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South of France at Christmas - family of 4

South of France at Christmas - family of 4

Old Nov 16th, 2012, 05:42 AM
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South of France at Christmas - family of 4

We are looking forward to our first Christmas trip to the South of France. We have 2 children (ages 19 & 20 yrs) and I have rented a gorgeous village house in Draguignan, for 6 days. I'm planning on renting a car when we land in Nice.
I am hoping to hear suggestions about day trips & restaurants. We are adventurous, interested in people and culture and love good food/wine. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance.
Tracy
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Old Nov 16th, 2012, 09:22 AM
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Sorry can
t be of specific help - but if I were those kids I would want easy access to a place large enough to have a lively nightlife - which might be a problem if you are renting only one car.
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Old Nov 16th, 2012, 09:27 AM
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Draguignan is a fairly large town so you may find restaurants open (especially hotel dining) but in general Provence restaurants close after Labor Day. google for restaurants in the area. You will be located in the Var. The countryside is lovely. Try Provenceweb.com and provencebeyond.com
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Old Nov 16th, 2012, 11:07 AM
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I wouldn't wait to land in Nice before renting a car. Chances are your selection will be limited and expensive. You might want to check with Auto Europe and book the car ahead of time.

For fine dining in Draguignan, you can try Côté Rue in the Hotel Draguignan (www.restaurant-coterue.com), closed on Sunday and Monday, and the 24th and 25th of December.

Lou Galoubet (www.lougaloubet.fr) is closed Saturday for lunch, Sunday dinner, Tuesday evening and all day Wednesday.

La Brasserie Dracénoise is open 7 days a week.

The following website should be helpful in planning your stay:
www.ville-draguignan.fr
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Old Nov 16th, 2012, 12:31 PM
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Thanks for the restaurant suggestions and websites. I will check them out. We plan to go into Aix-en-Provence for a visit as I hear it is a University town.
Further thoughts always appreciated.
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Old Nov 16th, 2012, 12:49 PM
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There's a wonderful but expensive restaurant in Aix,
Clos de Violette and the fsmous cafe Deux Garcons
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Old Nov 16th, 2012, 01:35 PM
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I posted esrlier but it never showed?
In Aix is a beautiful restaurant, Clos de Violette
and a famous cafe, Deux Garcons
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Old Nov 16th, 2012, 05:12 PM
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Aix is indeed a vibrant university town, but it won't be so vibrant over Christmas, when most of the students will be back home for the holidays.

I would love a Christmas holiday in Provence, but to be practical, I think you need to prepare yourselves for a fairly desolate experience, in part. Things will be closed, things will be slow, places will be closed. Not saying these are negatives - you'll get to see how life goes on in mid-winter in the provinces - just know it in advance.
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Old Nov 17th, 2012, 08:52 AM
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Thanks for the heads up StCirq. A 'desolate experience' might be what's needed. Both kids are away at University and it will be wonderful for the 4 of us to catch up, drink wine, chat, play cards, eat, explore and the heck knows what else will be in store. We'll be game for almost anything/or nothing
I've looked into a few of the restaurants that have been suggested and they look great. I've emailed a few to confirm when they are open.
I always enjoy the planning of our trips. My excitement builds.
Thanks
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Old Nov 17th, 2012, 09:21 AM
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Do you have my 27 page Provence/Cote d'Azur itinerary? We've spent 16 weeks vacationing on the Cote and 4 of them have been in the Var near Carces. The itinerary has several scenic drive suggestions in that region. If you would like my itinerary (which I've sent to around 3,000 people on Foddors) e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach a copy to the reply e-mail.

Bruno in Lorgues is a nice Michelin 1 star restaurant. Lorgues has a very good weekly morning market too - as does Draguignan. Salernes has a lively Sunday morning market.

Stu Dudley
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Old Nov 17th, 2012, 10:20 AM
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We've been in Provence twice during the Christmas season and will be back again this year for the two weeks before Christmas. We base in the Luberon, but have been down to Aix for the day during both of our Christmases. I'd encourage you to make a visit... I think you'd still find it busy and interesting.

There are some special Christmas traditions in Provence, such as the santons (handmade figurines). Many villages and towns set up a crèche de noël, incorporating santons in an elaborate scene. Aix has a special Christmas market featuring booths selling a variety of holiday items (gifts, decorations etc.). And Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are their regular market days, which are smaller than in the warm months, but still quite busy.

You might want to go on a market day and then enjoy lunch- there are many options. Aix also has some great shops. Be sure to visit the cathedral.

Here's a link to the tourist office website with a list of the Christmas activities. This is in French but will still give you some ideas. http://www.aixenprovencetourism.com/...archesnoel.htm I notice that in the week before Christmas there is a Marché des 13 desserts, a special market where you can buy the various items that make up the "13 desserts," another Christmas tradition in Provence.

I'd encourage you and your family to learn a bit more about the Christmas traditions in Provence before you go... a Google search will lead you to a variety of resources. We love it there any time of year, but Christmas is a special family time and not nearly as commercialized as we find at home.

Kathy
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Old Nov 17th, 2012, 10:34 AM
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Hi Kathy, nice to see you again. Have a wonderful thanksgiving.

As usual good advice!
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Old Nov 17th, 2012, 10:45 AM
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La Table in Tourtour is very nice, Tourtour itself is a lovely village for walking around and taking in the views. St Tropez is within reach of Draguignan, there might be some things going on around Christmas time in the town, at least you'll have no problems parking! There are some lovely drives in this area, via La Garde Freinet, Le Plan de la Tour, around Brignoles we stumbled upon a restaurant on route national 7 with wonderful food, Au Vieux Pressoir, so if your excursions take you to Brignoles, well worth a lunch stop here. If you happen to be in Vidauban, Le Resto du Boucher is a traditional restaurant, very cosy in the winter time.

It might be a bit desolate at that time of year, but if it is cold and sunny it will be quite beautiful.
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Old Nov 17th, 2012, 04:36 PM
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In Aix, we loved, just loved this restaurant called Pasta Cosy. Some of the best food we've ever eaten. http://www.yelp.com/biz/pasta-cosy-aix-en-provence
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