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Where to stay as we head down south in France

Where to stay as we head down south in France

Old Mar 16th, 2023, 07:49 AM
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Where to stay as we head down south in France

Hi! My husband and I are flying from JFK in and out of Paris in August. (we've been to Paris several times, so want to just spend 2 nights there, then head south because we have not been beyond Versailles) We have 12 days total, flight already booked. We really want to stay in Provence for at least a few nights. (We were also told that L'Isle sur la Sorgue is a hidden gem) Aside for that, my question is, where else should we stay along the way? Dijon, Lyon? Loire? We are thinking of either driving down from Paris a few hours each day, staying overnight in towns along the way, then getting a flight (or high speed train) back to Paris, from either Marseilles, or if we can go further, from the Riviera somewhere. Would love to get to Cannes, or Saint Tropez, or even Nice. We don't want to overplan, as we like to soak in our surroundings and not run around like crazy.

Any advice would be VERY appreciated!

Last edited by jbellafi; Mar 16th, 2023 at 07:50 AM. Reason: add France to title
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 08:31 AM
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Take the TGV to Avignon and rent the car there. August is at the peak of vacation time, and it would be difficult to drive down without reservations. As it is, finding housing, particularly is popular villages/towns as l'Isle-sur-Sorgue, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, will be difficult even if starting the search today. Already in 1992 we had a terrible time finding overnight accommodations in Burgundy because we had no reservations.
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 08:37 AM
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Yes, i am looking to make reservations asap, would not think to travel to these towns without. there is still some availability in places like Provence, and even l'Isle Sorgue. Thank you for the advice!
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 08:54 AM
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I would not make reservations too early, at least not ones that cannot be cancelled without penalty. If the heat and drought are as bad this year as in the previous recent summers, Provence could turn out to be miserable with dry rivers and areas closed due to fire risks, not to mention temperatures up to 38°. You might be better off along the Atlantic coast.
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 09:53 AM
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that is a very good point! will make sure we have cancellation allowances. Hope that is not the case. thanks.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 12:56 PM
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We went to France quite a few years ago now and stayed 4 nights in Paris then rented a car at the edge of Paris right near the highway. We then stayed 2 nights in Mont St. Jean (near Beaune), one night in another small town I can't remember, stayed one night in Vaison la Romaine and two nights in St. Saturnin-Lès-Apt (great location to see Provence) and then headed to Nice. We didn't stay right in Nice but a small town just outside. We then flew out of Nice. We had a fabulous trip, had no trouble driving and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 01:24 PM
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""(We were also told that L'Isle sur la Sorgue is a hidden gem)""

Don't follow any advice from whomever told you that. If you visit l'Isle sur la Sorgue on a Sunday morning in August (or any Sunday from about early May till late Oct) you will realize that it is certainly not "hidden". It is featured in every guide book.

We will be in the Luberon/Provence for 4 weeks this June. We booked in May of last year. This will be our 24-27th week in Provence, plus 21 weeks along the Cote d'Azur in prior years.

I developed a 35 page itinerary for visiting the Cote d'Azur & Provence. I've sent it to over 3,000 people on Fodors. If you would like a copy, e-mail me at my Fodors name at AOL & I'll attach one to the reply e-mail.

St Tropez would be a poor choice in August. Ditto with Cannes.

Stu Dudley



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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 02:10 PM
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jbelaffi - my main bit of advice would be rather than spending time in Paris at the beginning of your trip, head straight in the direction of the south of France immediately on arriving at CDG, which has its own TGV station. It would be better to put your time in Paris at the end so that you are then in the right place for traveling home and you aren't worried about making it back in time for your flight.

And as Michael says, take the train to your destination and rent a car there, if that's what you want to do.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 07:33 PM
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I agree with the suggestion to take the train, to perhaps Avignon, and rent a car there. It is a long drive from Paris and there are lots of lovely places to visit in between. 12 days is not long. We enjoy driving on the lesser roads which are more interesting than autoroutes, but the trade off is that they are slower. You could then choose a couple of bases in Provence and spend longer in them.
And yes, L'Isle sur la Sorgue is certainly not a hidden gem. Every man and his dog has heard of it and been there. Yes, it is lovely but certainly not unknown. Hidden gems are places you find when you wander around the back roads where the average tourist does not go because they are too busy visiting all the ' must see ' places, and there are plenty of them in Provence.

Bon voyage.
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