Provence -- Where to go?

Old Feb 8th, 2005, 03:12 PM
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Provence -- Where to go?

What cities/villages/sights do you recommend for 3 days in Provence? I know there is much to see and do, but if you had to limit the visit to 3 days, where would you recommend for a first visit to Provence? Thanks!
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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 03:48 PM
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Where else in France or Europe are you visiting on this same trip. If you'll be in big cities (Paris), I would skip Avignon & Aix.

For 3 days, I would spend 1 day driving around the Luberon - Gordes, Senanque Abbey, Oppede le Vieux, Menerbes, Bonnieux, Saignon, Roussillon, Gault & then swing by L'isle sur la Sorgue. The drive getting to these places is just as interesting as the villages.

Next day - Les Baux, St Remy, D99 east to D74, Eygalieres, D24 south to D78, through Maussane & then to Arles.

Last day - 1 of two possibilities
- Uzes & Pond du Gard
- Vaison*, Seguret*, Sabblet, Gigondas, Vacqueyres, Beaumes, le Barroux, Malaucene, Le Crestet* , & back to Vaison. Stop at all the places I've marked with a *.

If you are there on a Friday, visit the AM markets in Carpentras, Sat in Apt or Arles, Wed in St Remy, Tues in Gordes, & on Sunday the "biggie" in l'Isle sur la Sorgue. If you visit the St Remy market, also visit St Remy again in the afternoon - I think the market interferes with the enjoyment of the town.

I have a 20+ page itinerary which describes my favorites things in Provence. e-mail me at [email protected] if you want a copy. If you will be in Provence in late June or early July, take the "Lavender Route" described in my itinerary, & either cut out a little of the Luberon circuit or get an early start.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 06:00 PM
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Traveller, the beauty of Provence is that it's all beautiful. Where are you arriving in Provence? With only 3 days you should stick close to that place--Provence is rather large and you could spend all your precious days on the roads just trying to reach your chosen destinations.
 
Old Feb 8th, 2005, 06:09 PM
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The different departments in Provence are so varied, that I advise you to read up on them because the terrain can differ so much, There are beautiful lakes in Haute-Alps-Provence, Around Sault the Lavender fields that have been photographed so many times, the Alpilles and other places for the olive groves, Each area has some lovely things about it, whether history, like old ruins, amphitheaters, museums or just simple beauty. Start with what you are interested in. Some villages are forgetful, some very crowded, some quiet. A good guide book will be of tremendous help
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 08:40 AM
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We will be traveling in early June. We will also be visiting Paris and Barcelona on the trip. We are primarily interested in small towns in Provence. Interested in "cultural" aspects like good restaurants, markets, exploring the towns by foot. Would prefer not to spend too much time in the car, but would travel to see Pont du Gard, if it is as dramatic in person as it seems in the picures.

Have seen many good reports on St. Remy, Arles, Uzes. If we based ourselves in St Remy and explored that surrounding area, will we get a good taste of Provence?
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 09:13 AM
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"Have seen many good reports on St. Remy, Arles, Uzes. If we based ourselves in St Remy and explored that surrounding area, will we get a good taste of Provence?"


traveller, I think that would be fine. St-Rémy-de-Provence would be a great base for seeing your choice of Arles, the Camargue, Avignon, Les Baux, the Alpilles, Nîmes, Pont du Gard, and Uzès. The Luberon and all its seductive charm is certainly within a reasonable drive.

Just to give you an idea of distances, you can drive from St-Rémy to Uzès in about an hour, if I recollect properly.

Having mentioned Uzès, let me add that it is our favourite town. If you are near there on a Wednesday or a Saturday, there is a great market in Place aux Herbes. Some of the happiest hours of my life have been spent sitting in the shade of the plane trees in the square. Sunlight filters through the leaves and turns the fountain spray into diamonds ...

Have a good trip. You'll love Provence.

Anselm
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 09:21 AM
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St Remy is a relatively easy place to get in and out of by car. You can see a variety of places easily from there. You should definitely visit Glanum and the outskirts of the town. Some of my favorite spots I'd recommend for a varied tour of Provence and easily accessed from St Remy includeGiven 3 days) Bonnieux,Gordes, Rousillon(1 day), Arles and Pont du Gard(1 day) and the Camargue. The Camargue is so vastly different from any place else in Provence IMO.Visit the church of the two Marys and St.Sarah,stop an watch pink flamingoes walk and squak,and/or take a walk on any of the hiking paths I highly recommend lunch at La Chassagnette. This is an organic farm with an exquisite meal that goes on for hours at 37 euro/pp.
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 09:28 AM
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that icon was not intended but works as I love Provence and you will too.

