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Provence Base/Itinerary

mt. laurel, nj
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Provence Base/Itinerary

We're booked for 2 weeks in France next June 21st to July 5th. Arrive Saturday the 21st and we're spending a week in Nice and surrounding areas. 2nd week, 28th to July 5th, we are moving to Provence, flying out of Marseilles on Saturday July 5. We will have a car in Provence. Very close to booking an apartment in L'Isle sur la Sourge and wanted opinions.

After a week in Nice, we want a smaller feel, so don't want to stay in Avignon. We'd like a town that is big enough to have culture, warmth, restaurants, nightlife, etc. We are a family of 4; Parents mid 40's, two girls 13&11. Looking for a base to stay that will be big enough to return to in the PM for the evening; dinner, drinks, walks, etc.

I/we would like to see Avignon (Popes Palace, bridge, cathedral, etc), Nimes (Pont du Gard, Old Town, etc), Arles (Colosseum -- we were in Rome 3 summers ago, UNESCO church, VG Promenade), possibly Les Baux and St. Remy, L'Isle sur la Sourge, Fontaine de Vaucluse (not imperative, but if we stay in LSLS, it's so close), Gordes, and Roussilon if it's worth it. Also, Abbay de Senanque if the timing is right (is it worth it?)

Thoughts? Avignon seems well centered, should we consider it? We want to enjoy the evenings at a slower pace, and don't HAVE to jam all of these things into a week. Any of these you would ditch? Any can't misses that I've missed? Can Nimes/Pont du Gard be done in a day with Arles? Too short? Too much driving? I assume Avignon is a full day (at least?) LSLS, Fontaine, Gordes could be done in a day, yes? Les Baux and St Remy in a day as well? Should we stay in one of these towns for a better central location?

Anyhow, I think you get the gist of what I'm looking for. Any insights and advice are much appreciated!

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Provence Base/Itinerary

You've got a pretty good handle on it.

I like L'Isle sur la Sorgue as a base.....it is right on the edge of the Luberon and is large enough to have everythig that you would want / need.

Because Avignon is a walled city and is still quite large (about 1/3rd) the size of NIce)....it can frustrating navigating in and out of it.

From L'Isle sur la Sorgue, you could easily do St Remy and Les Baux in a day. Try and visit on a Wednesday as St Remy has an excellent market on that day.

Avignon is a full day visit at least.

Rousillon and Gordes are more "flash" than substance.....particularly Gordes. You can easily do both in a day. Parking will be a challenge. Luberon villages with more substance and are worth a visit are Goult and Bonnieux.

Monte-Carlo, Monaco
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for Monte-Carlo, Monaco
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2. Re: Provence Base/Itinerary

Agree with all the above and just to add that it would be a very long day to combine Nimes, Arles and the Pont du Gard from L'isle sur la Sorgue. You could do it if you are determined, but better to combine Nimes and the Pont du Gard and then Arles with a drive through the Camargue (you could also visit the wonderful Aigues Mortes the same day).

The Abbaye de Senanque is well worth a visit at any time of year, but if it's the lavender you are most interested in, you might get lucky at the end of your trip - early to mid July is when it usually flowers, but everything depends on next year's weather. It isn't far from your base, and early morning is best for photographs.

White Plains, New...
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3. Re: Provence Base/Itinerary

While on this topic, when is it best to visit Pont du Gard morning or late afternoon? I am a photographer and want to photograph when the light is best. I too will be in Provence next summer.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Provence Base/Itinerary

Poster #3.....it's bad form to "hijack" another member's thread....

Post your question independantly.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Provence Base/Itinerary

If you are looking to drop something, give Roussillion a miss. It looks very pretty from far. Disney world -artificial and packed with gift-/tourist shops once there.

Visit Bonnieux especially for a meal. Great restaurants there. From Bonnieux you can drive 5 minutes and visit Lacoste for an hour.

Gordes is good to do on market day and you can visit the Sennanque monks abbey below.

Have fun!

Edited: 08 December 2013, 01:20
White Plains, New...
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6. Re: Provence Base/Itinerary

I am not trying to hijack the post. They asked about their itinerary and I have similar sites on my itinerary, I didn't really think it needed it's own topic.

Hobart, Australia
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7. Re: Provence Base/Itinerary

Not sure if you booked your accommodation or not but a suggestion would be to look for accommodation just outside of a town - this is easier for parking and generally better value.

We found a lovely place in a vineyard that has a pool which could be welcome at the end of a long day's sight seeing for the girls.....

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8. Re: Provence Base/Itinerary

While we totally enjoy visiting L'Isle-sur-la Sorgue for a daytrip, it is not a place that we would want to have as our base - WHY? Way too busy, and too touristy ...

We have based ourselves for the entire month of September in Maussane les Alpilles for many years. it is a lovely village that we find to be well situated for exploring virtually ALL of Western Provence via a series of day-trips.

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Provence Base/Itinerary

The OP clearly has done considerable research on his family's trip to Provence. That is evidenced by the well thought itinerary and insightful questions posed.

If the OP has chosen L'Isle sur la Sorgue as a base, I would have to say that it is an "informed choice" based on his research and what his family's wants / needs are.

The OP states:

"We'd like a town that is big enough to have culture, warmth, restaurants, nightlife, etc. We are a family of 4; Parents mid 40's, two girls 13&11. Looking for a base to stay that will be big enough to return to in the PM for the evening; dinner, drinks, walks, etc. "

I think that a lot of regular contributors on this Forum would agree that L'Isle sur la Sorgue ticks those boxes.

10. Re: Provence Base/Itinerary

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