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Provence in June - book now or "on the road?"

Provence in June - book now or "on the road?"

Oct 22nd, 2005, 05:03 AM
  #1  
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Provence in June - book now or "on the road?"

Good morning all. DH and I plus 14 year old daughter and her friend visited Provence in June this year and stayed in Merindol in a villa for one week. Invaluable info received from this forum and we loved Provence! We have now found a conference to attend in Toulon (June 2006) and Provence, here we come! Given that there will be only the two of us this time, we are considering maybe B&B/small hotel options instead of being tied to a house for one week. Can the experts please comment on whether we could wander spontaneously in June and still have access to charming accommodation or would we be better booking now and "locking in" an itinerary? Also, from my research here and elsewhere, Toulon looks like being best kept for just the conference. Does anyone have a positive recommendation for accommodation near the Neptune Congress Centre? Thanks in advance.
ozgirl is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2005, 06:38 AM
  #2  
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Also, would like to order a Gites-de-France guidebook but when I go to Online Bookshop in the English version it reverts to French which somewhat defeats me.Any suggestions?
ozgirl is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2005, 07:46 AM
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I wouldn't want to predict how well you can do wandering around Provence in June without reservations. I wouldn't try it, but I like to pick out where I want to stay and don't like wandering around not knowing, but I know many other people like that type of travel. It also depends how picky you are. There are plenty of modern cheap hotels around Provence near some larger towns/cities that I think you could get a room, but that may not be what you want--for example, you can find lots of them around Isle sue la Sorgue. I've also seen lots of B&B signs out in the country, and they aren't the kind of places that would be advertising a lot, so you might run across something. I'll let other people who know that area better comment on those plans.

However, I think your ordering problem is that the Gites program books are only in French. That might have changed, but that's the way it used to be and I've been in their actual shop in Paris so saw them all. I'd imagine if they had English books, there would be that option on the website.
Christina is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2005, 08:48 AM
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The Gites de France books are in French - but it's pretty easy to understand them if you know a little French. Have you tried selecting a Gite on-line. We've rented 20 different Gites for 30 stays for 50 weeks - and I select most of them on-line, but I actually FAX them to make the reservation. Each department in France (Var, Vaucluse, Alps Maritime, etc) has their own seperate reservation service, and some department's on-line reservation software works better than others.

Better hop to it - we already have our Gites reserved for next year (June & Sept).

I reserved a last minute, very nice hotel room for 1 night in Provence last June - but that was in a very remote corner of Provence where most tourists don't go.

Hopefully, Kevin will see your post & respond. He's an American living in the Luberon with his French wife & young son. He owns & runs a very nice B&B there - so he is perfectly qualified to answer your questions. Also, consider staying in his B&B - I would. Here is his web site:
http://masperreal.com/index.html

Stu Dudley
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 02:58 PM
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I have relatives who have gone on biking trips through Provence in June and who have made a few reservations, but otherwise left the itnerary open, staying in B&B's etc. along the way. I would love to try that, but one has to be prepared to settle for what's available. I think that it just depends upon what kind of traveler you are. I tend to plan almost everything, but then am often delighted when I steer off the path and discover something unforeseen. A compromise might be to make reservations for one ot two nights at several places in your sphere, so that you get a sense of several different settings...I suppose one downside to that is that you might get a bit weary of toting luggage and never really unpacking!
Bon chance!
letour is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2005, 05:24 PM
  #6  
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Many thanks for those comments. That is pretty much what I thought - it seems safer to plan ahead! I had looked at Kevin's B&B Stu, thanks for the recommendation. If we stayed in this area (close to where we were this year) what other region should we consider to provide a contrast? A friend mentioned the area around Lac St. Croix? Also, can anyone comment on my Toulon request please?
ozgirl is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2005, 06:23 PM
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The Lac de Ste-Croix is a lovely region if you want mountains and water--but as a base it's a bit out of the way.
Underhill is offline  
Oct 24th, 2005, 05:52 AM
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Thanks. Any comments about Toulon, anyone?? Or is it that bad!!!
ozgirl is offline  
Oct 24th, 2005, 06:40 AM
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I've driven through Toulon several times - and I try to drive as fast as possible.

