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A week in Provence and Chamonix

I am going to spend two weeks with a friend in Paris and then we will spend the third week in Provence and in Annecy and Chamonix.
While in Provence, I would like to see Arles, Pont du Gard, Avignon, Orange, Vaison la Romaine, Roussillon, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Aix -en Provence. I realize that this is a stretch for 6 days. I thought that we could go from Paris to Annecy spend the night and go to Chamonix the next day and spend the night/ back to Annecy and take the train to Avignon. Stay in Avignon-visit Arles, Pont du Garde and maybe Orange. Next day visit Isle-sur-la- Sorgue and Roussillon and then conclude int Aix-en Provence. Train back to Paris from Marseille. Too ambitious? I am really nervous about this as I know I have to make reservations both for trains and hotels ahead of time. It is really hard to plan. I have R. Steves books. Please help me!

Posted by
4158 posts

I think you have answered your own question . From my perspective this is way too ambitious . I love Chamonix and have made several visits , but given that you are planning to see major locations in Provence ,Chamonix would be a real time wasting diversion . The trip between Chamonix and Avignon ( not including an additional diversion to Annecy ) is about 6 hours drive and 6 to 8 hours via rail . Doing that will kill the better part of two days just for travel . In Provence ,while some of the places you want to see can be paired in a single day ( Pont du Gard and some of Avignon , for example ) there are too many destinations even for the six days . Aix , for instance is further from Avignon than Arles , and the time required to get there is a consideration . Another logistical issue is how you will get around in Provence . With a car , you will have more flexibility and will be able to make better use of your time , rather than using buses or trains . Skip Chamonix and Annecy on this one ,get a car in Provence and even there , trim your expectations to more manageable proportions . Seeing things takes time , blasting through and taking a series of quick looks is not particularly satisfying . Two weeks in Paris is great , slow down a bit in Provence .

Posted by
2261 posts

geojoymon, as I mentioned in another thread, we too are planning to spend some time in Provence. I've spent a fair amount of time looking at it, and here's what I think we can reasonably see in a few days. We'll spend four nights in Aix, arriving on a Saturday from California. We will relax Sunday and see Aix, then Monday leave Aix early and drive straight to Roussillon, to be there during morning hours, I hope to be there by 8 or 9 a.m. for some nice light for photographs. After a few hours we'll head to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, then to Avignon, then home to Aix. Next day, we will hit Arles and Nimes, possibly Remoulins and the Pont du Gard, call it good and head back to Aix. No Cassis, no Orange, no Marseille, etc. I really have to repeat to myself: quality not quantity.
Did you get the RS Provence book? I found this really useful to narrow down must see spots. Will you have use of a car? Hope this helps.