Provence Adventure

Oct 3rd, 2007, 08:58 AM
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Provence Adventure

After visiting Paris for the last 2 years, my wife and I plan to visit Provence in September of 2008 for about 2 weeks with a car.
We would appreciate any recommendations as to sights to see,accomodations, resturants, etc.
We especially would like to locate for part of the time in a "perched village".
Thank you in advance for your help.
JOEANDBEA is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 09:27 AM
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Check out

It's wonderful.
ddena is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 09:33 AM
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I agree with that, that website is a terrific resource. Also see

Perched villages may not be that convenient to stay in, you know -- as they may be closed to auto traffic. But, if you must, I like Roussillon (although I think most accommodations are really outside it). Lots of folks like Gordes, I'm not crazy about it, but it would do. There are a few hotels just on the road leading into it.
Christina is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 09:46 AM
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We spent a week in (just outside actually) the beautiful 'perched' village of Venasque, one of "Les Plus Beaux Villages de France".

Aside from the comforts offered by the mas, it was ideally situated for our day trips.
TuckH is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 10:03 AM
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What interests you--history, art, great scenery, open-air markets?
Underhill is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 10:04 AM
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And, how much of Provence do you want to cover? It's a huge region, running all the way over to Italy in the east.
Underhill is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 10:09 AM
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I also recommend googling "Gites Provence" and you'll find some beautiful farmhouse B n'Bs.
ddena is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 10:43 AM
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We had the same idea, but for 2007. So I’m writing this from our apartment in the perched village of Bonnieux (thanks to the apartment’s WiFi service). We arrived Saturday, and will be here for three weeks. So far, we’re having a great time.

We have a car, and are using Bonnieux as a base to explore the area. But Bonnieux itself is pretty interesting. It’s not too large, but it’s large enough to have most essential services. It also has a number of very good restaurants, in addition to some small local dives. We had lunch today in “La Gare de Bonnieux”, which is not actually a railroad station any more, but has become a restaurant. They offer a fixed meal including an entrée, main course, dessert, and wine, at 13 euros, a real bargain. The entrée is a buffet with quite a bit of variety. The main course has no choice, but changes daily.

We’ve rented an apartment in the old Gendarmerie of Bonnieux, which has been converted into apartments, and is now called La Bastide Maréchal-Denier. You can see it at:

It’s very nice, with all sorts of amenities. With an apartment, we sometimes eat out, and sometimes cook here. On Monday, we had lunch high up in the village, with a panoramic view overlooking Lacoste (the ruined castle of the Marquis de Sade, now owned by Pierre Cardin), and Mont Ventoux in the distance. In the afternoon, we drove almost into Apt and visited a supermarket, where we stocked up for the next three weeks. We also bought some pre-prepared quiche for dinner, and had that with some rice and melons we'd gotten the day before from vendors at the open-air market in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. You can pick up a lot of vocabulary in a supermarket, since everything is labeled. When you buy produce, you have to put it on a scale yourself, and then press a button corresponding to what's in the bag. The scale then weighs it and prints a label with a barcode on it to be scanned.

On an earlier trip, we stayed here in Bonnieux in the B&B “Le Clos du Buis”, which is just down the street from where we are now. If you prefer a B&B, I’d recommend it.

Tomorrow, we’re planning on a visit to Aix-en-Provence, where there are more indoor activities, since it’s expected to be a bit rainy.

When we get back, we’ll write a trip report, and let the Fodorites know how it all worked out.

justretired is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Six of my girlfriends and I spent 8 days in Provence last summer in celebration of many 60th birthdays and had a fabulous time! If you click on my screen name, you will find that I posted a fairly long trip report (including Paris at the end) which tells about where we went and what we did.

We found our guesthouse/B&B (www.lelavandinprovence) in Pernes les Fontaines to be very centrally located to the towns/villages we wanted to see and found the driving to be quite easy. Our hostess at the guesthouse, Georgia Ball, is American so there was no language problem in communicating.

I would be happy to do my best to answer any questions you might have.


luvparee is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 12:08 PM
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Hi Larry! We were recently there. The Mistral hit so we dined at the Tinel. My favorite, Le Fournil was closed that afternoon.
cigalechanta is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 12:26 PM
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Hi, Cigale!

