Please sign in to post.

2 days in Avignon without car

Hi, We are traveling with kids & have booked to stay in the Avignon city centre for 2 days. We will not be driving but want to explore Provence beyond Avignon. Would you recommend taking a guided tour - like Provence Panaroma - or is it possible to cover a few quaint towns like Gordes, Sault, Isle-sur-le-Sorgue, Roussilon?
Also, we are travelling 1 week before the official lavender season (15th June) - will we get to see lavender fields in blossom?

Posted by
3808 posts

We used Provence Pana for a day tour when we were staying in Avignon in 2012. I think anything that could go wrong did - but I'd give them another chance if we were visiting again without a car..

We did the one that went to Pont du Gard/Uzes and Arles. Well, the driver was about 15 min late and was a 'new' guy. The usual driver was sick. We had about 45 min at Pont, then about an hour to wander around Uzes on our own (which went very fast - he had some parking issues) then when we got to Arles, we arrived about 15 min too late for last entry at the arena - so we missed out on that. The entry times changed at the first of Oct and he didn;t realize they would be closing earlier. (You'd think that would be something they'd keep track of) I know we just had bad luck, but if I was to do another day trip with them, I'd look at a longer/full day one, or one that concentrated on only a few spots.

I'm not sure about the smaller towns - you'd be relying on buses mainly. Using rome2rio.com (a great site!) the bus from Avignon to Roussillon is 2 hrs. Then you're relying on bus schedules...you could look into taxis perhaps, but even then... I know when we were on the Amalfi Coast, we were able to hire a private driver for a day - I wonder if something like that is available in Provence so you could tailor it to what you wanted to see/how much time you wanted to spend in a certain spot. It probably wouldn't be cheap, but for 4 people, could be comparable to what you'd pay for 4 people with Provence Pana. (I just googled private Provence tours and looks to be some options - maybe someone will have a suggestion for you).

As for lavender - it'll most likely depend on the weather - I imagine if it holds out hot and dry, you may luck into them. We're returning the first week of July (before we went in early Oct) hoping to see the lavender, but we're going to have a car since we're there for 8 nights. And there could be fields in areas that bloom early - there is probably a website that tracks where it is blooming.

Posted by
1976 posts

We used Provence Panorama for two tours in 2014 and had a wonderful time. Our full day tour included Pont du Gard, Les Baux, Orange, St. Remy for lunch, Chateauneuf du Pape for wine tasting, and a chocolate tasting. The half day tour took us to Gordes and Roussillon (my absolute favorite). We only had two full days in Avignon and these tours allowed to us to see a lot in a limited amount of time.

Everything ran like clockwork on those two days. My brother and his wife were in Avignon a few months later and also took a small-group tour with Provence Panorama - they even had one of the same guides that we did. They were also extremely pleased with them.

Posted by
1163 posts

Two days you should be able to fill up right in town there. I wouldn't huff and puff to try any day trips on that schedule.

MAYBE an afternoon guided tour. But I suspect they'll be some little event in town--always seems to be seem.

Posted by
4125 posts

I can't comment on the tour company, but you will not be able to the hill towns easily without a car. In season there are buses, but you will spend a lot of time using them, especially if there are transfers involved.

Isle-sur la Sorge is on the rail line, so easy. Other easy, and worthwhile, places that you can visit from Avignon include Arles (train), Nimes (train) and the Pont du Gard (bus, but no transfers).

That is more than you can see in two days.

Posted by
3808 posts

Depending on what you like - honestly, Avignon didn't do much for us. We visited the Pope's Palace (IMO not worth the money, but everyone likes something diff) and did the audioguide on the Pont d'Avignon - which was interesting. We wandered around a bit, were accosted by the petition girls outside the Pope's Palace, then went off on our day trip with Provence Pana. Maybe if we'd given it more time than a partial day...but I agree that Roussillon was very pretty. Sadly, we didn't visit the other 3 places on your list, tho I plan on hitting a few of those on our upcoming trip.

Posted by
4689 posts

Two days isn't much time. You could fill one day with Pont du Gard and Uzes, which are on the same bus line, though the scheduling might not make it easy to see both in one day. Last May I day tripped from Arles to Avignon (I wished I'd stayed in Avignon not Arles - like Avignon more and Arles less than expected) and immediately from Avignon to the Pont du Gard by bus. I could have continued on to Uzes by bus in the afternoon and come back to Avignon in the evening without much trouble, but in my case I had only one day for Avignon and everything else so decided to go back and spend the rest of my day in Avignon. FYI, the museum at Pont du Gard is terrific, and I wound up spending more time there and at the bridge than expected.

Although I didn't really enjoy my evenings in Arles, the town is definitely well worth a visit - easily half a day or more. (easy by train.) So that could take the second day partly in Arles, plus you'll want some time for Avignon itself, of course.

Posted by
1163 posts

Let me give props to the Palais des Papes and its "Hist-O-Pad"--the kids will love it. Then there's the Pont d'Avignon.

You could also take the no. 5 bus across the river to Fort St.-Andre/Jardin St. Andre, and the Chartreuse at the bottom of the hill from those two.

Look and listen around for Zoa JukeBox playing rockabilly tunes. Then there's the big sax player, Etienne--singing and playing your favorite oldies. The Tsiang(?) trumpet player is good, but he takes too many breaks.

Gotcha a carousel, you do. UM-HUM.

Otherwise the tourist office is pretty good--might just have a good plan for you and the kids one afternoon.