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odie1 Feb 10th, 2007 08:15 AM

Stop between Nice and Gordes or travel through and spend two extra days in Beaumes-de-venise?
I need some help again.

My husband and I will have spent a week in Monaco (company trip) where we will have an opportunity to spend a day each in Nice, St Paul de Vence, Eze, San Remo (though I am hoping to go to Bordighera instead), dinner in Villefranche, etc. My best friend and my four year old daughter will be flying into Nice where we will be picking them up and heading out to Provence! (Stu I have your itinerary and have to peruse it with more depth).

My question is this, should we drive straight through to Gordes (they will be tired but my husband (the driver) will not be) or should we stop somewhere else along the way to spend two nights. Originally we were going to spend two or threee nights in Nice but since we will have already spent three days or so around there I thought we would head out. Right now my itinerary is looking something like this:

April 5, 6, 7-Gordes
April 8 (Easter),9-Beaumes de-Venise
April 10, 11, 12-St Remy
April 13-somewhere near Marseille airport as we have a 6:20 flight out on the 14th (suggestions for places to stay would be great)

If we stopped along the way I would take out the two days to Beaumes.

Also would you add one more day to Gordes to stay there through Easter and then do two days in Beaumes and only two in ST Remy with the last one near airport?

So sorry, I just need a bit of direction with what would be best.

StuDudley Feb 10th, 2007 09:59 AM

The area around Cotignac is very interesting, with several cute villages, and a scenic drive to get there (see my itinerary). However, this region is not that different from what you'll see in Provence around the Gordes & Beaumes areas.

I would stop in St Tropez instead & stay 2 days there. It's a small coastal village which is quite different from Nice. It also has some cute villages nearby that are worth exploring - Grimaud, Gassin, Ramatuelle, and Bormes. Sat April 7 is market day, so you could head out to Gordes after visiting the market.

You could stay 2 nights in Aix. I don't think it's a 1 1/2 day visit, so you could visit Cotignac, Tourtour, etc on the way there, and then spend the next day in Aix. Sat April 7 is their market day. You could even spend only 1 night there & see all you want to see.

You can get to Gordes in 2 1/2 hrs from the Nice airport, so if you want to minimize hotel changes, then just head straight to Gordes.

I think the St Tropez optioin would give you the greatest diversity in your itinerary. Aix is a little like Avignon & Arles (my wife prefers Aix because of the shopping).

Stu Dudley

odie1 Feb 10th, 2007 12:03 PM

Stu- Once again thank you for replying. So you would make your itinerary like this:

April 5 and 6-St Tropez and surrounding villages
April 7, 8, 9-Gordes
April 10, 11, 12-St Remy
April 13- Marseille

Or would you take one day off of St Remy and add it to Marseille?

Judy Feb 10th, 2007 12:09 PM

Is your 6:20 flight am or pm? The airport is not that close to Marseille and if your flight is early morning, you may want to stay at the airport.

StuDudley Feb 10th, 2007 12:14 PM

Yes - that's what I would do. Stay in St Remy - no need for 2 in Marseille. Get to the hotel next to the Marseille airport as late in the day as you can.

Stu Dudley

odie1 Feb 10th, 2007 02:34 PM

Judy-our flight is at 6:20 AM-Yikes!

I will check out the hotel right at the airport.

So add one more night to St Remy instead of Gordes? My only concern about Gordes is that we will be there Easter Sunday, so I am sure everything will be closed and now that I have read Stu's itinerary, I worry that all the stores will be closed on Monday so we really won't have an opportunity to lunch, shop and enjoy a glass of wine in a cafe in any of the towns we might stop in.

