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mjs May 5th, 2016 11:25 PM

Still another Provence Provence advice request
Leaving for Provence May 20 and returning June 5. Have flights from SFO to CDG and return from LHR.
Flights were $890 RT/NS which explains the air details. Have been to London and Paris many many times. Have rented a house in Cap Antibes and have stayed another time in Nice in the past so this trip is about Provence for the first time. Have Stu's notes and Fodors/Frommers/Lonely Planet and Rick Steves books. Thank you Stu. Arrival about 1030 CDG and TGV to Avignon about 1400. Planning on going to London for a few days probably on June 1. May take train from Avignon or fly back from NCE or MRS. The question here is for the time in between. Considering HotelEurope May 21 and 22 In Avignon but possibly thinking about extending time in Avignon to take day trips to Arles and Nimes.
Currently thinking about moving to Le Vallion in St Remy for May 23-26 or Baumaniere le Baux in Les Baux or possibly Bastide Rose in Le Thor. Move to Aix for Hotel Cetane May 26-27. Considering L'Enclos in Morgues or Chateau Mazan in Mazan for a few nights May 28-?. Return to Avignon for a few nights than onto London? Do tend to prefer less moving about and would prefer to budget $200-$300 a night but can go to $400 if necessary. Bastide de Gordes out of my range. Need two twin beds or similar as traveling with my adult daughter. Any thoughts appreciated

Lois2 May 6th, 2016 03:38 AM

Seems really late for small hotels..are all those choices available..I alway thought may was popular for American tourists.

Landseaair May 6th, 2016 06:16 PM

FWIW we loved Le Vallon de Valrugues in St Remy. Stayed there three nights in late March. It was lovely, the service, grounds were top notch and it was a short walk in to town.

Christina May 7th, 2016 10:51 AM

YOu aren't considering changing hotels five times in Provence, are you? You have:

May 21-22 Avignon
May 23-26 St Remy or Les Baux or Le Thor
May 26-27 Aix
May 28-30 Mazan
May 31 Avignon
June 1st go to London

Is that right?
If so, I'd only stay in 2-3 hotels myself in 10 days or so (probably 2), but not 5. Since you can get to London from Avignon fairly easily, I'd rearrange to that is at the end (not twice). Just knock those two days at the beginning to the end. YOu can get to St Remy easily enough from Avignon TGV station where you arrive, I presume you must be renting a car anyway. Or from Aix, actually--you can get to Aix direct by train from Paris in only about 3 hours. You could do Aix-St Remy-Mazan-Avignon. that's 4 but not that bad, actually, a lot better than splitting the Avignon days and checking into hotels twice there.

I would never stay in Les Baux, it's just a tourist site as far as I'm concerned, even if there is a hotel or two there. And not that convenient a location, anyway.

Given it is beginning of high season in Provence, I would try to wrap up reservations ASAP.

mjs May 7th, 2016 10:02 PM

I really would prefer no more than 3 places but thought that staying in Avignon for two days after a transatlantic flight made some sense to refresh and take a day to see Avignon before renting a car to explore. An alternative plan might be to go on to Aix that day, spend two nights there before moving onto somewhere like Gordes or Roussillon as a base before moving to another base closer to Avignon like St Remy or Le Thor or even Mazan. I understand that time is short but I had a medical issue which had to be cleared up before I could make any plans for a holiday.

mjs May 8th, 2016 01:47 AM

Have cut down hotels after Avignon to 2 locations. May 23-27 in Gordes at Le Mas de Gordes or Domaine de Fontanelle in Lauris. May 28-June 1 in St Remy at either Hotel de L'Lmage or Le Vallon de Valrugues. Might still add in Aix for two nights at the beginning instead of Avignon.

mjs May 8th, 2016 02:13 AM

Le Clos de la Glycine also available in Roussillon

mjs May 12th, 2016 12:00 AM

Latest itinerary. May 21-22 at Novotel in Avignon
May 23-27 at Le Clos de la Glycine in Roussillon
May 28-June 1 at Le Vallon de Valrugues in St Remy

Only wonder if too many days in Roussillon or St Remy and whether I should take one night each from both for two nights in Aix at Hotel Cezanne.

