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Itinerary help, especially Provence area

My husband and I will be travelling in the South of France for 19 nights from the 6th September until 25th September next year. Neither of us have been there before. We're flying into Nice (from UK) and then leaving from Paris to fly home to Australia. We'll likely rent a car in Nice after checking out from our accommodation and then return it in Lyon before checking into our accommodation, after which we'll catch a train to Paris.

So I'm researching all the places where we'd like to stay along the way and would appreciate your help.

This is our current plan:-

STAY Nice 3 nights
(accommodation in Old Town yet TBD)
Day trips to Eze and to coastal areas

Detour via Moustiers Saint Marie to have lunch (or STAY 1 night?)

STAY Aix 3 nights (or stay 2 nights if 1 night in Moustiers)
(accommodation perhaps Lousoan)
Day trip to Arles
Day trip to St Remy

Then I'm thinking some shorter 2 night stays in more "unusual" accommodation, eg a Chateau or Abbey, across various places (even in close by areas) for the different experiences

STAY Luberon area 2 nights
(accommodation perhaps Garrigae Abbaye de Sainte Croix)
Day trips to Gordes and Bonnieux

STAY Avignon 2 nights
(accommodation perhaps Le Clos Saluces which my neighbour has raved about)
Will need to leave car in paid car park, then stay put in town

STAY Uchaux 2 nights (accommodation perhaps Chateau de Massillan)

STAY Lyon 3 nights
(accommodation in Old Town yet TBD)

Train to Paris (or drive?)

STAY Paris 4 nights
(accommodation perhaps Le Marais district yet TBD)

Any improvements or alternative accommodation recommendations?

Posted by
4831 posts

I think you are moving around too much / changing accommodation too often. Aix, Avignon, Luberon, Uchaux are all within 1-1.5 hours of each other: 2 bases will do, instead of 4.

Personally, I would combine the Luberon and Uchaux nights into a single 4-night stay, ideally at the western edge of the Luberon, e.g. Gordes, Goult, Venasque, Pernes les Fontaines, l'Isle sur la Sorgue.

And same for the Aix and Avignon nights: I would combine in another 4-night stay, in Saint-Remy perhaps.

Many people would even stick to just one base, but that would involve more driving on a daily basis.

I like the idea of spending the night in Moustiers, but if Aix is a must-do, you might want to add a night to one of the stays above so that you have time for a day trip there.

Return the car in Avignon TGV and take the train to Lyon, then on to Paris: you will save time.

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you Balso, great advice, both the 4 night suggestions and the return car to Avignon TGV. Aix is not necessarily a must do. Although to meet my Chateau or Abbey criteria of possible, do you have any accommodation recommendations in any of these places?

Posted by
4831 posts

There's a ruined abbey near Arles (Montmajour), Sénanque Abbey outside Gordes (guided visit only, though), Silvacane Abbey south of Lourmarin, Prieuré de Salagon... plenty of abbey choices!

For castles, Lourmarin has a good one, and most of the hill villages of the Luberon are fortified and give very "castley" vibes, in a way.

EDIT: you mean accommodation in châteaux/abbeys?
Hostellerie NotreDame de Lumières right below Goult is in an old convent. It looks great from the outside, and location is perfect for touring the region (a bit close to the main road, perhaps). Never actually stayed.
There must be plenty of other options.

Posted by
541 posts

Glad to see you consider lumping together some of those basis.

You may actually enjoy Aix but it does have quite a bit of traffic going in/out of the ring roads. Much more so than say some beautiful neighboring villages like Lourmarin. (Some people base in one of these and day trip into Aix).

Les Baux will get you a stone village feel (near St. Remy) with a Chateau. So will Lacoste (near Bonnieux -- you can likely do more than one village a day in the Luberon. Add Roussillon to the mix for certain)

In the Cote d'Azur there is an Abbey on St. Honorat island off the coast of Cannes. There is a vineyard run by monks and seaside tower. In Nice you may find more hotel/apartment choices outside the Old Town but adjacent, like in the Carre d'Or (and closer to the train station)

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you again Balso, and also Gooster, for your suggestions. A lot to research and oh my goodness, then a decision has to be made! Spoilt for choice which is a wonderful position to be in.

I don't suppose you have accommodation recommendations for Lyon and Paris? 😁

Posted by
4 posts

There is a direct train from Lyon to CGD airport in Paris. It's just over 2 hours and arrives in the airport terminal. Would easily be my pick to get to the UK. We did this last year and it is quicker and easier then staying in Paris