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Provence/French Riviera Itinerary Questions

Provence/French Riviera Itinerary Questions

Old Apr 25th, 2009, 11:38 PM
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meo
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Provence/French Riviera Itinerary Questions

My husband and I have 10 nights to spend in the Southern part of France plus 3 nights in Paris, and I’d love to have some help fine-tuning our itinerary:

Fly into Paris, arriving at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 30; leaving directly for Nice by plane or train (I hope that is reasonable to do the same day).

3 nights in Nice or Villefranche-Sur-Mer, with a day trip to Monaco

2 nights in the Luberon – not sure if we should stay in Rousillon or a nearby town

2 nights in the Cotes du Rhone - Vaison les Romaines or another nearby town

2 nights in Avignon

1 nights in Arles or Les Baux or St. Remy (or Aix-en-Provence)

3 nights in Paris – we were in Paris last year for a full week, so we are fine with just 3 nights this time around.

The problem I’m having with this itinerary is the frequent hotel changes, but I’m not sure how to consolidate and still see the same areas. I generally prefer to have 3-4 nights in one location. Only 1 or 2 nights in a location would be acceptable, but not for the entire trip. Are we trying to see too much?

I have read Stu Dudley’s itinerary/information on Provence and have found it to be very helpful - thanks, Stu!

Thanks in advance for itinerary suggestions!

(I haven't figured out how to type accents, etc....sorry!)
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 12:02 AM
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Meo -

No need to change locations so often during the 7 days between Nice and Paris. Everything you mentioned is well worth seeing and all are within 1 hour drives max of each other. You could certainly just pick one base for the whole time - or if you wanted to cut down the driving somewhat, you could split your time between the Luberon and Les Alpilles and have basically all the bases well covered. We have guests frequently doing just that and it seems to work quite well.

-Kevin
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 02:23 AM
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I would add at least one day on the Cote d'Azur. Nice is a large city. Check also locations like Antibes or Juan-les-Pins or Theoule-sur-Mer for your stay on the Cote. On the Cote, I would recommend this itinerary:

- One day for the Corniches, La Turbie, Eze and Monaco.
- One day for Nice, especially the museums.
- One day for St. Paul, Vence, Fondation Maeght, Antibes.
- One day for the Corniche d'Or (Corniche de l'Esterel) and Cannes.

So, you need at least for full days in the area.

Provence:

As Kevin had written, one location will be enough to cover Provence. Travelwise, St. Remy or Les Baux would make a perfect base. And both are very nice towns.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 04:47 PM
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I agree with the other posters (although I would not stay in the village of Les Baux).

- Add 1 day to Nice (to recover from jet lag)

- Max 2 locations in Provence. Perhaps St Remy & the Vaison region would spread you out the most. If the "out-in-the-country" feel of the Luberon appeals to you, then perhaps there & Arles or St Remy.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 04:57 PM
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The Alpilles and the Luberon give you different aspects of Provence. Stay in one and after the other
There are wonderful places to stay in les Baux, but thank goodness they are not in the upper stone village but below so when you read about a place to stay realize it maybe outside the village
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 07:40 PM
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Thank you Kevin, traveller1959, StuDudley and cigalechante for the speciifc recommendations to our itinerary. I'll add one night in Nice and do 2 locations max in Provence.

That sounds much more relaxing than skipping around every other night!

Thanks again -

Molly
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 08:59 AM
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My wife and I stayed 2 nights in Avignon last March. Unfortunately, it happened to be a Saturday and Sunday night. Sunday was a bad day because there was a limited train/bus schedule out of town and we felt "trapped" in Avignon. Some of the museums were closed that day as well...
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 09:21 AM
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Good catch trill. I always advise people to stay out of large cities and many towns/villages like Avignon & Arles on a Sunday and Monday morning.

Meo - you said that you have my Itinerary. Re-read page #1.

