Provence planning

Old Jan 25th, 2015, 08:48 AM
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Provence planning

I am trying to organize my Provence trip in early June.I am not able to finalize exact dates till I find out if we are able to get French open tickets, will not know till March. we will have about 15 days. I need to decide whether to try and visit both Dordogne and Provence or just Provence. so let's start with the Provence part.
I know that we want to visit Les Baux, St Remy (Wednesday market), Isle Surla Sorgue (Sunday market), Avignon, Vaison La Romaine (Tuesday market) (wine tour of Seguret, Suzette Le Crestet etc), and hill towns of Luberon (Roussillon, Gordes, Lourmarin. we would like to do the canoe trip from Fontine de vacuousness to Isle sur la Sorgue, and a biking day somewhere if it works and a cooking class. we are fine with splitting our time with 2 places to stay in Provence. I was thinking some time in St Remy and some in Lourmarin but am wondering if those are the 2 best places to locate ourselves with the areas that we want to cover. we fly out of marseille. If we do not visit the Dordogne this time we might add a night or two in Cassis. We have been to Nice.
Please give feedback.
thank you,
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Old Jan 25th, 2015, 09:12 AM
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I wouldn't locate in Lourmarin. It's too far away from the Vaison/Cote du Rhone area - 1 1/2 hrs from Vaison, and over the tiring Combe de Lourmarin. Vaison is also a little too far from St Remy for a day trip that includes all the stuff you might want to visit in the Vaison/Cote du Rhone area. Consider staying in Bedoin or someplace closer to Vaison instead of Lourmarin. I always tell people to get a 113 Michelin Map of Provence & circle every site they want to visit with a magic marker. Then determine what "base" is best.

March is a little late to start making hotel or gite arrangements for Provence in June. We usually reserve our gites at least 1 year in advance - sometimes 1 1/2 years.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 25th, 2015, 02:24 PM
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I have circled the locations we are interested in.
Stu, do you have 2 locations you might choose know where we are interested in visiting??
Hope we do not have problems finding a place.
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Old Jan 25th, 2015, 02:33 PM
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St Remy and Bedoin would be good choices. Bedoin has a wonderful Monday morning market. Better than Vaison's.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 25th, 2015, 02:50 PM
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We have based ourselves in St. Saturnin les Apt several times.

This is a list of places and approximate travel times to get there from St. Sat, which really is very well located. If you would be interested in a Chambre d'Hote [or a house], I can recommend a lovely one. I believe their gites are full for July and August.

Ideas for places to visit.

Local - within half an hours drive

Saint Saturnin Les Apt - Explore the village, known for its unspoilt
authenticity, fountains and doors. Climb the ramparts to the ruined
chateau, where there are wonderful views over the valley.

Apt - On Saturday it holds one of the largest markets in Provence, but do go back another day and wander through the streets where there are good shops and an impressive Cathedral. Note most shops and banks closed on Mondays.

Roussillon - A must do! Pretty colour washed village houses that have used the pigment found in the ochre. Walk to the viewing platform at the top.

Goult - A popular village with the equally popular Café de Poste, walk through the back streets to the ancient windmill.

Bonnieux - quaint perched village made famous by Peter Mayle with
great views over the valley to the North.

Lacoste - Not related to the clothing label! Between Menerbes and
Bonnieux this village has two famous residents to name but a few. The first -- the Marquis de Sade lived in the chateau in the 18th Century, this, like many of the houses that line the cobbled street is now owned by the fashion designer Pierre Cardin.

Oppede Le Vieux - A very charming village built into the hillside of the Luberon where time has stood still. Lose yourself as you wander through the gardens to reach the village, don’t miss the top part, which has been abandoned.

Menerbes - It may be small, but it is classified as one of the most
beautiful villages in France. It is evident that this was an up market village, for the rich with its wonderful buildings and views over the valley towards Mont Ventoux.

