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Villa Gallici or Le Pigonnet in Provence??

Villa Gallici or Le Pigonnet in Provence??

Oct 24th, 2001, 03:56 PM
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Villa Gallici or Le Pigonnet in Provence??

After much discussion with people on these boards, we have decided to do Provence only on our trip and save the Cote d'Azur for another time.

We like the Villa Gallica and Le Pigonnet from the web sites, but it is difficult to tell from either how close they are to town (I assume a good "center" would be Cours Mirabeau?) Has anyone stayed at either? they seem comparable in price and style, although the Gallici maybe more, which is why we are looking at the Pigonnet - also seems very nice.

We also have chosen some villages to visit - any additions/deletions and "must sees" in any would be helpful, along with restaurants. We will have a car, and we have chosen - despite many who advise against it - Aix as our base. We will be there for 7 nights. We wanted a larger place than a St. Remy where we could come back and walk about and have things to do and places to eat. We also want to stay in one spot for our trip.

The places we have chosed to visit are:

Les Baux
St. Remy
L'Isle sur la Sorgue
Les Arcs sur Argens

We feel that this will give us a "flavor" of Provence, and that we can linger in places that really strike our fancy. We want to be able to enjoy the culture and people and food and not feel rushed.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Oct 24th, 2001, 04:28 PM
mimi taylor
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Hi Debbie, I don't know Le Pigonnet but I have read nice things about it. The Villa Gallici is very special, very beautful, great breakfasts. Lush fabrics in the decor. It is at least a half hours walk to town and a few steps away is the only elegant, highly rated resaurant in Aix. Very expensive and very formal. The Clos de Violette. Both located on the street named de violette.
Oct 24th, 2001, 10:41 PM
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Debbie: My sister just came back from a weekend at the Villa Gallici. They did like it very much, but found it definitely overpriced. FF 2400.- per night.
Oct 25th, 2001, 04:24 AM
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I stayed at Villa Gallici for three nights with my husband and loved it. Our room was beautiful and comfortable, the pool was so inviting after our flight from NY especially with the delays we had. But the best part of the hotel was having dinner on the terrace under this huge tree. The food was delicious, the seating so comfortable and the wine nice. The walk to the center of town was 10 minutes and it did not bother us at all. I will always remember this hotel as a very special place.

Oct 25th, 2001, 07:02 AM
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We tried to book into Villa Gallici while we were in Aix but it was filled. Stayed instead at Mas d'Entremont which at about half to two thirds of the price of the Gallici also offers a pool, exceptionally large rooms and dining under gigantic trees. My journal entry on it says the place is lovely but could be spectacular with a little work and more upkeep. It requires a drive into town. Check it out in your guidebooks. It may offer you a third alternative.

I like your list of places to visit while residing in Aix. I would, however, add Gordes. especially if you can arrange to be there on Tuesday morning when they have a market. In fact, if you love markets as I do, pick up a copy of Markets of Provence by Dixon Long with forward by Patricia Wells and route your side trips to take advantage of the market day info it provides.

If you have to "sacrifice" one of your selected cities to get to Gordes, I'd make it Bonniuex. I don't care what Peter Mayle says about this place, it's just not as cute as others.

I haven't been to all the cities you plan to visit but I've been to many and can suggest the following restaurants:

Avignon--Auberge de Cassagne a Michelin one star with a garden under one of the largest trees I've ever seen, on the Avignon. Excellent food and one of the top cheese carts I've ever been privileged to pick off of.

Aix--Gu et Fils right in downtown Aix whose walrus mustached proprietor is featured in A Year in Provence. He's pretty cute and the food is good.

Gordes--Comptoir au Victuellier on square by castle. Best daube I've ever eaten. Still trying to replicate. Proprietor, Jean Michel Schmitt is a hoot. Also La Gacholle on road out of twon to Murs. Beautiful views over valley with dining on porch. Excellent modern decor and settings (square, glass plates)in an old, remodeled mas.

L'Isle sur La Sorgue--Basilic with floating platform on the Sorgue. You have to like basil to eat here. It's in everything. Setting is perfect. Besure to visit the town before the lunch hour. It completely shuts down for lunch. Not sure of when it reopens but it's a sleepy little place (except on Sunday when they have the antiques market) so I'd guess they take their time about reopening.