Christina May 12th, 2016 10:56 AM

I don't think it's too many days in any one place if it is a location where you can easily see things on a drive. So two bases gives you two different locations to see things around, that seems okay to me. At least St Remy and Roussillon are far enough apart so Roussillon is for the Luberon (or perhaps north of that, like Gigondas, Dentelles, etc) and St Remy for other things, I presume--Les Baux, Arles or Nimes or perhaps Avignon.

I stayed in Roussillon for several days as a base, it was good, I liked it. A lot better than some place like Gordes which you can't even drive into and which is more expensive (and even more full of tourists). Not a lot of gourmet restaurants, but plenty to satisfy me for a few days. And very easy to drive out of town for my day trips. I was on the edge, though, right across from a public parking lot. Your hotel is very convenient being in the center, and probably the nicest one there, but not as convenient for your car. Not sure where you intend to keep your car there but I'm sure the hotel must arrange something. So don't think of this as sightseeing in Roussillon for 4 days or whatever, it's just a base.

You have plans for parking in Roussillon, don't you? Because if not, you may have to park a bit far away. My hotel was on the edge right across from a public lot, so that worked out well (I got parking from the hotel for free). There is a public lot very near the Clos hotel but given it is dead center in the village, it gets very full very early. I doubt if the Clos itself has any parking at all, I can't imagine where it would be if they did.

mjs May 14th, 2016 01:14 AM

It is good to know that the two bases seem reasonable to tour Provence. The Clos has some parking available and they have offered me parking for my stay.
Still considering on whether we can visit Aix in one day from St Remy or Roussillon. Additional new complication is the rail strike which might affect our train to London on June 1. May leave a day earlier to either Paris or London.

jamikins May 14th, 2016 09:05 AM

If your train is the Eurostar I don't think it will be impacted as it is a separate company

Christina May 14th, 2016 09:36 AM

it shouldn't affect Eurostar as much but there is no guarantee it won't affect it. Last SNCF worker strike in March affected about 20% of Eurostar runs and 50% of Lyria. It didn't affect Thalys. Of course it affects TER, Transilien and IC trains the most.

SNCF owns about half of Eurostar and since SNCF strikes affect them, I presume some of the workers on the Eurostar trains belong to the same unions.

Christina May 14th, 2016 09:42 AM

oh, you can visit Aix for a day trip from Roussillon if you want, it's about a 1.5 hr drive and pleasant, it's scenic in parts as it isn't a major highway. You go through Lourmarin to the south before crossing the river.

It's quicker from St Remy if that's all that matters, can take only about 1:15 hrs but that's if you take the big autoroute A7/A8 most of the way. So the drive itself isn't much of an experience.

mjs May 14th, 2016 11:15 PM

Have decided to stick with Avignon, Roussillon and St Remy. Now have to deal with the train strike. Was considering just leaving the day before to Paris than catching the Eurostar to London the next day as I do not believe the Eurostar will be affected by the strike. I have Thalys booked to Paris now but believe there is a high probability of problems with this train during the strike. This however is more expensive than just going direct to London along with an extra 40E charge for change of tickets. It also seems like a lot of trouble for less than a day in Paris, especially as we were just there in October.
Now thinking of booking a train to London the day before and cutting a day off of Provence and adding a day to London. Might also consider dropping the car off in Marseille and flying to London to keep the same number of days in Provence.
Thanks for all of your advice.

StCirq May 15th, 2016 12:23 AM

What makes you think there's a "high probability" of Thalys being affected by the strike?

I wouldn't change my plans at all. If a train you've booked isn't running, you'll get the next one and be refunded for the first one. As long as you have some flexibility in your travel plans (and you're going to have to, no matter what you do), that's a whole lot easier than continung to buy new tickets and paying the difference between them and the old ones.

mjs May 15th, 2016 10:33 AM

The March strikes apparently hit 1/3 TGV and 1/5 Eurostar trains. Sorry its TGV not Thalys. My tickets are apparently nonrefundable with a 40 Euro change fee so flying is out. I always try to book flexibility in my travel schedule but don't like to waste time. My connection is in Paris not Lille so I guess my chance of making it may not be too bad or I could spend the night in Paris but at the expense of a night of my hotel in London.

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