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Need help planning a 2 day trip in Luberon

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Need help planning a 2 day trip in Luberon

We are planning a trip to France in June, 2010. We plan to rent a car in Avignon and spend 2 nights in Roussillon so we can explore Luberon. Any suggestions on an itinerary? We want to visit Gordes, Le Colorado Provencal, Saignon, Buoux, Lourmarin and Isle-sur-la-Sorgue but prefer a more relaxed pace. Any other "must sees" in the area"? We are also looking at purchasing a GPS (Garmin 1370T) for directions in France. Has anyone used it for driving in Provence? Thanks!

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1. Re: Need help planning a 2 day trip in Luberon

You really don't need to go out and buy a Garmin, or any other type of GPS, for that matter. All that you need are Michelin Maps # 340 - Local (Bouches-du-Rhone, Var @1 cm : 1.75 km) and # 332 - Local (Drome, Vaucluse @ 1 cm : 1.75 km). The maps work in perfect concert with the Michelin Green Guide for Provence and have the advantage of having scenic routes highlighted in green - I assume that you are more interested in the scenery than just going from point A to point B.

Also, keep in mind that it is easy to understand the signage in France as they use internationally recognized symbols.

Chicago
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2. Re: Need help planning a 2 day trip in Luberon

Thank you so much for the suggestions.

We are defintively more interested in the scenery. Just don't want to get lost too much since we only have about 2 days. It there a place or website I can purchase these maps from the U.S ahead of time?

Also, do you think it's realistic to try to visit these towns in 2 days? Any suggestions on the itinerary?

Thanks again!

Dallas
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3. Re: Need help planning a 2 day trip in Luberon

I am planning exactly the same kind of trip in June 2010! So I'll be watching these posts with interest!

Chicago
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4. Re: Need help planning a 2 day trip in Luberon

Thank you so much for the suggestions.

We are defintively more interested in the scenery. Just don't want to get lost too much since we only have about 2 days. It there a place or website I can purchase these maps from the U.S ahead of time?

Also, do you think it's realistic to try to visit these towns in 2 days? Any suggestions on the itinerary?

Thanks again!

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5. Re: Need help planning a 2 day trip in Luberon

Please tell me which two days of the week you will be driving around, adn whether you are at all interested in possibly visiting one of the wonderful Markets. When I have those two bits of information, I will be able to make more specific suggestions vis-a-vis itineraries.

Regarding the maps, I am so glad that you want to familiarize yourselves with the area in question prior to your trip, as it will make your journey much more relaxing, since you will recognize the names of nearby placesw, and you may even find some additional places that you want to visit in the Michelin Green Guide. Check out Borders.com, Amazon.com and Barnes&Nobble - I am pretty sure that at least one of them will have the maps. Another possibility would be to just Google Michelin Maps in US and then check out the various sites that come up

Chicago
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6. Re: Need help planning a 2 day trip in Luberon

I have been using Rick Steves' Provence and Riviera guide book. Here is what I have planned so far:

We will not have a car on Day 1,2,3.

Day 1-Saturday: arriving in Avignon, hopefully by 3pm. We plan to stay there for the rest of the day.

Day 2- Sunday: Pont du Gard and Niems, +/- Uzes

Day 3-Monday: Orange in the morning and then winery tours in the afternoon vs. Arles and St. Remy (still undecided)

We will have a rental car on Day 4 and 5.

Day 4-Tuesday: Leaving Avignon. Hope to cover Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Gordes and arrive in Roussillon.

Day 5-Wednesday: Le Colorado Provencal, Saignon, Buoux, Loumarin and back to Roussillon.

Day 6 -Thursday: back to avignon before noon.

We definitely want to visit the market. But looks like we will miss the market day in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

I was able find Michelin green guide at Borders. I also found the maps on Amazon.com and will order them.

Thank you so much for your help.

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7. Re: Need help planning a 2 day trip in Luberon

Not sure that I would use either Avignon (too much of a city) or Roussillon ( beautiful, but a bit to far out of the way ) as bases. Western Provence, as you will see once you have the maps, is relatively compact, and easily explored / enjoyed via a series of daytrips from a single, well centered, base.

We have found that the area near St. Remy is perfect, as it is beautifully "small town" Provencal, and close enough to major roads. There are a number of wonderful restaurants ( including several 1 and 2 star Michelin's) nearby, and it is drop-dead gorgeous!

In all honesty, I seriously recommend that you consider having a car for the entire duration of your stay in Provence, as doing so will enable you to go where you want to go, when you want to go, without having to rely upon Public Transportation ( train/bus ) schedules - which are frequently designed for folks who are going back and forth to work.

Since your second day is a Sunday, I urge you to get up early and visit the awesome Market in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. The Market is wonderful, and there are also great Antique vendors and shops - as well as a number of really good places to enjoy a mid-day meal alonside the main canal.

You will absolutely need a car to explore the "wine region, " but probably do not have to even consider a formal "tour," as you will be enough "off-season" that most vinyards will not be super busy, and will probably have somebody who will be more that willing to talk with you, shoow you around , and then bring you back to the cellars for a taste, or two.

I have to confess that I am not a big Rick Steves fan, and can make a number of recommendations for wonderful guidebooks for the region, if you are interested,

provence
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8. Re: Need help planning a 2 day trip in Luberon

Two days is not long but it is perfectly possible to see the Luberon in that time - we often do a circuit starting from the south of the Luberon via Lourmarin, Apt, the hill villages and Gordes as our whim decides - this takes a couple of hours without stops.

Be flexible - many is the time we have started to do one thing and ended up being side tracked by an unexpected village event.

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9. Re: Need help planning a 2 day trip in Luberon

We did some research based on your suggestions and decided to add one more day in Provence. That way we will be able to see both Arles, Les Baux, St. Remy and the wineries. We chose Avignon as a base mainly because the availability of public transportation. We will add one more day of car rental to visit the Cote du Rhone. Any suggestions for guidebooks?

You have been very helpful. Thank you so much!

provence
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10. Re: Need help planning a 2 day trip in Luberon

I would go to the Avignon tourist office web site.

There is a marked tourist route of the Cotes du Rhone villages. There are probably too many to stop in (and sample) but I would try and visit Gigondas and Chateauneuf de Papes.

In the centre of Gigondas is a local cooperative which sells a wide selection from the local producers. You can sample but if you don't buy it is customary to leave a donation for the tasting.

Again in Chateauneuf there is a local cooperative in the centre of the village but I would be inclined to head to one producer. We buy our wine from Chateau Mont Redon (google search). They have a wide range of pink, white and traditional Chateauneuf to sample plus you get to drive through their vineyards and see the vines and the large flat stones (whose name escapes me) which keep the heat in the soil giving the wine its distinctive taste.