Provence in early June

Oct 23rd, 2009, 07:17 PM
  #1  
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Provence in early June

We're thinking of going to Provence in early June. Our family consists of my husband and me, our three children (13, 12 and 7) and my 70-year-old dad.

I think I've found an apartment rental in Uzes. Is that a good location? We'll be there between five and seven days. Particularly want to give my dad a taste of Provence, since it's the place he's always wanted to go.

So confused on where to stay. Any suggestions? Is Uzes a good choice, or are there better ones? Interested in experiencing Provence and seeing Roman ruins, etc.
ksbeem is offline  
Oct 24th, 2009, 06:34 AM
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I love Uzes - but it is kinda in a corner of Provence. Actually, it is technically not in Provence at all - since it's in the department of the Gard which is in the Languedoc/Roussillon region.

St Remy is centrally located, but it is a lot more touristy than Uzes. Like Uzes, St Remy has lots of cafes & restaurants (pizza places for the kids) plus shops for browsing.

For a "taste" of Provence, I would probably choose Uzes because it is less touristy. If you want to be closer to most of the top attractions in Provence, then St Remy would probably be a better choice.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Oct 25th, 2009, 02:12 PM
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OK. Now another question: we're not going in June, we're going in February. June didn't work, and our kids have some time off from school in Feb.

Will it be a miserable time to go, to go in winter?
ksbeem is offline  
Oct 25th, 2009, 02:43 PM
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I second Uzes...excellent little town, one with which my wife fell utterly in love.
RedStater is offline  
Oct 25th, 2009, 04:04 PM
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If you must go in February - visit Rome, London, or Paris. Save Provence for mid April through mid Oct.

Stu Dudley
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Oct 27th, 2009, 12:02 AM
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I like Stu's suggestion of Rome in Feb.
Part of the beauty of Provence is the lavender blooming in the late spring.

However, if Provence is really your goal, I would suggest Vaison-la-Romaine. As its name suggests, it is an old Roman city, with ruins right in the middle of the city. There is also the magnificent "old town" that is across the bridge and perched high above the Ouvèze River. From there you can do loads of day trips, including Uzès (about an hour away).
The other great thing about Vaison is that you won't find very many tourists in February!

Jeni
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Oct 27th, 2009, 06:58 AM
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I can't imagine visiting Provence (as a first timer) & not seeing lavender, sunflowers, broom, vinyards - and enjoying long warm lazy-days where you can dine outside or wander into town in the morning for a cafe creme & croissants outside.

Some of our best trips to Paris & London have been in the winter. We'll be in Paris for 11 nights this mid-Dec. Rome would be fantastic too - but we've never visited it in the Winter.

Stu Dudley
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Oct 27th, 2009, 05:15 PM
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what ever you decide, my friends live in Uzes and write a wonderful blog on the area:

http://frenchletters.wordpress.com/

We go every other year in the summer and stay in Chateauneuf de Gadagne, which is just east of Avignon.
stormygirl is offline  
Oct 28th, 2009, 05:40 AM
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ksbeem

Not to confuse the issue, but, if you go in late June you will get to see lavender in full bloom. I'm not sure if it's peaking in erarly June. Just a thought...
flygirl is offline  
Oct 28th, 2009, 07:43 AM
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We stayed in Bonnieux with 2 sons this past summer. Great base to travel from and quiet in the village at night yet enough choices to to eat/shop they were happy. We did all the Roman sites we could fit in and hit many markets. Make sure to plan a trip to Les Baux and the Sunday market in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. My guys loooved the markets, surprising to some, as one is 16! They would've gone to more than we did. We rented a villa and cooked part of our meals. Very relaxing, best vacation I can recall. Lourmarin is also very nice, not hilly if your dad has any walking issues. Many of the villages are strenuous to walk about in, very steep streets in the "perched" Luberon villages. Not sure where else you have looked.
dreamweaver746 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2009, 07:54 AM
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Uzès is a delightful place, but as mentioned, it's off in a bit of a corner of the area. St-Rémy, though a major tourist magnet, is a more central choice.

At any rate, I wouldn't go in February. It will be bleak and you won't get to capture any of the highlights of visiting Provence - the beautiful light, the fields of lavender and sunflowers, the glistening olive groves....Also, many things will be closed for the season.

And while it's got great Roman ruins, I don't get the attraction of Vaison-la-Romaine. Yes, it's got a charming (but small) hilltop old quarter, but no more charming than many other places, and the main town below is pretty unattractive.
StCirq is offline  
Oct 28th, 2009, 09:29 AM
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Well, thanks for all your suggestions. February, however, is the only time we can go because of scheduling conflicts at other times of the year. I appreciate the suggestions of Rome, and we are spending several days in Paris before heading south.

However, my dad has always wanted to go to Provence, and this is the only time we can go this year. I don't want to wait too long because you never know what might happen.

So with that said, are we going to have a terrible time in Provence in February? I'm starting to get stressed out now.
ksbeem is offline  
Oct 28th, 2009, 09:33 AM
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Why not go directly to the Riviera, if you must go in February? Or, Aix en Provence?

Nice and environs used to be a winter destination (it may still be?), and overall I'd expect that a city would be more interesting in the cold season than a rural area.