Cassis--Most of the places on the waterfront are acceptable. Gilbert's is perhaps most highly regarded. Le Jardin Emile at a small hotel set back from the waterfront is very cute and romantic. While you're in Cassis, depending upon your adventuresomeness you may or may not want to try pied de paquets, sheep's stomachs stuffed with tripe. If you're into getting notches on your culinary belt, this is one to tell your foodie friends about. If you're not, avoid it like the plague. Even the waiters will warn you against it.

Oct 25th, 2001, 09:50 AM
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I didn't stay at le Pigonnet but know where it is and think it's about a 15 min walk to Cours Mirabeau probably (maybe about 1/3 mile). I stayed at Mas d'Entremont just last July and thought it was outstanding, one of my favorite places anywhere--I don't know what the comments above about needing upkeep are referring to as everything was in excellent working condition and well-kept, nothing was old or shabby, either. The staff was the about the nicest I have ever encountered in France, all of them, and they have an outstanding restaurant. However, I think it might not be best if you want to stroll around town in the evening, the others would, as you can't walk from Mas d'Entremont. I think your list is very good, I liked Venasque a lot (just a small town with great views high up but no cars allowed) but it's not really on your way anywhere probably; I also liked the wine country (Gigondas) and the Dentelles de Montmirail area to the NW but you probably won't get up there. I didn't like Gordes that much so think you cutting it is fine--I don't get all the hype about that town and it's crammed with tourists; there's nothing there unique that I could see and it's not worth the trouble given the crowds and parking problems. And I did like Bonnieux a lot better as it's just a more real town, normal-looking and the countryside around it is beautiful. I did like Roussillon even though there are a lot of tourists there, it seemed vastly superior to Gordes. L'Isle sur la Sorgue is not terrible but wasn't nearly as charming as I had expected; if I were to knock a place off, it might be that one. I'm not big on flea markets and have been to enough French ones that they kind of all look alike to me anymore, though. This is also probably out of your way, but I sort of liked a real small out-of-the-way town on a high called Le Barroux up near Caromb (and near Crillon le Brave), there aren't many tourists there (although I've read Prince Charles sometimes hangs out there)--they have an authentic 2-star French auberge called Le Geranium that is sort of town central for hanging out. I don't have any outstanding restaurant recommendations as those aren't destinations for me (I go with the flow and gut feeling from looks) but the restaurant at Mas d'Entremont in Aix was one of the best I've ever eaten in for Provencale cuisine, very reasonable, and a lovely setting.
Oct 26th, 2001, 01:48 AM
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Hi Debbie - I stayed at Le Pigonnet in July this year, and loved it. We had looked at staying at the Mas d'Entremont, which looking wonderful but was a little out of our price range. Le Pigonnet was wonderful - rooms are spacious, all with lovely french antiques. The public rooms are light and, and breakfast in the beautiful gardens was very special. There is a small pool, but it's more a hotel for lounging around graciously than intense activity. We walked into the town centre in about ten minutes - a pleasant walk along a tree lined avenue. Le Pigonnet has beautiful gardens, and does really feel like a tranquil paradise - you don't feel like you're in a busy town at all. Enjoy your trip!
Oct 26th, 2001, 01:19 PM
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Another vote for Le Mas d'Entremont. These people are the nicest hosts in France. They make you feel right at home. The grounds are beautiful and the small cluster of houses are so quiet and beautiful. These folks don"t know the meaning of "no". They are so nice and helpful. They have a lovely dog named "Pearly" that we enjoyed playing with after our adventures each day. The food is very good, also.

I have a book called the "Hotel gems of FRance" This hotel is in this book. We stayed here in April 2001.

You will need a car to stay here, as it is too far to walk to town.
Feb 6th, 2002, 05:12 PM
mimi taylor
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topping for Klee
Feb 7th, 2002, 04:05 PM
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Whatever you do go to see L'Isle sur la Sorgue despite what someone else has said. It is in fact on the top of our list of places to see. We also like Gordes - unique with stone buildings. We also like the Camargue area but a fair way from Aix. When heading to the Avignon area try to go further to see the Pont de Dard and if you like vineyards go to Chateauneuf de Pape area and Orange to see the well preserved Roman theatre.

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