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Provence Itinerary almost set - Is this too crazy?

Provence Itinerary almost set - Is this too crazy?

Old Oct 12th, 2006, 09:02 AM
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Provence Itinerary almost set - Is this too crazy?

8 nights in Provence/French Riveria for next May/June as part of a 2.5 week honeymoon. I'm trying to move gradually west to east as we fly out of Nice super early Sunday morning.

Right now this is how I have it broken down:

* Arrive Saturday at Avignon TGV and rent car. I'd like to explore Pont du Gard and maybe Nimes so should we do that right away before we go to our B & B which is...

* Sat-Mon (2 nights) at Les Carmes in Le Thor. Plan on doing the table d'hote at Les Carmes Saturday night. Sunday, Isle sur la Sorgue market... not sure what to do on Monday yet other than check out of Les Carmes and move on to...

*Mon-Weds (2 nights) La Ferme de la Huppe in Gordes. Explore Luberon region these two days. Gotta check out what's the best market to go to either on Tues or Weds mornings in this region. Have dinner at La Ferme either Mon or Tues night. Would like to visit Aix one day but not sure which day (from Sat-Weds) would be the best day to visit.

*Weds-Thurs (1 night) Bastide de Moustiers in Moustiers St. Marie. Mainly I want to stay here to try out the place (heard the gift shop is fabulous); I have heard that the actual town is scenic but only worth visiting one day, and I'm not sure if there are other restaurants in town other than the hotel itself - and from what I've read from Underhill and others that for the price of the meal, the food is not worth it.

*Thurs-Sun (3 nights) Move to Nice and check in to Palais de la Mediterranee. Not too sure what our itinerary is these three days, but I would like to plan a special dinner for Friday as it is my hubby's birthday. How far is Cassis from Nice? May want to do a Calanque boat ride on Saturday if possible.

Is doing 4 places in 8 nights too much? My hubby definitely would like to stay on the French Riveria for at least 3 days, so I'd like to keep that part intact.

Thoughts?
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 09:28 AM
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Tuesday is the market in Vaison-la-Romaine - great market with lots of "stuff!" The ride up to Vaison is very scenic with lots of very cute perched villages (Seguret in particular!) and lots of vineyards. Gigondas is a great stop for a wine tasting. Wednesday there is a market in St. Remy, which is also full of good stuff! St. Remy is a charming town to just stroll around. Don't pass up Joel Durand for the best chocolat!

Don't miss Roussillon while in the Vaucluse/Luberon area. Absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous!

Not too many markets on Mondays.

I don't have the full market schedule with me as I'm at work. However, you can google Provence markets and you'll get a host of information!

Enjoy!


joy/luvparee

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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 10:59 AM
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>>* Arrive Saturday at Avignon TGV and rent car. I'd like to explore Pont du Gard and maybe Nimes so should we do that right away before we go to our B & B which is...<<

Pont du Gard & Nimes are not close together - and rathar far from le Thor. Also, I'm not a big fan of Nimes - you can see pretty much the same sort of things by visiting Arles & Avignon - which are much closer. I would not want to try to drive into Nimes the first day in France - especially if you have limited experience with navigatinng into Franch cities.

If you don't think you will have problems with jet lag, a better plan would be to visit the Pont du Gard & Uzes this first Saturday. I've never visited the Pont on a Sat, but I suspect it might be a little crowded.

>>* Sat-Mon (2 nights) at Les Carmes in Le Thor. Plan on doing the table d'hote at Les Carmes Saturday night. Sunday, Isle sur la Sorgue market... not sure what to do on Monday yet other than check out of Les Carmes and move on to...<<

The food market is only open in the morning, and I suspect you will get your "fill" by 11:00 - unless you are a serious antique shopper. get to the market early - no later than 9.

A good thing to do after the market would be to drive around in the Luberon - visiting Gordes, Roussillon, Senanque Abbey, etc. Most shops will be open on Sunday. Not the case for Bonnieux, where most shops will be closed. The Luberon is quite pleasent on Sundays.

On Monday, many shops will be closed in Avignon, Arles, St Remy, Nimes, Aix, Uzes, etc. We like drives in the countryside on Mondays - head out towards Sault - take the Lavender Route that I've posted several times here. If you didn't visit Gordes or Roussillon on Sunday, visit them today - shops will be open.

>>*Mon-Weds (2 nights) La Ferme de la Huppe in Gordes.<<

Why stay in two places that are so close together? They can't be more than 30 mins apart. I would strongly suggest that you change your reservatioin for 1 of the two places and stay in/near St Remy or Vaison, so you can be closer to other areas that you should visit.

>>Explore Luberon region these two days. Gotta check out what's the best market to go to either on Tues or Weds mornings in this region.<<

Gordes has a nice market on Tuesday.

>Have dinner at La Ferme either Mon or Tues night. Would like to visit Aix one day but not sure which day (from Sat-Weds) would be the best day to visit.<<

Aix has an excellent market on Tuesday. Get there early, visit the market, explore town, then have a leisurely lunch at Deux Garcons on the Cours (reserve ahead - in the shade), and enjoy the poeple watching.

