Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Provence - Itinerary Help (

karenwliu Apr 24th, 2011 06:28 PM

Provence - Itinerary Help
Hi all -

I know I'm probably getting a late start, but I'm currently in the planning stages of a trip to Provence during June or early July 2011. We're crossing our fingers for hotel availability. However, if worse comes to worst, we can push the trip to early Fall. Here is the itinerary so far -- I'd love to hear your thoughts:

Day 1: Travel day (flying from CA)

Day 2: Arrive in Nice in the morning. Explore Nice. Sleep in Nice

Day 3: Leave early morning, drive to Gorges du Verdon. Spend day exploring/driving around the Gorge du Verdon. Sleep in Aiguines.

Day 4: Leave early morning, drive to Roussillon. Explore Roussillon, Lacoste, and Gordes. Sleep in Roussillon.

Day 5: Leave early morning, drive toward Vaison la Romaine. Check out lavender fields and Mont Venoux on the way. Sleep in Vaison la Romaine.

Day 6: Explore Cotes du Rhone Wine Road. Sleep in Vaison la Romaine.

Day 7: Drive to Orange to check out Roman Theatre. Drive to Chateaneuf-du-Pape, sample wines. Drive to Avignon. Sleep in Avignon.

Day 8: Explore Avignon. Visit Pont du Gard. Visit Nimes. Sleep in Avignon.

Day 9: Drive to Arles. Spend morning exploring Arles. Drive to Les Baux and explore. Sleep in Arles.

Day 10: Drive to Cassis. Check out the Calanques. Drive to Nice. Sleep in Nice.

Day 11: Fly home.

Are we packing in too much into any of the days? Too little? Is there anything that I'm missing? Or anything that should be saved for a future trip? I may need to shave off one full day due to a travel companion's schedule. Thanks in advance for your help!


Myer Apr 24th, 2011 06:56 PM

Ate you sure you want to sleep in 7 diffetent places (Nice twice) in nine days?

You'll spend all of your time time checking in and out.

macanimals Apr 24th, 2011 07:22 PM

I'm certain you will get plenty of advice in how to allot your 9 nights. My first thought is you are scheduling a lot of one night stays-five. These are time consuming and energy draining--finding new lodging, driving distances, stops along the way with luggage, packing and unpacking. You will "hit" a lot of sights but the effort is large with about a half day lost per change. Consider 3 or 4 locations at most- its easier to daytrip than transfer. Also consider Marseilles as an entry/exit airport-very convenient.

You can drive to Arles from Nice in about 2 1/2 hrs upon arrival--stay 3 nights, move on to Vaison la Romaine (a personal favorite area) and then work your way back to Nice (or consider Marseille). I've driven the Gorges du Verdon and stayed in Aiguines--I'd give it a pass on a first trip to Provence. Have fun planning. Paul

uhoh_busted Apr 24th, 2011 07:25 PM

Do you think you need to drive to Chateauneuf-du-Pape to taste wines?

Drop Avignon. Stay in Uzes to see Pont du Gard (and Uzes is much easier, cooler town than Avignon).

Anyway, try it if you wish. Tell us how it turned out.

sap Apr 24th, 2011 07:34 PM

I agree that you can more happily, reasonably and economically accomplish this if you overnight in just two locations and visualize your itinerary goals as daytrip spokes on your wheelhub bases instead of one point-to-point giant circle.

karenwliu Apr 24th, 2011 11:22 PM

Hi all -

Thanks for your feedback. We've taken most of your comments and re-tooled our itinerary.

Day 1: Travel day (flying from CA)

Day 2: Arrive in Nice or Marseilles in the morning. Drive to Roussillon. If arriving on Sunday, check out Isle-sur-la-sorgue market. Spend remainder of day exploring Rousillon or other Luberon Hill towns as practical. Sleep in Roussillon.

Day 3: Explore hill towns of Luberon (drive/stop along the loop - Lacoste, Menerbes, Oppede-Le-Vieux, Gordes). Sleep in Roussillon.

