Provence in summer with kids ?

Old Sep 28th, 2020, 05:39 AM
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Provence in summer with kids ?

Hi !

We hope to be in France for 35 days next july-August. We are doing a loop from paris and we want to have some tim in Provence region. We have think about staying somewhere around St Remy.

Questions :

1) What would be a good base for a family with 9 and 13 years old kids ? We enjoy history, good food food, kids like to swim (maybe a rental with a house ?)

2) Is it much easier to stay for a week (saturday to saturday) ?)

3) Planing Day trip to : Marseille, Arles, Pont du Gard, Haribo factory, Luberon, Avignon, Carmaques....

Thanks !
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Old Sep 28th, 2020, 09:13 AM
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There are plenty of gites with swimming pools. Just go to one of the main gite sites and put swimming pool into the filter.
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Old Sep 28th, 2020, 09:24 AM
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St Remy sounds like a good choice, a lot of tourists and English speakers like it, it's a bit expensive to cater to those folks, many of whom have a lot of money. But thus tourists can get by easily. I presume you mean you want a rental house with a pool? That sounds like a good idea in summer. I presume you realize that is high season so rates will be the highest, and the competition for rentals.

I do know that yes, it is much easier to stay Sat to Sat, that is the typical rental period for gītes, for example, in high season. If you don't know what that is, it's a French organization for vacation rentals. I would presume other private rental sites follow that trend, but you can check that out yourself on the websites. If you mean what you said more literally, that it is easier to stay for a week versus some other time period (versus 2 weeks or a month or whatever, for example), I have no reason to believe that is true, if you can find a vacancy, I think owners would love to have a monthly rental.

That's a nice area and well situated for some good day trips, as you name, I think it's a good location for you. If you stay farther east, day trips to places like Arles, for example, will be more of a trek.

One drawback of St Remy is that it has no train station, though. So think about that, I can't imagine doing some of your day trips by car myself (ie, Marseiile), but I don't like driving in big cities I don't know. You may not care. Of course most train stations are in larger cities, but there are stations in Arles, Nimes, Cassis, Aix, etc.

I presume you know how expensive this is going to be -- a house with a pool in one of the most expensive areas of Provence in peak season. But I guess for a whole family, it's not bad compared to a hotel, after all. (I suspect 5-8K euro per month in that area). And that isn't a wild guess, that's what it is on Gites de France around St remy.

You don't have to use that website, of course, I just find it useful with all the filters and maps. I think it may only be in French, though, if you don't know French, you may find another website easier to use, and some owners on Gites de France may expect to be dealing with French speakers.
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Old Sep 28th, 2020, 10:27 AM
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We are from the USA, and we've rented 72 gites through Gites de France. When renting through Gites de France, you will use their web site to select a gite , and then you will either initially contact the Gites de France office for the specific department (Vaucluse, Bouches du Rhone, etc) where the gite is located, or you'll contact the proprietor directly. About 85% of our rentals were initially from the office, & the remainder initially through the proprietor. The personnel in the Gites de France office can usually converse in English - but all written communication and contracts will be in French. At some time during the rental process, and when you check into the gite - you will be dealing with the proprietor. Of the 72 proprietors we've interacted with - only about 10 could speak any English. None in Provence (we've stayed there for 22 weeks in Gites) spoke English (my wife speaks French). If you can't read or speak some French - you will have some difficulty, IMO.

Attached is my 35 page itinerary for the Cote d'Azur & Provence..

Stu Dudley
Attached Files
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Old Sep 28th, 2020, 04:45 PM
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Thanks for those answers !

Weel you are right..it's expensive. Is there a location in that region that will allows us to travel around easily (we will have a car) and does have something to offer to eat (restaurant and grocery)

About french speaking, no problem there. You must have notice that english is not my first language...french is !

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Old Oct 9th, 2020, 10:19 AM
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We have found a nice place with Ac and a pool in Cheval Blanc (10 minutes from Cavaillon)

Would it be a good base for us ? I know Cavaillon is not a charming place, but many restaurants can be a plus on the evening.

Thanks !
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Old Oct 9th, 2020, 01:19 PM
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We try to avoid Cavaillon when we're staying in the region. Not very interesting and too much ugly commerce on the outskirts.

Here is my "standard" answer about where to base:

If you want to be in a village/small city with many shops, restaurants (you can walk to), & other tourists (speaking a lot of English), stay in St Remy. If you would rather be in the countryside surrounded by vineyards, lavender fields, small hill villages, and fewer tourists (than St Remy) - stay in the Luberon near Gordes, Roussillon, Menerbes, or Bonnieux. You may have to drive to diner a few times in the Luberon.

We've vacationed for 22 weeks in Provence - and here is our "progression" of bases:
2 weeks in the Luberon near Gordes
2 weeks near St Remy,
2 weeks near Vaison
2 weeks in the Luberon near Gordes (same gite as above),
2 weeks near Uzes,
2 weeks just outside of Bedoin
4 weeks in Bedoin (same gite as above & below)
2 weeks in Bedoin
2 weeks in the Luberon near Goult
2 weeks in Bedoin

Next visit to Provence after Covid will be:
2 weeks in the lower Luberon near Lauris
2 weeks in the Luberon near Goult

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 9th, 2020, 02:50 PM
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Thanks !

