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Please help with 8-day Provence Itinerary

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Mar 28th, 2006, 07:07 AM
  #1
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Please help with 8-day Provence Itinerary

I just put together a last-minute Easter holiday to Provence with my family. I will be traveling with my wife and 3 small kids (ages 8, 6, and 4). This is my family's second visit to the region having spent 4 days in Aix 5 years ago.

I would truly appreciate your comments and suggestions on my itinerary. Also, don't be shy to criticize...I can take it!

Day 1 - Friday April 14 (Good Friday) - Take the Eurostar from London's Waterloo station departing at 12:20. After changing to a TGV train in Lille, arrive in Avignon at approximately 8:40 pm. Pick-up car rental at train station and drive to St. Remey where we are booked for the first 5 nights at Chateaux des Alpilles.

Day 2 - Saturday April 15 - Visit St Remey and Les Baux. Should I try to squeeze in Arles? I'm not a big fan of moving around too much and with the kids you can't do too much or else they get very tired and cranky!

Day 3 - Sunday April 16 (Easter Sunday) - Get up really early and visit the market at l'Isle sur la Sorgue. Spend most of the day at the market and then visiting the antique shopes. Try and visit Saignon and Menerbes in the late afternoon.

Day 4 - Monday April 17 - Drive through the area south of the Alpilles between Eygaliers & Maussane. Visit Pond du Gard and perhaps the caves.

Day 5 - Tuesday April 18 - leave early and visit the Gordes market. Spend the rest of the day visiting Roussillion, Bonnieux and Loumarin in the Luberon region.

Day 6 - Wednesday April 19 - Depart St. Remey, but first we will visit the market held that morning in town. Travel to and check-in at the Hostellerie de Crillon Le Brave. Spend the day soaking in the environment.

Day 7 - Thursday April 20 - I'm not sure about the next two days. Should I visit the Dentelles area around Vaison and Gigondas (I would like to purchase as many Rhone wines as possible since these are my favorite!).

Day 8 - Friday April 21 - Visit Beaumes de Venise, Malacene, and Mt Ventoux?

Do these trips on the days proposed make sense? Should I supliment/trade/combine any villages with another village or day?

Am I missing any important market days? My wife and I want to purchase furniture and other household goods (e.g., pottery) for our home.

What about weather? April is kind of hit-or-miss in Europe. It will not be warm enough for the pool, but do you think it will be cold? Are any of these places windy?

Should I cut my stay one day short in St. Remey and add one day to Crillon Le Brave?

Many thanks for your anticipated cooperation.
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Mar 28th, 2006, 07:16 AM
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Wow! Pretty ambitious with three kids! My only comment would be to spend an entire day in Arles rather than combining it with St. Remy -- there's a variety of things to do there, including Roman ruins and the Musee d'Arletan that I think even kids would enjoy (plus a fantastic market if you could go there on a Saturday).
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Mar 28th, 2006, 07:54 AM
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Abbydog,

Can you be more specific, please? What part of my trip is extremely ambitious? I'm a firm believer that when it comes to traveling with kids, less is more! Thus, I would appreciate your help.

What specific parts of the day trips do you believe are over-loaded?

By the way, I forgot to mention that on Day 9 we depart the Crillon le Brave and head for the train station in Avignon.
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Mar 28th, 2006, 08:04 AM
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I am not certain nor an expert but make certain that the markets are opne on Easter Sunday.
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Mar 28th, 2006, 08:08 AM
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davidj,

It should be open based on previous posts on this Board; however, you raise a good point and I will look into this issue.

Thanks.
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Mar 28th, 2006, 08:08 AM
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Have you made special arrangements to pick up the car at 8:40 pm? No car rental outfit I've ever dealt with in France is open at that hour.

I think you can fit Arles in with St-Rémy and Les Baux on that second day, at least a tour of the heart of the city and the coliseum.

Day 4's a bit thin, IMO. You could add Uzès to the Pont du Gard bit.

I don't think it's all that ambitious an itinerary at all, even with small kids). You might want to add in a few stops just for the kids, though.

Days 7 and 8 could definitely be spent wandering around the Mont-Ventoux area - if you're interested in sines be sure to visit Gogondas and Vacqueras as well. I don't really *get* the appeal of Vaison-la-Romaine, except for the tiny perched part of it, but if you're in the area it's worth a stopover.
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Mar 28th, 2006, 08:12 AM
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St.Cirq,

Avis assures me that, despite it being Good Friday, their office at the Avignon train station is open until 10:00 pm and they will have the car ready for my family.

Many thanks for your input. I will try to add Uzes to Day 2 as you suggested. I'm more worried about Day 3 when after an exhausting day at the market (kids don't really enjoy shopping all that much ), we will then drive to the Luberon to visit all of those perched villages. I think that just might be a bit ambitious on my part. We'll see!

Thanks again.
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Mar 28th, 2006, 08:15 AM
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You might want to add a stop at the chateau in Beaucaire for the kids on Monday when you return from Pont du Gard...
there is a wonderful free flight bird show (eagles, hawks, falcons, even vultures) that the kids, I'm sure, will enjoy.

And Uzes is a great town if you're looking to purchase items for your home - pottery especially.

Patricia (in Maussane)
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Mar 28th, 2006, 08:20 AM
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Thanks PB.

I will definitely add a visit to Uzes for pottery.

