Provence & Tuscany

Nov 8th, 2003, 10:57 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 17
Provence & Tuscany

Would like input regarding a trip to Provence and Tuscany. We only have 14 days. Flying into Marseille, out of Milan.

Special trip for me, 9 yr old daughter, husband, and his older (but active) parents (50th anniv.). Grandma wants to see Provence, husband wants to see Tuscany, so we'll try to do both. I'm thinking to stay in a small inn or b&b somewhere around the Avignon-Arles-Aix triangle. Any suggestions? Prefer mid-price - say $100/night? (Is that even close?)

Thinking to spend 5 nights/days in Provence, then stopover for 2 days in Cote d'Azur area, then on to Tuscany. In Tuscany thinking of spending 4 nights, staying around Florence/Siena. Same idea of b&b or small inn. Any ideas?

Then go through Venice for two nights on way back to Milan to catch plane home. Or is it too much to try to stopover in Venice? I've heard it is a fabulous place to see, but is it worth it for a short trip?

Same question for Cote d'Azur. I've heard that Nice is interesting and I sas thinking Grandpa might like to play a hand of blackjack in Monte Carlo, but I'm wondering if we will only be wasting time.

Any ideas would be welcome. I noticed on another post that blh did a similar trip once - hope to hear about it.
kiminokie is offline  
Nov 8th, 2003, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I'm assuming you're looking for two rooms, one double for the parents and a triple for you and the daughter. In this case, I'm also thinking you'll need to generally plan a bit closer to 150 per room per night and that's euros not dollars. I just booked a friend and her traveling companion into Milan and out of Nice so they could do some Italy and some Provence. Most of the rooms were about 125 euros double. Venice is definitely fabulous, but it will make your trip much tighter, though it is doable. I'd recommend Le Hameau in St. Paul de Vence area outside of Nice for a nice place on the Cote D'Azur, Flora in Venice. Scout this board for good recs for Avignon/Arles/Aix area and for Tuscany. We've stayed in nice places in both but they were a bit pricier. Should be a nice trip.
jmv is offline  
Nov 8th, 2003, 11:39 AM
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You might want to consider skipping the Cote d'Azur and add the nights to Venice. Less hotel moves and adds needed time to a very special place.
Nov 8th, 2003, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Yes, we did a similar trip last fall. We flew into Rome and out of Marseille. Spent four nights in Tuscany, two nights in Cinque Terre, took train around the riviera to Nice, drove to St. Remy and spent seven nights in Provence.

We spent two nights in St. Remy at Les Jardins de Fontanille. This was a *** with beautiful gardens, large pool, rather new rooms - modern with a small kitchenette, and private patio. We paid 55 E per night which was unbelievable - it was the end of October, and was a bargain. The phone # 0490924242. Fax 0490923924. We did not have a reservation. From St. Remy, we saw Les Baux, Arles, Pont du Gard. You could easily see Avignon and many other places.

We spent one night in Vaison at Hostellerie le Beffroi ***. This was a wonderful old hotel circa 1564. Paid 90E which included a nice breakfast. We saw many small villages on the way to Vaison including Isle sur la Sorgue. We toured the Roman ruins in Vaison which are most interesting. We were there on market day - a very large and interesting market.

The next three days were spent in Lourmarin at Villa Saint-Louis. Website:
This was bed and breakfast for 65E which was truly a bargain. From Lourmarin we saw many of the villages in the Luberon - Gordes, Roussillion, Bonnieux, Lacoste, Menerbes, etc. The last night was spent near the airport outside Marseille.

We did not see any of the Cote d'Azur villages - are planning to do that next fall. We did stay in Cinque Terre for two nights - so you could just as easily stay those nights in France before going on to Tuscany.

We stayed in Siena at Hotel Caterina, website This was a wonderful hotel - I would highly recommend it. We had a very small room which was 98E and included a wonderful breakfast in a wonderful garden breakfast room. However, our friends stayed there in the spring of 2002 - and were able to get an apartment next to the hotel which was two bedrooms and two baths with a living room area for 200 E total. This was a wonderful bargain and would be great for a family traveling together. The parking was somewhat of a problem - and cost extra. You could easily see almost all of Tuscany by day triping from Siena. However, there are many other great places to stay in Tuscany - there have been some great trip reports recently - I personally would enjoy staying in Pienza because I thought it was a good location to go all different directions - easy to get in and out of - more so than some other hilltowns such as Montepulciano - we stayed there two nights and found it difficult to navigate.

When is your trip? If it is during the low or shoulder season, you can get some great bargains. If I can answer any questions, I'll be glad to try and help. Hope you all have a wonderful trip!
blh is offline  
Nov 11th, 2003, 12:49 PM
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Hey everyone, thanks for the input. Unfortunately, we are going next July, which I know is a terrible time because of the crowds, but it is the only time that everyone can get away.

Regarding your time in Provence, blh, I was kind of planning to stay in one location and take day trips. However, I realize that is a lot of traveling. Do you think it would be better to break it into two locations instead? I think we are most interested in villages and experiencing Provencial culture.

Also, the grandparents like to take walks and I think they'd enjoy walking around a small village. Are the hotels you mentioned located in that manner.

Thanks also for info about Tuscany. Did you think four days was adequate for that part of the trip?

Look forward to hearing from you.

kiminokie is offline  
Nov 11th, 2003, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You can see a lot of Provence from St. Remy. The hotel Les Jardins was a short drive from the town center - there are many shops and restaurants in St. Remy - a great market - plenty to see. I found a website for the Les Jardins
which should give you prices for July and you can see pictures, etc.

Our hotel in Loumarin was right in the center of the village - Loumarin was also a great place to walk and enjoy the town. There were several restaurants and bars that had outside seating - we enjoyed eating outside at noon with all the local townspeople - we were the only tourists the end of October. Both of these towns are easy to drive in - which is a plus in these little villages.

I would probably break the time into two locations - however, you could also see plenty of villages from one location. Just depends on how much driving you want to do.

I would also suggest you check on air conditioning for July - I suspect it would be rather warm without it. The pool at the place in St. Remy would be wonderful in July.

We could have easily spent more time in Tuscany - however, we saw a lot in those four days - and hope to return again to see more.
blh is offline  
Nov 11th, 2003, 03:17 PM
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Is the weather, traffic the same in Tuscany as in Provence. Which months are better in Tuscany? I get nervous driving.

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