timing for provence itinerary

Jun 11th, 2008, 05:34 PM
  #1  
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timing for provence itinerary

hello fodorites,

i am trying to create my provence itinerary ... i have listed out everything i want to see and am trying to figure out how much can be seen in one day.

i haven't figured out what i want to do on each day yet. we arrive on a tuesday and leave the following tuesday ... so technically, we have six full days. we are staying just outside carpentras and will have a rental car.

can you please tell me if the following combinations are possible/feasible/a good idea?? each bullet below represents one day...

- avignon - palais de papes, pont, les halles, etc.
- pont du gard, tarascon, les baux
- luberon (following stu dudley's one-day itinerary)
- dentelles, vaison, mont ventoux (again, following part of stu's one-day itinerary for this area)
- gorges de l'ardeche (following the itinerary in the michelin green guide)
- carpentras market, orange (this will have to be a friday)

i would like to visit the l'isle sur la sorgue market on the sunday but don't know how to combine this with anything already listed above. any ideas?

we will arrive in provence around noon on our first day - my plan is to pick up the rental car, drive to the gite to dump off our luggage, pick up supplies @ the grocery store and possibly get ourelves acquainted with the town of carpentras. not sure if anything 'touristy' is feasible on this day?

and yes, we are prepared to do a lot of driving and move at a fairly quick pace.

thanks in advance for all of your help!

lilaki is offline  
Jun 11th, 2008, 08:36 PM
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Hi lilaki -

We just got back from 3 weeks in France, including a week in Provence. We actually stayed at a house in Isle sur la Sorgue and loved the Sunday market (but partly in the rain unfortunately). The Dentelles Loop (including Vaison but not Mt. Ventoux except in the distance) is an "easy" half-day trip unless you stop at MANY degustations - we only stopped at two and had no trouble.

Happy travels,

Sam
knoxvillecouple is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 03:24 AM
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Lilaki -

All looks pretty reasonable. You could perhaps do the market in I-s-l-S on Sunday and then head out to the Luberon after that.

If you got an early start at the market, which is a good idea anyway if you want to find parking, then you could be heading to the first Luberon village you want to visit around 11am and still have half a day. That would give you enough time to explore 2, or perhaps 3, vilalges - you'd at least get a taste for the area.

-Kevin
kevin_widrow is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 03:37 AM
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Les Baux and the Pont du Gard do not belong on the same day. Each deserve considerable time and are some distance apart. Put Uzès with the Pont.

You need more than one day for the not-to-be-missed heart of the Luberon - the charming towns and villages in the area of Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux, etc.

To accommodate those spots in your schedule, I'd drop Orange and the Gorges de l'Ardeche.
TuckH is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 03:52 AM
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What time of year are you planning to make your trip? It becomes very hot in Provence from mid-July onwards and roads are a lot more crowded. If you've not packed a picnic lunch, bear in mind that restaurants serve from 12-2, rarely longer. The plat du jour (daily special) has often disappeared by l.30 and if you're too late, it's too bad (they're not even apologetic!) This can be a problem if the only small groceries in town have closed for the afternoon....
Phinn is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 05:46 AM
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thank you all for the responses! this is very helpful...

knoxvillecouple - what were your stops along the dentelles loop?

kevin - we plan to be up super early each day and hit the markets as soon as they open. i will combine l'isle sur la sorgue with the luberon ...

tuckH - i'm consulting michelin map 527 and pont du gard does not seem that far from les baux. also the michelin green guide says to allot 2 hours for les baux. am i missing something? i was planning to get to the pont before the museum opens (i.e. 8 am), spend several hours there, head off to tarascon, spend 2 hours @ tarascon (as per the green guide) and then head off to les baux for mid/late afternoon ... thoughts?

Phinn - we are arriving in avignon on september 30 and leaving on october 1. we plan to pack picnic lunches to take with us on most days (probably except for days when we're hitting a market)...

does anyone think we can 'cram' something in on the day we arrive in avignon? we will be arriving at the TGV station around noon (from paris) ...

thank you!!!
lilaki is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 06:05 AM
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I guess the Pont and Les Baux are about an hour apart and since you're wanting to visit Tarascon en route, it'd be okay. And - you're getting an early start...

It'll be a long day. A lot of walking and climbing. We spent more than half a day at each. They are special places. Uzès is very nice.

The Dentelles highlights were Séguret, Gigondas and Crestet. Vaison is worth at least half a day (if not more) IMO. Brantes on the Mt Ventoux loop is another favorite.

TuckH is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2008, 03:34 PM
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hi folks,

thanks so much for all the replies...

okay - i MAY be convinced to drop gorges de l'ardeche ... would love to do it but it eats up a whole day ... so another possible plan would be this (again - each bullet represents one day):

- avignon - palais de papes, pont, les halles, etc.
- pont du gard, uzes
- luberon (following stu dudley's one-day itinerary)
- dentelles, vaison, mont ventoux (again, following part of stu's one-day itinerary for this area)
- l'isle sur la sorgue, les baux
- carpentras market, orange (this will have to be a friday)

i'm thinking about NOT going to l'isle on a market day (not interested in antiques - we're more interested in food markets) although, combining this with les baux seems reasonable on whatever day we hit l'isle. thoughts on this?

as for carpentras + orange - is there anything else we can tack on? this day seems a bit 'thin'. maybe seguret?

and finally, is there anything i can do the day i arrive??? once i dump my bags off and pick up some basic provisions for the gite, is there anything i can 'squeeze' in here? (and yes, i realize i'm trying to cram in WAY too much into such a short period of time)...

THANKS again!
lilaki is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2008, 04:06 PM
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I personally think that the Dentelles, Vaison and Mt. Ventoux is too much for one day.

