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What can we see in 4 days - Provence and Cote d'Azur - and Where's the best vineyard??

What can we see in 4 days - Provence and Cote d'Azur - and Where's the best vineyard??

Oct 21st, 2001, 03:40 PM
  #1  
Debbie
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What can we see in 4 days - Provence and Cote d'Azur - and Where's the best vineyard??

This is what we would like to see in Provence -
Aix, Avignon, St. Remy, Rousillon, L'Isle sur la Sorgue
AND
Cote d'Azur -
Villefranche sur Mer, Eze, St. Paul de Vence, Vence, Tourrettes sur Loup, Biot

It seems some of these are small enough they are drive-through spots, and some are close enough together that they could be grouped for a day trip.

What would make sense? We also wanted to visit a vineyard somewhere along the way. Anyone have a favorite? (White wine). Could we do all this via public transit or do we need a car for both places? It seems there is good train/bus service in Cote d'Azur and we may not need one there.

How far apart are Aix and Avignon, and how far apart Aix and Nice?

Thanks.
 
Oct 21st, 2001, 03:42 PM
  #2  
Debbie
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Edit to the post below -

it's 4 days in EACH SPOT, not 4 days total!
 
Oct 21st, 2001, 05:36 PM
  #3  
Wendy
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Debbie,

Aix is about two and a half hours from Nice, about an hour and a half from Avignon. There used to be excellent train service from Nice to Aix. Don't know if that's still available.
Yes, the Cote d'Azur has excellent bus service, but I would recommend a car to link your day trips, otherwise you won't have much time to spend in each place. St. Paul de Vence, for instance, is a 55-min. bus trip from the Gare Routiere in Nice. You do go through Vence to get there, but I don't know when the next bus comes for St. Paul. You'd have to check time tables. Parking in all of these towns can be nightmarish, but it certainly is much more convenient to have a car at your disposal.
If you plan on going to St. Paul, try to make a reservation for lunch at Le Columbe d'Or. You won't regret it! Unbelievable food in the walled garden of an old villa that is also home to original works of art by Picasso, Matisse, etc. Not to be missed!
 
Oct 21st, 2001, 11:15 PM
  #4  
PB
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Debbie:

I would suggest that you stay in someplace like St Remy as a base.
Avignon, Pont du Gard and Uzès - one day trip.
St Remy, Les Baux (a definite must-see), possibly Arles would be another day.
Villages of the Lubéron another day - l'Isle sur la Sorgue (make it a Sunday if possible for the market), Rousillon, Bonnieux and Lacoste.

Avignon to Aix will take you about an hour and a half if you drive the autoroute (highway). You could spend part of the day there on your drive to the Côte d'Azur - which is about an hour and a half (not two and a half) on the highway.

There are several vineyards in the St Rémy/Les Baux area that have excellent white wines and where you can taste- Mas de Ste Berthe and Domaine d'Eole are two that come to mind.

You will definitely need a car - especially for the Provence portion - train service is little to none around here in the smaller towns and villages.

PB
 
Oct 22nd, 2001, 04:28 AM
  #5  
Julie
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Suggest you get a copy of Markets of Provence by Dixon Long (with foreword by Patricia Wells) and try to arrange your time in Provence to get maximum market exposure. These twons are beautiful on their own but especially so when there is a market in full swing. The book also has info on restaurants and places of interest in each town. I found it an invaluable aid when I planned our trip to the area in 1999. From that experience I would especially recommend Gordes and a small hotel there--Les Romarins. It has a small pool, an interesting parrot, a great dog, nice rooms and great views back over the perched city of Gordes. Watching the morning mist rise over the city was breathtaking. An alternative place to stay just outside of Gordes is La Gacholle on the road to Murs. It is an interior design delight with dining on a porch overlooking the valley which is lit up at night. Also recommend a dinner at Comptoir au Victuellier on square by the castle in Gordes. The owner, Jean-Michael Schmitt who enhanced our dining experience immeasurably with his wine antics--decanted the wine, placed the decanter in an ice bucket with water to stabilize the wine after bringing it to the restaurant from his "cav" across the street to which he made his way with umbrella on a "dark and stormy night." The food, especially the daube, was wonderful also. While on our way to or from or in Gordes we made stops or drives to Cavaillon for Monday market, L'ille sur la Sorgue, Goult, Lacoste, Bonnieux, Roussilon, Lourmarin, and Cadanet. It has to be near impossible to find a non-picturesque village in that area. But if you like markets at all, get the book and plan around the market days in the various towns you want to visit. You'll be rewarded with great color for your travel pictures.
 
