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Provence trip-Please review my itinerary!

Provence trip-Please review my itinerary!

Mar 22nd, 2006, 03:00 AM
  #1  
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Provence trip-Please review my itinerary!

I accidentally posted this on the U.S. forum--Oops!
The time has come for our Provence trip (April 7-14). We are a family of two adults, and two boys 11 and 13. We will be traveling with Mother-in-Law and Aunt, and staying in a house outside of St. Remy (Maillane). We are looking forward to markets, sight, and wine. We are interested in finding small pieces of furniture, pottery, fabrics and traditional paintings (lavender fields) and artwork for our home in the U.S. (shipping is not an issue). Here is the plan--please tell me if it is reasonable or we are overlooking something. The children are used to touring/driving and the adults are fairly fit and able.

Fri.- One child, Aunt , Grandma depart Paris for Avignon on TGV. Parents, remaining child depart 6 a.m. by car for Avignon. Meet in Avignon, lunch and explore.

Sat.-Early to market in Perne-le-Fontaines. Explore. Possible late lunch in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse at Chez Phillipe.

Sun.- Early to L'Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue for market, onto Gordes, Roussisllon as time allows. Will shops be open?

Mon.-Les Baux, Pont du Gard, Uzes--Again, will shops be open?

Tues.-We'd like to break things up a bit and head for Grasse and St. Paul de Vence. I understand it is 2 1/2-3 hr. drive from St. Remy to Grasse. Leave St. Remy by 7 am and startback around 4or 5.

Wed.- Recover from day in car and explore St. Remy--Loumarin for lunch.

Thurs.-Aix-en-Provence--explore

Fri.- Depart for Paris.

Note--Most evenings, with the exception of one dinner, we will plan on eating in and relaxing. Some lunches will be picnics or on the go--
luckyexpat is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2006, 03:49 AM
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ttt
luckyexpat is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2006, 04:47 AM
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Just a few remarks...

I doubt if you'll make it to Avignon by car by lunchtime, even departing Paris at 6 AM. With the traffic around Lyon and the more strictly enforced speed limits (and depending on which part of Paris you're leaving from, you probably won't get to Avignon before 2 PM at the earliest.

You're heading back to the same area several times during your stay - eg.
Pernes on Saturday and l'Isle on Sunday.
I'd skip the market in Pernes
and go to the market in Arles on Saturday. l'Isle on Sunday has both antiques and a huge food market...and you can swing by Pernes as it's a short drive away. Since it's just before Easter, many of the shops in Roussillon will be open - and it's definitely worth the visit.

Since you're staying in Maillane - I'd go right to Pont du Gard and then Uzes.
Visit Les Baux at the end of the day.
Many of the shops in Uzes will probably be closed, but most of the shops in Les Baux will be open.

You'll be near the outlet shop for Les Olivades (in Sainte Etienne du Gres) -
you can find lovely fabrics there.
It's well signposted - near the campgrounds. You'll find all manner of interesting things in l'Isle sur la Sorgue...

And your sons might enjoy the free flying bird show at the chateau in Beaucaire (which you go through on your way to the Pont du Gard) one afternoon.

Patricia
(in Maussane-les-Alpilles)
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 04:53 AM
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Thank you so much Patricia! I am working at retooling our plans. Luckyexpat
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 05:40 AM
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PBProvence,
One more question... We are meeting the rest of our party in Avignon. Since we (my husband) REALLY dislikes getting lost in towns, we always try to park just outside and walk into the town. Looking at the map, I think we will want to park near Port de la Republique so that we can leave easily enough and head toward Maillane on N570. Will that be a terribly long walk to the Palais Des Papes where we plan to meet up? We don't mind walking 30 or so minutes. Is this reasonable? THANK YOU!!!
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 07:19 AM
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Luckyexpat, please make sure you post a trip report about the area when you get back. I will be renting a house in Maillane the first week of September so I will be curious about what you think. Thanks
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 09:02 AM
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lucky...