Day 4: Travel via Sault to see lavender fields and Mont Ventoux. Sleep in Vaison la Romaine.

Day 5: Rent bikes and ride up Mont Ventoux (husband is road-biker). Explore Vaison la Romaine.

Day 6: Explore Cotes du Rhone Wine Road. Sleep in Vaison la Romaine.

Day 7: Drive to Orange to check out Roman Theatre. Drive to Chateaneuf-du-Pape. Explore Avignon. Sleep in St Remy.

Day 8: Visit Pont du Gard. Visit Uze. Sleep in St Remy.

Day 9: Drive to Arles. Spend morning exploring Arles. Drive to Les Baux and explore. Sleep in St. Remy.

Day 10: Drive to Cassis. Check out the Calanques. Drive to Nice or Marseilles. Sleep in Nice or Marseilles.

Day 11: Fly home.


InSituTravel Apr 24th, 2011 11:37 PM

You're more on the right track now. Agree with the others that your first itinerary had way too many hotel changes. Here's just a few more thoughts.

- You've packed a lot into your Day 2. Take it easy. You'll have just arrive from a trans-atlantic flight. Don't try to cram the Isle sur la Sorgue market into that first day. It's a great market, so you might as well take your time and enjoy it. Plus, it would not be advised to leave all of your valuables in your car while you attend the market, since you're currently planning on coming directly from the airport. In general Provence is a safe place, but petty crime does happen.

- Along the lines of markets. Vaison la Romaine also has a great market on Tuesdays.

- You can rent road bikes in Bedoin, to ride up Ventoux. There are two different shops that rent bikes in town.

wilko Apr 25th, 2011 06:21 AM

1)I'd suggest you buy a map.........and look at it. Stick a pin in all the places you want to visit and pick a central point to stay.......because you can use 1 base to get to all the places you want to see.
2) Nice or Marseille airport.........makes a big, big difference.

StCirq Apr 25th, 2011 08:26 AM

You're still moving around a lot more than you need to - have you looked at a map and seen how close most of these places are to each other? Heck, you could rent a nice villa or apartment and settle in and easily do all these in day trips (have done it many times myself), which would be SO much easier than packing and unpacking.

karenwliu Apr 25th, 2011 01:02 PM

Hi all -

Thanks for the feedback. Are you able to recommend a central location? I picked Roussillon, St. Remy, and Vaison la Romaine as the overnight locations based upon guidebook recommendations (Rick Steves) and Stu's reference document. When I mapped them all out on Google maps yesterday, they all appeared a little more than 1 hour away from each other.
Do you suggest that I drop either Roussillon or St. Remy? If so, which would you recommend? I would like to keep Vaison la Romaine as an overnight location only because I don't think any of my companions will want to drive much longer than an hour after biking/hiking up Mont Ventoux or wine tasting along the Cotes du Rhone Wine Road...


Christina Apr 25th, 2011 01:19 PM

The hotel changes don't bother me, it's the amount of things you intend to do in one day which sometimes seems way too much to me, but I am more of a slow traveler, so to speak. I like to savor a place more and see things other than the top highlights, usually.

IN particular, I am referring to you desire to see both Orange and Avignon in one day (the same day) and you are including other town with wine-tasting thrown in on your way between the two. I also wouldn't do both Arles and Les Baux in one day, but that seems more possible to me than Orange+avignon+drinking in-between while driving between them (maybe not a good idea). I'm not sure if you are on a wine buying trip or not, if not, why taste wine at some winery.

uhoh_busted Apr 25th, 2011 01:29 PM

You can get in plenty of wine tasting while visiting the towns -- we stopped at a charming Cave du Vin in Bonnieux that was actually a cave! Or you can look for the co-ops where vin de pays is bottled and many choices are sold. They will also let you taste. If you bring an empty bottle, you can fill it up from (what looked to our eyes) gas pumps. (We found one for Vacqueras. mmm!)

We always like to shop for local wines (although you really don't want to try to bring it home, it is nice to have something for picnics or to drink on a leafy terrace or balcony where you may be staying...

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:20 AM.