If visiting Uzes, I also add the small but lovely village of St Quentin de Potterie to the visit. This is a very short drive down from the village. It has many lovely pottery shops. I especially recommend Lilu Menilot(sp) for beautiful porcelin.

The market on Wednesday in St Remy is worth the visit. We gathered a sampling of food items and headed to Les Baux for a picnic.

We stayed at Mas de Carassins in St Remy which I would absolutely recommend. They have a locked car park which is important. Service was very nice. We stayed in one of the ground level rooms in the back for $115 euro/noc with breakfast.
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 10:46 AM
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Also visit Galtie ceramics shop in St Quentin - it's drained my wallet a few times. You will see their stuff in several places in Provence & the Riveria, but best prices are at their large factory. The Tourist office has a map of all the pottery shops in town.

Like Anslem, I'm a fan of Uzes also. My wife says it has probably the highest percent of shops that attract her. There is an excellent pottery shop there too - right on the main square.

While in the area, visit Castillion du Gard also. It's a cute town. There's a church on the main street where you will probably park your car. Go behind the church for a good view of the Pont Du Gard way off in the distance. It's lit up at night.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 10:57 AM
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Uzes, be still my heart. We stayed at a wonderful place called the Begude St Pierre. The Gard, tho not technically
not Provence is a wonderful place to stay if you want to visit Nimes and Provence
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 11:06 AM
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Uzes was my all-time favorite as well. It's such a soothing, lovely town. Saturday's market is not to be missed, if you have a chance. Go into the church, as well.

St. Quentin is not an especially charming town compared to others but the pottery IS magnificent. We came home with several pieces and I can't wait to go back there to buy more.

If your travels find you anywhere near the town of Tarascon, visit the castle there. It's from the 14th century and is absolutely fascinating. The ramparts give a fantastic view over the town and river.
 
Old Feb 9th, 2005, 11:08 AM
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When I backpacked all over France in 1996, I stayed at the youth hostel in Nice. From Nice you can take a day trip to Cannes, Monaco, and other small towns on the French Riviera.

Also, from Aix where I stayed, I took the bus every morning to Avignon and Marseilles.

The other posts mentioned a lot of smaller towns that I haven't heard of so I cannot vouch for them. I was backpacking so I only visited the major cities in the Provence area.

BTW, my favorite city there was Aix. Skip Cannes if you don't have time.
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 11:13 AM
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And if you go to Tarascon also visit the Soleiado museum and shop. You can buy the fabric by the yard(think Pierre Deux) and maybe find some clothes on sale in the back room. I usually stop to pick up a farandole santon.
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 11:20 AM
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we tried to stay at the begude st-pierre, but they lost our reservation and the one-night prepayment we had made by credit card. we had to really fight to get a refund the next day after spending the night at a much more expensive hotel. my letter to the owner of the begude went unanswered.
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 11:39 AM
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Another plus for Uzes is the restaurants. We've vacationed in Provence for 12 weeks since '99. Of my top 4 restaurants in Provence, three are within 10 mins of Uzes. Of my top 10 restaurants in Provence, 5 are in/close to Uzes.

L'Olivier in Serviers, food A-, atmosphere B

Table de l'Horloge in St Quentin, food B+, atmospnere A-

Ch Arpaillargues food B, atmosphere A-

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 11:59 AM
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Stu, I have been reading about two more in Uzzes that we must try.
La Table d'Aude, Place du Chateau
Les Trois Salons, 18 rue du Doctuer-Blanchard.
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 12:16 PM
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The other two, to round out my 5 in the area are:

les Fontaines in Uzes food B, atmosphere B+

l'Amphitryon in Castillion food B, atmosphere B

We've dined at all 5 twice, except the last one. I walked by les Trois Salons & checked out the menu, but preferred the menu at Les Fontaines.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 04:48 PM
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We arrived in Uzes too late for lunch(the rain aborted our intial foray out of St Remy). We did see the menu at Trois Salons which looked magnificent.
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 04:50 PM
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It does, doesn't it? I saw photos of it. I like their terrace.
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Old Feb 16th, 2005, 08:29 AM
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hi everyone,
I am still trying to get your advice on where to stay on the last night of our 6 night trip of Provence, after 2 nights in Nice, 3 in St. Remy. We need to be heading back to Nice for our afternoon flight out (mid-April) and would like to perhaps stay on the coast. Recommended routes and place to stay greatly appreciated!!
Dawn
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