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Provence 5 days 4 night (3.5 full days) itinerary

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Jun 30th, 2015, 06:36 PM
  #1
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Provence 5 days 4 night (3.5 full days) itinerary

Hello to helpful people out there,

I'll be traveling with my mom and my husband to France and will spend about 3.5 full day in Provence. After lurking on the Europe forum and got overwhelmed I finally narrowed down our itinerary and would love to get feedback from the experience travelers out there. We'll base in Avignon and Aix en Provence on the last night before we fly from Marseilles to Portugal. Oh, and we'll also have a rental car. This is the itinerary we have thus far:

Day 1, Tues. - Arriving in Avignon around 8PM, dinner and walk around the town.
Day 2, Wed - St. Remy ( Market in the morning and Van Gogh) - Lex Baux - Arles
Day 3, Thurs. - Explore Avignon in the morning then Luberon villages and staying in Aix for the night
Day 4, Fri. - Aix en Provence - Cassis
Day 5, Sat - Explore Marseilles before our flight at 5PM

Do you all think this is a decent itinerary to taste the Provence? Is day 2 a bit too ambitious? Thank you in advance for any suggestions/feedback!

Gemma
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Jun 30th, 2015, 09:27 PM
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Gemma,

Given the short amount of time you have, I think that's a pretty reasonable itinerary, at least to give you a taste of things. About the only thing I consider changing is the Day 5. While I personally am a big fan of Marseille, it's a big city and given that Aix is closer to the airport, anyway, and you are already there, why not do your Aix sightseeing on day 5 (there is the market Saturday morning as a bonus).

That way Day 4 will be more relaxing and between just enjoying the village of Cassis, taking a boat ride to see the Calanque, and the gorgeous drive along the cliffs to La Ciotat, that's a full day right there.

- Kevin
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Jul 1st, 2015, 08:16 AM
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Kevin - I should have looked the map, it makes sense now! Thank you for pointing that out. Calanque looks beautiful! We'll definitely take a boat ride. Oh well, would love to see Marseilles, but we'll save it for the next time . I really appreciate your suggestion as this will be our first time exploring Provence, but won't be last!
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Jul 1st, 2015, 12:28 PM
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I think it looks okay but day 2 is awfully busy. Just no time for Arles much.
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Jul 1st, 2015, 01:43 PM
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Thank you Christina, do you think I could spend 1-1.5 hrs in St. Remy for the market and head straight to Arles and skip les baux? Or skip St. Remy and straight to les baux and Arles?
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Jul 1st, 2015, 02:00 PM
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If you are interested in history, skip St. Remy market and go to Les Baix and Arles. St. Remy's market is nice but not all that different than most of the markets in Provence, save a few really unusual ones ( L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue for example.) The town is nice but so is Aix.

It really depends on what is important to YOU. Shops, architecture, antiquity, quaint, bustle, busy etc. that needs to be your guide.

Where are you arriving from on the first day? Will you be jet lagged? That may figure in to plan.

With the short time you have, personally, I would do a bit less and try to appreciate just being in Provence. If you think this is your only chance ... It likely won't be -- you' ll be back, trust me.
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Jul 2nd, 2015, 12:07 PM
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DebitNM - We're definitely more interested in history and sightseeing. Thank you for your suggestion on skipping St. Remy. Since we won't be able to L'Isle sur la sorgue market we thought we can try the one at St. Remy, but per Kevin's there should be Saturday market in Aix, so I think we'll go to that instead. Fortunately it won't be my first day in, so hopefully the jet lag will be gone by then
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Jul 2nd, 2015, 12:16 PM
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The market in Aix is much bigger than St Remy and it makes sense to head there if you want to experience a market.
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Jul 2nd, 2015, 12:27 PM
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Ok, that's good to hear that market is bigger. We'll be in Aix anyway and spend 2 nights there before heading out to Portugal. Thank you again for the suggestion!!
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Jul 3rd, 2015, 10:50 AM
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I'm not a big market person and they all seem about the same to me, they all sell pretty much the same things -- just some are bigger than others. Isle-sur-la-Sorgue didn't seem any different, either -- I think they do have some area that is antiques, but the rest of it is just like all the others ones (only worse, more crowded).

I really enjoyed Les Baux. I'm not a St REmy fan, so these are my biases. I would never spend time going to a market in St Remy. The only thing I find that town useful for is the Van Gogh connection as I'm interested in history and art history (and him). I missed the ROman ruins there as I didn't have time, but I've also seen plenty of Roman ruins all over Europe.

I'd skip St Remy, do Les Baux and then head to Arles. But that also depends what you want to do in Arles. I spent the whole day there (vacation day, anyway, which was probably only about 10 am to 4 pm). BUt half a day would be okay. One of the things I most liked there is closed anyway until 2018 (the Arles ethnography museum, Museon Arletan). There are Roman ruins there, also, of course. And you can do Les Baux in several hours.
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Jul 6th, 2015, 01:23 PM
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Thank you for your input, Christina! I'll do as you suggest and skip St. Remy and head straight to Les Baux and Arles. I think we'll enjoy the sightseeing more and not feeling rush. Do you know what time these towns starting shut down in the afternoon/evening?
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