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Week in Provence - then what?

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New York
posts: 27
reviews: 9
Week in Provence - then what?

My husband and I plan to spend around 2 weeks in France in April. We are thinking of spending a week in Provence and using St. Remy as a base. I have a number of guide books, but all they do is make me want to go everywhere. I would like to see two or at most three areas on this trip, and hopefully return again another time. We have been to Paris, but saw very little of the countryside. Any suggestions? We will be renting a car.

Dublin
Destination Expert
for Valletta
posts: 5,931
reviews: 3
1. Re: Week in Provence - then what?

I have just been sent a photobook by my good friend Valerie that I had the pleasure in escorting around the Loire Valley she is an American lady that takes wonderful pictures. We arrived by train from Paris dropped our bags in the hotel and got a train to Chenonceau and its wonderful Chateaux.

On the second day we went to Ambioise the resting place of Leonardo di Vinci and then on to the grounds where all his inventions are on display.

Day three on to Usse and the delightful Sleeping Beauty Chateaux a trip to remember I have been to Loire twice since September and will definately be returning to visit lots more wonderful places.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 7,684
reviews: 42
2. Re: Week in Provence - then what?

Go to the Cote d'Azur...it is less than a 3 hour drive from St Remy. Antibes is a wonderful place to stay there. There are great beaches, wonderful cafes and restaurants and lots to do...

Destination Expert
for Provence
posts: 3,557
reviews: 2
3. Re: Week in Provence - then what?

Glad that you will be renting a car, and that you have chosen St. Remy as a base in Provence. - it's PERFECT !!! We spend every September in Maussane-les-Alpilles (about a 15 minute drive from St. Remy)

There are at least 2 + weeks of really wonderful daytrips that you can do if you decide to base yourselves there.

Sorry to have to disagree with "datthecoast," but In all honesty, I wouldn't recommend Antibes, or any other place along the Cote d'Azur as a place to estatblish a base for exploring Provence.

.

UK
Destination Expert
for Provence
posts: 3,683
reviews: 77
4. Re: Week in Provence - then what?

I love Antibes and have stayed there twice, to visit places along the riviera. It's within an easy journey by public transport of Nice, Cannes, Cagnes sur Mer, Eze, Villefranche, Biot, Juan les Pins . . . However if you want to see the western side of Provence too, I would spend a week in St Remy as you plan and then a week on the riviera. Best of both worlds!

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 7,684
reviews: 42
5. Re: Week in Provence - then what?

Agal...the OP said that they wanted to base themselves in St. Remy for one week. The title of the post was "One week in Provence...then what?" The OP said "I would like to see two or at most three areas on this trip" I did not suggest that the OP base themselves in Antibes to explore Provence....I responded to specifically what the OP wanted...another destination after a week in Provence.

Los Angeles...
posts: 4,352
reviews: 295
6. Re: Week in Provence - then what?

Hi!

I think the plan of spending a week in St. Remy to explore Western Provence and then on to the Riviera is fine. Of course, you could spend the whole two weeks - two month, by Golly, in/about Western Provence - but sounds like you would like to explore a little, which is fine. No wrong plans possible, unless you wanted to cover the whole country in two weeks.

Just bear in mind that different people like different things. I will throw my ideas out but, by all means, take them with a grain of salt.. I would spend three nights in St. Remy and then move for the remainer of the week toward the Luberon area of Provence, e.g. Gordes, Rousillon, Boneaux (I am a horrible speller), etc. Those small hilltop villages have a different feel to them, much more charming, IMO, then St. Remy. But, again, this is my opinion and this is what I would do.

With regard to the Riviera, I would base in Nice. You could rent a flat for the week with some amenities to throw simple meals together. Plenty what to do in Nice, great restaurants, beautiful waterfront promenade, food and flower market daily, just a great vibe. And it costs 1 Euro to ride a bus to the outlying villages.

Edited: 6:19 pm, November 23, 2012
Vancouver, Canada
posts: 7,684
reviews: 42
7. Re: Week in Provence - then what?

Anna...you were really close! Bonnieux...

Love the Luberon!

David

Dallas, Texas
posts: 7
reviews: 4
8. Re: Week in Provence - then what?

St Remy is a tourist trap to stay. Nice town not a problem but all expensive and ebnglish speaking is everywhere... Not Provence.

Is not central to visit all Roman heritages, I will stay to less overdone place. I think Provence is authentic still if yu choose the right place to stay.

Good luck and keep me informed

New York
posts: 27
reviews: 9
9. Re: Week in Provence - then what?

Thanks for all your recommendations.

St. Remy for a few days and the rest of the week in Luberon sounds good. Only afraid Nice would be too big a place for the second week, but if it is easy to get to outside villages, it may work.

Randy - if you did not stay in St. Remy, where would you stay?

We do not speak French, so a little English would help very much.

Louisville, KY
Destination Expert
for French Riviera - Cote d'Azur
posts: 4,819
reviews: 26
10. Re: Week in Provence - then what?

It might be helpful to know where what airports you might be flying in and out of in France. Keep in mind that Nice and Marseilles are both international airports with non-stop routes to JFK, and Paris is the other option.

I'm a fan of the Cote D'Azur and it's easy to travel outside whatever base you choose. All of the resorts between Cannes and Monte Carlo are wonderful, and here's how I get around:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187216-i137-k4846…

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187216-i137-k5935…

Also, have you thought of traveling to Normandy or have an interest in visiting the D Day sites. The experience is moving and we have combined a Normandy/Paris/Cote d'Azur trip in ten days. You will have more time. The distance between Provence and Bayeux, the base I would suggest your staying, is not short, but you could do it training it to Paris, maybe spending a day there, and taking the train to Bayeux. Below is a link to how we did out trip, arriving in CDG in the early morning, taking a train to Bayeux, and what we did from there. We didn't make it to Mont St. Michel, but MSM is only 1 1/2 hours from Bayeux.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187179-i607-k5174…

If this appeals to you at all, I would suggest that you arrive in Paris, travel to Normandy first, travel back to Paris for a short stay or just an overnight (you can go wrong with a stop there!), travel on to Provence and fly home from one of the southern airports. Most people would say "Whoa! too much!," but with Paris in the middle, it works. A day's travel between Avignon and Bayeux would not be my recommendation, but breaking up our journey was nice and I don't see train travel as "down time." Some of our best travel experiences have been when we've traveled by rail and the legs I'm suggesting here will be a few hours. Give us a butter and jambon sandwich on a baguette and coffee or a bottle of wine (especially a Provence rose!), and we're good to go! I'm only familiar with Bayeux, Honfleur and Deauville/Trouville, but if you get on the Normandy forum, others can help you with places you might want to visit in both Normandy and neighboring Britany. With a car, you could travel back to Paris through Rouen and Giverny, but I wouldn't suggest that on the onset when you'll be jetlagged.

You may be on guidebook overload, but here are two more that might help you with your planning:

“Frommer's 25 Great Drives in France (Best Loved Driving Tours)”

“Back Roads France (Eyewitness Travel Back Roads)”

These books kind of "connect the dots" between the places that appeal to you in other references. If you can't find them in a local bookstore, they are available on Amazon.

BTW, here is a post about to avoid some of the quirks that befall American travelers when we view and book our tickets on French train sites:

tripadvisor.com/…38278801

Have a great trip!

Edited: 5:21 pm, December 07, 2012
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