provence for approx. 5-6 days

Old Apr 4th, 2001, 10:03 AM
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provence for approx. 5-6 days

We will be visiting france for first time in may. paris first for 4-5 days then taking train to provence for a few days before heading to meet friends in Italy. i booked hotel in arles to use as base for exploring that area of provence - my question is: how many days should we plan on for touring that area and should we consider a few days there and then a few days in the vence, st. paul vence, eze area before dropping our car off in Nice?? right now, i booked 4 nights in arles with plans to head from there over to nice to drop the car - i'm wondering if we should explore the eastern area of provence/north of nice for a few days too. i saw a recent posting from someone who said arles and avignon were very disappointing. Or as another option, should we go from paris to beune for a day or so and then onto provence??
Any thoughts on an itinerary would be MOST APPRECIATED! the more i read this website, the more confused I get
Old Apr 4th, 2001, 11:07 AM
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Personally, I think you should trust your own feelings and interests more than doing what other people say, assuming you've read maybe a couple sources of information on the places and things you want to see in an area. I do not agree at all with the other post about how disappointing Avignon and Arles were; I spent four days in Avignon and it was not too much. I really do not agree that you can "do" Avignon in 1/2 day. The difference is probably that my tastes and interests are different than that poster's (or Rick Steves, I'm sure of that). I like cities over rural areas, like urban environments, know French, and am very interested (including sev. post-graduate courses) in urban architecture and French architectural and general history. Avignon has one of the best small fine arts museums in the Provinces I've ever seen (I think that's the Museum of the Petit Palais, good medieval and Florentine Renaissance art) as well as about a half dozen other good museums, that museum alone takes several hours; on top of that you have the Popes' palace, the park on the butte, the bridge and river, that quarter with the stream and mills (forget it's name), not to mention just walking around and some very good restaurants; they also have a very lively and good performing arts community (music and theater). How you do all that in 1/2 day is beyond me. I do not expect cities to be filled with trees in their center, but Avignon is not especially lacking in vegetation at all, I don't understand that (that is in fact one reason I dislike NY very much) at all and I did not even notice dog poop. I spent one entire day in Arles as there is a lot to see there, but one day there just about does it. I did not like Arles as well as Avignon, too be honest, for ambience and the people, it was too touristy for my taste and somewhat sinister feeling, although I know I was there on an odd day, it was a festival day and it was crammed with tourists from all over Europe and a waiter cheated me (only time that has happened in France, it was not an accident). I liked the Avignon area better than around Nice myself, because I'm not crazy about that whole expensive French Riviera touristy milieu. So, it's hard to say what will appeal to you most and how you'll feel, but I would not change plans based on one person's opinion. I was traveling alone and found Avignon very friendly and lively and nonthreatening at night, with the cafes all out in the main square, you could easily pick out one to dine in not only by menus but by looking at the food, and have a great time chatting with others or people-watching.
Old Apr 19th, 2001, 03:30 AM
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If you would like an itinerary I wrote up for 5-6 days in la belle Provence, e-mail me!
Old Apr 19th, 2001, 03:59 AM
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Le pont d'Avignon is the name of the bridge. I was in Avignon last July and ate some of the best food of my life. A very expensive restaurant called "le vernet" and also "wooloomooloo" (I think I spelled that right), which had a great atmosphere, and even better food with an Aussie spin. I would definitely go back. I missed the theatre festival by one day, and I wish that I could have gone to some of the plays. Simply the best! We also took a little boat ride on the river for 40FF, which was well worth it when our feet got tired.

It really depends on what you like to do when you travel. All of Provence is worth seeing. I can't hardly wait to go back to see more.
Old Apr 19th, 2001, 04:53 AM
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I would split my time --the Arles area is certainly worth 2-3 days, but we also enjoyed the Vence, St.Paul area as well. The areas are quite different.Others may disagree, but I would recommend staying in Vence rather than the more tourist overrun St. Paul.
We stayed in L'Auberge des Seigneurs et du Lion D'or--an inexpensive inn recommended in Karen Brown's books. Lots of charm, great location, and food.

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