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jill777 Sep 14th, 2010 05:46 PM

Provence 2 days-I know it's too short-highlights I shouldn't miss.
Do you see the tourists on tours snapping photos at tour sights and rushing back on the bus to get to the next sight without absorbing the area? That's the way my husband likes to travel except he refuses to go on tour bus, so we plan every like the bus tours, and he hates any down time. I think he has ADD but that's another tale. Traveling with him is high adrenaline. Having explain this to the Fodorites I need help. Planning to go to Provence in early Oct. thinking Avignon is best base, we do better with bigger hotels, concierge service, etc. so from Paris we plan to take TGV to Avignon, rent a car to get around Provence do sightseeing. The reason to rent from Avignon and not Lyon is we are afraid of not speaking french, that the road signs etc., will get us crazy. Does this sound practical? What are the highlights of Provence that we should skim through, we did the Verseille in 2.5 hours I believe, do I sound bitter? LOL, Any help is appreciated. thanks.

StCirq Sep 14th, 2010 06:00 PM

No, you don't sound bitter, you sound frantic and obsessive. Which is about the very LAST way to approach a visit to Provence, a very laid-back part of the country.

The road signs won't get you crazy - they're pretty much the same as road signs anywhere, and even when they're not a simple google search on road signs in Europe will explain them in detail.

The highlights of Provence take up many very large volumes. One could easily spend a few years there visiting "the highights." What's important to you? Do you want to meander frantically at your DH's ADD pace through villages and stop to grab a vegetable or two from a market stall, or do you want to fly into museums and race around taking in Roman or later artworks, or do you just want to drive around with the wind whipping your hair hither and yon and say you've seen Provence? Do you like to eat in cafés and restaurants, or do you grab something on the fly from a vendor and race on?

If you want to visit Provence, I don't know why you'd rent in Lyon, anyway. It's not Provence. The road signs in Lyon are the same as in Avignon, so if you want to visit Provence, go to Avignon and rent a car there.

Actually, nothing you've mentioned sounds "practical." And as a side note, big hotels with concierge service, etc., don't exactly characterize Provence. Maybe you'd be better off skipping Provence altogether and sticking with a major metropolitan area.

jill777 Sep 14th, 2010 06:11 PM

Yeh I know, we are revisiting Paris 4th visit, and he wants to do something new, we do end up running around in the museums which we love to visit, so which say top 4 should we do. Someone on this board said to rent in Lyon and take the scenic drive down, but even I know we don't have enough time. We rush around everywhere from the crack of dawn, usually in line at opening time in museums, grab quick cafe lunch time and eat at luxury restaurants at dinner and conk out by 8pm. "meander frantically at your DH's ADD pace through villages and stop to grab a vegetable or two from a market stall, or do you want to fly into museums and race around taking in Roman or later artworks" This is sounds just like us, tell me how to do this more effectively.

StCirq Sep 14th, 2010 06:18 PM

If you only have two days, beginning in Lyon is madness, as it adds the travel time from Lyon to Provence. Two days is NOTHING to visit Provence. Nothing.

If that's your absolute travel style, there's no way to do it more effectively. Just skip Provence. Provence is for people who want to meander leisurely through beautiful towns and villages and countryside. Your travel style and Provence simply don't match.

Go somewhere else, like Lyon or some other big city, and rush around there.

Ninkette Sep 15th, 2010 12:43 PM

I'd put Arles on the iten. There are a number of Roman ruins and a church to visit, so a target rich environment. We also enjoyed Les Baux. You could probably hit those in an afternoon at a frantic pace. Visit Glanum and some of the Van Gogh sites in St. Remy. Pont du Gard is also a great site and lots of people recommend Uzes, although we were not fans. You could also spend a day doing a driving tour of the Luberon villages - Roussillon, Gordes, L'Isle sur la Sorgue, and many more depending on your interest. Google provence markets to find out which towns have markets on the day you are there.

Gretchen Sep 15th, 2010 01:10 PM

I REALLY think St. Cirq has a better idea for you. Go somewhere else that doesn't require driving around like a madman. The driving in Provence isn't difficult, at all, but seeing what you would in two days is just not worth the hassle. Go to Lyon or Dijon on the TGV. Go to Rouen and Honfleur if you want to drive somewhere and drive by the sites. You can stop at Giverny on the way. I am really not being flip, but you would have a better time and actually "see" something. It's 3 hours on the train, and then rent the car and find the hotel. There is half a day gone IF you make all the right connections. Provence is just NOT a part of the country to see on the fly, in my opinion.
Some major sites are west of Avignon and others are east. There isn't a real clear/good "circuit". Distances are not great, but they are real.

