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Suggestions for Stopover between Paris and Pézénas Please

Suggestions for Stopover between Paris and Pézénas Please

Old Jan 26th, 2008, 08:48 AM
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Suggestions for Stopover between Paris and Pézénas Please

We normally travel to France Sept-Oct, but this year will be traveling in August. As we aren't crowd-loving people, we have avoided August in the past but this year will be traveling with our 2 college-age sons (first trip outside US for one) and this was the only time everyone coule free up.

We will be driving from Paris, Sat. 8-23 am to take possession of our gîte outside of Pézénas the following day. Mappy shows it as being just under 7 hours = 9 hours driving for us. As we know the house and location well, we don't feel the need to arrive before 6 or 7 preferring to pick one town to see each of the 2 travel days, over- nighting at the first one on the 23rd. The second stop needs to not be too close to Pézénas as we will be making day trips from there the rest of the week (i.e. to Montpéllier, Sète etc)

Any suggestions for a mixed-aged group? Sons' interest are history, architecture, photography, beer connoisseur (but enjoys wine). Because costs will be double for us (paying) we are looking at budget places over swanky (1* or 2** or chambre d'hote). To give them a feel for Burgundy, but somewhere where we've never visited yet, I was thinking Cluny, Autun, Tournus or Macon (which is bigger than my husband and I prefer). We've already seen Beaune, Vézelay, Chablis so will by pass Northern Burgundy.

Am totally open to where to stop the next day, but was thinking something with provençal flavor/Roman remains might be nice. My husband and I would pick somwhere calm along a canal, but maybe the boys would like something more lively--again no really big cities.

All ideas welcome, and Thanks for your help!
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 09:42 AM
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That's a long & mostly un-scenic drive along the freeway. The sun will be in your face most of the way also - which might put the driver to sleep if there is any jet-lag. I would not try to make it too far the first day - unless you're one of those who don't get jet lagged.

Recently we've vacationed 2 weeks in Burgundy, 2 weeks in Beaujolais, 2 weeks in the Ardeche (west of Valence), several days in the Vercors area of the Alps, and 16 weeks in Provence. All of these ereas are on the way to Pezenas from Paris.

Mid-way would put you around Lyon. South of Lyon & before you get to Provence it's not very scenic unless you get about 1 hr off the road either directly west or directly east (in the Alps) - so I would not want to spend much time in that region. North of Lyon is Beaujolais, which is very pretty countryside, but lacking in "cute little villages". Beaujolais might be a good place to stop for the night, however. We dined at Aub du Paridis one night and had an excellent meal. It's also a reasonably priced hotel.
http://www.aubergeduparadis.fr/

For sightseeing, I would head south on the freeway to Burgundy & get off at exit #20 near Auxerre & visit Ch Tanlay (wonderful chateau), then Fontanay Abbey, then the cute village of Noyers then back on the freeway to Beaujolais. We didn't think that much of Tournas, but it might be a good place to settle for the night if you want to stay in a larger city than the village where Aub du Paridis is located. Macon is very bland.

Auxerre is a favorite of ours, and you could visit this city (not during lunch when everything is closed) and then skip either Tanlay or Fontenay. Tanlay has guided tours, so that will occupy more time than Fontenay. Auxerre has an excelling walking itinerary that you can obtain at the tourist office.

The next day is Sunday, so shops in cities & villages will be closed. First visit the picture-postcard-perfect village of Perouges just east of Lyon. Then I would head to Provence & perhaps visit some stuff in northern Provence - St Montan, Barry trogolyte village, then the Gorge de l'Ardeche and especially the fantastic stalactite & mite caves of Aven d'Orgnac - unless you've visited les Demoiselles north of Pezenas.

Here is a scenic drive through Beaujolais that I wrote for a friend. You'll have to do it in reverse.

A good drive through Beaujolais would be to take the A6 north from Lyon, and get off at exit #30 – Belleville. You will need Michelin Map # 327 to follow this route. Head west on the D37 towards the town of Beaujeu. Take the first “Beaujeau Centre” exit (ignore some ugly commerce). Turn north (right) on the D26 to Col de Truges & Julienas – this area is covered with vineyards. At the Col de Truges, stay on the D26 to Julienas. About 1 K past the Col de Durbize (see the map), take the D32 to Fleurie. This is a very scenic section. Drive into the town of Fleurie (see restaurant rec. below), turn around in the parking lot in front of the Church, & retrace your drive on the D32 back towards the D32/D26 split. On the way, you will be rewarded with a wonderful view of a little chapel on a hilltop to the left of the road. At the D32/D26 intersection, take a sharp right on the D26 to Julienas. On the D26, 2K after the D32/D26 intersection, turn left to Emeringes onto the D68E2 & cross the pretty flower-covered bridge & proceed to Emeringes. When you “dead-end” in Emeringes where there is a phone booth in front of you & an Auberge to the left, curve right & follow the D68E2 towards Jullie. Less than 1K past the cemetery on the left, look to the left for a sign to “Vatre” & turn left. When you hit another road in about 100 meters, turn left again. When you see a somewhat dilapidated old farm with a “a Vendre” sign, look up the road & you will see the Domaine de la Chapelle de Vatre – it’s the building with the huge windows. Proceed towards the building & turn left to access the property. If you look at your 327 map, you will see the “Chlle de Vatres” on the map – this is the little chapel that is on the Domaine de la Chatre’s property. It is lit-up at night. These driving instruction might seem a little complicated – but we found the best way to navigate around Beaujolais is to watch for signs directing you to villages. In this case, the signs would say Beaujeau to Julienas to Fleurie to Julenias to Emeringes to Vatre.