Gordes - as featured in "A Good Year," this famous perched village is always popular. Don’t miss the viewing platform for your photograph.

Abbaye de Senanque - dating to 1150, Monks still live here, famous for its calendar photo with the Lavender.

Coustellet - The Sunday morning market is one of the best, local
seasonal produce with a relaxed atmosphere.

Saignon - Charming perched village also home to several celebrities,
explore the rocher at the top of the village where there are outstanding views.

St Martin de Castillon- unspoilt Perched village, very quiet, good
pizzeria for lunch.

Colorado Provencal - Walk amongst the ochre and see the incredible
natural formations and colours. Perhaps even BETTER than Roussilon!

Isle sur la Sorgue - the Venice of Provence! Also famous for its antique shops and market on Sundays and holidays.

La Fontaine de Vaucluse - A popular touristy town, on the river where you can hire canoes. The source is one of the deepest in the world!

Banon - Famous for it’s goats cheese, this pretty village also has a
renowned book shop ‘Le Bleuet’ selling English and French books.

Simiane La Rotonde -Famous for it’s lavender this charming perched
village will capture your heart . Great potter there too for some beautiful pieces to take home at great price!

Sault - The drive to this perched village is spectacular, as are the views on Mont Ventoux, which stands some 1912 metres. The area has endless lavender fields, which are at their best early July.

Mont Ventoux - The peak is covered in white granite giving a snow
covered impression, which it is from late October until Spring time.
Views for miles, the last Ski station before the Mediterranean and the home of one of the most grueling stages of the Tour de France

Lourmarin - A very pretty village on the south side of the Luberon ,
Friday market is very popular.

Bigger Towns & Cities within an hour

Avignon - Another must do, explore this walled city with the Palais de Pape, Pont St Benezet, Les Halles and great boutique shops.

Aix en Provence - A busy chic city, with over 100 fountains, home to
Cezanne, and the Cours Mirabeau , a mansion lined avenue framed by a
canopy of plane trees where the wealthy promenade whilst you sit back and watch in one of the many cafes.

Manosque - The drive is superb, and when there an attractive and busy town, the L’Occitane ‘outlet’ store is close by.

Forcalquier - The drive to this town passing through Cereste, is just part of the pleasure, it has a large market on Monday with an artisanal section.

St Remy de Provence - A must! Tree line boulevards, pretty back streets,delightful shops and restaurants. Nostradamus was born here, and Van Gogh painted.

Glanum - Dating to 6BC these Roman ruins are some of the oldest
classical buildings in France, abandoned in the 3rd century. The oldest and smallest triumphal arch dates to 20BC.

Les Baux de Provence - Popular and picturesque village topped by a
ruined chateau with views over Olive orchards and vineyards towards the Camargue.

Gorge de Nesque - Cutting through the Mont Ventoux to the North &
Plateau de Vaucluse to the South take the D942 from Sault. The road falls from 620 M to 300 M. The village of Venasque is also worth a stop, then take the D4 back to Murs and into the Luberon valley.

Within Two hours drive

Marseilles - The biggest city outside Paris, park by the Vieux port, and walk around this vibrant city taking in the shops on the Canebiere and do walk up to the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, which over looks the Port. Many new things in the past year or 2.

Cassis - In it self a pretty fishing port also boasting some of the most dramatic scenery in the French Riviera with dazzling white cliffs, the highest sea cliffs in Europe, plunging into turquoise waters. Take a boat to the Calanques. After take the route des Cretes. A word of warning to anyone suffering from vertigo, the Route des Cretes is high and every turn brings a new unbelievable view. The stunning scenery is something that one will never forget and once your vacation is over, your dreams are full of the beauty of Provence!

Pont du Gard - built by the Roman Empire in the middle of the first
century to allow the aqua duct of Nimes to cross the Gard river. Standing 50M high the bridge is both a technical and artistic masterpiece. One of France’s top 5 tourist attractions and a world heritage site.