We realized before leaving that we'd miss the Fodors GTG in France. Glad you had a good trip. We headed straight to Le Tinel on our first night. It's one of our favorites. I reported on our three good meals in Bonnieux on an earlier trip, in the thread:

We'll get to Le Fournil eventually. It was closed, with a sign that I didn't understand about some sort of family celebration. But we've got almost 2.5 weeks more!

justretired is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 04:47 PM
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I have a trip report from our Provence trip in May if you are interested.We were there 10 days and saw a lot. Click on my name and pull it up. There is a lot of info about Provence on this site. You will love it there. Happy travels.
mimipam is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 07:11 PM
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I will second TuckH's post about Venasque. A small perched village.

Stayed there and found it very central with a great view of Mont Ventoux.

Booked through these guys, very friendly and helpful.
Kiwi_acct is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 07:35 PM
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My choice would be Crillon-la-Brave in the village of the same name. The hotel is built on terraces and a nice drive to the local wine vineyards. We drove to many places from there
cigalechanta is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 07:48 PM
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luvparee - you link doesn't work. Can you check it?
Mimmel is offline  
Oct 5th, 2007, 02:39 AM
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Mimmel, just add "com", comme ça:

AnselmAdorne is offline  
Oct 5th, 2007, 05:49 AM
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Sorry about that! Thanks, Anselm!

luvparee is offline  
Oct 5th, 2007, 08:20 AM
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Hi Joe and Bea -

Just got back yesterday.

You will love it.

We stayed for almost a week at the Mas des Carassins in St. Remy. Outstanding place - a converted farmhouse with a casually elegant Provencal interior, friendly and efficient staff, great dinner, and really beautiful gardens with a pool. Very quiet, too. Easy access to Arles, Avignon, Nimes, and the Luberon.

However, St. Remy is not a perched village. We had lunch one day in Lacoste - with the ruined castle - and noticed what appeared to be a very simple inn across the street from the Mairie. Lacoste is beautiful and charming, with great views.

I agree with Christina - most accommodations in the Luberon seem to be outside of the towns rather than in them. The one in Lacoste seems to be an exception.

I also agree with Christina on Gordes - ravishing views of it, but not so interesting once inside the town. Roussillon was much more interesting and charming. However, a hotel outside of Gordes with a view of it would be just great.

Definitely visit the Roman sites - Pont du Gard just past Nimes, the Maison Carree and the Arena in Nimes, Glanum outside St. Remy.

Nimes is a comfortable, attractive, not very touristy city that also has the first rate Jardins de la Fontaine. I also really liked Aix. Charming, vibrant, sophisticated, and also not touristy once you move a block away from the Cours Mirabeau.

(Not that I have anything in particular against tourists. I am one. I just struggle with huge hordes of people and endless souvenir shops, and I like being a bit off the beaten path.)

Arles was very good too. We didn't visit the arena there, having just seen the superior one (larger, taller, much more intact) in Nimes, but were astonished by the facade and the cloister at St. Trophime. It's supposed to be the best collection of medieval sculpture anywhere.

I was not so crazy about Avignon. Drab, despite a brilliant sunny day, and boring, except for the magnificent Palais des Papes. Drive in, park outside the walls as close to the Palais as possible, take the audio tour, and leave. If you have to see more of it, the area just east of the Palais was kinda cool.

To mention a few restaurants by name would be an injustice to all the other really outstanding restaurants we went to. However, the Jardin del Sud in Nimes, the L'Aile ou Cuisse in St. Remy, and the Zinc d'Hugo in Aix were truly extraordinary.

Have a great time!

robertino is offline  
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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SKIDDY is offline  
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:55 PM
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Technically, Nimes is in Languedoc, not Provence.I'm one who loves Avignon, great restaurants, flower market, flea markets, the view from the Rocher des Doms that you can view the Rhone and the celebrated bridge of song, the Musée Calvert that had peacocks in its garden, and across the bridge Villeneuve-lez-Avignon is one of Provence's best gardens. In 17 days there one year, I was never bored.
Once you decide and book where you will stay, we will all recommend restaurants and sights for you
cigalechanta is offline  

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