Underhill Sep 15th, 2010 02:04 PM

Go to Strasbourg, or Rouen, or Dijon, or even Lyon, all by train. Then just race around the city, seeing what you can without the need to have a car. But forget about Provence; it's just not laid out to be done in a rush. Two days in any of the cities I mentioned would be quite nice, however.

mimipam Sep 15th, 2010 02:06 PM

Well, two days is definitely not enough time. However, if that is all you have then I think base in Avignon and "tour" it. There is the pope's palace and quite a few other sites right "in town." From there perhaps the next day see Pont du Gard and Uzes OR St Remy and Les Baux OR as suggested by Ninkette pick a few Luberon villages (though this may take a lot of driving time). You will have to choose. You cannot see much of what is there, but you can pick. You must have a car. October should not be too hectic with traffic except around Avignon. We spent two weeks in Provence. It is truly wonderful. Every area of France really required at least two weeks in my opinion. Another thing you might consider is going to the Normandy area from Paris. It, too, is lovely, though different and might be closer driving than Provence. Good luck and happy travels!! One other thing, St Cirq goes often and stays long and can really enjoy Provence. Most of us have to take what we can get.

CaliNurse Sep 15th, 2010 08:47 PM

If your heart (or husband's) is set on Provence...I agree with Mimipam.
Thanks for your last couple sentences, Mimi. Not all of us have the luxury of free time or bank accounts for, frequent or lengthy visits to different parts of the world.
What about the Dordogne?

Vttraveler Sep 16th, 2010 02:41 AM

I agree with mimipam's suggestion. In 2 days, do Avignon one day and one of her options the second. You can't expect to see an area like Provence in only two days, but you can get a taste.

Gretchen Sep 16th, 2010 04:35 AM

Yes, St. Cirq goes often and has that luxury. That isn't a knock. Mimi went for 2 weeks and had that luxury of time and says "oh, go ahead for just two days". By the time you put in trains, autos, etc. The TGV is wonderful, but sightseeing it isn't. This trip isn't even two days. Sure go ahead. Avignon is interesting. Getting to Gordes takes at least 2 hours, as I recall. Then if you want to go to the Pont du Gard it is the opposite way from Gordes. Uzes, which we DID enjoy (pottery shops) is on past Pont du Gard.
And the pottery shops brings up--just the fun of shopping poking into markets, if they are open.
I know the OP says that her husband probably doesn't like that kind of thing. If she asked us if she sounded bitter about Versailles, I can't wait to hear her comment about this trip to Provence. Provence is "countryside" with villages, and is spread out. Probably more "distances" than many many other parts of France, in my opinion, limited, but somewhat knowledgeable. Charming "distances" in many cases, but.....

rlbplf Sep 16th, 2010 07:17 AM

Since you only have two days I would suggest going to Bayeux and staying overnight. Bayeux is a wonderful town, easy to walk around, good places to eat and it has lots of history including the tapestry. From Bayeux you can drive to the American Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach a sight not to be missed. Lots more to see in this general area pertaining to D-Day. Provence is very laid back and I would save it for another trip when you have more time.

mimipam Sep 16th, 2010 05:19 PM

I don't see where I said as was quoted "oh, go ahead for just two days." Not my meaning at all Gretchen. Just making suggestions as OP asked for suggestions for Provence.

CaliNurse Sep 16th, 2010 07:08 PM

You never said that, Mimipam; you were miquoted. You wrote: "Well, two days is definitely not enough time. However, if that is all you have then ..." which was a very thoughtful response.
It's nice when people here give gentle advice, and if it is nnot taken, they still try to work within the timeframe/limitations an OP asks for.

cigalechanta Sep 16th, 2010 07:53 PM

If your heart is set on Provence. I would stay around St Remy
you could stay in St Remy right smack in town at the L'Hotel des Images, from there visit a Perche village, a weekly marker, arles to visit the musee Arleten, the Roman Amphitheater. Still used today for bull fighting, if you're lucky, your visit may coincide with one of these spectacles.
The Pont du Gard and the Camargue are nearby and just outside St Remy is Glanum and Les Antiques, the remains from the 3d century

cigalechanta Sep 16th, 2010 07:56 PM

this is the Hotel.

Another mimi here :)

CaliNurse Sep 17th, 2010 07:15 PM

Thanks CigaleChanta !! We took your advice on a previous thread and chose St Remy-de-Provence as a base in Provence for a week (in a flat right in the town).Greatly appreciate your suggestions.
Jill, when are you going?

jill777 Sep 23rd, 2010 03:58 PM

We are going in October and will have 2 full days, flight leaving out of Paris at 10pm, so now leaning towards Dijon, Is this a good idea?

Vttraveler Sep 24th, 2010 02:15 AM

I think Dijon would be a better destination with only 2 days. But if you want suggestions about what to do there you should start a different thread w/o the heading Provence.

Images2 Sep 24th, 2010 05:31 AM

If you decide to go to Provence I can recommend a B&B near Uzes which we just stayed in. The owners are Dutch and speak English so language will be no problem. It's a wonderfully Provence Mas of high quality with a swimming pool.

Mas d'Oleandre in the Hameau St. Mediers just 5-10 min. from Uzes.

Dinner at Table du Julien on 04 66 22 93 24,
Rue des Ecoles, 30700 St Maximin would be excellent and afforable. You must reserve 2 weeks before. The menu is just 34€ and better than the meals we have in Paris.

Tour Pont du Gard and Avignon the same day. Uzes has a very good market on Saturday mornings and nice shops in town.

St.Remy and Les Baux can be visited on another day.

We spent a week near Dijon this summer, but prefer Provence.

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