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3 days in Provence

Day 1 Avignon
Day 2 St Remy, les beaux and Arles
Day 3 small village tour
Do you recommend Cotes Du Rhone or Luberon?
Looking for charming villages. I don't drink and we live near Napa CA so wineries aren't a priority. Charming, history and natural scenery is the priority.
Thank you for your help

Posted by
2443 posts

In 2015, or maybe it was 2014, we stayed in Avignon and had two full days for day trips before moving on to Torino. On our first day, we took a full day tour with Provence Panorama and visited Les Baux, St. Remy, L'Orange, Pont du Gard, Châteauneuf du Pape, and a chocolate factory. Les Baux was the highlight for me, second only to Roussillon.

On the second day, we took a half day tour to Gordes and Roussillon, with "drive bys" of a few other places.

I always associate Cotes du Rhone with wine - but I haven't been there. I have to say that the Luberon was absolutely gorgeous - like living in a Williams Sonoma catalog.

We were very happy with Provence Panorama.

Posted by
60 posts

I've biked twice through the area, staying in Avignon, Arles, St. Remy, Uzes and visiting Les Baux. You say wine isn't a priority, so I'd definitely recommend Avignon as a base and visiting Isle de la Sorgue, Gordes and Roussillon, all charming villages.

Posted by
532 posts

I might suggest that it looks pretty whirlwind. Arles has plenty to do for a day or two on its own. Visiting 3 towns in one day means you are just breezing through.

Maybe consider staying in one place for a few days and taking day trips.

Posted by
2064 posts

One base, St Rémy is very popular, from where you can easily drive to the villages of interest. None is very far. You could easily spend a week and not see everything so your ultimate itinerary will be a process of elimination.

Côtes du Rhône is an AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) and not really a specific location other than that of the the wine growing communities so associated. Your very limited time is better spent in les Alpilles and western Luberon.

Posted by
28131 posts

are you driving or will you be on the train?

It might be helpful to know where you are arriving from and what is next.

If Paris, or northern France, we could consider Orange (history) and Montélimar (nougat), etc.

Posted by
442 posts

Allowing one day each in Avignon and Arles will give you more than enough to keep you busy. We based out of Avignon for a week, day tripping to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Marseille, Nimes and Arles. We also in Roussillon for a week and enjoyed not only the town (especially in the evening when the crowds were gone) and Les Ochres but also the nearby villages of Bonnieux and Joucas. Less is more.

Posted by
374 posts

We loved the Luberon, but try to avoid weekends, especially holiday weekends. We learned that when we were there in early June 2019. Roussillon was crowded (and gorgeous) and Gordes was mobbed--we searched for a parking spot for over an hour with no luck. Joucas and Goult were calmer, charming, and parking was easy. St-Remy de Provence was a great base. Your Day 2 looks ambitious.

Have a great time!

Posted by
32 posts

Provence and Luberon are meant to be savored! Plan at least a week in one spot and drive to the various towns, most notably Arles, Nimes, Rousillion, St. Remy, Avignon, Isle sur Sorgue, and so many others. Aix is a wonderfully beautiful city.
As you drive along the country roads, you will be pulled to stop in little villages to poke around and have a small bite.
Enjoy! I am planning my 4th trip to the region. Planning to fly into Paris and taking the TGV to Avignon to rent a car.

Posted by
532 posts

If only 3 days, pick one city and venture out from there. Things are not that far apart. We stayed 3 nights in Arles and 2 nights in Avignon. Both Arles and Avignon are interesting enough for at least a day or two each.

It depends on what you like to do. We though St Remy was a nice town for window shopping, and enjoyed a few hours there. But we wanted to visit Roman ruins, so focused on Orange,
Nimes, Pont du Gard, Arles, I would have liked to visit Luberon and surrounds, but we also wanted to visit wine areas such as Gigondas, Ch du Pape, etc.

Posted by
5630 posts

So many great places and not enough time. I love St. Paul de Vence for a small village. Also Aix and Les Baux as well as Arles.

Posted by
388 posts

My husband and I stayed for three weeks in Aix-en-Provence in February/March, 2017. We made day trips via car to Lourmarin, Gordes, Marseilles, Ménerbes, Verdon Gorge, etc. I was especially drawn to Lourmarin which we visited three times. It was the home of Albert Camus who is buried in the tiny cemetery a nice walk from the small village of Lourmarin (which has excellent restaurants/bistros, btw.) Of course, we spent many hours walking throughout Aix and not just in the main section of Cours Mirabeau. Aix is a lovely larger village with many fountains. Also, in Aix, visit Atelier de Cezanne which is tiny and without crowds. Afterward, walk up the hill from the atelier and view Mont Sainte-Victoire as Cezanne did.

Posted by
736 posts

I agree with Larry and Lindy......we spent a week there a couple of years ago and were charmed by Loumarin and Gordes and Menerbes. We spent a Sunday afternoon driving through the villages of Provence and loved seeing these small charming villages. We went to Isle de la Sorgue for the Sunday antiques market and loved it as well as the red hills of Rousillon. Though we attended the huge city market in Aix on Saturday and enjoyed that we preferred the villages and their size to walk around in and enjoy. We also spent a few nights in St. Remy and it has a fun market as well.