Roman ruins trip, southern France


Mar 17th, 2013, 11:27 AM
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Roman ruins trip, southern France

If all goes well (I have a cancer-riddled sister who is doing quite well on chemotherapy) and we get to go, we have a wish list of several sites and cities in southern France we'd like to see. The trip is planned for mid-October for probably 9 days in France and then 4 days in London. We will arrive Thursday and leave for London the next week on Saturday.
Nimes, Orange, Avignon, Pont du Gard, Arles and the Camargue.
At the moment, I have my eye on a nice, budget-friendly apartment in Rochefort du Gard for a base. We'll have a car. I was thinking we would stay in the apartment for 7 days and then move south, maybe to Aigues Mortes for a couple days, or we could one day here and one day there if there are sights to be seen that are far enough apart. Marseille is also an option as we plan on flying in and out of there.
I'm here to ask for help in organizing the trip logically, especially for those days we should or should not be in a certain town for market days, or not to be somewhere on certain days because everything will be closed. Also the "don't miss" things we will probably drive right by without even knowing they are there. Advice on where to park would be really appreciated because my husband is one of those people that doesn't like not knowing where he is going so if I can map out things like that it makes life better. Restaurant recommendations are greatly appreciated, under 25€.
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Mar 17th, 2013, 03:47 PM
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parking is very difficult in Nime. If you can get a handicapped parking sticker from your
home state then take it to France it will be a life saver. Keep in mind the french cops have
no way of verifying the sticker, but will honor it. Consider visiting attractions in the Luberon
east of Avignon. Rossillion, Gorde, etc. A nice place to have dinner after dark is in Isle de
Sorgue at one of the several restaurants along the river. See the movie 'A Good Year' to
get a view of the Luberon. We will be spending the month of June '13 in a villa near Murs
in the Luberon.
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Mar 17th, 2013, 04:31 PM
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Hi pd,

You might find the Provence part of my trip report helpful,

Ira Returns From 22 Loverly Days in Europe - Sep, 2009

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Mar 18th, 2013, 01:05 AM
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If you like roman ruins, see what to visit here
If I were you I would spend the night in Aigues Mortes... Lovely
In Avignon the best value for money rest is (to my taste) "le tout petit"
As for parking, since you're coming in Oct I wouldnt worry too much since this will be a quieter period.
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Mar 18th, 2013, 05:06 AM
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Don't miss the "aqueduc romain" or "Aqueducs de Barbegal", southwest of Paradou on a back road off the beaten track (not well marked -- I drove past it before recognizing my mistake). Described and located in the Michelin Green Guide, these are remains of a Roman aqueduct built in the 1st century B.C. to bring water from a spring in Eygalières to Arles, and also to provide power for a series of tub (flour) mills through a cut in the hill at the south end of the aqueduct ruins. These mill ruins are described in some detail in "The Roman Remains of Southern France, A Guidebook" by James Bromwich (London and New York: Routledge, 1993). The remains of this rare Roman industrial site descend the hill steeply, and face a beautiful open plain to the south. The ruins looked like they haven't been touched since the Romans abandoned them almost 2,000 years ago (unlike many of the other Roman ruins I toured in Provence).
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Mar 18th, 2013, 11:13 AM
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Thank you, I'm looking this stuff up now.

This is a restaurant I've been looking at in the Camargue area. Not fancy, but I was looking for camarguaise food and this popped up. I love the food pictures.

I've looked for that book at our library, Rumseydog, but they don't carry it. It's $50 on amazon and I'm not ready to commit to that. I wish I could get my hands on it.
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Mar 18th, 2013, 11:34 AM
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Don't miss seeing Glanum, right outside St-Rémy.

And the absolutely most wonderful dining experience in the Camargue is here:

They used to have a dog named Idéal who came around and removed your napkins at the end of the meal, one by one, and deposited them in a basket in the kitchen. Doubt she's still alive, but maybe there's a replacement. You get whatever the patron has caught that day and whatever side dishes his wife has prepared. We had eel roasted on an open fire (the first time I'd ever had eel other than in sushi), and it was sublime. Just make sure you familiarize yourself with the drive there and back - it's pitch black out there at night.
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Mar 18th, 2013, 11:46 AM
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In October, I would not worry about parking in any of the cities.

My first instinct would be to choose Avignon, Nimes or Arles as a base. They are all relatively close to each other and since you are driving, that aspect does not make too much difference. But if you have found an apartment that you like in Rochefort, no problem.

Marseille is definitely a place to visit this year since it has been designated European Capital of Culture and has really made some major efforts to get in shape for the event, including some new museums and a total renovation of the Vieux Port.

I myself will make a special trip to Marseille this year to see some of the stuff.
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Mar 18th, 2013, 05:38 PM
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Vaison la Romaine? 2 areas of ruins
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Mar 18th, 2013, 07:02 PM
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Thank you for the replies, I'm googling everything. Love the looks of the restaurants and their menus, thank you. I'm a pro at finding tourist restaurants so this time I'm trying to focus on having good choices when we're sightseeing.

Do you think one day and night is enough for Aigues Mortes and the Camargue? That would leave two nights in Marseille.

Vaison la Romaine, Glanum, Aqueducs de Barbegal and the sites mention in Philippe's blog. Nice info in your blog, by the way, Philippe. It's the kind of info I've been looking for but it doesn't come up easily on google, does it?
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Mar 18th, 2013, 11:13 PM
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Thanks for your kind comments pdx.
Here's wath the locals are for
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