Sunday is a great day to visit the morning market in l'Isle sur la Sorgue and then visit Gordes & Roussillon in the Luberon. Take a drive in the country too. Shops in St Remy are mostly open on Sunday, but not Monday morning. It's French law that requires shops close on Sunday - with some exceptions. The law is slowly changing (more exceptions), but we never visit a village on Sunday unless we know in advance that shops are open. Also, many restaurants close on Sunday (dinner) and Monday. Cultural places like museums are open on Sunday. Villages like les Baux, Gordes, and Roussillon that are almost 100% dependent on tourism, seem to be excepted also.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 09:22 AM
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>>Good catch trill<

thill

Sorry

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 09:43 AM
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Here is a good description on shops closed on Sunday & Monday.

http://about-france.com/holidays-sundays.htm

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 11:02 AM
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Almost forgot, we stayed at Hotel de l'Horloge in Avignon. Great location and a very friendly staff. The breakfast was nice as well...mmmmm...pain au chocolat. <drools on keyboard>
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 12:17 PM
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Thanks for the hotel recommendation, thill – it looks great!

From the feedback I’ve received, this is what I’ve come up with, so far (I haven’t listed many of the towns we could visit each day):

4 nights in Nice (will arrive Sunday, depart on Thursday)
- visit the Corniches, La Turbie, Eze & Monaco, St. Paul, Vence, Fondation Maeght, Antibes, Corniches d’Or and Cannes

3 nights in the Vaison region (arrive on Thursday, depart on Sunday)
- Vaison la Romaine (market day is Tuesday, so we’d miss it)

3 nights in St. Remy or Arles Les Baux (arrive on Sunday, depart on Wednesday)
- Avignon
- l’Isle sur la Sorgue (Sunday morning market), Gordes & Roussilon
- Carpentras (would miss Friday market day)

3 nights in Paris (arrive on Wednesday, depart on Saturday)

Some additional questions…
- can we fit in a visit to Aix-en Provence?
- Should we take a train or plane back to Paris, and from which city should we depart?
- Do I need to flip the itinerary (St. Remy/Vaison region) to either have a better departure point to get to Paris and/or to hit the market days?
- Villefranche-Sur-Mer sounds great from the descriptions I’ve read, but should we stay there or in Nice?

Thanks so much – your input is extremely helpful!

Molly

P.S. to Stu – I keep rereading your itinerary info, and hopefully new things sink in each time!
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 12:27 PM
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Wouldn't think twice about substituting Aix for Carpentras. The latter is pleasant enough, but the former is a gem...

-Kevin
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 12:41 PM
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You could visit the Carpentras market on Friday from Vaison.

I too would visit Aix instead of Carpentras (other than the market). There is a great Tuesday market in Aix. There is a market in St Remy on Wed.

Take the TGV from the Avignon TGV station to Paris. 3 hrs, and about 25-40K if you get PREM fares.

Avignon is closest to St Remy - so your Provence sequence is fine.

Stay in Nice, & have dinner in Villefranche one evening. Lots more to do & see in Nice. Villefranche is about a 2 hr visit, IMO.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 28th, 2009, 01:52 PM
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Thanks for all of the info! I'm going to do some more research and incorporate your suggestions in my itinerary.

Some transportation questions came to mind: I attempted to find train info to get us from Paris to Nice, and it doesn't seem like it's as direct as I had thought. Would it be better to fly to Nice? Is taking the train from Avignon to Paris (toward the end of our trip) better than flying?
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Old Apr 28th, 2009, 02:14 PM
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If you start your trip in Nice, I would fly there directly from CDG. There is only 1 direct no-change TGV from CDG and it is fast till Aix, then it slows down.

Avignon to Paris and CDG is fast - about 3 hrs. That's your best bet.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 28th, 2009, 02:17 PM
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Thanks - sounds like a good plan.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 05:41 PM
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I'm still researching hotels in Provence. I've come up with some possibilities, but it's difficult for me to judge how far apart our two Provence locations should be (each are 3 nights, as noted above). I was aiming for St. Remy and Vaison, as suggested in Fodorite replies.

Mas de Cornud in St. Remy (B & B and cooking school) was recommended by a friend. Other recommendations are the Hostellerie le Beffroi in Vaison-la-Romaine and Hotel du Poete in Fontaine de Vaucluse. I also thought Le Mas Des Carassins in St. Remy looked interesting.

So my questions are... are there two of these that are far enough apart to justify the hotel change, and does anyone have any comments on the hotels themselves?

Thanks for your help!
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Old May 20th, 2009, 06:07 PM
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Was in Vaison la romaine last week and stopped by the Hostellerie le Beffroi in hopes of having lunch. No luck on lunch--closed until higher tourist season--but the hotel and location in medieval city looked lovely.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 06:37 PM
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Vaison & St Remy are far enough apart for a hotel change.

Stu Dudley
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