Here is my itinerary:

April 5-drive to St Tropez, explore town...overnight St Tropez

April 6-Explore Gassin and Ramatuelle maybe Grimaud and La Garde Freinet... Overnight St Tropez

April 7-AM market ST Tropez head out to Cap Canaille and then on to Gordes (is a stop in Bormes worth it or since it's early April skip it?)... Overnight Gordes

April 8 (Easter)-I read somewhere there is an Easter festival in Gordes, Chesck out Gordes, Fontaine de Vaucluse (springtime should be good for this), Cabriers d'Avignon... Overnight Gordes

April 9-Vaison la Romaine, Gigondas, Seguret...Overnight in Gordes

April 10-Gordes market,Rousillon, Boonieux, Menerbes, Oppede le-Vieux, Lourmarin...Overnight St Remy

April 11-St Remy market, Les Baux, Eyalgiers, Maussane...Overnight ST Remy

April 12-Arles And St Remy...Overnight ST Remy

APril 13-Camargue...Overnight airport

I'd love some input! I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Now if I could just make up my mind with hotels!

Judy Feb 10th, 2007 04:52 PM

The hotel at the airport that we used was a Best Western.
I think your current itinerary looks really good.
St. Remy is not that large. You may be able to see enough in the two evenings you're there and the morning market to be able to add Pont du Gard to your Arles day.

StuDudley Feb 10th, 2007 05:03 PM

On Easter Sunday, spend the morning at the market in l'Isle sur la Sorgue. Then the afternoon tootling around in the Luberon, or drive my Lavender Route. Shops may be open in Gordes on Easter Sunday - and on Monday morning also.

Where did you come up with Cabrieres d'Avignon. There isn't much there worth visiting - quite small & no tourists attractions.

Stu Dudley

odie1 Feb 10th, 2007 08:45 PM

Judy-Most definitely Pont du Gard is on my list of sights to see. Thank you for pointing it out to me because I might have missed planning it in!

Stu- So you think the market is going on in L' Isle-Sorgue? If so I would definitely want to check that out so should I skip one of the other markets on my itinerary or are they all different enough in nature that I should try to attend them all?

I don't think I had really heard of Cabrieres as much as I was looking at my Michelin map and the drive was marked as scenic and considering it was Eater Sunday I was assuming most areas would be closed so I was just looking at the possibility of a scenic drive. I have your itinerary, and I realize the lavender will not be in bloom, so I wasn't completely sure if the "lavender routes" would still be as spectacular or maybe there are other routes that are just as beautiful without the lavender. (I am comparing it to here in New England-pretty drives during most of the year but unbelievable during the fall foliage)

kevin_widrow Feb 11th, 2007 12:16 AM

Odie -

Sounds like a very plan now. Stu's idea for Sunday in Isle-s-l-s is great. Not only is the market on, by Easter week-end is one of the two times a year when the major antique fair is held. This is really huge and one of the most famous in France. Get there very early.

Cabrieres is a cute, quiet little village down the hill from Gordes. A couple of decent restaurants and a nice castle, which you can't visit. You can take a nice hike from there up into the hills to see the remains of the "Mur de la Peste". I wouldn't go out of my way to check it out.

As for the airport - there are a number of hotels right there. My advice is to return your car the night before and just make sure your hotel has a shuttle early enough to the terminal (most of them do).


odie1 Feb 11th, 2007 08:35 AM

Kevin-Thank you for the reply. I am very excited about the antique fair. The only problem is I will probably find loads of things I like and I will want to bring them home.

Speaking of castles, we went to Ireland for ten days last June and my 4 year old fell in love with the castles. She would love to see some more this trip. Could you recommend any in that area that are worth visiting (ruins and/or intact).

kevin_widrow Feb 11th, 2007 12:39 PM

Lots of castles to choose from, though with a 4 yr old in mind, I'd have to say:

1) Les Baux - the catapult and battering ram are always big hits.
2) Tarascon - great for running around the roof and the plumbing (i.e. toilets) always please.
3) Aigues-Mortes - nothing like a tour of the Medieval city walls to work off a 4yr old's energy.
4) For castle ruins, I am partial to St. Saturnin - lots of fun climbing the rocks and ruins and great views. Just keep him or her close !


StuDudley Feb 11th, 2007 12:49 PM


What about Fort de Buoux and Ch. Lourmarin??

Stu Dudley

odie1 Feb 11th, 2007 07:01 PM

Kevin and Stu- Thank you. My four year old will not run wild as she is pretty calm (thank goodness because she makes for a great traveler) so she can handle a tour of a castle and not wanting to be running all around.

