Please help me plan a month in SE France

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Jan 9th, 2019, 07:33 PM
  #21
kja
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@ Michael: It looks like there’s a route I can take through Sospel and Saorge – does that ring any bells? I see other routes further to the west, including one that you might have taken, if perhaps less well suited to my purposes. Much to study once I have some time! (Gosh, work interferes with life. Growl.)

@ StuDudley: As you can see, I’m currently skipping all the gorges in the areas I will visit except the Gorges de l'Ardèche, which I believe you thought particularly scenic, even if only part is glimpsed from the bottom. I thought limiting my plans to this one gorge made sense given my priorities, the constraints on my time, and my need – as a solo traveler – to focus on the road, not the views. But your notes certainly make some of the other gorges sound intriguing! Do you see an easy way to incorporate another particularly scenic gorge, one seen primarily from the bottom, into my plan? Or is there something you think I should consider skipping specifically to free up some time for, say, the Gorge du Caines? Thanks!
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Jan 9th, 2019, 09:37 PM
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>>@ StuDudley: As you can see, I’m currently skipping all the gorges in the areas I will visit except the Gorges de l'Ardèche, which I believe you thought particularly scenic, even if only part is glimpsed from the bottom.<<


With your limited time, I would only visit this gorge if you also visit the Chauvert Cave replica (30,000 year old paintings)



>>But your notes certainly make some of the other gorges sound intriguing! Do you see an easy way to incorporate another particularly scenic gorge, one seen primarily from the bottom, into my plan? Or is there something you think I should consider skipping specifically to free up some time for, say, the Gorge du Caines? Thanks!<<



Yes - visit the Gorges du Cians and also nearby Entrevaux. I think this is the most interesting region in the Nice Hinterland. Just getting there from Nice is spectacular!!


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Jan 9th, 2019, 10:29 PM
  #23
kja
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@ StuDudley: The Chauvet reproduction is one of my highest priorities for this trip and a driving factor in choosing this area for my next journey. It is not negotiable! I’m glad to hear you confirm my understanding of your view of the Gorge du Cians (sorry for the misspelling above ), and would welcome ideas (from you or anyone else who is following along) for what I might consider cutting to include that gorge in my itinerary. Maybe I could include it on the day I travel from the pre-Alps to Vence (listed as Day 7), but I fear that would be pushing it. ...

Maybe I could skip Vienne? I'll experiment with how that affects my museum visits. Does anyone want to make a strong case for Vienne? Or offer other ideas?

Last edited by kja; Jan 9th, 2019 at 10:53 PM.
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Jan 10th, 2019, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
@ Michael: It looks like there’s a route I can take through Sospel and Saorge – does that ring any bells? I see other routes further to the west, including one that you might have taken, if perhaps less well suited to my purposes. Much to study once I have some time! (Gosh, work interferes with life. Growl.)

@ StuDudley: As you can see, I’m currently skipping all the gorges in the areas I will visit except the Gorges de l'Ardèche, which I believe you thought particularly scenic, even if only part is glimpsed from the bottom. I thought limiting my plans to this one gorge made sense given my priorities, the constraints on my time, and my need – as a solo traveler – to focus on the road, not the views. But your notes certainly make some of the other gorges sound intriguing! Do you see an easy way to incorporate another particularly scenic gorge, one seen primarily from the bottom, into my plan? Or is there something you think I should consider skipping specifically to free up some time for, say, the Gorge du Caines? Thanks!
I think that we passed through Sospel going to Menton and then from Menton to Lucéram.
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Jan 10th, 2019, 03:44 AM
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Stu: yes, there was another wine shop in Gigondas itself; perhaps 50 feet to the right of the Caveau. I was surprised to see a second shop. We went in the Caveau du Gigondas first, to buy a bottle or two of a local producer we liked, but they didn't carry it any longer. The clerk seemed disinterested, so we went to the other shop, which did have it. That said, I wouldn't think a little village like Gigondas could support two such shops, so it may not be there next time you dine at l'Oustalet. MMMMMMM!

kja: I believe it was Stu's guidance that steered us to the Gorge du Tarn, Florac, etc, which we liked so much, so if he recommends Gorge d'Ardeche, I'd go with it.
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Jan 10th, 2019, 07:37 AM
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Vienne is nice but skippable imo.
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Jan 10th, 2019, 07:48 AM
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I think Vienne is skippable also. We were underwhelmed with it.


