Thanks to everyone who convinced me to rent a car for 3 days instead of 2 while based in Avignon. Some of the suggestions were Nimes, Pont de Gard, Arles, L'isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Saint Remy, Orange, Les Baux, Fontaine de Vauclose, Carpentras, and Albi. Does anyone know the geography well enough where I can group these various places based on 3 days of travel. Another other interesting places not listed here? We will be traveling on a Sunday , Monday and Tuesday if anyone knows if it is best to visit certain places on a particular day . We are very flexible. Leaving Chicago in 16 days now and really looking forward to it.
I wasn't the greatest fan of Caprentras. When driving there from Avignon take a left at Monteux and head up toward Gigondas, Seguret, Vaison la Romaine and Nyons. A nice drive and the first two villages will not take you too long. Gigondas for wine and Nyon for olive oil! Vaison for the medieval town and view of Mt Ventoux.
I much preferred Nimes to Arles. Much quicker to get to from Avignon and whilst I know you have a car, we found the train journey very quick, plenty of trains and the station was very central.
I found the route itself to Arles very dull and it felt like a place "at the end of the line". Not pleasant to drive in when I eventually got there. The theatre is better in Orange and the Arena is better in Nimes - but that is just my view!
Fontaine-de-Vaucluse and L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue are quite close to each other. St. Remy, Nimes, and Arles are all close to each other; however, the latter two, especially, have so much to see, it's hard to imagine fitting them all into a single day. The Pont du Gard is very close to Nimes and to Avignon, easy to stop at on your way to or from Nimes. In my opinion, Albi is too far from the others to be included on this trip. Also, since you have to prioritize, I'd put Orange at the bottom of the list. You might want to look into visiting Vaison-la-Romaine, not that you haven't got enough destinations, already.
My daughter & enjoyed 3 nights in L'Isle sur la Sorgue. One afternoon we took a bus to Fontaine de Vaucluse & walked up to see the source of the crystal clear Sorgue River. L'Isle's market days are Thursday & Sunday. There are also many antique shops in L'Isle, but they are only open on the weekends.
Make sure you try the gelato/ ice cream at Isabella Gelateria!
We also spent 4 nights in Avignon & took a day trip to St. Remy & Les Baux (via bus)
If we had had a car, we would have visited Gordes & Rousillon, which are in close proximity to L'Isle sur la Sorgue.
When in Avignon, we'd considered going to Vaison la Romaine, but we opted to take it easy in Avignon. Vaison's market day is on Tuesday mornings.
You may consider visiting Uzès after you visit Pont du Gard. We'd also considered going there via bus from Avignon, but didn't have enough time.
There are a multitude of beautiful villages in Provence & we'll definitely return in the future! ;-)
This website may give you more ideas:
Don't skip going to Les Halles market in Avignon where you can get everything you need for a delicious picnic!
Be aware that this indoor market is open 6am- 1:30pm daily & closed on Mondays.
If you want delicious ice cream in Avignon, make sure you head over to Royal Glace, near Place l' Hortloge.
Enjoy your trip!
- Avignon & Orange
- Nimes & Pont du Gard
- St Remy (or Les Baux) & Arles
Thanks everyone. I was looking to find a good map on the internet of Avignon and all the surrounding towns listed here and I can't seem to find a good one that I can download and print. Any suggestions?
Why not wait until you get to France and pick up a detailed regional Michelin map. They are sold by Amazon but not sure you would get it in time.
Thanks for the advice Alan. I did purchase one at Amazon. Since I am a prime member it will be here in 2 days .
I'd also strongly suggest you visit the tourist information office when you arrive to Avignon.
The TI staff are very helpful & they will give you ideas as to where you can stop enroute to your destination(s). They have great maps there too!
Enjoy your trip!