After Vatre, leave the complex and turn left. The road will skirt the north side of Domaine de la Vatre where there is a fabulous view of vineyards, the village of Jullie with its church, and a chateau. This view is visible from the Domaine de la Vatre – we spent many late afternoons admiring this view from the grassy hill next to the Domaine’s “horizon-less” pool – while sipping on a glass of Beaujolais. Continue on this road and you will go through a small forest & emerge with another nice view of Jullie. Shortly, turn right on the D17 towards Jullie but follow the signs to Julienas. At the round-about (marked as La Fife) turn left to Junienas. At the stop sign, make another left & proceed into the village of Julienas – this is easier than it sounds. The road will curve to the right through Julienas & you’ll end up in an open area with two restaurants/hotels on the left. Look for the sign to Macon - the D169. The road number changes to D486T (you are crossing from the Dept of the Rhone to the Cote d’Or dept) – just follow the signs to Macon. Pass through St Amour (see restaurant rec. below) and keep following the signs to Macon, angling left as you leave St Amour. The road will become the D186. At a crossroads, follow the sign to Creches & very soon turn left to La Vernette/Chaintre/Fusse (keep the eyeball pealed – this sign is hard to spot). Follow the signs to Chaintre – the D209. Pass through the very cute village of Chaintre (see restaurant rec. below) and then follow the signs to Fuisse. You will see lots of chateaux along the way (not open for tours). About 1 K later, you will get a fantastic view of Fuisse and the Solutre Rock to the west. In Fuisse, turn right & then a quick left to Chasselas (rue le Pouilly-Fuisse on the right & past a church on the left – this will be the D172). You will go through a small forest then some more wonderful views of vineyards. Turn right on the D31 to Tranayes. Soon you will see Solutre Rock on the right. Turn right on the D54 to Solutre Rock & drive past the rock. Many people park the car & walk up to the plateau – we didn’t. Continue, and in the village of Solutre-Pouilly, turn the car around & retrace your route back past Solutre Rock again – back to the D31/D54 split. At the split, turn right onto the D31 towards Serrieres and then on the D185 to Pierreclos. As you approach Pierreclos, you will see the chateau looming. This chateau is open for a self-guided tour. It is not a “gusseyed-upped” chateau. Once past the chateau and the church, turn right to Macon on the D45 and then the D85 left towards Roche Vineuse & through the pretty village of Bussieres (and more Chateau - not open) towards Berze. Go under the bridge, then turn right on the D17 & then right towards the A6 freeway, going under the freeway to get on the N79 towards Macon, and then the N6 south back towards Junienas (well marked) . Don’t worry if you get lost on any of this route – getting lost is the best part. Directions to towns, villages, and freeways are well-marked.

Stu Dudley

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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 09:50 AM
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I suggest the medieval city of Pérouge, 35 km from Lyons and/or Vaison-la-Romaine, east of Orange, for its Roman ruins.
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Old Jan 27th, 2008, 11:16 AM
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Hi

I'd take the new A71/A75 highway, and stay in one of the medieval towns along the route.

This road is much quieter than the A6. The second part of this autoroute (free after Clermont Ferrand !) is like a miniature route 66. You hit the mountains rising up to 3600 feet, then eventually emerge from a tunnel into the Med with palms, olives and vine. You also have the benefit of crossing the Millau bridge.


The A75 goes straight to Pezenas.

Peter
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Old Jan 28th, 2008, 11:33 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I guess I should have clarified that we will have been in Paris 4 nights before heading out on the road-so falling asleep shouldn't be an issue.

I think Pérouges looks charming (sort of made me think of the La Couvertoide, which we loved) but the in-town hotels seems pricey for 4 of us, so I'v been looking into options if we do take that route. We don't like big cities (like Lyon) for just an overnight stay.

Peter, your idea of the "middle" autoroute sounds very tempting. We actually drove part of it to get from Pézenas when we left our gîte last year for Conques and Figeac areas. It was a wonderful road, and of course my boys would be very impressed with going over the Milau bridge. I have started researching the smaller towns to the north and south of the Clermont-Ferrand area to find which one might pack the most expeirence into one stop. I don't know any of these towns personally, but so far St. Saturnin with both a chateau and a Romanesque church, St. Nectaire and St. Flour-all sound intersting. Issoire and or Orcival, too.

If we stopped off and saw a sight (such as the Cathedral of Chartres or the Chateau of Chenonceau in the morning I don't think we could make it farther than Montluçon the first day. Does anyone have experience with this city or surrounding towns?

Would the "middle" of France be hotter? Less Crowded? Haven't found a lot here on this area.

Thanks.


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Old Jan 29th, 2008, 01:34 AM
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Hi

I go from Montpellier to near Orleans several times each year using this route.

This place may be a bit too expensive : http://www.limousin-chambres-bb.com It is near Montlucon, in an ancient village.

The husband is a butcher, so if you eat there it will be good !

Bonne chance

Peter

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Old Jan 29th, 2008, 07:36 AM
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No. That is right in our price range (keep it to around 120 euros/night total), and looks great. Thanks for the Suggestions on this.

Your Languedoc Pages were most helpful last year, too!
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Old Jan 30th, 2008, 03:36 AM
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I'm glad you found The Languedoc Page useful !

The Boussac B&B is one of my recommended "halfway" stopovers.

I've also got hotels listed for other routes here : http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/to...s-hotels-4.htm

Peter
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