I am having the hardest time making up my mind on the itinerary and thought a conversation might stimulate ideas. This is my first time in 17 years of travel that I have posted to a forum!
We will use a car and maybe even bus/train both. We fly from the US to Rome on the 13th and will buy a flight to Nice or Marseille on March 13 or 14 (depending on availability) and will fly out of Nice on March 25th. I am trying to minimize time in the car/train and moving around, or at least balance it as best possible. We also like mid range to upper range places to stay for amenities, heaters, (pool access in cold weather), breakfast, possible traditional or unique arrangements of some kind.
I know it will still be cold/rainy, no flowers, some smaller towns may be still closing down early. My 6 year old is high energy and stimulus seeking, but also needs downtime.
I used to want to go to eat, drink, and flower my way through Provence. Now I can do none, since the flowers will not be in bloom and the 6 year old will not abide the eat/drink routine/move around I prefer since she eats at 5pm and is asleep by 7pm. So I am doing the 11 day trip around her needs and mine for quality time in a lovely area.
Kiddo is not likely interested in aquaducts (thats more for my husband who may be joining us) she is interested in active art classes, or engaging shows.
Some questions I have: I love how the idea of a couple of down days in Camargue sounds beautiful, interesting, etc. But fear it will be too cold and isolated to acclimate from the US travels. Some say best to stay in bigger cities in low travel periods to access food, amenities at odd hours. (kid sometimes wakes at 5am so cartoons or dvds are helpful!)
Luberon is just an hour from Les Baux, should I not bother to spend a night or two in the area?
Is it better to stay closer to Avignon or in Avignon since its March, rather than Les Baux de Provence? Walking around shops, bakeries, eateries, and small towns sounds a lot more relaxing than larger city. Access to nature and playgrounds and even indoor places for kids to play would be nice.
3 nights Nice
1 night transition from Nice to Vence and sleep in Gorges du Verdon
2 nights Luberon for Sat/Sun to catch the lovely Sunday market.
2 nights Avignon/Les Baux area
2 nights Arles/Camargue area
1 Antibes for night before flight of Nice.
Or we could:
Fly into Marseille and move to
3 nights Arles/Camargue area
2 nights Luberon to get Sat/Sun market
3 nights Les Baux de Provence & Avignon area
3 nights Nice before flying home.
Sights in Provence area specific I think might be nice to see:
1 day checking out nature in Camargue -gypsies, flamingoes, horses, beach, monastaries and salt
1 day arles for roman ruins
1/2 day pont du gard - roman ruins
1/2 day belleclaire for working farm experience
1 day for les baux/st remy for history of nostradamus/ van gogh, small towns
2 nights to explore small towns of luberon for me, such as gordes for views, market, food, and pottery
1/2 day in avignon for popes place and famous bridge, carousal
The first itinerary adds the french grand canyon, more pottery, perfume, etc. but takes away from time in avignon/les baux area.
Nice is just a good base for kids and plenty to do there, though I have already seen it. The above 8 days in provence is meant to be slow moving as many people spend all day doing these things over less time. I also wanted to spend more time in Camargue bc it sounds really cool and hope it wont be disappointing and only worth a day tour. Kind of a risk sleeping in such an isolated place rather than basing in Arles and day tripping it.
And I guess like many before me, it is a problem of getting the base just right. Any thoughts?