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Provence & Cote Itinerary/Anniversary Celebration

Provence & Cote Itinerary/Anniversary Celebration

Old Apr 30th, 2007, 06:58 AM
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jazzy1
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Provence & Cote Itinerary/Anniversary Celebration

Well, I'm back. Based on your previous input and some research, here's my preliminary itinerary. My husband and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary!!! I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with all of this and would love any feedback or advice you have.

Does this seem like a logical sequence? Are we trying to see too much? We would prefer to have a leisurely paced vacation (anniversary trip). Slow down and smell the lavender; more interested in taking in the sights and enjoying the culture and lifestyle (food, wine, people, shopping, scenery). I'm thinking the Riviera/Cote may be our favorite type of place but all will be fabulous.

Day 1: Travel to Paris (we've been to Paris before, years ago)
Day 2: Arrive in Paris
Day 3: Paris
Day 4 Paris

Day 5: Leave Paris (TGV?) for Alpilles Region
Should be pick up a car when we arrive?
Day 6: Where to base ourselves (Avignon, St. Remy)
Day 7: Visit Avignon or St. Remy
Day 8: Visit Nimes & Les Baux, Vaison La Romaine

Day 9: Leave (drive) for Luberon Valley (via Chateau Neuf Du Pape)
Day 10: Where to base ourselves?
Day 11: Visit Gourdes, Rouissillon, Menerbes
Day 12: Visit Loumarin & Bonnieaux

Day 13: Leave for Cote / Riviera (should we drive?)
Where should we base ourselves (Antibes, Villefranche)
Should we keep the car?
Day 14: Visit Cannes, Antibes, Cap d'Antibes
Day 15: Visit Monaco?, Villefranche-sur-Mer
Day 16: Visit St. Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Eze
Moustiers-Ste-Marie....
Day 17: Fly home from Marseille or Nice?

Any comments or other hotel recommendations:
I'm not even sure yet, if these are good central locations.
Mas de Cornud
Hotel Welcome
Hotel Vallon
La Bastide de Marie
Mas-Provence
Les Trois Gourdes
Bastide de Capelongue
Villa Gallici
Hotel De Charm Le Hameau
 
Old Apr 30th, 2007, 07:11 AM
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In 2005, we took in several of the areas that you are looking at, and thoroughly enjoyed the region. Since my daughter was in Nice at the time, we flew to Nice, rented a car at the airport, and headed to Provence.

We stayed at a wonderful B&B ("PBProvence" is a frequent poster on Fodor's) and used that as our central location, so we didn't have to pack up too frequently. When we went back to Nice, we kept the car. Although parking may be a problem in the city, we had a city garage across from our small hotel.

It is a MUST to keep you car, though, since you really need it to get to those places you mentioned - Monaco, Cannes, Antibes, Eze (a favorite!), etc.

"StuDudley" is also a frequent poster on Fodor's, and he has a good itinerary that we used as the basis for some of the sights we visited. Check out some of his posts.

Sounds like a fantastic trip! I'm sure you will enjoy it, especially if you take it easy, and use those central locations for a relaxing anniversary trip!
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 07:25 AM
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I would take the TGV from Paris' Gare de Lyon, then pick up a rental car at Avignon, and stay around St. Remy. I wouldn't move to the Luberon myself. It's not that far from St. Remy. (Also be sure to check out Isle sur la Sorgue, a cute little town built around "arms" or canals of a river and famous for its antiques market.)

I'd drive to the Cote and drop the car. All the places you want to go are on the train, except Eze-village and Cap Ferrat (both reachable by bus from Nice).

You seem to be avoiding staying in Nice, which is the obvious place. It has excellent transportation connections for the places you want to visit. I really liked Nice. It has a lazy, sensual ambiance, lots of good restaurants and shops. We stayed at the Hotel du Petit Palais, which is a little removed from the downtown on the lower reaches of Cimiez, near the Chagall Museum. Very quiet and residential. But it was an easy walk into the downtown.

