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South of France - Visit in March or October?

South of France - Visit in March or October?

Old Nov 10th, 2008, 03:45 AM
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South of France - Visit in March or October?

I'm in the process of planning a trip, which includes spending time in Marseille, Arles and Avignon.

Our calendar allows us time to travel in either March or October.

Which month would be better for visiting this area, and why?

Thanks,
Robyn >-
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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 04:56 AM
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Hi A,

How early in March? How late in Oct?

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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 05:20 AM
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hi artstuff,

beased on our experiences in Italy, I'd go for October -in florence even in the last week of the month, we were able to eat outdoors in the evening.

Whereas in Rome in the last week of March, we weren't.

the likelihood is that the weather in October will be better than March. but you never know!

regards, ann
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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 05:42 AM
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Definitely October!
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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 06:01 AM
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October.
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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 07:50 AM
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October has been quite nice this year but it's not always so warm.

March can be windy and cold, so I would choose October.

Blackduff
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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 08:47 AM
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October

Stu Dudley
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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 08:56 AM
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I know it's unusual, but I was in Beaulieu sur Dordogne last week, it rained and snowed for two days.
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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 09:33 AM
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Agree w/ the others. Your chances for good weather are much better (usually!) in October.
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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 09:34 AM
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i haven't been in march but we spent the first week of october in provence this year and the weather was lovely ... only one morning of rain ... and only for an hour or two at that.
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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 10:22 AM
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We just returned from Provence last week and we have also visited in late March, early April.

For weather...I'd say October. We had mostly pretty sunny days, a few rainy cool days. However, so few restaurants and cafes in the evening were open in the smaller villages. Larger towns may be different but we were amazed at how limited our choices were on places to eat at night. We were there October 17-24. I don't remember that being so much a problem in late March.

Also...far fewer tourists were encountered Oct opposed to March.
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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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We did Provence in early May and it still seemed pretty empty and not really in season.
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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 12:49 PM
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Judy: Lucky you, to have been in Beaulieu sur Dordogne. Bummer about the snow, though.

I love the Restaurant Central Fournie (may have a new name now); and we have stayed at least 3 times at the Chateau du Doux, a vast mansion above Beaulieu.

I think you and I are the only Fodorites who know and/or like it. Yet I always extol the charms of that part of the country esp vis a vis the downstream parts of the Dordogne.

BTW: Yes, October.

We had great weather in Avignon/ Marseille/ Arles in the period Oct. 14-28 this year.

Some lousy rainy days in the middle but never cold -- and the first 6 and final 4 days of our trip were simply splendid.

Beach weather + glorious blue skies....Unforgettable.
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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 05:47 PM
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You have a better chance that October will be warmer and more pleasant(probably not as windy) as March.Go for October. I have been in that area late in September, and the weather was nice.
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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 03:39 AM
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Thank you, everyone, for your responses.

A little background about our trip: My husband and I will be travelling with our friend, who has never been to Europe. His three desires are to visit a coffeeshop in Amsterdam, ride really fast trains, and eat Bouillabaisse in Marseille.

Originally we talked about going in March, during the "shoulder season", and when his work has slowed down. But I just started a full time job this past April, and won't have enough vacation time saved up to take off for 10 days this coming March, so I suggested October as an alternative, which has been met with some resistance.

I decided to let the folks at Fodor's help us decide, so I was glad that he was visiting with us yesterday after work when I clicked on the thread, only to find OCTOBER as the overwhelming response.

Once again, I thank the Fodor's community for helping us to plan our European getaway.

Robyn >-
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Old Nov 24th, 2008, 11:25 AM
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To tedgale, sorry didn't write ealier, as I only checked this thread now by chance.

I stayed at Le Relais de Vellinus on the main Place in Beaulieu for one week, took long walks around the countryside and chestnut forests everyday. You are qutie right: this part of Dordogne is most beautiful, even in bad wather, I prefer this area much better than around Sarlat.

Chateau du Doux is closed now, waiting for buyers, I walked by one day, thought to have a tea break, saw the notice by the gate.

I had seveal good(and very cheap) meals at a lovely little restaurant (Veloute)across Eglise St-Pierre.

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Old Nov 24th, 2008, 02:12 PM
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October - in March, the icy Mistral is blowing.

Re Bouillabaisse: Many restaurants expect that you order this fish dish in advance, when you make your reservation.

I personally prefer the soupe de poissons which is served everywhere in the south of France. You eat it with fried bread, rouille or aioli and cheese.
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Old Nov 24th, 2008, 03:30 PM
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The closure of the ch. du Doux is a real pity. For those who don't know it: It was one of the most inexpensive hotels in the area and had provided much-needed employment for people with physical handicaps.

The building was simply stunning -- a robber baron's 1902 "take" on a traditional Dordogne manor, swollen to gargantuan size. Yet actually very liveable.

Great gardens and pool. Some lucky buyer will no doubt re-brand it as a much MORE expensive hotel with not much effort.
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