Friends of mine spent the entire month of January in Aix, last year, and had a wonderful time and didn't want to come home.
flygirl is offline  
Oct 28th, 2009, 08:13 PM
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Just my opinion...Provence, to me, is nearly all outdoors. The ruins and many of the sidewalks, streets and villages are strenuous and sometimes treacherous on a dry, clear and sunny day. I cannot imagine some of the highlights with the Mistral blowing and freezing temps. It is quite remote in some spots. I think you may be sorry if you make the trip and the weather is miserable. Do lots of research on the weather history for the timeframe you are thinking of. I would NOT go in February, myself. The roads are very narrow once you get off the major highways--twisty and steep in spots, wouldn't be easy in snow or ice. The essence of Provence is sensory--the sights and smells and the bustle of markets, the lavender, sunflowers and outdoor living. You will miss all that, and as such, will not really "see" the Provence that you dream about. Perhaps going to the Riviera as suggested and then watching the weather forecast and making a driving trip up to Provence. It's about 3 hours from Menton, which is where many English retirees go. It's between Nice and Ventimiglia.
dreamweaver746 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2009, 08:19 PM
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Totally agree with dreamweaver. I have a house in the south of France (not Provence, but the same general idea), and February is THE WORST month there - absolutely horrible. Your father will NOT see the Provence he envisions, not anything like it. It will be interesting, as all travel adventures are, but I'm sure he has at least a few preconceived notions about what Provence will be like, and they will NOT be met. You will all be disappointed unless you are truly phenomenally open-minded and unjudgmental travelers.
StCirq is offline  
Nov 5th, 2009, 08:34 AM
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OK, here's what's going to happen. Arrangements are made and cannot be changed. We will deal with whatever happens, weatherwise. Maybe with global warming, it will be unseasonably warm.

We're going to Paris first, then on to Avignon via TGV. Staying in a rented apartment for four nights, just outside the pedestrian area of the city.

This is the only time this year we can go because of school and work and other things that are preventing us traveling in the summer. This is a chance for my dad to see historical sites he's always wanted to see. I know there won't be lavender fields, etc., but this might be my dad's only chance ever to go to France, and we're taking it.

Thanks for all your advice!
ksbeem is offline  
Nov 5th, 2009, 09:38 AM
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If you make time to visit the area around St. Remy here are my notes from June 2007. My favorites among the list are Joel Durand, Saint Paul and Les Baux. Not sure about visiting Les Baux in Feb.

St. Remy (17 min. from Tarascon) pop. 9,429
Birthplace of physician and prophet Nostradamus in 1503 and retreat of Van Gogh in 1888

Joel Durand chocolate shop,
3 blvd Victor Hugo, Tues-Sat 10am-7pm
http://www.chocolat-durand.com/en/
An international group of shoppers enjoying free samples and talking with Mssr Durand. An alphabet of exotic chocolate flavors. Chatted with a woman handing out chocolates and she just kept giving me one after another of all different kinds as she told me of her daughter who loves visiting the US. I bet I had 8-10 very expensive chocolates before I convinced her I couldn't eat another one.

Le Petit Duc, 7 blvd Victor Hugo,Daily 10am-1pm & 3pm-7pm
Antique cookies with recipes used centuries ago, imagine yourself eating the same cookies enjoyed by Marie Antoinette. English speaking owner, expensive but cute tins

Saint Paul de Mausole
http://www.cloitresaintpaul-valetudo.com/Historique.htm
12th C asylum where Van Gogh sought treatment. Just outside of town. Van Gogh often walked to town and painted his surroundings. Sweet little cloisters that Van Gogh and others walked in comtemplation.

Glanum- Foundations of a Roman market town on the trade route between Italy & Spain Open daily 9am-7pm, 6.5 euros

Les Baux de Provence pop. 443, Allow 2 hours
http://www.lesbauxdeprovence.com/home.html
Medieval ghost town & castle ruins, 15 minutes from St. Remy
Park as close to top as possible, take ticket & pay for parking at machine below town entry next to telephone & bakery, 4 euros.
Castle ruins open 9am-7pm 7.50 euros, audioguide helpful
Fantastic sight perched high above a patchwork quilt landscape of olive groves, lavender fields and other crops.
You will climb steps carved of rock, can be windy

Drive south through picturesque towns of:
Maussane les Alpilles (6K from Les Baux) pop. 2,003 olive trees and countryside

Mouries (4K from Maussane) pop. 2,525 small, picturesque village surrounded by hills & fields of olive trees at the foot of the Alpilles, 3 olive oil mills in operation can be visited all year round: Christian Rossi's modern mill, the Co-operative mill and the Vaudoret organic mill.
amwosu is offline  
Nov 5th, 2009, 10:47 AM
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Hopefully, you will have decent weather--just take lots of warm clothing. You will be very close to Uzes, Pont du Gard, and Nimes. These are wonder places for day trips. Les Baux and Glanum are both good choices. If your Dad likes history, you are taking him to the right place. I have been to Provence twice--in the summer and in the spring and the mistral blew both times. I will not be there in February, so that is in your favor. Have a good trip. Nametaken
nametaken is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 05:20 PM
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ksbeem- you must be getting excited for your trip! no matter the weather there is always wine tasting!! have a wonderful time!
stormygirl is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 10:49 AM
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Le Petit Duc, 7 blvd Victor Hugo,Daily 10am-1pm & 3pm-7pm
Antique cookies with recipes used centuries ago, imagine yourself eating the same cookies enjoyed by Marie Antoinette. --------------------------------------------------------
Bet the cookies are a little hard by now. *deadpan expression*

Sorry. I couldn't help it. At least I didn't say I thought she preferred cake.
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