What are your thoughts on staying one less day in St. Remey and instead adding a day to Crillon Le Brave? Of course, this means I will miss the St. Remey market on Wednesday. However, I'm already visiting the antique market on Sunday and the Tuesday market in Gordes. Add in pottery shopping in Uzes and the kids are going to say "hey, what about us?"
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Mar 28th, 2006, 08:40 AM
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No criticism intended re: ambition! I'm just more familiar with parents who say they can plan only one activity a day before the kids want to retire to a pool. Every family is different! Also, it seems to me the best approach is to be prepared for the greatest number of activities and then just eliminate some if you run out of time or energy. . .
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Mar 28th, 2006, 09:07 AM
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Your itinerary looks fine to me.

On Sunday, perhaps only hit Roussillon and Fountain de Vaucluse if you want to spend a lot of time at the antiques market. Shops in these towns will be open on Sunday. On the other day in the Luberon, visit the remaining villages - including Goult and the Fort de Buoux, which the kids might like.

In the Pont/Uzes area, also visit Castillion du Gard (cute village - you can see the Pont from behind the church). St Quentin la Poterie is a poterie town (dah). Pick up a guide to all the shops at the tourist office. We purchased several plates from "Poterie Galtie". Uzes has two nice shops for potterie also.

In Gigondas, visit the "cave" in the center of town where you can taste and purchase most of the top "brands" in the region. Seguret is a cute town. Like St Cirq said, the most interesting part of Vaison is the medieval section - on the "other" side of the river from the Roman ruins and the main touristy section of Vaison. Prepare for steep climbs.

Coromb is close to Crillon la Brave, and a nice town to explore. They have a very good English walking tour map that you can get at the tourist office. Le Barroux is also close, and the kids might like that castle also. Bedoin is a nice town for a drink at one of the many cafes lining the main street. They have a good Monday market, but you won't be there then.

St Remy vs. Crillon la Brave. There is not much going on in Crillon - other than the hotel. On the other hand, there is lots of stuff to keep the kids busy in St Remy. I prefer the area around Crillon, but with kids, they might be entertained more in St Remy. How about meals? You won't run out of places in St Remy. Bedoin has lots of simple cafes (pasta, pizza, Bistro food etc).

I assume you have my Provence & Cote itinerary. If not, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll send a copy.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 28th, 2006, 09:08 AM
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I don't think you'll miss much if you skip the market in St Remy on Wednesday morning - since you'll have done two others.

Since you love Rhone wines, perhaps leave St Remy and head up through Chateauneuf-du-Pape on your way to Crillon le Brave - a lovely ride and a chance to stop and pick up some excellent cote du Rhone for your cave.

Patricia
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Mar 28th, 2006, 09:28 AM
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I think it's basically okay, although I'm not sure about all the market stuff but you seem to want to shop a lot. I haven't ever purchased major things at those markets, so never thought of them as places to furnish homes so just didn't notice, I guess. I was going to ask whether you knew shops were open on Easter Sunday for the major shopping you want to do, but Stu seems to think so. I've been to that market in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and it's pretty dead after noon or so, a lot of the vendors are gone. I haven't been to official antique shops in that town, though, so didn't know about them.

I would add the extra time to be up north myself. I really like the Dentilles and that area. Now I actually like Vaison-la-Romaine and think it's a very pleasant town and thought the ruins were interesting, also. I don't see what there is to do around Crillon-le-Brave so much (although the location is fine for a base). Le Barroux is kind of dead, I wouldn't make a special trip there, although I guess it's nice enough to walk around but nothing special in comparison to many other similar villages.
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Mar 28th, 2006, 09:48 AM
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You might like to know that Arles has a very nice carousel on the Place just outside the church of St-Trophime. Avignon also has a vintage carousel.
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Mar 28th, 2006, 10:36 AM
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Gables:

The itin. looks good..but I'm afraid you'll find Crillon la Brave to be as dead as Stu D. and others have alluded to. We stopped there a few years ago on the recommendation of some friends who raved about the hotel and we had made a picnic lunch so we found a likely place for it along a stream a little out of town...found the town itself to be quite unappealing..can't imagine what the kids will do there...likelihood that April will be too cool to spend much time in any pools. I would rethink the long stay at that particular hostellerie. One of the perched towns like Gordes or Bonnieux might be a better choice.
Stu T.
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Mar 28th, 2006, 10:45 AM
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We just returned from Provence with our 3 young kids. We had a wonderful time. Have you considered St. Raphael? It is a charming, untouristy town with a seaside my kids really enjoyed.
 
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Mar 28th, 2006, 10:56 AM
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we found oppede d vieux (sp??) fascinating.
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Mar 28th, 2006, 10:59 AM
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we also drove to some town and did a nice hike to a fortress/castle - sorry i can't remember more specifics. it was fun and a nice ride. kids would love it.hoping someone here knows what i am talking about and can give you more specifics!!
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Mar 28th, 2006, 11:09 PM
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Thanks to all of you who responded. My wife and I decided last night to cut our stay in St. Remey by one day (leaving Tuesday instead of Wednesday) and head for Le Crillon Brave earlier. It's mostly due to the Chateau de Alpilles not having a heated pool so the kids perhaps can do some swimming.

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Mar 29th, 2006, 06:45 AM
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>>It's mostly due to the Chateau de Alpilles not having a heated pool so the kids perhaps can do some swimming.<<

Did you contact the hotel at Crillon le Brave and verify that the heated pool will be turned on in mid-April??

Are you aware that Provence is farther north than Milwaukee, Wis????

Stu Dudley
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