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Friday to Monday in Avignon--suggestions?

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New York City, New...
posts: 67
reviews: 13
Friday to Monday in Avignon--suggestions?

We are traveling in France next October and plan to be in Avignon our last weekend. I have reserved at the Hotel L'Europe for Fri/Sat/Sun nights and plan to take train to CDG Monday afternoon to stay there for an early flight Tuesday. Plan is to rent car when we arrive in Avignon (there is parking at hotel). However, it looks like much is closed in area on Sunday and Monday. We would like to take some nice drives, have good meals, perhaps visit Aix en Provence to see Cezanne sites. Not sure how to plan because of the days we will be there , and would appreciate suggestions.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 65,606
reviews: 12
1. Re: Friday to Monday in Avignon--suggestions?

In this part of France, there is usually less open on a Monday than on a Sunday.

However, unless you go somewhere very small, you will find restaurants open and, of course, the scenery is there every day.

Aix-en-Provence is over 50 miles from Avignon, and the drive will take over an hour each way even if you stay on the boring toll motorway. There are many closer places that are worth seeing: St-Remy-de-Provence, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, Oppède-le-Vieux, Ménerbes ... the list goes on and on,

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 9,038
reviews: 57
2. Re: Friday to Monday in Avignon--suggestions?

One of the best things to do close to Avignon (25 minutes away) on a Sunday is to go the market in L'Isle sur la Sorgue....one of the best markets in Provence. The market and lunch will take you through until 2:00...take the rest of the day to cruise around Gordes, Bonnieux and Rousillion.

BTW...the Hotel Europe is a good choice.

Lot's to see in Avignon on Monday....

Avignon, France
Destination Expert
for Avignon
posts: 7,144
reviews: 85
3. Re: Friday to Monday in Avignon--suggestions?

To add to the ideas already given, you could add in a visit to the wonderful Pont du Gard and nearby Uzès or Nimes on the Monday. Some of the shops will be shut, as Mondays are normally fairly quiet.

Bedoin, France
posts: 4,913
reviews: 10
4. Re: Friday to Monday in Avignon--suggestions?

All excellent suggestions IMO. You can also add the market at Bédoin to your Monday possibilities. It is a great market. If you do decide to do the Isle market on Sunday, you probably won't want to do another market the next day. Just thought, in the event you don't do Isle on Sunday and still want a market, this would be a great choice.

The drive is an easy one and takes around 30 minutes (outside of Avignon rush hour). There are many restaurants to choose from in Bédoin. If you do go and find yourself with a little extra time and the weather is good, you could drive up Mt. Ventoux. The top offers spectacular views.

Just a thought.

Destination Expert
for Provence
posts: 1,858
reviews: 79
5. Re: Friday to Monday in Avignon--suggestions?

I am a great fan of Bedoin market. Personally I think that the Sunday market at L'Isle is too touristy and it is also hell to park!

The town is lovely to wander around with the river running through it with some great cafes to sit and people watch but I personally don't think you get the best of the town wandering around with a throng of people.

If you are going to Bedoin then you can also take a drive through the Cotes du Rhone wine villages - there is a signposted route.

Destination Expert
for Provence
posts: 3,867
reviews: 83
6. Re: Friday to Monday in Avignon--suggestions?

I really like the Saturday market in Apt, and you could drive there early, see the market, and make your way back through the Luberon visiting whichever villages took your fancy. I like Roussillon and Bonnieux best.

New York City, New...
posts: 67
reviews: 13
7. Re: Friday to Monday in Avignon--suggestions?

Great suggestions--the Bedoin market on Monday sounds like a good plan--we are not hugely into shopping but love the feel of a weekly market. If we do that, we would check out of hotel, drive there (how long might that take on Monday morning?), then probably have lunch in that town unless there are other places that would be open on Monday that you would recommend. There is a TGV train from Avignon directly to CDG at 5:51 or 6:52

Thoughts on a pretty route back that doesn't take so much time that we miss the train? (we will turn car back at TGV station)

Bedoin, France
posts: 4,913
reviews: 10
8. Re: Friday to Monday in Avignon--suggestions?

A normal direct drive from Avignon to Bédoin takes from 30 to 38 minutes, depending on traffic and if you get lost. Try to avoid weekday rush hours - M-F - 7h30 to 9h00 and 17h00 to 18h30.

If you take the 17h51 train from Avignon TGV to CDG, I would not recommend you leave Bédoin - or the area around it - any later than 16h00. Even that might be pushing it for folks who are not familiar with the area/region/roads. Even at that time, traffic in Avignon will be heavy.

If you want to see the Monday market and then have a meander around Mt. Ventoux and perhaps some other gorgeous hilltop villages such as Crillon-le-Brave, Seguret, Le Barroux, etc., I'd plan to arrive for the market no later than 9h30 and I'd depart the market at 11h00 - head up Mt. Ventoux, then back down the other side at Malaucene. Then you have the choice of taking the route from Malaucene to Suzette to Beaumes-de-Venise, to Carpentras and then back down to Avignon - or Malaucene to Vaison, to Seguret to Carpentras and then back down to Avignon.

You could do all this in the 11h00 to 16h00 time frame. But there are SO many options here. These ideas are just a nice easy round.

If you want to stay in Bédoin for lunch, you could adapt this schedule to that too. Or you could pick up some fantastic picnic food in the market and stop at my favorite picnic spot on the route from Malaucene to Suzette (on the left with drop dead views - just two picnic tables which should not be too busy in Oct.).

New York City, New...
posts: 67
reviews: 13
9. Re: Friday to Monday in Avignon--suggestions?

Wow, thanks for the details! Just what I wanted. Picnic idea sounds great--it is always hard to resist buying cheese and bread and fruit in a great market. I will plan for heading back early--don't want to miss the train--there's another but I want to get the non refundable early bird tickets so missing it would be expensive.

Los Angeles...
posts: 14
reviews: 46
10. Re: Friday to Monday in Avignon--suggestions?

Does anyone know about the Thursday market in Isle? We wont be there on a Sunday. :(