Oct 22nd, 2001, 05:30 AM
  #6  
beth anderson
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Hi Debbie,

whew, you had me worried for a second when I read your post - 4 days... 4 days in each area may be a little tough too, depending on how much you want to relax...

one thing I have learned time and time again - your 'eyes' are always bigger than your 'stomach' when it comes to fitting in everything you want.

I read EVERYTHING I can get my hands on before a trip, and end up wanting to see it all - when you get there and are actually doing it you realize that you may be trying to fit in too much stuff! especially when traveling with friends.

one wonderful thing, which we don't take advantage of at home so much, is that you need to factor in a LOT of time for MEALS! we usually spent at least 2 hours on lunch and 2 hours on dinner, a few times longer. not kidding. it's wonderful though, you are on vcation you know? but keep that in mind. it isn't like in the States where people tend to eat and leave. No one is going to shoo you away, you can sit there as long as you want.

now if you are traveling alone, as I typically am, I don't spend 4-5 hours a day eating.

we had a devil of a time finding a parking spot in Eze, we left and came back 5 hours later. even then we parked in a spot which we had drove past before thinking it was 'illegal' but came back to find 5-6 cars in the general area. in Nice there are parking garages. make sure to take your parking stub with you, especially if you want to get your car OUT at odd hours (ALMOST learned this the hard way in Uzes!!)

I think if your friends don't mind being on the go pretty much the whole time, you can fit in all you want. The Cote towns really are pretty close. just don't underestimate driving time (gorgeous roads, but twisty curvy windy so they take longer) and the time for meals.

and Patricia here is an expert - she has great advice! and her home is absolutely gorgeous, I would definitely recommend staying at her B&B if you can.

Beth
 
Oct 22nd, 2001, 07:04 AM
  #7  
Nancy
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Beth,

Do you have more details on Patricia's Bed & Breakfast? Location, web site? Is this PB, the earlier poster? Just starting planning our Provence trip for next May so am not familiar with the Provence contributors on this board.

Thank you.
 
Oct 22nd, 2001, 06:19 PM
  #8  
Lori
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Debbie-

Right outside of St Remy is one of the coolest wineries I've ever been to. Its called Chateau Romanin and is owned by the Chef of Oustau de Baumaniere in Les Baux. We stayed at Oustau and at dinner, we asked the chef about the winery when he made his rounds. It is based upon celestial winemaking--everything is done based upon the alignment of the stars, etc. Really a neat place with some interesting details. One of their wines is a cabernet based one. Very good for about $14/bottle. I'd highly recommend a tour here. Another highly rated wine in Provence is Domaine de Trevallon. Have fun!
 
Oct 23rd, 2001, 01:58 AM
  #9  
meira
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Just back from South of France:
1. A car to travel around is much better.
2. A great B&B was near Arles - check www.petitfourchon.com
Amazing place!
3. 4 days in a place is too much.
 
Oct 28th, 2001, 04:04 AM
  #10  
beth anderson
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Hi to all,

Nancy - yes, Patricia is PBProvence. I highly highly recommend her beautiful B&B. She and her husband are very warm hosts, and they really know the area well! By the time you get there she may have her wine cave finished - very impressive!

You would be near to Uzes, Avignon, Arles, Chateauneuf de Pape, the Pont du Gard... and maybe 2.5 hours or so from the Rivieria (traveling at 160 KMH the whole way...

have fun!

Beth
 
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