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Provence: settling in (where?) and getting out (via Dijon?)

Provence: settling in (where?) and getting out (via Dijon?)

May 24th, 2010, 01:35 PM
  #1  
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Provence: settling in (where?) and getting out (via Dijon?)

I've been planning a two-week trip to the south of France in September, and this forum has been an invaluable, enormously informative help. Thank you for sharing your expertise on Provence and the Dordogne, especially Stu(s), Ira, and StCirq.

We've decided to explore Provence (Luberon/Haut Vaucluse/Bouches-du-Rhone) and to rent a house in a village for 12 nights. Four very different properties are available: in Menerbes, Bonnieux, Saignon, and Sablet. I could use your advice deciding which would make the best base.

We are two active adults who prefer to see the countryside by hiking, running, walking, or biking than by driving--though of course we will rent a car out of Avignon and expect to drive to various towns to dine, sightsee, shop, and hike. Still, we'd like our "hometown" to be easily walkable and to have enough by way of food and other services (and of local life) that we won't have to leave for every meal or to fend off claustrophobia. Might Saignon and Sablet be too small? Their appeal was that they seemed potentially less touristed than Menerbes and Bonnieux--or will that not be a problem in September?

Also, as we are flying home from CDG, we wanted to spend our last two nights closer to the airport. I've spent a great deal of time in Paris so was thinking of Dijon but can't find a train that makes any sense. (I speak French and am using the SNCF site but also tried Bahn.) This should be a two-hour TGV, right? All I see are five- or seven-hour trips with multiple connections, in which case we'd be better off leaving from Avignon the day of our flight. Any suggestions?

Many thanks for your thoughts. I will email Stu separately for his itineraries.
NancyinNY is offline  
May 24th, 2010, 01:51 PM
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I'll let Stu and others who know those towns better than I do respond to that part of the question, but as for the return to CDG,why not Lyon? I would not advise leaving from Avignon the day of your flight, and if it's true the connections through Dijon are 5- or 7-hour trips, I certainly wouldn't do that, either. Lyon's a short ride, and it's not that hard to find early trains to get you to CDG on time (but do leave yourself plenty of time - last time I did this the crowd at the airport waiting to get on the shuttle to the terminal I need to get to was so big I had to wait for three shuttles to come along before I could get on one).

Anyway, if you haven't been to Lyon (or even if you have), that would be my recommendation. It's a lovely city.
StCirq is offline  
May 24th, 2010, 05:43 PM
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>>Dijon but can't find a train that makes any sense<

Monday - Friday
Lv at 6:32am & arrive at 8:20am

Sat - Sun
lv 7:44am & arrive at 9:32am

Other suggestions tomorrow

Stu Dudley
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May 24th, 2010, 06:18 PM
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Thank you, Stu, regarding the Dijon TGV. I should clarify: Our flight from CDG departs Saturday at 5:50 pm, so the crack-of-dawn trains would waste most of the day at the airport. And I don't think we'd want to try cramming in a few hours in Paris (assuming there's even anywhere to store luggage anymore).

I haven't yet researched the timetables, but StCirq's recommendation for Lyon might make better sense than Dijon logistically, as there seem to be many more TGV trains running to it from Avignon and from it to CDG. Unless anyone has other ideas for a two-night destination on the line between Avignon and CDG, with easy access to the airport? Thanks!
NancyinNY is offline  
May 24th, 2010, 08:25 PM
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Bonnieux would, I think, offer the best selection of food and other services within walking distance. You are right in thinking that Sablet and Saignon are a bit on the small side, as is Ménerbes.

The tourist crowds shouldn't be very bad by September, but the later in the month the calmer things will be.
Underhill is offline  
May 24th, 2010, 08:38 PM
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>>but StCirq's recommendation for Lyon might make better sense than Dijon logistically, <<

Yep - Lyon is a very good choice for a late afternoon flight !!

Stu Dudley
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May 25th, 2010, 07:59 AM
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Saignon, Sablet, and Menerbes are all to small to have several restaurants & activities to keep you amused. Bonnieux would be your best choice - although it is a hill town. Make sure that your house is actually in Bonnieux, and not several Ks away.

Stu Dudley
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May 25th, 2010, 08:20 AM
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YOu have to drive to dine out in most towns around there, as most rental properties are not in centre ville, in any case, even if they say they are in Bonnieux, etc. So as Stu says, you need to really find out where the property is located.

I think Lyon is the best idea, there aren't hardly any stops on the TGV between Avignon and Paris. IN fact, most of the trains don't stop at all after Lyon (I think some might at Macon). Valence is the only other one, and it's not that far from Avignon and isn't anything special that you'd want to stay there rather than Lyon.
Christina is offline  
May 25th, 2010, 05:02 PM
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Thank you all! The trip's shaping up as 12 nights in Bonnieux and 2 in Lyon. The property in Bonnieux is just half a kilometer from shops--as I was able to verify on google maps--so I think it will suit us fine.
NancyinNY is offline  
May 25th, 2010, 06:51 PM
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Nancy, don't know what your hotel preferences or budget are, but I loved the La Résidence Hotel in Lyon. Right in the thick of things, huge room with window overlooking the pedestrian street, and very affordable. I got the tip here on Fodors.
StCirq is offline  
May 26th, 2010, 06:48 AM
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I appreciate the suggestion, StCirq. I was looking also at Hotel le Phénix, if you (or others) have any thoughts on that one as well.
NancyinNY is offline  
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