>>*Weds-Thurs (1 night) Bastide de Moustiers in Moustiers St. Marie. Mainly I want to stay here to try out the place (heard the gift shop is fabulous); I have heard that the actual town is scenic but only worth visiting one day, and I'm not sure if there are other restaurants in town other than the hotel itself - and from what I've read from Underhill and others that for the price of the meal, the food is not worth it.<<

You have left Provence "center" without visiting les Baux, St Remy, Arles, Avignon, Vaison, Rhone wine villages, and many other intresting sites. Why go to Moustiers? The town is quite interesting and the setting is nice - but so are the other places I mentioned. You will be in the area for a very short time - try to use your time efficiently. IMO - it's not worth the journey.

>>*Thurs-Sun (3 nights) Move to Nice and check in to Palais de la Mediterranee. Not too sure what our itinerary is these three days, but I would like to plan a special dinner for Friday as it is my hubby's birthday. How far is Cassis from Nice?<<

Very far away - no way should you go there for a day trip - again - too much lost time in traveling from one place to another. I suspect Saturday will be quite crowded also. You will find plenty to do just in Nice.

<<Is doing 4 places in 8 nights too much? My hubby definitely would like to stay on the French Riveria for at least 3 days, so I'd like to keep that part intact.<<

Yep - it's too much, IMO. You could easily just stay in two places - near l'Isle sur la Sorgue or Gordes, and then Nice.

If this were my vacation, I would stay in Gordes the first 3 nights & visit the market, Luberon, Sault area, Vaison from there. Then head to St Remy for 2 nights & visit St Remy, les baux, Pont, Uzes, & Arles. Then head for Nice, stopping in Aix for a visit. This would put you in Aix on Thurs, which is also their market day (get there early).

If you will have your car in Nice, visit St Paul, vence, and some of the other perched villages - if you haven't already seen enough of them in Provence central.

Do you have my 20+ page itinerary on the Cote & Provgence. I've sent it to well over 500 people on theis & the aol travel board. It describes my favorite drives, villages, sites, and has a section on provence fabric, and the lavender Route. E-mail me at [email protected] if you want a copy.

Stu Dudley

Thoughts?

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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 11:48 AM
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I am with Stu on all counts, esp. trips to St. Paul and Vence from Nice -- as much as I loved Moustiers-Ste.-Marie and Verdon. Do those another time.

Happy travels!
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 11:50 AM
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Thanks Stu for your input. I really appreciate it.

Now allow me to retort.

OK, actually, I don't really care about seeing Nimes. I don't know why I included that. I do intend to visit Pont du Gard, St. Remy, Glanum (huge Van Gogh van) and maybe Arles. So those things are a bit further west of where I am staying.

As far as why we are staying at places so close... argghhh... I know!!! But there are just too many nice places to stay in the area so I wanted to try more than one. Maybe I will do what you suggested though, and find a place closer to St. Remy. Would Riboto de Taven be far enough away to make it "worthwhile" staying there and then somewhere else in the Luberon? Because that is another place that has availability. And that would be closer to some of the things I want to do earlier in the week.
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 12:04 PM
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We recently stayed at Ferme de la Huppe for 3 nights and then Le Regalido in Fontvielle, south of St. Remy and Les Baux, for 2 nights. We were able to cover a lot of territory from these 2 locations.
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 12:33 PM
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>>Would Riboto de Taven be far enough away to make it "worthwhile" staying there and then somewhere else in the Luberon?<<

That would be a much better idea. The Riboto de Taven is in a lovely setting - we celebrated my wife's 50th birthday there with friends several years ago.

We've been vacationing in Europe for 30 years now - we usually spend 2 months in France every year. One thing I learned many years ago is to never choose a place to stay based on a hotel that you might fall in love with. Choose a location that's in an extremly scenic area or close to places you want to visit, then select a hotel close by. We usually spend minimal time at the hotel, and when we are there, our eyes are closed most of the time.

I have not received any e-mail from you requesting my free itinerary - I think it would help you a lot. Others have found it usefull

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 12:47 PM
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Thanks Stu - I have had your itinerary for a while. For some reason I'm just having a very hard time wrapping my mind around Provence and all of the different places I want to see.
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 07:12 PM
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Hi Jenblase,

Returned from our first visit to Provence about 3 weeks ago.

I was also having great difficulty - you phrased it perfectly "wrapping my mind around Provence."

I finally just picked one thing to see each day - Pont du Gard, St. Remy, Arles, Roussillon and figured I'd just go with the flow.

I think I read on this forum that it's easier to just let Provence "come to you" rather than mapping out a tight itinerary. That's exactly right.

We loved Le Ferme de la Huppe - mostly for the clever decorations, the relaxing atmosphere - (save some time to have a glass of champagne at poolside if it's a sunny afternoon) - the food was so tasty and creative.

(Brit, I keep reading your posts and wondering if we were there at the same time? --Sept 17-20?)

Near St Remy we stayed at Domaine de Valmouriane - loved the location on the (D 27) petite rte. de Baux - just turn right on the road from the hotel and you're at a fantastic view of les Baux.

Now, this approach to travel in Provence is very unlike my usual trip planning - tons of research and very decisive about where to go when. But we only stayed at two places in six days, narrowed our "range" of driving, didn't care what "big places" we missed and figured we'd be back in the future.

Probably the most relaxing and peaceful trip we've ever taken!
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 08:08 AM
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Hi SusanEva,

We were at Ferme Sept. 23, 24, and 25. Wasn't it a great place to stay?
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