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Jan 10th, 2019, 05:16 PM
  #28
kja
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Progress made -- yay!



@ Michael: I’ll plot a route from Menton through Sospel.

@ tomboy: One ignores Stu Dudley’s excellent and generous advice at one’s own peril!

@ thibaut &
@ StuDudley: I’ll skip Vienne. That means I can add the Gorge du Cians (which Stu recommends), clean up my time in and around Saint-Tropez (including some of the places thibaut mentioned on my initial thread, perhaps as Odin suggested upthread), and see whether the cascading effects of those changes lets me dine in Gigondas.


Please keep these great ideas and comments coming!
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Jan 11th, 2019, 11:01 PM
  #29
kja
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Originally Posted by rhon View Post
We stayed for a week in La Brigue in 2010 and really enjoyed the area.
Did you write a trip report for this sojourn? I can't seem to find it; maybe you can help? Thx!
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Jan 12th, 2019, 04:15 PM
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You're going right b y the Camargue Regional National Park - would be easy to drop by one of the many farms called a Mas:

(A mas (Occitan: [ˈmas], Catalan: [ˈmas]) is a traditional farmhouse found in the Provence and Midi regions of France, as well as in Catalonia (Spain) where it is also named masia (in Catalan) or masía (in Spanish). ... A mas is almost always rectangular, with two sloping roofs.

The farm,houses often take in guests but you need not stay here to take a horse trip into the swampy wilds of the Camargue and see its famous wild horses, flamingos and black horned bulls and many neat flora and other fauna.

A mas (Occitan: [ˈmas], Catalan: [ˈmas]) is a traditional farmhouse found in the Provence and Midi regions of France, as well as in Catalonia (Spain) where it is also named masia (in Catalan) or masía (in Spanish). ... A mas is almost always rectangular, with two sloping roofs.

did not see where you mentioned going there but skimmed twice and seemingly none - going into the Camargue remains one of my favorite things I've done in France. We just stopped by one and hopped on a guided horse trek.

Camargue:

https://www.google.com/search?q=cama...w=1097&bih=536

Cheers - amazingly great itinerary.
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Jan 12th, 2019, 04:40 PM
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I recommend Camarque, too! We saw thousands of flamingos!!! It was an amazing sight!
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Jan 12th, 2019, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by KarenWoo View Post
I recommend Camarque, too! We saw thousands of flamingos!!! It was an amazing sight!

There is a bird sanctuary on the way to the coast itself:
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Jan 12th, 2019, 07:21 PM
  #33
kja
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Ooh, new tips and insights!


@ PalenQ: Oh gosh, it seems that I failed to mention La Camargue in my itinerary – my bad! It is part of my plans, for the days now listed as 18 and/or 19. I know there are no guarantees that I will see any of the horses or flamingos or bulls, but I certainly want to make the effort! And as someone who finds all types of architecture interesting, I will watch for a mas or two. I greatly appreciate the time you took reviewing my itinerary to identify this potential gap and for making sure I gave thought to visiting this very special area.

@ KarenWoo: I’ve been fortunate to visit Celestun’s flock of tens of thousands of what are said to be the redest flamingos in the world (a side effect of their diet); a large flock of lovely flamingos in Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park, and even a few rare Andean flamingos – and I never tire of these lovely birds! Wish me luck in spotting a few.

