To Paris and Provence in June

Old Dec 28th, 2013, 08:51 AM
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Just sketching out our time in Provence. We'll have 5 full days (6 nights). I have a hotel booked in Arles and planned to drive around from there. Interests so far are to spend a day exploring Arles but that I suppose could be in the evenings and on whatever is left of the arrival day from Paris. We would like to see Pont du Gard so would probably combine that with Uzes and make a day of that area. Like to explore Avigon... so that is probably a day. The Les Beau and St Remy area on another day. Probably visit some towns to the north east (Gordes/Roussillon)on another day. While we like the idea of just settling into Arles as a base for the whole 6 nights, we were toying with the possibility of cutting 2 nights off the Arles stay and getting a hotel in the Carpentras area. Any comments would be appreciated.
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Old Dec 28th, 2013, 09:16 AM
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>> While we like the idea of just settling into Arles as a base for the whole 6 nights, we were toying with the possibility of cutting 2 nights off the Arles stay and getting a hotel in the Carpentras area<<

Arles is kinda in a corner of Provence, and Carpentras is at the "diagonal" corner - so Carpentras would be a great place that would allow you to see a lot of Provence without excessive driving. Personally, I think there is more stuff I like around Carpentras than Arles. The Luberon (Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux) is actually closer to Carpentras than Arles. From Carpentras you could explore the Lavender fields around Sault, the Luberon, visit Pernes, Vaison, Cote du Rhone winegrowing area & villages, Brantes, Nyons, Simiane la Rotonde, Gorges de la Nesque, Mt Ventoux area (see my itinerary for several scenic drives in this region), and the Brionnies.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 5th, 2014, 08:00 AM
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I think we have settled to split our time between Arles and Carpentras. We are renting a car in Avignon and will be flying out of Marseilles. Our first night in Provence will be on a Tuesday and our flight out is the following Tuesday.
Just wondering if it is any advantage in going to Arles first or first to Carpentras...ease of driving for example from Avignon on the day of our arrival or the drive to Marseilles when leaving?
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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 03:34 PM
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I booked a car through Kemwel to be picked up in Avignon. Just wanted to make sure of getting an automatic. The salesman tells me that if I was to pick up the car at the TVG station I would be charged an extra 40 euro's. Apparently that charge applies to picking up a rental vehicle at a train station or airport. There is another rental outlet about 15 minutes walk from the station and I decided to take that option and save the 40 euros.
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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 04:03 PM
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That's good info to know about. I checked it out, and there is a Europcar office 1.3 K away from the TGV station!!!

I wonder why Europcar did that - to lower their rates by avoiding the train station tax???

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 04:26 PM
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Old Jan 8th, 2014, 03:01 AM
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The sales person told me that all rental companies in France are now applying the charge but only at train stations and airports. It is not part of the Kemwell charge. This fee is applied at the pickup point.
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Old Jan 8th, 2014, 04:33 AM
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The 40 euro charge has been around for quite a while. I didn't know what I was doing and picked up car in Nice at the train station in 2008 when a downtown location was literally just around the corner from me. Live and learn.
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Old Jan 8th, 2014, 06:38 AM
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>>This fee is applied at the pickup point.<<

Yep - we incurred it twice last year, and three times in 2012. I'm guessing that if Europcar rents a car to me that does not incur a train fee, but Hertz at the station does - I'll choose Europcar - just like you did. And perhaps that's why Europcar has an office outside the station in addition to their station office. Actually, last time we picked up a car at the Avignon TGV station, there was a long line at Avis, but not at Europcar. Maybe everyone was better "informed" than me & went to the off-station office.

Stu Dudley

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Old Feb 7th, 2014, 03:26 PM
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I booked a car through Kemwel and so
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Old Feb 7th, 2014, 03:31 PM
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sorry....pressed wrong key.
anyway I booked a car through Kemwel and so far I've been impressed. Agent recommended pickup just outside of train station which saved money. Today I received a Kenwel promotional e mail for a sale...called up and they refunded me the difference no questions asked.
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Old Feb 7th, 2014, 03:48 PM
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Our arrival in Paris is at 8:30 am. but the apartment we have rented is not available until 2:00 pm. From other posts it looks like I can allow about an hour for customs , baggage etc.
We planned to take the train to Gare du Nord and then pick up a bus to Rue Jean Pierre Timbaud. I 'm allowing say 1.5 to 2 hour for that. I would like to time our arrival reasonably close to 2 pm to avoid waiting around the sidewalk with luggage, so are probably going to have an hour or two to spare. I'm thinking of spending that time either at the airport or at Gare du Nord.
Any comments or suggestions?
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Old Feb 7th, 2014, 04:12 PM
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Suggest you go directly to your new neighborhood, find a pleasant bistro/restaurant near the apartment, and sit outside for a relaxing lunch. Pile the luggage close by your table and sip a glass of wine and watch the passing parade until time to meet your landlord. One of you can guard the luggage while the second wanders around to find the closest grocery, baker, etc.

Kick back, you will be in Paris!
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Old Feb 7th, 2014, 05:46 PM
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Baggage on the bus might be a little challenging if there are more than one of you, and each has a large bag & a carry-on. I would take a taxi if that is the case.

I certainly would not hang around CDG or the Gare du Nord - which was in a somewhat scrufty area last time I wandered in the "hood" about 10 years ago. I would do what nukesafe suggested. Check out the restaurants & groceries in the area.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 7th, 2014, 08:12 PM
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Mmmm checked out google earth and I can see a couple of restaurants close by...sounds like a plan. Thanks.
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Old Feb 7th, 2014, 11:49 PM
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We always stay in that area of Paris! Definitely make a reservation at Astier restaurant...their cheese plate is amazing!!
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Old Feb 8th, 2014, 07:02 AM
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Astier looks very close. Thanks
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Old Feb 8th, 2014, 01:50 PM
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I'm excited for you! Good to know if I call Kemwell I can get an automatic. The website shows none in the compact size auto in Avignon.

I've been following your thread as we are doing the same trip, from Gare de Lyon to Avignon, staying in Gordes and dropping car off at Marseilles.

Mary
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Old Feb 8th, 2014, 02:44 PM
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Mary isn't it exciting! It will be a first for my wife and I . We've learned so much from this site. We arrive in Paris June 24 and leave for Avignon July 1. How about you? I followed Stu's recommendation and called Kemwell directly. There is a sale right now so if you haven't booked it may be a good time to call since automatics are in short supply. The agent guaranteed me that if I booked an automatic then that was what I would get. According to Stu Kemwell is very good at resolving problems. I will be calling the day before to confirm the automatic and will call Kemwell if there is any problem. The downside is you have to pay up front but its worth the piece of mind.
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Old Feb 8th, 2014, 03:04 PM
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I have been checking out the ticket purchasing for the TVG from Paris to Avignon so I can be ready when I get to 90 days prior. I tried a couple of sites....Voyages-sncf/ captaine train and Loco2. The Loco2 site seems the easiest to use, has the same rates as the others and accepts visa.
There is the option of lower or upper deck. I'm thinking the upper deck probably has a better view but may be difficult with luggage. There is also a question for seat preference...no preference or table.

I would appreciate any comments on using Loco2, as well as upper vs lower deck and the seat preference.

Also there was mention in some posts of getting "PREM" tickets. Not sure what that is and I don't see any tickets for sale other than regular and first class.
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