Southern France in July

Jun 17th, 2007, 05:36 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 18
Southern France in July

Our family of 4 is travelling in Southern France for the 1st 2 weeks of July. Our sons are 27 & 29 and have travelled extensively on their own. They enjoy biking, kayaking, hiking, wine-tasting and seeing the local spots of interest.
We're looking for suggestions for places to visit which we can all enjoy together and separately. My husband & I won't be kayaking or biking so could hike instead, or visit museums, etc.
Any suggestions would be very welcome.
oscar123 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2007, 06:15 PM
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I'd suggest picking up a copy of the Michelin Green Guide to Provence, having all the family look through it, and then return here with specific questions.

For kayaking, the Ardèche river--a bit north of Provence--is great; nearby is an awesome cavern, the Aven d'Orgnac. That same region is excellent for biking, and you will also find Roman ruins (as in Vaison-la-Romaine) and medieval villages (such as Le Poët-Lavel).

The Rhône Valley is wonderful for exploring wineries.
Underhill is offline  
Jun 17th, 2007, 06:19 PM
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Southern France covers a huge amount of territory and from what you describe there are countless places you might enjoy. The Dordogne does come to mind immediately, though.
StCirq is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 07:04 AM
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Thanks for your replies. We thought of avoiding Provence since it is peak tourist season and possibly very busy.
We will be heading to the Ariege and Pyrenees-Orientale areas first (after a wedding in Sete), but are not sure which options to choose. Perhaps the Petit Train Jaune or cogwheel train up to Val de Nuria? I've heard of hiking in this area. Also the area around St-Giron was recommended but perhaps for families with small children?
We are interested in the Dordogne, but not sure where & whether kayaks/canoes can be rented.
oscar123 is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 08:28 AM
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We were in Provence for the first 4 days of our vacation last year (July 1-17th) and didn't find it too overrun with tourists at all.

We just returned from this year's vacation- 3 weeks of Provence, the Cevennes, Languedoc, and Oriental Pyrennees.

In the Pyrennees, we actually stayed right by the train stop for Le Train Jaune. It's a great B&B, but unfortunately, they are only taking weekly rentals for the rest of the season. It's called L'Ombre du Fort and it's located in Villefranche de Conflent. It's a great area with alot to do.

We didn't do any real hiking this trip because my husband is still recovering from an injury and also the weather we had (as did all of France) wasn't conducive to alot of the outdoor activities we had planned. But Mt Canigou is right there and I remember seeing signs for kayaking.

The Michelin Green Guide to the Languedoc is another book you should look into getting.

We had planned to kayak the Gorges du Tarn in the Cevennes this year, but alas, the rain and the cold temperatures we had killed that idea and any hopes we had for hiking.

And as others have advised, southern France is a large area.

Aside from our wierd weather, we had a fabulous trip and thoroughly enjoyed everyplace we visited.

lp_nyc is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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Oh, forgot to mention. There is some some good hiking in the Dentelles (which Vaison La Romaine is located at the most northern point) and also fabulous wine and pretty villages of Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Beaumes des Venise....
lp_nyc is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 08:54 AM
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If you are interested in kayaking in Pyrénées Orientales, you should look for a base in the area Font-Romeu/Les Angles/Mont-Louis i.e. near the river Aude (and also near the mountains with plently of hiking opportunities).

Spain and Nuria are not very far away.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 03:50 AM
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I forgot to say that the N116 from Perpignan to Font-Romeu is cut off to traffic at Olette due to recent floods.
Noone knows for how long.
The Little Yellow Train is operating but anyone staying in between Perpignan and Olette has no hope of driving up to the Pyrenees unless making a long detour via Millas, Col de la Bataille and the Aude Valley.

IGN (Institut Géographique National) publishes hiking maps called "Randonnées Pyrénéennes". The one to look for is "Canigou - Vallespir - Fenouillèdes"
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 04:52 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions.
To Pvoyageuse: we are very interested in kayaking/hiking in Pyrénées Orientales, and have a B&B booked in Villefranche-de-Conflent. However it looks like that could be a problem with the flooding you've mentioned on the N116!
Perhaps we should reconsider our route?
oscar123 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 08:11 AM
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At the moment, the road is cut off at Olette, approx. 15 km from Villefranche de Conflent which means that if will not be able to drive directly to Font-Romeu and access to Quillan (Aude Valley and Caramany/Latour de France)without a very long detour (through Col de la Bataille as indicated in my other post)

If you are based in Villefrance, you will be able to drive very easily to Villeneuve de la Raho near Perpignan (kayak on the lake)or Marquixanes near Prades (rafting).

The fact that the road is cut off to traffic means that from Villefranche du Conflent, you'll only be able to drive down the valley towards Perpignan (instead of up towards the mountains).
From Villefranche you can visit Vernet-les Bains (grottos - abbaye of St Martin du Canigou - hiking on the Canigou trails)
In Prades visit the Abbaye of St Michel de Cuxa.

Further down the road, Ille-sur Têt is worth a stop, then Perpignan and the coast. Lots to see !
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 02:56 AM
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Drome could be a nice place for your vacation. Your sons can practice there all they favorite sports. Mountains, rivers, perched villages such as Rimon & Savel naturel spots such the cirque d'archiane, wine such as Clairette de Die, you will find all what you are looking for. Go on for more touristic information.
mob_france is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 09:20 AM
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I'm not sure how you can plan to travel in southern France while avoiding Provence...that's a large part of the south.
Underhill is offline  

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