Can't help you much with the hotels. Though I've heard good things about Hotel Welcome. Check hotels at www.tripadvisor.com.
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 07:40 AM
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Thanks for the quick feedback!!! It sounds like staying near St. Remy for xxx number of days would allow us to see everything listed for Day 5-12. Any rule of thumb on number of days in these areas. I know that's a tough question based on individual desires but....for instance, should you plan a full day for Avignon or St. Remy, etc. Does 6 days in one location sound good as a base for Provence/Luberon. Do you know what the farthest distance is that we would drive from from our base to our sight-seeing adventures, just he Provence leg.

I will definitely add Isle sur la Sorgue to our list also. I read about it but forgot!!

For the Cote, I was trying to stay away from the bigger towns (Nice) and was looking at something like Antibes or Villefranch-sur-Mer but again looking for suggestions. Good central point, etc.

Sorry, at this point I have more questions that anything.

Thank you so much!
 
Old Apr 30th, 2007, 08:55 AM
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You might indicate the days of the week for your itinerary. Many shops in towns & villages close all day Sunday and Monday morning - so if day 6, 7, or 8 is on a Sunday or Monday morning - you're not going to see these cities & villages at their best. I usually visit the countryside on Sundays (after the market in l'Isle sur la Sorgue). Also, if you plan to visit Provence in late June or July (next year, I hope - it's a little late to start itinerary planning for June/July this year), you'll be there in lavender season - and I don't see any lavender sightseeing trips in your plans.

I kinda disagree with people advising you to stay in only 1 location for 8 nights. St Remy is a nice village - but you may tire of it and the hotel if you stay there all 8 nights. I would suggest that you stay in the Luberon - out in the country surrounded by vineyares to get a
"countryside" feel. Perhpas consider staying in Kevin's place (a frequent contributor here)
http://www.masperreal.com/index.html

Drive from Provenmce to the Cote - lots of neat stuff to see on the way. Stay in Nice - for the same reasons Mimar described

I have a 20+ page itinerary which describes my favorite villages, sites, scenic drives, markets, & it has a Provence Fabric section. e-mail me at [email protected] if you want a copy.

Stu Dudley

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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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Are you interested in going to any/all of the many markets in Provence? Research when the markets are to help you determine where to go on certain days in Provence and the Luberon.

The granddaddy of them all seems to be the Sunday morning market in Isle sur la Sorgue but there are many others with varying personalities.

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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 10:04 AM
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More specifics:

Base in St Remy - not Avignon. Avignon is a little difficult to drive in/out of & park - and it's also not a scenic drive to/from.

Get a better map - Nimes and Les Baux are not close to Vaison. Visit Vaison while based in the Luberon.

No need to allocate any time to visit St Remy if you stay in St Remy for several days. It's smaller than you might think & you'll see plenty of it at the beginning & end of your day trips elsewhere.

I don't see the Pont du Gard or Uzes on your itinerary - mistake. Make this a day-trip & add in Castillion du Gard. Patricia gave you a good plan for visiting these places on your other post.

I would drive around the Dentilles on your visit to Vaison & pass through Seguret, Gigondas, etc - all this is detailed in my Provence itinerary - which you should e-mail me for. It also has a detailed plan for visiting the Luberon, and also a driving tour for going from Provence to the Nice area.

Day 16 is not do-able in 1 day for someone who wants a leisurely pace. Moustiers is too far away. Remember, shops close for lunch - so that's not the best time to visit Moustiers, Eze, Villefranche, etc.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 10:12 AM
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Hi Jazzy,