Uzes - A large and popular town, with a large Saturday market, it has many pretty streets and a central square and is certainly worth visiting, perhaps combining with a visit to the Pont dud Gard.

Arles - The Roman capital of Provence, this lively city of Arts, once home to Van Gogh, features a splendid Amphitheatre and Necropolis of Les Alyscamps.

The Camargue - If you are looking to see Salmon Pink Flamingos &
black bulls this is the place! On the flatbeds of the Camargue explore the flat rice beds and salt dunes.

Nimes - Steeped in history this wonderful town has an impressive
amphitheatre, the best preserved in France, dating to 70AD, the adjoining Maison Carree was built in in 19BC and is one of the best preserved Roman temples anywhere. By contrast built in 1986 and designed by Norman Foster is the Carre d’art.

Cotes de Rhone - Wine brings many people to France. So explore one of the greatest areas in the world. Villages you should include, Beaumes de Venice renowned for its sweet Muscat. The scenery includes the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains, Gigondas & Vacqueras and of course Chateauneuf de Pape.

Gorges du Verdon-This is the deepest, longest & wildest canyon in
Europe! Stretching 21kms and in places 800m deep and is the second
deepest gorge in the world after the Grand Canyon. It was only explored for the first time in 1905!

Vaison La Romaine - A roman town divided the river Ouveze, cross the
2000 year old bridge , visit the amphitheatre, used for the summer arts festival held in July and climb the maze of twisting cobbled streets to reach the 13th century chateau.
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Old Jan 25th, 2015, 05:45 PM
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wow thank you for this fabulous info
tidy is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2015, 04:43 AM
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That's pretty great, Deb!
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Old Jan 26th, 2015, 06:17 AM
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DebitNM, that is a really great resource!

I'm curious... who are the celebrities in Saignon?

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Old Jan 26th, 2015, 06:33 AM
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I could tell you, Kathy, but then I would have to shoot you

In all honesty, I did not make up this wonderful list. It was prepared by the owners of the gite/chambre d'hote I linked to above. They are amazing hosts who provide a font of helpful information such as the list. Restaurants, hiking trails, shopping tips etc. along with fully equipped -- from A-Z -- rentals, to a meal cooked [for a supplemental charge of course] by the lady of the house, Karen, who is an amazing chef.
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Old Jan 26th, 2015, 10:47 AM
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Upon re-examining the places you want to visit, I'm going to change my recommendation on where to base yourself.

You did not mention Arles, Nimes, Pont du Gard, or Uzes as places that you want to visit. All these are near St Remy - so St Remy would be a good place to stay if you wanted to visit them - but you don't. Les Baux is the only place on your list of places you want to visit that is near St Remy - so I see no real benefit of basing in St Remy. Personally, I much prefer the countryside and villages in the Luberon over St Remy. We've vacationed for over 6 weeks in the Luberon & only 2 weeks in St Remy. Plus 10 weeks near Vaison and 2 weeks near Uzes.

So I would recommend that you base in the Luberon and visit the Luberon villages, Lourmarin, Les Baux, and St Remy from there. Deb's recommendation is a good location within the Luberon. Then move up to the Bedoin/Vaison/Cote du Rhone area as your second base.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 8th, 2015, 09:04 AM
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St-Remy is a very nice Location. But the little village Mouries is much better, cause the freeway to Arles, Marseille and Avignon is not far away. And here you can buy from producer one of the best olive oil in Europe.

And from this location you are quickly in following hot spots:

- Les-Beaux-de-Provence
- Arles
- Glanum (ancient town like Vaison-la-Romaine)
- Pont du Gard
- Camargue (Aigues-Mortes, middle-aged-town)
- Avignon
- Aix-en-Provence
- Luberon with Locations like Lourmarin, Ménerbes, Roussillon

Many pictures about this locations find you on


Paul Marc
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 09:49 AM
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bookmarking - thank you Stu and Deb, this is a great post.
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