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Favorite little town in the south of France

I have three girlfriends and we are going to France next Spring 2021. We are going to start in Paris for three nights, go to Normandy and Mont Ste Michele for three nights and then off to the southern part of the country. Any suggestions on an itinerary of the most beautiful villages in the Provence area and then we are going to the coast and have to decide between St Tropez, Monaco, Cannes and that area for a base camp

Posted by
1090 posts

I really like Vaison la Romaine for Provence and on the Riviera I prefer Villefranche sur Mer or Eze.

Posted by
617 posts

Hi J,
Maybe check out Uzes, just west of Provence in Gard. Hard to beat. See my TR 'Provencal Echo.' See also Saorge and St. Agnes.
Bon chance.
I am done. The end.

Posted by
888 posts

Roussillon. Sort of the Sedona of Provence. Beautiful scenery, nice art galleries.

Arles. Essential if you're a Van Gogh fan.

Posted by
9420 posts

St Rémy-de-Provence was our favorite.
We stayed 5 nights and loved it.
Stayed at Hotel du Soleil which was wonderful.

Posted by
3044 posts

If you will be in Normandy, why not go to Bretagne after? Quimper is the center of a charming area. Many small villages in this area are sea-breeze blown, but very charming. There are walled towns (Concarneau and Dinan and St Malo). Cows. Very charming area. It is a center of Breton culture, where the music is more similar to Ireland or Scotland.

Posted by
208 posts

Moustiers Ste. Marie is a totally off the beaten path village. You can climb 1000 feet straight up to a little chapel that sits far above the town.

Posted by
6883 posts

Moustiers Ste Marie and the surrounding Verdon area are actually very popular with French and German tourists, but nonetheless a good shout out. If you like how the place sounds and want something quieter, I can recommend Cotignac, nestled at the foot of a cliff in a very lush part of Provence.

It does mean that you would miss on the traditional highlights of Provence (Arles, Pont du Gard, Lubéron...). If it bothers you, Uzès or St Rémy or perhaps L'Isle sur la Sorgue, while busier and larger (they're towns, not villages), more than fit the bill and are much better located for touring the region.

Posted by
27063 posts

It is a very long trip from Normandy to southern France. I wouldn't go all that way for a really short visit; it could easily take a full day for the trek from Normandy. You didn't mention how much time you will have for the southern part of your trip. Are you OK with giving up (probably) a full day for that relocation?

Posted by
2916 posts

As to the places mentioned, I think Moustiers Ste. Marie and Vaison la Romaine are great choices, as is Nyons, which is one of my favorite towns anywhere.

Posted by
675 posts

Regarding your Cote d'Azur question: Depending on the time in the spring, it is really not the beach season, so keep that in mind. While the old town/port is charming, St. Tropez is best served with a car and it's time-consuming to see more than the region immediately nearby (like Hyeres, Bormes-les-Mimosa, Porquerolles, rose wineries) because the time to get to the main highway can be quite long. The beaches are quite nice there, and packed in high season. Monaco is the polar opposite, quite a compact and crowded city. However, it is better located on the main transit and highway lines. Cannes is a mid-sized city known for shopping and the beach. All three are on the high end of costs along the Cote d'Azur. Another alternative for you is to consider seeing some of the hill villages to the north of the coastal zone, like St. Paul de Vence, Tourettes sur Loup, Gourdon, Entrevaux, Peillon, etc

Posted by
1166 posts

I agree with the Uzes idea. Take a look at petracarter.com for a great cooking class. The morning markets and tree lined streets are lovely.

We loved Le Domaine des Carmes outside of I'sle Sur la Sorgue. Look at their website, domainedescarmesandspa.com.

The grounds are lovely and the 17th century villa with a complimentary courtyard breakfast and pool area are a delight. Pascal took such great care of us. It was a perfect spot to visit the Rhone vineyards, Rousillon, Menerbes, Bonnieux, and Gordes, as well as Avignon and Arles. And you are right by I'sle Sur la Sorgue just minutes from the grocery store and the canoeing on the Sorgue River.

You do need a car. But driving in France is so easy.

Posted by
176 posts

We also liked St. Remy. We are going back next year and are going to base in Sault.