I posted a reply to your previous post. I thought I would again mention about your stay on the Cote. I agree with you about not staying in Nice. I prefer the smaller towns as well. I would consider staying in Cap Ferrat at the Royal Riviera, as I mentioned previously. You can easily walk to Villefranche (about 20 minutes along the Med) or walk into Cap Ferrat or to Beaulieu. The train station in Beaulieu or in Villefranche is easily accessible from this location. IMO, Hotel Welcome is over priced for what you get. I agree with the other poster that said you do not need the car in the Riviera. Trains and buses are easily available. Your trip sounds fabulous, I am sure you will have a wonderful time whatever you decide. The Royal Riviera is a beautiful hotel, wonderful service and spectacular location.
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 10:20 AM
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I think if what you're after is culture, eating, shopping, you'd be better off staying in Nice. Although St. Jean Cap is quite beautiful, the town is very quiet at night, and it has only a handful of restaurants. Nice, on the other hand, along with offering easy transportation to most cities/towns along the coast, has tons of great restaurants, excellent shopping, wonderful museums, a flower market/old town to explore, and beautiful scenery from the top of "Le Rock." There's also very good people-watching from the cafes that line the other side of the Promenade des Anglais. Have fun!
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 10:21 AM
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I forgot to mention that a few years ago, we stayed at Villi Gallici. I understand that it's very hard to get a reservation there now, but we loved it, and found it an easy walk to downtown Aix.
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 10:25 AM
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The Nimes day does not seem to work for reason stated by Stu. I would look at doing Nimes with Pont du Gard one day. An easy day trip from St. Remy. St. Remy and Les Beax would be a good first day after taking the train down from Paris assuming you arrive around lunch. You could hit the hospital in St. Remy and then Les Baux late in the day when the crowds are smaller (we went at about 4:00). You could do Ch N du P with Avignon depending on what you wanted to see in each place. We did some tastings and ate lunch before driving into Avignon for a tour of the Palace and stayed in town for an early dinner.

We stayed at a wonderful B&B near Maussane south of St. Remy, and though it was a perfect location (Mas des Fountaines, I believe). I recommend staying outside of a town to be in the "country". It was great to lay by the pool looking out at olive trees, vineyards in the distance, and Les Alpilles above it all.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 07:09 AM
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Thank you all for taking the time to provide me with such great feedback. I'm going to tweak my itineary a bit to include the actual days of the week, market days and move a few things around. As a few of you mentioned I need to move Vaison La Romaine someplace else and include I'sle Sur la Sorgue (market day). I'm think we will stay outside St. Remy for 2 nights and then 2 nights in the Luberon???? I'm not sure shy but I'm not terrible interested in Nice. Based on the feedback, I'm probably short selling it. I'm going to check out the hotels/B&B's you've all mentioned. I will post my updated itinerary and look forward to your "most excellent" input.

Unrelated but....we saw a movie this weekend called "The Valet"....French with English subtitles. It's very good (funny).

Merci and Au Revoir
 
Old May 1st, 2007, 11:19 AM
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Well, what do you think of this??? Sheez

Mid September 2007
(I will add days/dates and lodging next)

Day 1: Travel to Paris (we've been to Paris before, years ago)
Day 2: Arrive in Paris
Day 3: Paris
Day 4 Paris

Day 5: TGV - St. Remy (3 nights)?
Car in Avignon, drive to St. Remy (see Les Baux - too much in this day)?
Day 6: Visit Avignon & Sur La Sorgue (sun market)?
too much for 1 day?
Day 7: Visit Nimes, Pont Due Gard
Day 8: Pont Du Gard & Uzes

** Does the above look too busy or out of sequence? Shoud I remove something above. We do want to relax a bit? Is Nimes special? Should I drop that?

Day 9: Drive to Luberon Valley - Stay in Bonnieux @ Bastide de Capelongue but not good reviews, or Menerbes @ La Bastide de Marie, don't know price yet?
Day 10: ??
Day 11: Visit Gourdes, Rouissillon, Menerbes
Day 12: Visit Loumarin & Bonnieaux
Where should I put Vaison La Romaine, Seguret,..)?

Still working this piece out:
Day 13: Drive to Cote / Riviera - Base:Cap Ferrat or Antibes
Day 14: Visit Cannes, Antibes, Cap d'Antibes
Day 15: Visit Monaco?, Villefranche-sur-Mer
Day 16: Visit St. Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Eze
Day 17: Fly home from Marseille or Nice?