I couldn't find St. Saturnin or Aigues-Mortes in any of my books or on my Michelin map legend. Could you please let me know where they are. Are any of those ones you recommended still furnished or are they all ruins?

Thanks again. This site is the best!

KathyWood Feb 11th, 2007 07:14 PM

We have stayed several times at the Best Western hotel at the Marseille Airport, returning our car when we arrived. The shuttle starts at 5 am, which is plenty of time for a flight around 6:30 am.

Next month we have decided to go economy and stay at the Etap there at the airport, which has triple rooms. (We have a 13 year old daughter, and the last time at the Best Western she slept on the floor!) The Etap shuttle also starts at 5 am.

My notes on Activities for Families and Children in Provence might give you some ideas.


odie1 Feb 12th, 2007 06:49 AM

Kathy- Thank you for your article. It has some wonderful ideas. Our daughter loves "exploring" and seeing all the new sights. I know she will love Provence.

Thanks for the info on the hotel. We are going to stay at Sofitel as they are offering a pretty good deal for a one night stay and their shuttle is 24 hours.

poss Feb 12th, 2007 07:21 AM

Odie: I hope you don't mind my jumping in here. Do you know Monaco well or will this be a first trip? We're trying to decide where to stay before our cruise embarks (from Monte Carlo) and the whole idea of that specific area holds little interest for me. (We don't enjoy casinos.) My sense is that the town isn't especially handsome (compared to other places nearby). Is that correct? Where will you be staing in Monaco? We're hoping to find someplace as quiet as possible. Thanks for any help you might be able to give. (Nice to have company trips to such places!)

kevin_widrow Feb 12th, 2007 07:27 AM

Stu -

I had actually thought of both. Didn't mention Fort du Buoux because I have an irrational fear of seeing young kids anywhere near 500 ft drop-offs (even calm ones like Odie's). But you are right, it's an amazing place and one of my favorite spots in the Luberon.

The Chateau in Lourmarin is also nice, though I think kids tend to go more for the Medieval as opposed to the Renaissance castle. Something about those crenalated towers and slots for shooting arrows !

Odie -

Aigues-Mortes is in the Camargues and St. Saturnin-Les-Apt is in the valley north of the Luberon at the opposite end from Gordes. You can check out both and much more on the web site which gives nice compact descriptions of just about every village in Provence.


StuDudley Feb 12th, 2007 08:34 AM

In case you don't know it, Kevin & his wife run a lovely B&B in the Luberon, just outside of St Saturnin. They have a young son - that's why Kevin knows so much about castles, activities for young'uns, etc. You might consider staying at their B&B. We visited it in '05, and it's lovely - surrounded by vineyards, nice pool, and many "American" amenities.

Stu Dudley

odie1 Feb 12th, 2007 10:30 AM

poss- I do not know much about Monaco, only what I have read. I don't think I would have ever chosen it as my destination, maybe a place for a quick visit while visiting the area. We are staying at The Farimont. I think if you look around on this forum that Nice, St Paul de Vence or even Menton might get higher ratings for places to stay beforehand.

Kevin-Thank you for that website.

As far Fort Buoux goes, I agree about the dropoffs. I was nervous as could be when we first went out on the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland but when I saw my child was more nervous than I was I felt relieved. We will definitely check it out (with caution).

We will add Aigues-Mortes to the list of must sees our day in the Camaragues. My daughter would probably enjoy seeing both medeival and Rennaisance. Anything that looks like it is fit for a princess would be her cup of tea! I have fond memories of touring through many castles in Germany and France with my parents when I was younger, especially some on the hills above the Rhone so I guess that is what I have in mind. We saw lots of ruins when we were in Ireland and spent the last two nights in Dromoland Castle but never took a tour of any lavishly furnished castle with immense ballrooms, gold ceilings, etc. I didnit know if there were any of those kind to be found!

Stu-I have Kevin's B and B on my list. I wasn't sure if maybe Gordes was more central to the areas I had marked to see, since we aren't going to be there during lavender season. I was also just trying to get a feel for the cost of accomodations. If I could just figure out St. Tropez. I am having a very difficult time finding anything reasonable that is open, and not already sold out...any suggestions? I posted a separate question for it but have not had any responces.

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