Route from Arles to St Paul de Vence...

Mar 7th, 2004, 03:16 PM
  #1  
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Route from Arles to St Paul de Vence...

We'll be driving in July, what route would my fellow Fodorites suggest? Any stops you would suggest? Where to lunch? Thanks for your help.
JeriB is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 03:38 PM
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The most direct way is to take the motorway to Salon de Provence, then Aix, then across to Cagnes-sur-Mer, then the local road up to St.-Paul. The journey from Aix would take about 2-1/2 hours; so all together you will have a trip lasting about 5 hours, which leaves time to stop along the way, perhaps in Aix itself, a nice spot for lunch. If you want to get going early, you could arrive in Mougins in time for lunch at 1 p.m. and eat at Le Feu Follet. Alternatively, there are several restaurants and cafés right along the autoroute (operated by the association that runs the autoroute), and the food is quite good. Imagine being able to get something like boeuf bourguignon of a salade niçoise at a roadway stop here at home!
Underhill is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 09:53 PM
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Underhill's route suggestion is the fastest and most direct. Just to point out, the time from Arles to Aix is an hour and a half max. I've done that one more times than I can count. So if you were leaving around mid-morning, you could easily stop in Aix, have a look around, a great lunch and then a leisurely afternoon drive to St. Paul.

As a former Aixois, I have a long list of favorite restaurants in Aix if you are interested....
kevin_widrow is offline  
Mar 8th, 2004, 04:01 AM
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We are very interested in your Aix restaurant suggestions. We will probably do at least one day trip there and maybe pass through on the way South, so bring them on!
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Mar 8th, 2004, 04:44 AM
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Depends a bit on how fancy you want to get and what kind of food your looking for.....

Assuming your interested in Provencal/Med cooking - one of our favorites is Le Bistroquet, which is hidden in a tiny little square. You can eat outdoors and the ambiance is great. Always some excellent street performers playing. And the food is superb, not overly expensive either.

Now that I think about it, in the very same square is Chez Maxime which has one of the best wine cellers in Provence.

For a real Brasserie type experience, we love La Madeleine facing the Palais du Justice - excellent seafood. Go there for lunch and watch the crowds enjoying the market (Tues/Thurs/or Sat).

Other excellent Provencal:
Le Poivre d'Ane and Les Deux Freres.

IF you want something lighter - excellent salades for example. Try La Salamandre on the Place des Cardeurs - on a sunny day, it's a great place to have a light lunch. There's also L'Hacienda again on the place des Cardeurs - always packed with locals on their lunch break - which is a good sign.....

Well, that should get you started. I didn't mention any of the more famous places, as I am sure you have them in your guide books.
kevin_widrow is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 03:34 PM
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We would like a scenic route, since the distance is not so far. Underhill is your route "scenic"? Still up in the air if we should stop in Aix or Mougins. We'll be in Arles for 5 nights and thought we'd probably take a day trip to Aix anyway.
JeriB is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 08:16 PM
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The route I suggested involves mostly motorways; the scenic routes would take quite a lot longer because of the terrain--you have to go across some mountains, and there aren't too many direct routes.

BUt if it's scenery you want, go from Arles to Avignon, then through the Lubéron, heading toward Manosque but continuing across to Moustiers-Ste-Marie and over the Route Napoléon to Castellanne and finally Grasse and Vence and St.-Paul.

That route will take most of a day; you could stop for lunch in Roussillon or Moustiers (which is a charming village specializing in faience: great shopping). The drive from Moustiers to Castellanne is by way of a high mountain road with great scenery but slow going as it's only 2 not-too-wide lanes.

Get yourself the Michelin map of Provence as soon as you can; it's invaluable for plotting routes and seeing just what's involved.
Underhill is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 09:44 PM
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I'll second Underhill's route. You'll be avoiding the autoroutes and on gorgeous back roads for most of the way. If you're going mid to late july, the area around Valensole (between Manosque and Moustier) will be filled with oceans of blooming lavendar -

As a bonus, you can stop by for a fortifying pastis or two as you will be passing right by our place!
kevin_widrow is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 03:54 PM
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Thanks for all your wonderful advice!
JeriB is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 05:09 PM
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A very popular restaurant in Moustiers is Les Santons. We have driven the southern route through the canyon and there was plenty of room on the highway.
RonZ is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 08:47 PM
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If a mouthwatering lunch at Les Santons appeals to you, reserve in advance; the restaurant is very popular and the only "fine dining" place in town. There are, though, several lesser restaurants and cafés if you don't want to have to drive to a set schedule for lunch. We found one that did marvelous pasta, just by going one block off the street that leads up to the church.

I hope you do go to Moustiers; we return as often as possible and never get tired of the spot.
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