@ Michael: That bird sanctuary seems like something I’ll enjoy very much, and maybe that whitewashed building with thatch is a mas? As always, your photos are stunning – thanks so much!
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Jan 12th, 2019, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
Ooh, new tips and insights!


@ PalenQ: Oh gosh, it seems that I failed to mention La Camargue in my itinerary – my bad! It is part of my plans, for the days now listed as 18 and/or 19. I know there are no guarantees that I will see any of the horses or flamingos or bulls, but I certainly want to make the effort! And as someone who finds all types of architecture interesting, I will watch for a mas or two. I greatly appreciate the time you took reviewing my itinerary to identify this potential gap and for making sure I gave thought to visiting this very special area.

@ KarenWoo: I’ve been fortunate to visit Celestun’s flock of tens of thousands of what are said to be the redest flamingos in the world (a side effect of their diet); a large flock of lovely flamingos in Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park, and even a few rare Andean flamingos – and I never tire of these lovely birds! Wish me luck in spotting a few.

@ Michael: That bird sanctuary seems like something I’ll enjoy very much, and maybe that whitewashed building with thatch is a mas? As always, your photos are stunning – thanks so much!
There is also a farm museum on the same road. I think that that is where the crop rotation was explained: 1 or 2 crops of wheat and then one crop of rice to lower the salty water table by flooding the fields. Les Saintes Maries de la Mer has become a very touristy/summer resort town.

Last edited by Michael; Jan 12th, 2019 at 07:53 PM.
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Jan 12th, 2019, 08:16 PM
  #35
kja
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@ Michael: Interesting! I'll have to watch for that farm museum, too. I'm hoping that by visiting in May, I'll miss the worst of the summer crowds. Another thing for which no guarantees can be offered.
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Jan 12th, 2019, 08:22 PM
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Another thing we enjoyed driving to Aigues-Mortes was seeing some of the vast Salins du Midi,'s salt drying beds, near Aigues-Mortes, which lets sea water in and then closes it off and, when the sea water evaporates leaves the vaunted sea salt which are piled into mini mountains of sea salt. These are some of the world's largest sea salt producing areas in the world and has existed here since Roman days. There are tours of various facets of the production and oo-like people-mover to take you around the place. We just drove thru it but in retrospect the tour would have been nice. Anyway did not see this on your itinerary but could have missed it.

https://www.google.com/search?q=aigues-mortes+salt+drying+beds+images&tbm=isch&tbo=u&sour ce=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiA7v278enfAhUL0oMKHUprB70Q sAR6BAgEEAE&biw=547&bih=526

Tours:
https://www.avignon-et-provence.com/...ortes-camargue

Cheers!

Last edited by PalenQ; Jan 12th, 2019 at 08:26 PM.
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Jan 12th, 2019, 08:56 PM
  #37
kja
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@ PalenQ: Again, my thanks! I've seen a few fascinating salt beds over the years (e.g., near Croatia's Mali Ston and in Peru's Sacred Valley), but I've never take a tour to learn about the methods -- and I do like opportunities to learn! (I did learn a lot in a tour of the salt mines in Salzach.) BTW, if you haven't already done so, you might consider reading Mark Kurlansky's Salt: A World History. I found it an enjoyable book, and I certainly learned a lot from it.

Last edited by kja; Jan 12th, 2019 at 09:18 PM.
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Jan 13th, 2019, 09:41 AM
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Hi kja,
No advice nor words of wisdom here, just a quick note to let you know I'm closely following this post. We'll be in the area probably in Sept, and while our itinerary is different, there are some overlaps with yours. Thanks for starting this, lots of good ideas for others like me
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Jan 13th, 2019, 10:25 AM
  #39
kja
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@ xyz99: Following me again, eh? We are fortunate that so many Fodorites so generously share their experience and expertise.
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Jan 13th, 2019, 07:05 PM
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kja, LOL
I agree, we are fortunate, in many ways. Can't wait to see your final itinerary and then TR.
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