Ugly shop is not that bad. Our lodging would be in Cheval Blanc. English speaking ? Our kids only speak french, and french is our main language.
Since you have a lot of experience with Provence, is Cavaillon a wise choice with a car ?

Having a pool is more.important than having a nice surrounding
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Old Oct 10th, 2020, 06:50 AM
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Not ugly shops, but warehouses, gas station, furniture stores, etc are abundant in the outskirts of Cavaillon and on the road from Cavaillon to Cheval Blanc. I would rather see vineyards, lavender fields, greenery, and medieval villages as I start & end my day trips. The area immediately around Chevel Blanc is OK - but half of the road between Cavaillon & Cheval Blanc has too much ugly commerce for my tastes. There are better locations elsewhere. I would prefer to be near St Remy, l'Ile sur la Sorgue, Uzes, Vaison, and the villages in the Luberon - instead of east Cavaillon. Even Apt would be better, IMO

French is the predominate language in Provence. It's just that many places (in non-Covid times) have lots & lots of US tourists and as you walk through the towns you'll hear English spoken. Merchants at all gites, shops, restaurants, & hotels people speak French. In fact, of the 6 different gites where we've stayed in Provence, none of the proprietors could speak English (my wife speaks French).

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 10th, 2020, 07:11 AM
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We tend to have lazy mornings and late evening or night time walks to eat, and do not do the traveling around that you will want to do, so the environment of our lodging becomes super important.

We stayed at a hotel that had a beautiful garden with a pool, inside the walls of Aigues Mortes and took a boat tour from there and walked the top of the walls. Kids might enjoy that. In the evening, you have many restaurant choices to walk to with music, fountains, etc. There is a carousel outside the walls.

We rented a tiny house in Arles. Though we had no pool, the little bakeries and food shops, outdoor markets, etc. are wonderful and there is another beautiful carousel. The really nice thing there is you could easily and quickly take a train to several other places and enjoy the day without being in a car at all.
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Old Oct 10th, 2020, 12:47 PM
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Bonjour Tostaky,
Ca va? I just recognized your same query from over on Rick Steves forum. I'll repeat my response here in hopes that we can all benefit from the various excellent bits of sharing.
Cavaillon has apparently had a rep as having a bit of a crime problem (a local's opinion, not mine) but it does grow the finest melons on the planet.
Uzes and Lourmarin might make worthy bases. Happy to share contacts for outstanding rentals in both.

Bon Chance!
I am done. The end.

PS *ma femme est de Montreal et dans le 1970s, je suis un batteur du band de rock a la Club 'Maples', Le Cerq l'Ectric et comme ca.


Last edited by zebec; Oct 10th, 2020 at 01:32 PM.
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Old Oct 11th, 2020, 07:58 AM
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Hi everyone and many thanks for all those answers.

being in a charming place would be nice but not mandatory for us. We will see plenty of beauty all day long so for sleeping is not so bad. We have to make a mix of pool, access at all the place we want to see in an hour or less and not an very expnsive price. Taking all that into account means we have to do some compromise. I slo must add that many place do weekly rental from saturday to saturday and that it's hard for us to fit that into our planing. We have to found a place who will do 6 nights from july 26 (monday) to august 1 (sunday).

With kids we dont have lazy morning and late evening, we go up early, go visit early, comabe back to rental to enjoy the pool at the end of afternoon. Still we will open ouroptions of places to stay, since we will have a car being in a busy village is not something we are looking for, we have found some nice lodging that are in rural region, away from any village....For an example we have found one in middle of nowhere (5 minutes from Noves and 15 minutes from St-Remy) that woukld be a relaxing spot with a pool.

Zebc: bonjour, I would be hapyy to see thoses rentals, but those places seems a bit out of the way giving the places we want to see.

We will continue to do our search and I will come back with some ideas, thanks again !
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Old Oct 12th, 2020, 07:21 AM
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Another option would be an airtbn 10 minutes south from Caumont-sur-Durance
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Old Oct 12th, 2020, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by KaitR View Post
I'm sure you've done plenty of kids-in-the-car journeys before, but just in case - if at all possible, have a DVD player or iPad or tablet with pre-downloaded films in/on. With headphones.

Its the best silencer I've ever known.

Sure you want them to see the sites as you pass, but there are times when it is a sanity-saver.
dont worry, we know that. Our kids thave done dozens of road trips with us since they are born,....
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Old Oct 12th, 2020, 09:05 AM
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Chaumont would be more centrally located - but again there is some ugly commerce and many 5 story large apartment buildings around Avignon (except to the west). I dread heading into Avignon from the Luberon, once I pass the D31. It is not a scenic area.

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 18th, 2020, 10:30 AM
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Finding something well located with a.pool.and not too expensive is not easy !

We found somewhere near Arles (Raphele les Arles). The most remote location frome there would be the Luberon villages. 1 hours 15 minutes...not that bad. Its not far from les Carmargues are not too far, St Remy is a 25 minutes drive....
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Old Oct 18th, 2020, 10:55 AM
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Finding something well located with a.pool.and not too expensive is not easy !

We found somewhere near Arles (Raphele les Arles). The most remote location frome there would be the Luberon villages. 1 hours 15 minutes...not that bad. Its not far from les Carmargues are not too far, St Remy is a 25 minutes drive....
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Old Oct 25th, 2020, 03:10 AM
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Anyone ?
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