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8 day itinerary and wine tour at Chateauneuf du Pape

Calgary, Canada
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8 day itinerary and wine tour at Chateauneuf du Pape

hi, we (a couple in our 60's) will be spending 9 nights in Provence in Oct. We like short hikes, exploring old villages. We will be Avignon for the first 3 nights and plan to do day trips. I thought that a Chateauneuf du Pape winery would be great to visit, but am having trouble finding a tour group that can do 2 wineries and perhaps the chocolate tour on Saturday Oct. 12 or Sunday (Oct 13). Should we use our car to do these? We would prefer a van tour so that we can enjoy our wine tastings. I do not not want a private tour as they are quite expensive. On the Monday we thought we might visit the the Roman aquaduct at Pont du Gard. Is it worth a half day or full day visit? On Monday later day we plan to drive to the Luberon area for 4 nights, then Marseilles for 1 full day before heading off early on Sunday morning. In the Luberon area, what area would you suggest is the best town to stay at for easy access to the various hill top villages and short day hikes. Would it be better to just spend 3 nights in the Luberon area and then 2 nights in Marseilles? We are not big city people, but with 2 nights in Marseilles, we can spend a day touring en route and then the Saturday in the city.

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1. Re: 8 day itinerary and wine tour at Chateauneuf du Pape

The co-op tasting room in Gigondas is a better bet than a Chateauneuf du Pape tour and easy to do on your own. Gigondas is "poor mans" Chateauneuf du Pape. Same terroir and same grape makeup....80% grenache.

On Sunday, you should be at the amazing morning Provencal market in nearby L'Isle sur la Sorgue.

Pont du Gard is a half a day at most.

Bonnieux is a great central base for exploring the Luberon.

One full day / night in Marseille is lots.

Maine
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2. Re: 8 day itinerary and wine tour at Chateauneuf du Pape

Hi! Honestly, you will find that driving yourself is better in October, quieter with less traffic, making it quite easy to move around- especially on week days. Chateauneuf du Pape is home to well over 200 wineries. You will find plenty of places to visit by car without a tour group, especially on Saturday. The center of town may actually be enough for you because if you park ,you can walk to several houses and taste right in the town. All vary in price somewhat; I believe Gigondas is as pricey. You are right in being concerned about the driver and drinking, but there are places stay a while and eat.

I think Pont du Gard merits a several hour visit and perhaps a plan to picnic lunch with wine. The price to park has risen and is the same as an 'entrance fee' for 2 persons. Having just done this trip in April for almost 10 years, we like to stay in Arles the most because in low seasons, on weekdays, small villages are very empty at night with few restaurants open. Do not be concerned about the area being vast- it is quite compact, and easy to drive. One can visit 2-3 hilltop villages in a day. I would like to suggest Cassis a stunning seaside village as an alternative to Marseille so you can see the coast with excellent hiking trails on the calanques. I also would look at the list of markets in the Provence region and plan to visit one or two. You'll enjoy your trip!

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3. Re: 8 day itinerary and wine tour at Chateauneuf du Pape

Do make the trip by car to Chateauneuf and seek out the producers who use the traditional 13 grape varities in making their wine. Chateau du Beaucastel is one and I believe Chateau Mont Redon is another.

I am not a great fan of the coop in Gigondas - yes a good selection from many producers but probably too many and unlike visiting the producer themselves the coop does not have the time to explain the different qualities of the wines.

On the way stop at Bernard Castallaine for a chocolate tour - or on the way back to avoid spoiling your pallate for the wine.

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4. Re: 8 day itinerary and wine tour at Chateauneuf du Pape

Another option for a night on your way back to Marseille is Aix-en-Provence, which is a nice size since you're not city people. Because of good bus service between Aix and the Marseille-Provence airport, you can decide when to turn in the rental car (if dropping it at the airport).

Calgary, Canada
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5. Re: 8 day itinerary and wine tour at Chateauneuf du Pape

Hello everyone, thank you so much for the great suggestions. I now am planning a few nights in Bonnieux and Cassis and only 1 in Marseilles. I will rent the car in Avignon 2 days after I get there so I can easily get to the market in l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and have explored that area. Our flight leaves MRS at 0700, so we will stay the last night at an airport hotel. Now I just have to book the car and hotels, but all my ducks are lined up to do so.

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6. Re: 8 day itinerary and wine tour at Chateauneuf du Pape

Google and e-mail Chateau du Beaucastel, which is one of the better known producers in the region. They do offer tours in English and tasting.

As far as the Coop in Gigondas, the tasting process there is very different from tasting in the US. You will be handed a list of many 50 different wines and will be invited to pick which ones you would like to taste. Without familiarity with the wines, it is sort of like a dart game. They are kind enough but the Coop building is just a modern office space, so not very atmospheric.

I have no comments with respect to your itinerary in general other then to note that I would be done with Cassis in an afternoon, overnight at most. It is lovely but I certainly could not see staying there for a few nights. Just my opinion here, clearly.

Edited: 03 October 2013, 19:42
Calgary, Canada
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7. Re: 8 day itinerary and wine tour at Chateauneuf du Pape

again, thanks to all. I leave in a few days!

Calgary, Canada
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8. Re: 8 day itinerary and wine tour at Chateauneuf du Pape

again, thanks to all. I leave in a few days!

9. Re: 8 day itinerary and wine tour at Chateauneuf du Pape

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