Stu Dudley
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Oct 24th, 2005, 10:15 AM
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We have traveled to Provence for 13 straight years but never to Toulon.

One thing to keep in mind when planning your trip is the hot weather in June and thereafter. Up until 2003 we stayed at a hotel that did not have A/C (in St. Remy). It always cooled off at night.

Since 2003 that is no longer so. For example we left Avignon in late June this year. The temperature was 93 degrees farenheit. When we arrived in Paris by TGV it was 75 degrees!!

A long way of saying that if you want an air conditioned place to stay, and I strongly advise to so book, your choices will be more restricted. I would book in March when most hotels re-open for the 2006 season and get A/C.

Good luck.

Anthony
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Oct 24th, 2005, 01:49 PM
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Definitely book soon unless you want to get stuck with the less-desirable spots to stay.
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May 28th, 2006, 07:03 PM
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ozgirl, we are staying in merindol in june 2006. Would love to know how you enjoyed your stay there and where you stayed. Also, any recommendations you have on places to see, restaurants or local wines.
dwilliams25 is offline  
May 28th, 2006, 07:22 PM
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Toulon is not exactly high on our list of places to visit in Provence.

I'm confused: do you need a place to stay in Toulon during the conference or for somewhere else post-conference?
Underhill is offline  
May 28th, 2006, 07:42 PM
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We have done the driving holiday in Provence in September with no itenerary. We took all the guide books we could lay our hands on but the one that came up trumps for us was Alistair Sawdays Special places to stay series. We used to take his guide book and ring the 3 or 4 placs around where we were and inevitably the choice was excellent. The guide books are so accurate it is uncanny..... Doubt the places woudl be full in June but wont know till I go in June July this year - Im not booking!! LOL
quadrant is offline  
May 28th, 2006, 08:51 PM
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Hi dwilliams. We stayed in a villa rented through French Connections (ref no.560) with my daughter and her friend. This was our first time to Provence and we fell in love with the area which we only had 6 days to enjoy, hence we depart in three days time for a month! Merindol itself, is quite sleepy and "non-touristy" but very authentically Provencal, based on my limited experience!
From there we did day trips which included Gordes, Rousillon, Bonnieux, Isle sur la Sorgue,(all beautiful) Abbaye de Senanque (lovely but scary road) and one of my favourites was to Cassis on the coast with a boat trip to Les Calanques. Also St.Remy and Les Baux plus Arles (very quick stop only) and part of Stu's suggested lavender route to Sault (not the same day!) It was very hot for the week we were there, even by Australian standards, (above 33C almost every day) and we enjoyed the pool every afternoon. We are not big foodies so usually ate out for lunch wherever we were (sometimes a picnic from the market)but generally cooked our dinner at home each night. We did eat upstairs on the terrace in the little Pizzeria in Merindol itself
(sorry can't remember the name, I am going to take many more notes this time and write a proper Trip Report!) and it was lovely and very economical.
Literally nothing is open on Sundays after lunch so if you arrive then (as we did)it is difficult to get food supplies, I think that is the night we ate in Merindol. There are a couple of general "food/grocery" stores, two butchers and two bakeries (often not all open on the same days) plus a newsagent, in Merindol itself and a very modest market on ? Thursday.
It is very well situated for drives to the more well known places as above but out of the way and quiet (except when the church bell rings every hour but you get used to that!) You will love it I'm sure as we did.
Where are you staying? Let me know if there is anything else I can help with.

Jean, we only are staying in Toulon for the conference and have booked the Hotel Bonaparte, if it's not the best, it's only 3 nights!
ozgirl is offline  
May 29th, 2006, 08:43 AM
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Thanks, ozgirl. We are leaving on June 15th for three weeks. We booked a house through homelidays. It is about 200 metres from the town. It also has a pool and really nice courtyard out back with flowering trees and an outdoor table. Looks very nice in the pictures. The owner lives in Lyon and is driving down to meet us at the house to get us settled and tell us about the area. Have a great trip! Thanks a lot for your suggestions.
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