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Please suggest an itinerary for southern France, Avignon based, March 2005

Please suggest an itinerary for southern France, Avignon based, March 2005

Old Oct 17th, 2004, 09:36 AM
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Please suggest an itinerary for southern France, Avignon based, March 2005

Still planning...

Based on suggestions to date, we've decided to head to Avignon after four nights in Paris in early March 2005. We will have two nights (Sunday, Monday) on our own before we stay with friends for two nights outside Nimes.

Today I'd like help deciding how best to get there (originally we'd thought we'd drive to the south, undetermined destination, and check things out on the way; suggestions here predominantly were to just go south without stops because of the time of the year), suggested exploration (including restaurants) in and around Avignon and whether or not we need a car. We like architecture, scenery, history, "quaint" villages and don't need gourmet food or museums. Feel free to tell me what to avoid too.

Based on a recent post I believe we will attempt to make reservations at Hotel de l'Atelier in Villeneuve-lez-Avignon.

I'm looking forward to your responses!

Linda
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Old Oct 17th, 2004, 09:40 AM
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Take the TGV to Avignon. Rent a car.
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Old Oct 17th, 2004, 09:54 AM
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sorriso:

Driving from Paris might be a bit dicey, a ride on TGV would make much more sense. Once in Avignon, renting a car puts you in striking distance of countless sites.

I won't make suggestions on what to avoid (entirely too subjective). However, I would highly recommend a trip to Arles, it should more than meet your expectations in terms of architecture, scenery, history, and "quaint" villages. It's a lovely little town loaded with character, I wish we?d spent more time there on our last visit.
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Old Oct 17th, 2004, 01:01 PM
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You will find quaint villages in the Alpilles: St-Rémy, Maussane-les-Alpilles, Fontvielle, Paradou...among others. All are within easy travel distance of Avignon.
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Old Oct 17th, 2004, 03:39 PM
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sorriso,
I'd drive and stop in Beaune for lunch. The restaurants are as good as the wine. Stay with your friends, have more wine then explore. It's about 3 hours to Carcasonne for Cassolet and if you want to do an appetizer on the beach at Sete it's a nice day. Other than that...enjoy yourself.
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Old Oct 18th, 2004, 03:34 PM
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To the top for more advice; thank you Gretchen, SandC, Underhill (always can count on Underhill )(where's Ira?) and johnthedorf (johnthedorf?).

I'm not lazy--have searched endlessly (and will continue)--but thoroughly overwhelmed!

Thank you!
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Old Oct 18th, 2004, 07:50 PM
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I stayed in Hotel de l'Atelier several years ago, and it was a charming little place. I hope you'll post back here and tell us about your March trip.
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 05:39 AM
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If at all possible, visit Arles on a Saturday. They have a fabulous market!
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 05:50 AM
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Hello - you'll have a wondeful time in provence - around every corner there is another lovely spot. I like the idea of TGVing down to Avignon and staying a couple of days there - it is a wonderful city - full of life and history. Don't miss les Baux, St. Remy - take a drive to the Pont du Gard and Uzes - what are your plans with your friends? Maybe that should dictate your direction a bit.
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 05:51 AM
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Sorriso, like others, I'd recommend the TGV to Avignon. You can hire a car at the TGV station and it is a short hop over to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.

In addition to the suggestions that you look at Arles and les Alpilles, you could also make a day trip to the villages of the Luberon. You could arrange it so that you explore a couple of places like Bonnieux and Lacoste, then stop for lunch at a café in Roussillon. In the afternoon, you could scoot up to Gordes.

You mentioned you were interested in architecture. There is no shortage of interesting candidates, but if you do make it as far as Gordes, consider the Abbaye de Sénanque, which is just a couple of kilometres north of Gordes. It is a wonderful example of the Cistercian design--simple, unadorned, and beautiful.

When you move from the Avignon area to Nîmes, you could take a little diversion to see the Pont du Gard and Uzès.

We stayed at L'Atelier in September of last year. We asked for a room on the terrace, and it was delightful. It had double doors leading out into a garden at the back of the hotel. We had only one complaint--the room was rather damp when we arrived, so we cranked up the heat for a bit and that made it much more comfortable.

Anselm
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 05:53 AM
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ira
 
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Hi sorriso,

Sorry, I haven't done this trip yet, so can't help.
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 10:05 AM
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I would second the suggestion to take the TGV - it's 2.5 hours versus around 8 by car.

If you're going to be spending two nights with friends near Nimes, I would suggest waiting to visit the Pont du Gard and Uzes until then. As you only have two days, spend one in the villages of the Luberon - a good day circuit would be Abbaye de Senanque, Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux, Lacoste, Oppede-le-Vieux and Menerbes

The second day you could head south to Eygalieres, St Remy, Les Baux, Maussane, Fontvieille and then to Arles.

Patricia

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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 10:24 AM
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Since you only have a few days, I think the TGV is the way to go and I agree with Patricia's suggested circuit, leaving Pont du Gard and Uzes for last as you will be so close to your friend's in Nimes.
This circuit takes you to all the villages and towns that one should see on a first visit and you'll make a few of your own.
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 10:58 AM
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Sorry, "friends"
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 02:47 PM
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Thank you, thank you, thank you for your responses. You've given me a lot of ideas to research this weekend.

Ira, I can't believe there's a part of France you haven't been to! Cigalechanta--I thought I had listed you with Ira looking for your insight, thanks for your response.

Linda
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 04:32 PM
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Linda, I highly recommend Fodor's beautiful little book, beautiful pictures, describing the areas, where to stay, eat, I buy this for presents when I know it's a first time visit. You may find it on Amazon, I'm sure if not in the travel or chain bookshops.

"Escape to Provence"
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 04:48 PM
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We took the TGV from Paris to Avignon and it was very efficient. Then we rented a car and went around the Luberon. (Gorgeous!) If you choose to go to the Luberon, you might want to read A Year in Provencce by Peter Mayle. (For that matter, any of his books are fun!)
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 05:13 PM
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carolv: A Year in Provence is next up in my Netflix rental queue. I can't wait!
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