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Roman angle in Provence - is it worth it if you've already been to Rome?

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May 16th, 2011, 11:38 AM
  #1
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Roman angle in Provence - is it worth it if you've already been to Rome?

This may sound like a silly question but as I prepare for my first visit to Provence, I realize that many of the places that have been recommended to me are known for their Roman buildings/ruins. The thing is, I've already been to Rome and elsewhere in Italy and I'm mostly interested in what else Provence has to offer (the lavender fields, the atmosphere).

Given my tight itinerary, I wouldn't want to spend too much time visiting Roman-oriented attractions and villages. On that basis, should I eliminate any of the following? Thanks!

- Arles
- Les Baux de Provence
- Gordes
- Roussillon
- Saignon
- Sivergues
- Buoux
- Bonnieux
- Grignan
- Dieulefit
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May 16th, 2011, 11:49 AM
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Only Arles in your list has Roman ruins - I think.

Grignan & Dieulefit are kinda far from the others on your list.

Not sure I would visit Buoux if you are short of time.

Stu Dudley
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May 16th, 2011, 12:03 PM
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Thanks Stu. I was thinking of combining Grignan and Dieulefit with a drive up Mont Ventoux (if time permits!).

You were a very valuable source of info in planning this trip and I thank you again. I'll be sure to post a trip report.

Leaving in less than 3 weeks!
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May 16th, 2011, 12:08 PM
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None of those places, with the possible exception of Arles, has a Roman "theme" at all, and Arles is big and varied enough that there's plenty to do besides visit Roman sites.

I loved the château at Grignan.
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May 16th, 2011, 01:06 PM
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I stayed at a goat farm in Silvergues, a stumnning location.
nearby in Saignon where I have also stayed, the serve the cheese from the farm at the auberge du Prebytere.
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May 16th, 2011, 01:56 PM
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Thanks Cigale, not many people seem to have visited Sivergues. What did you like about it in particular?

Thanks StCirq, Grignan was not on my list until a friend recently mentioned it. Looking forward to it!
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May 16th, 2011, 02:02 PM
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Actually, I was puzzled by yr question and yr list, since you are missing the most famous and picturesque Roman sites, apart from Arles:

Les Antiques + Glanum, outside St Remy
Nimes (Maison Carree)
Pont du Gard (a site of staggering beauty and grandeur)
Orange
Vaison la Romaine

You have a nice, if rather heterogeneous, list of destinations. Personally, I find Roussillon a big yawn but the other Luberon towns are great.

If in Bonnieux, I wd not skip next-door Menerbes and Lacoste.

I've climbed the Mt Ventoux but really, it is no big deal. In summer it will be hazy with humidity so you may not see as much as you hoped. IME, Mt V is more exciting to view from a distance than it is to ascend.

Dieulefit is OK -- just. Nearby Poet-Laval is tiny but much more atmospheric, IMO. I wd also climb into the hills above Dieulefit to visit Comps and its sublime Romanesque chapel.

I could go on and on but I imagine you don't need to add to an already crowded list.
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May 16th, 2011, 02:03 PM
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I felt like Heidi, the goats come right up to you, It's in a remote part of Sivergues, a beautiful setting
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May 16th, 2011, 02:24 PM
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We've spent 8 weeks over 3 trips vacationing in a Gite at the foot of Mt Ventoux. All in June - as late as the last week in July. As tedgale mentioned, it is only worth seeing on a very clear day. It was clear every day we drove up there, but we could walk outside on the grounds of our gite & look up to see if it was clear or not. I'm guessing that about 50-60% of the time it was clear.

Stu Dudley
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May 16th, 2011, 02:29 PM
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http://chocolateandzucchini.com/arch...e_castelas.php

This is someone's day trip there but parking is available on the farm for guests who are staying the night(s)
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May 16th, 2011, 02:31 PM
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Thanks Tedgale. My question is probably puzzling to you because you already know all of these places For me at this point they are just potential stops. Thanks for your thoughts, I do appreciate all the advice.

Actually, I do plan on stopping at Pont du Gard as it is on the way from Millau (my previous stop) to Avignon (my home base in Provence) - it appears quite unique and interesting.
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May 17th, 2011, 06:51 PM
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It is certainly unique. If you are heading there, you must stop and see nearby Uzes, even if only for an hour or two. I return there every time I can. We have spent a week there 3 times.

I have traveled to the Luberon (your primary focus) frequently, beginning in 1970 when I was 17. Delightful as the region is, it has no single town that is as beautiful, culturally rich and deeply atmospheric as Uzes.
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May 17th, 2011, 06:58 PM
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Here is an album of Uzes (also features Villeneuve-les-Avignon, just N of Avignon):

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...5&l=bb6ceb54a1
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May 18th, 2011, 06:25 AM
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Thanks Tedgale - pictures look great!
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May 18th, 2011, 07:12 AM
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>>Luberon (.... has no single town that is as beautiful, culturally rich and deeply atmospheric as Uzes.<<

Yep - but comparing Uzes to the Luberon is like apples & oranges. The Luberon is all about pretty countryside, lavender fields, and small/cute perched villages.

Stu Dudley
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May 18th, 2011, 10:55 AM
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gee, I liked Uzes okay but I wouldn't have ever said it was the most unique place, and you had to go there more than anywhere else. But I also think comparing Uzes to small Luberon villages isn't an apt comparison. Luberon is more rural and has villages for the most part.
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May 18th, 2011, 12:00 PM
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My only venture to a "roman" town in France was to Nimes (a day trip from Avignon.) Although technically Languedoc, it is often paired with sites in Provence.

I, too, had been to Rome, but found the Maison Carree and the Colisseum in Nimes to be fascinating. Mostly because they are still so well preserved. Also, the French pace is so much more pleasant to me than the frenetic pace of Rome and less crowds allowed me to feel, I don't know, the ancient "vibe" better.

However, if your main interest is the fields and the texture of Provence, concentrate on that. These places have been there for 2000 years and probably won't go anywhere in our lifetime. Do what you enjoy and maybe, when you go back again, you'll feel more like seeing more of the Roman influence. I have levels of interest. My first trip, I see what I really want to see. Next trip, I hit the stuff that I know I'll enjoy, but aren't to me the "must sees."
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May 18th, 2011, 02:01 PM
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Thanks for your insights cchottel. At this point in my life I have a pretty good idea of what I enjoy on a holiday and for me, it's about getting a glimpse of that world - not necessarily checking off items on a must-see list. I can't tell you how much grief I get from my friends for having gone to Paris three times and never having visited the Louvres. What can I say, I'm just not a museum person and I much prefer to walk around and discover the various neighbourhoods. To each his own!

On this 4 week trip we are spending 2 weeks in the south of France and are planning to see quite a bit in that short time, the plan being to explore one or two areas more fully on a future trip. But I just wanted to make sure I hadn't set my itinerary too much towards all that Roman stuff. Many brochures of Provence are heavily focused on that.

I feel better having asked the question. Thanks everyone!
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May 18th, 2011, 02:05 PM
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Having seen Rome, I found the Roman sites in Provence to be more evocative because of the contrast of the hustle-bustle of Rome and, say, the serenity of Pont du Gard.
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