Because they're busy digging up all kinds of streets and parking areas in Avignon, I'd suggest parking in the town train station parking lot outside the city walls (right across the street from the rue de la Republique. This main street will take you straight up to the Place de l'Horloge and to the Palais des Papes. It will take you twenty minutes maximum to walk it.

Be sure to leave NO luggage or valuables of any kind in sight in your car ! Lock everything in the trunk.

Patricia
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 10:03 AM
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PBProvence,

Thank you! This info will help very much. Trish, I will send a trip report. We are renting our house through VRBO. I hope we will like it..?? Even if we don't, I KNOW we will love Provence. We have been to several towns there before, but have never had this much time. Thanks all again. Luckyexpat
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 10:22 AM
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>>Sun.- Early to L'Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue for market, onto Gordes, Roussisllon as time allows. Will shops be open?<<

Yep


>>Mon.-Les Baux, Pont du Gard, Uzes--Again, will shops be open?<<

Probably not in Uzes

>>Tues.-We'd like to break things up a bit and head for Grasse and St. Paul de Vence. I understand it is 2 1/2-3 hr. drive from St. Remy to Grasse. Leave St. Remy by 7 am and startback around 4or 5.<<

Why go all the way to St Paul & Grasse??? You won't see stuff that is a whole lot different that what you are already seeing (and stuff you are not seeing) in Provence. I think you might enjoy the Dentelles/Vaison area more than St Paul & Grasse - without all the freeway driving (we've stayed 4 weeks just outside of St Paul, and about 16 weeks in Provence in various locations).

>>Wed.- Recover from day in car and explore St. Remy--Loumarin for lunch.<<

I think you will have enough time to explore St Remy if you just hit it in the afternoon when you get back from one of your other trips.

There is a very nice market in Uzes on Sat - I would visit this area then, when all the shops are open in Uzes. Also visit Castillon du Gard.

This is what I would do:

Fri - do the Avignon thing. We always park in the train station garage. After Avignon, check into your hotel, and then drive to St Remy for a visit and a simple dinner afterwards.

Sat - market in Uzes in the AM, then lunch there. Pont du Gard, Castillion, then home in the afternoon. If you didn't hit St Remy yesterday, do it today.

Sun -l'Isle sur la Sorgue, then take a drive through the Luberon in the afternoon & stop in Gordes & Roussillon. If you have time, do the Pernes walk. Get a map at the tourist office - they have two very nice walks outlined - I think one walk is 1 hr & the other is 1 1/2 hrs.

Mon - visit the Gorges de l'Ardeche and Aven Orgnac caves with stalactites & Mites. I think the kids would enjoy that. Perhaps also visit the Chateau at Grignan.

Tues - Les Baux & Arles. Also the Olivades outlet. Drive through Maussane and Eygalieres (visit).

Wed. The Dentelles - Vaison la Romaine, Seguret, Beaumes de Venise, Crestet loop. Mt Ventoux also.

Thurs - market in Aix, and explore Aix. On the way back, hit Lourmarin (town & castle), and any villages in the Luberon that you missed on Sunday (Saignon or Bonnieux).

Do you have my Provence itinerary, that explains many of the sites I suggested in more detail? If not, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll send you a copy.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 09:53 PM
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StuDudly, I e-mailed you, but it was returned undeliverable. I will try again. Lucky
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Mar 23rd, 2006, 03:28 AM
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O.K. I am reexamining the trip plans. I need to say thank you for all of your input! Forgive me, but the deeper into the plans, the more questions I have.
With regard to Les Olivades:
We are definately interested in the outlet. Should we expect the prices to be better here than in other stores in the area? By on the main road between St. Remy and Tarascon, do you mean D 970? ( I don't have my Michelin maps yet--ordering today!) Also, in case we get sidetracked and behind schedule, is Les Olivades open on Monday?