 
Old May 1st, 2007, 12:43 PM
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>>Day 5: TGV - St. Remy (3 nights)?
Car in Avignon, drive to St. Remy (see Les Baux - too much in this day)?<<

Assuming you'll get to the Avignon TGV station around noon, then drive to your hotel & check in, and then visit les Baux, & return to St Remy to "get aquainted" - that's not too much

>>Day 6: Visit Avignon & Sur La Sorgue (sun market)?<<

I guess what I mentioned on my first post didn't "sink in". I'm assuming day 6 is a Sunday - and all the stores in Avignon will be closed. Also, the market in l'Isle sur la Sorgue is only in the morning, closing by 1PM. The permanent antique shops stay open in the afternoon. If this really is a Sunday, I would visit the market, return to St Remy to explore the town a bit (many shops wil be open), and then visit Les Baux in the late afternoon. If you do this, visit Arles or Avignon the day you arrive instead of visiting St Remy & Les Baux.


>Day 7: Visit Nimes, Pont Due Gard
Day 8: Pont Du Gard & Uzes<

If day 6 is Sunday, then day 7 is Monday (I'm good at math). Again, shops will be closed in Nimes on a Monday morning. I don't think there is any need to visit Avignon, Arles, and Nimes. They are all pretty big cities (Arles is smaller), but there are many similarities in all three cities, & perhaps only 1 or 2 of them would be all you need to visit. I don't think any of these cities would take all day to visit - unless you want to have lunch there & spend a lot of time at cafes.

I'm assuming the Pont du Gard on day 7 is a mistake.

Day 8 of the Pont & Uzes is fine - add in a quick stop to Castillion du Gard.

The reason why I suggested that you add days of the week to your itinerary is so some "more experienced" travelers to Provence can perhaps find things that would work better for you in a different sequence, based on specific days. For example, if day 6 is indeed a Sunday, Isle sur la Sorgue is much closer to the Luberon than St Remy. Perhaps stay in the Luberon first so you can visit the market, and then spend the remainder of the day in the Luberon - where shops will be open in Gordes & Roussillon, and a visit to Senanque Abbey would be nice. Then on Monday, take my "Lavender drive" (I assume you have my 20 page itinerary that has this drive detailed). The lavender will not be blooming, but this is a very scenic drive, with a few villages to visit along the way. This region (around Sault) in Provence is what brings be back almost every year. Then on Tuesday, visit Vaison, and the Dentilles loop which passes through Seguret. On the way back stop in Pernes and take the fountain walk (see my itinerary).

On Wednesday, head to St Remy & stay there for the remainder of your Provence visit. Wednesday morning is their market. Visit Arles, Avignon, the Pont, and Uzes from St Remy

Stu Dudley

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Old May 1st, 2007, 02:28 PM
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Hi Stu! I gotcha. I see there's a much bigger picture here in terms of adding the days to this. You comment about perhaps switching my plans so we hit the Luberon first and then St. Remy, etc. is a good thought. We don't have any restrictions really as far as the dates. I can arrange them any way that will allow for the best travel plans. I will try and work on this tonight. I don't know why something so wonderful can be sooooo stressful. If you happen to have any suggestions regarding days for each stop....I'm all ears!!! We can move things around every which way. BTW, I do have you itinerary. I requested after my first posting a month or so ago. Thanks again. Your help is invaluable!!!!
 
Old May 1st, 2007, 02:32 PM
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Are you saying that you don't have airline tickets yet, so you can travel anytime you want??? If so, are you restricted by the number of days you can get away for this anniversary???

Stu Dudley
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Old May 1st, 2007, 02:40 PM
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Bonjour Stu! I haven't purchased tickets yet. We are planning to go in September. Trying to catch the best weather and least crowds. We are limited to 2 - 2.5 weeks including travel days to and from. We too live in Northern California, like you!
 
Old May 1st, 2007, 04:45 PM
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I developed a long reply - but I hit the wrong key on my PC & I wiped it out before sending. I'll try again tomorrow - Gym & dinner now.

Stu Dudley
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Old May 1st, 2007, 05:06 PM
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Oh man. I hate when that happens. I can't tell you how much I appreciate what you and everyone else on this forum does. I know it takes a lot time and patience;-). I hope to join the ranks of helpful posters. Have a good evening Stu.
 
Old May 1st, 2007, 06:49 PM
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Just follow Stu's advice. He is da man! Everytime I read his comments I want to rush out an buy a plane ticket, make reservations, and head off for the south of France.
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