short drive to Cassis. There are some nice beaches further east of Cassis (again easy drives). You could do many day trips throughout much of Provence - inland Var, the Luberon, les Alpilles, etc. To give you an idea, it takes us about 1 1/4 hours to drive from here (the Luberon) to Aubagne and we live on the north side of the Luberon. To Lourmarin, it is much shorter.

I think your decision should come down to whether you like hot, sunny, beach weather vs. the north of Europe and whether you prefer the excitement of being in the middle of a world class city like Amsterdam vs. a small, sleepy Provencal town like Aubagne.

-Kevin
kevin_widrow is offline  
Old Dec 15th, 2011, 09:09 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kevin, thank you so much for your contribution. Hope springs eternal that we work it out and get to see this beautiful part of France!
Tentek is offline  
Old Dec 15th, 2011, 02:02 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 42,267
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As you can see on this map it's an easy drive to Aix and vicinity.
http://www.beyond.fr/map/map2r13.html
most of the lavender is harvested by mid August
but there will be fields with some but the color won't be as bright. Aubagne is famous for the santons and most of Pagnol's stories are in that area.
cigalechanta is offline  
Old Dec 15th, 2011, 03:20 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,575
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm glad cigale mentioned Pagnol. This wonderful writer and filmmaker was born in Aubagne. For background, I recommend these films based on his experiences in this area: Jean de Florette, Manon des Sources (Manon of the Springs), La Gloire de mon Père (My Father's Glory), and Le Château de ma Mère (My Mother's Castle). All wonderful films and evocative of the region.
MaineGG is offline  
Old Dec 15th, 2011, 03:43 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Merci beaucoup! Having done some research into the area I have run into the name of Marcel Pagnol several times. Thank you again for contributing. I will check out the films you suggested, MaineGG.
Tentek is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information