For Monday--I am not sure, as Grandma and Aunt are leaving today for London before they meet us in Paris, but just in case they are not interested in the gorges/caves trip and we split up, how would Menerbes and Bonnieux work? Will the shops be open on Monday?

Also, incase the vote to go ahead to St. Paul de Vence prevails, do yoou know the corresponding Michelin map for the area?

One other note--We are leaving for Paris on Good Friday--Should we expect traffic to be a problem?

I really cannot thank contributors enough for their help. I am sure all of the preplanning will pay off. Thank you. Lucky
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Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:32 AM
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Lucky -

The prices at the outlet are better than in the retail shops. They also have "seconds" and you can often find offcuts that are extremely cheap when you consider the fabric.

<<By on the main road between St. Remy and Tarascon, do you mean D 970?>>

No - the main road between St Remy and Tarascon is the D99. Lined with plane trees - drive carefully.

Les Olivades is open six days a week ( a minor miracle around here) - Mon.- Fri.
9 to 12:30 and 2PM to 6 PM, Saturday from 10:30 to 6 PM "nonstop" as they say. I just called to double check.

the address is chemin Indienneurs
in St Etienne du Gres. Look for signs off the main road for "Camping" and it's right next door.

You'll also find fabrics in most of the markets - although prices can be pretty cheap, the quality is not as good.

You can expect a lot of traffic on Good Friday afternoon... although if you're heading into Paris, most of it will be heading away from the city. And a lot of people will have already left on Thursday if they're going away. Some will have left earlier if the school vacations for that area are already in full swing.

Personally I'd skip heading over to the Vence as well... and even Stu's itinerary would be too much driving in my opinion. And I wouldn't go to the Pont du Gard on a weekend - it will be jammed. Same with Les Baux.

Patricia
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Mar 23rd, 2006, 06:13 AM
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PBProvence,

How nice of you to call on my behalf! Thank you. You have clarified the directions nicely. I will try to persuade all to skip Vence. Thanks again.
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Mar 23rd, 2006, 07:47 AM
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>>StuDudly, I e-mailed you, but it was returned undeliverable. I will try again. Lucky<<

I spelled my own name wrong

It's [email protected]

Stu Dudley


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Mar 23rd, 2006, 08:15 AM
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>>how would Menerbes and Bonnieux work? Will the shops be open on Monday?<<

I would not make a seperate trip to the Luberon just to see these two towns, especially if you also tour the Luberon on a previous day. Menerbes will not take much time at all - perhaps 45 mins max. Perhaps 1 hr in Bonnieux if you move at a slow pace. You can do both in 30 mins. Bonnieux is a bit steep so if grandma moves slow - add a little more timer there if you want to see the entire town.

Like I suggested in my prior post, I would visit Aix in the AM on Tues. Leave St Remy by 8 & get there by 9. Reserve a table at Deux Garcons on the Cours for lunch. Visit the market first and then the town. Have lunch there at 1:00 when all the stores are closed. Then head to Lourmarin, and visit this village & tour the castle. Then drive up the very pretty Combe de Lourmarin to Bonnieux, and also visit Menerbes. Then back to St Remy.

Stores will probably be closed in Bonnieux & Menerbes on Monday.

Patricia has a good point about the Pont on Sat - I suggested Saturday because you could visit the market in Uzes then. There is also a market in Uzes on Wednesday, but it is much smaller than the Sat market, and not as interesting. You could swap Wed & Sat's "events" if you are more concerned with avoiding crowds than visiting another market.

In my Provence itinerary, there is a chapter about Provence Fabric - with prices, sizes, and the same directions to the outlet that Patricia gave you.

Still suggest that you nix the St Paul de Vence excursion, and add some diversity beyond the many villages you're already planning to visit - Mt Ventoux, Gorges de l'Ardeche, Caves, vineyards (Dentelles), Grignan castle, Roman Ruins at Vaison, etc.

Stu Dudley
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