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Please help with driving itineraries from Avignon!

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New York City, New...
posts: 67
reviews: 7
Please help with driving itineraries from Avignon!

I thought that the Michelin guide would help, but the guide is not organized as I had hoped. So I am hoping that the kind TA crowd will help me map some driving tours from Avignon. Our desire is to see some interesting towns/views and have pleasant, not overstuffed days. It's just a long weekend and we prefer quality to quantity.

Here is our plan (later in October):

Arrive Avignon Friday afternoon, get car, explore town--dinner

Saturday: Destination Pont du Gard, drive for a few hours after that, returning to Avignon by 5 pm for dinner at 7

Sunday: Early start to Isle de la Sorgue--spend morning there, then drive East into what I believe is Luberon? I am hoping we can do a pretty loop back to Avignon. Perhaps a 3 + hour drive not including stops for snacks or a little wandering. Back to Avignon for dinner. (We don't want to drive at night)

Monday: we have the day to explore Avignon or nearby, TGV to Paris at about 5 but have to return car.

I realize this is subjective--but I really need help--the guides and the internet are not helpful because the regions seem to overlap.

Thanks!

9 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
posts: 6,492
reviews: 41
1. Re: Please help with driving itineraries from Avignon!

On Saturday, why don't you head up towards SEguret, Sablet and Vaison la Romaine.....

What villages do you want to see in the Luberon?

windsor
posts: 19
2. Re: Please help with driving itineraries from Avignon!

About a half an hour south of the Pont du Gard, is the beautiful town of Nimes. It has the best preserved "arene" either in France or the world, I can't remember which. The audio guide is really excellent and definitely worth the visit. It is in much better shape than the Colosseum in Rome or the arene in Arles France. When returning back to Avignon on the highway, it is only about an hour ride. You can go on www.viamichelin.com and get the distance, time, and price of gas and tolls between any two cities. It is very helpful when planning an itinerary.

Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Destination Expert
for Monte-Carlo
posts: 746
reviews: 142
3. Re: Please help with driving itineraries from Avignon!

Both these suggestions are great.

I would definitely combine Nimes with the Pont du Gard, and don't miss the Maison Carre while you are there seeing the arena. The Nimes sites are UNESCO World Heritage listed, and deservedly so.

Then I suggest taking a slow loop around the Dentelles de Montmirail after the market and lunch in Isle sur la Sorgue, ending in Vaison. A drive up Mont Ventoux would be great to add to your itinerary, but late in October, it will be dark too soon to appreciate the spectacular views, unless you head straight there from Isle sur la Sorgue.

Lots to fill your day in Avignon on the Monday, and I am guessing you will be returning your car to the TGV station, as that's where most car rental offices are located. Head over an hour or so ahead of your departure to allow for returning the car and finding your platform etc.

provence
Destination Expert
for Provence
posts: 1,668
reviews: 60
4. Re: Please help with driving itineraries from Avignon!

You have a very limited time - do you really want to waste valuable time trying to park at Isle sur la Sorgues sunday market? Yes the town is lovely and worth the visit to appreciate it without the market.

If you want to see a local market head to Coustallet just down the road. Smaller but with all the usual Provencal stalls but without the crowds. It is also in the Luberon so you can then have your drive through the Luberon hill villages (Menerbes, etc) heading to Lourmarin for lunch. A pretty drive over the Luberon mountains.

You can then take two routes back to Avignon. The first is via Cavallion - not too pretty but you can drive via Isle sur la Sorgues to see the town after the market has gone (possilbly take in the Fontaine de Vacluse).

The second is to head west picking up the old N7 road and following signs to St Remy de Provence, skirting the Alpilles National Park and following the signs to Avignon fron St Remy. This will show you some more contrasting parts of the area.

Edited: 5:03 am, October 09, 2013
Avignon, France
Destination Expert
for Avignon
posts: 4,486
reviews: 54
5. Re: Please help with driving itineraries from Avignon!

I would suggest combining the Pont du Gard on the Saturday with a little side trip into Uzès, just a few minutes away by car. By the time you arrive the crowds should be thinning out a bit and parking shouldn't be too bad. The Saturday market is very good and extensive, and you could have a light lunch there; if you pass a restaurant you fancy, it's best to book, especially in the main square, Place aux Herbes. If the weather's good the market will continue past 12.30, although stalls will be starting to pack up.

After lunch, an easy drive to Nimes to see the Roman sites already mentioned; La Maison Carrée, the Arena and also the Tour Magne in the Jardins de la Fontaine.

California
Destination Expert
for Grasse
posts: 6,751
reviews: 16
6. Re: Please help with driving itineraries from Avignon!

I like to use the Cadogan Guide to the South of France in addition to the Michelin Green Guide. Older editions of the Green Guide are better, IMO, if you can find one.

Los Angeles...
posts: 3,952
reviews: 266
7. Re: Please help with driving itineraries from Avignon!

If you travel to see Pont du Gard, you should not miss Uzes. A lovely little town.

New York City, New...
posts: 67
reviews: 7
8. Re: Please help with driving itineraries from Avignon!

Thanks for the good advice!

About Isle Sur la Sorgue. What about visiting there on Sunday afternoon? Are stores still open then? You are right that getting up super early to beat the crowds doesn't sound appealing! We were thinking of going to Les Baux the same day--the town sounds pretty and the light show sounds like an unusual attraction.

California
Destination Expert
for Grasse
posts: 6,751
reviews: 16
9. Re: Please help with driving itineraries from Avignon!

While at Lex Baux, don't miss walking up above the village to see the ruins of the citadel. Many people miss that, thinking the village is the only attraction.

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