We started one day doing the Mt. Ventoux trip that Stu Dudley sent me. A made a short to visit to Joucas, Simonde de la Rotonde, Sault and Brantes arriving by mid afternoon. Unfortunately, there was a thunderstorm with heavy rain and lightening so we were not able to drive thru the Gorge du Nesques.

We decided instead to head towards Vaison la Romaine as there is a more managable route from there back to Bonnieux and the Luberon. We arrived to Vaison around 3pm and spent approx 2.5 hours which I felt was not nearly enough time.

The Dentelles took us most of the next day to explore with stops in Crestet, Seguret, Sablet (skip it) and Beaumes du Venise. Mind you we stopped in Pernes les Fontaines on the way and our base was Bonnieux which is further away than you will be. It was hot that day and we found ourselves not enjoying our time as we should. You really need to give yourself some down time to enjoy the region. If you try to see too much, you'll come away exhausted.

Crestet and Seguret are lovely.

I feel you need at least two days for the Luberon towns. Not to be missed are Goult, Saignon, Oppede le Vieux, Roussillon, Gordes, Abbey Seneque, Bonnieux, Lourmarin and Cucuron. Although the last two are a little out of the way.

Good luck with your planning.
crazyfortravel is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2008, 04:15 PM
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> is there anything i can do the day i arrive??? <

Yes - head toward lovely Venasque for a visit and then on to the Abbaye de Sénanque and Gordes. Easily done in an afternoon.

We spent a week in Venasque so we drove through Carpentras numerous times and never stopped because it didn't appear too attractive.

Orange, to me, was so-so. As I've said above, the Dentelles villages and Vaison are worth more than one day and Brantes is a must IMO.
TuckH is offline  
Jun 24th, 2008, 07:18 AM
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hey everyone,

thanks so much for the feedback.

i've made some adjustment and actually plotted activities against certain days ... a lot of this is weather dependent though (i.e. don't want to go up Mont Ventoux if it's raining/cloudy)

please comment! THANKS!!!

Tuesday (only ˝ day)
- Venasque, Abbaye de Sénanque and Gordes

Wednesday
- Avignon – Palais de Papes, Pont, Les Halles, etc.

Thursday
- Luberon (following Stu Dudley’s itinerary)

Friday
- Carpentras market
- Orange
- Seguret, Crestet, Malaucene

Saturday
- Vaison, Mont Ventoux

Sunday
- L’Isle sur la Sorgue
- Les Baux

Monday
- Pont du Gard
- Uzes
lilaki is offline  
Jun 24th, 2008, 09:23 AM
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Looks good...

(I don't think going up Mont Ventoux is an important thing to do.)
TuckH is offline  
Jun 24th, 2008, 09:36 AM
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hi TuckH,

thanks for the feedback and the honesty!

who knows, if the weather isn't good, we may not get up to mont ventoux after all. we're both big tour de france fans (actually considered renting bikes and cycling up to the top) so hopefully we get to do it!
lilaki is offline  
Jun 24th, 2008, 03:57 PM
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Your plan is shaping up well. If it was me, I would drop Orange all together.

I like your original idea to do Les Baux, Uzes and the Pont du Gard in one day. That could be easily done if you get an early start. That would leave more time for the Luberon on the day that you go to the market in L'isle Sur la Sorge.

Like you say, the Mt Ventoux is weather dependant...we were crushed that we missed our chance to go thru the Gorge du Nesques but it would not have been wise in a rain/lightening storm.



crazyfortravel is offline  
Jun 24th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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hi tuckh and crazyfortravel...

what am i missing? why should i skip orange?? i'm not doing arles or nimes so i figured i should at least see orange to see some of the ruins/amphitheatre/etc.

thoughts??
lilaki is offline  
Jun 25th, 2008, 03:50 AM
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Arles is much more interesting than Orange - especially if you factor Van Gogh in.
TuckH is offline  
Jun 25th, 2008, 07:24 AM
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I have nothing against Orange..I just think you have too much on your plate that day with the market and the Dentelles. You really need to give yourself some down town to soak up these villages to enjoy them properly. I speak from experience because we tried to do too much and came away feeling very tired and almost indifferent by the time we got towards the end of the day.

I think we have a tendancy (my husband and I) to try and fit as much as possible into a vacation because we feel that we might not get to an area again. When I reflect back on my most recent trip, I wish I had taken more time to just sit at a cafe and soak up the atmosphere of a place... or spend some time at my lovely B&B which had a beautiful garden with pool overlooking the mountains and countryside.

I think your plans are shaping up nicely and I only make suggestions based on my recent experience.
I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time with whatever choices you make.
crazyfortravel is offline  
Jun 25th, 2008, 07:40 AM
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The market at L'Isle sur la Sorgue is not just antiques. I'm not into antiques either and I wouldn't MISS the market! I've been there two times and just love it -- tons of soap, fabric, tabletop, cheese, roti chicken, purses, olive oil, veggies, etc., etc., etc.

I don't know that le Crestet is worth a stop unles you're going to loop around and come back down the wine route,. Seguret certainly is worth a stop! The Vaison market is on Tuesday. Gigondas was also a fun walk around.

On the day you're in the Luberon, don't miss Roussillon -- most beautiful village I've seen with all the earthy colors.

Enjoy! You'll just have to go back to Provence again!

joy/luvparee
luvparee is offline  
Jun 25th, 2008, 09:15 AM
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Could someone please advise how to find Stu Dudley's itinerary for the Luberon? Thanks very much.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Jun 25th, 2008, 09:46 AM
  #20  
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Cathinjoetown - stu normally e-mails his itinerary if you ask him. i think he's on vacation now but if you do a search for stu dudley, a bunch of threads should come up and you'll likely be able to find his e-mail address that way.
lilaki is offline  

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