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Looking at Apt as our lodging site for Provence

My wife and I will be traveling to Provence, and other regions in France, next year (May 2015) with another couple and have started looking at various websites for accommodations. Neither couple has been to Provence, so don't know much about the lay of the land. One of the nicest places we've seen is in Apt. Would Apt be a decent location to use as a base in Provence? Looks like more of a town than village, but the old part of the city sounds pretty good. We will have a car so access to villages and other sites should not be a problem. Will be interested in wine tastings and good food (neither should be too much of a problem from what I see). Thanks in advance for your help?

Posted by
1020 posts

Of all the places to stay in Provence, Apt would probably be the last place I would choose to stay. It is a town as you say without much charm. The Luberon is filled with great perched villages and charming hotels and B&Bs. Start by looking at Bonnieux, Gordes, Roussillon. Check out websites like www.theluberon.com You can do much better than Apt.

Posted by
149 posts

Hi Bob. My wife and I will be in Provence in May 2014! In another thread, Ed talked me out Aix and we decided to start in Lacoste, mainly because I found a great apartment on airbnb with a terrace looking across at Bonnieux. It helped that I was specifically looking for a perched village as a home base to explore the Luberon. Later, we'll stay in Nimes and explore Roman Provence. If you're interested in wine, you might consider Côtes du Rhône villages, or maybe Vaison-la-Romaine? Keep in mind that so far I have only visited these places vicariously in cyberspace. I've noticed in other threads that St. Remy and L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue are popular among those that have actually been in the Luberon.

Posted by
16869 posts

Apt doesn't make Rick Steves' list of places to visit or stay, either. Here are a couple of his hotel recommendations for drivers (from the Provence book), outside of Rousillion, with swimming pools and other relaxing public spaces: www.leclosdescigales.com and www.sablesdocre.com.

Posted by
7728 posts

I have been to Apt and agree that it's more of a town, with the problems of a town, rather than a charming village. One of the reasons people go to Provence, to the areas developed for tourism (as not all of it is developed), is for the charm of the perched villages. If it were my first visit, I'd opt for the more visited areas. Also, Apt is more on the way to Haute-Provence. The above two recommendations look very nice, but it's also good that you are looking beyond what's in the RS books since he cuts a fairly narrow path around the country ignoring some fabulous places. However, I don't think Apt is all that fabulous, just all right.

Posted by
38 posts

Thanks everyone, very helpful comments. Sounds like we need to regroup and reconsider. We love Tuscany so like the idea of Luberon villages.

Posted by
1170 posts

Apt is not a good choice in my opinion. It's not really a tourist type of town that caters to that crowd. We were there on market day and were refused service at a restaurant's outdoor patio. We were the only ones who were seated inside. It was painfully obvious that it was because we were American tourists. The waiter also made fun of our French (ouch). I have had very good luck choosing a town or village by researching accommodations via TripAdvisor. Generally, I find a highly rated B&B and then research the village and surrounding countryside in which it is located to see if it is a suitable place to stay. I would stick with a village or town that caters to the tourist crowd as you will find people more friendly and accommodating.

Posted by
5564 posts

I stayed in Roussillon when I was in Provence. I had a couple of nights in town, before a Rick Steves tour came and took over the hotel. I liked the town so much that I spent one more night at a place with a pool and I am pretty sure it was this one. I remember the pool!

I went on and stayed in St. Remy at Auberge de la Reine Jeanne as a treat and it was lovely. I had a big room, but it did face out onto the main street, but hey, I now live in NYC on the approach to the Queensboro Bridge, so maybe that was a point of training for my future. :) The food was marvelous. It is right in town, but I was driving so there must have been some place for my car. :)

Pam

Posted by
345 posts

My husband and I use Apt as a destination point to do laundry at the laundromat by the gas station/car wash.

There is also a fruit processing factory that is fun to visit to purchase sugar glazed fruit and jams.

For a place to stay, consider all the other suggestions and then look at Joucas. It is a small village but also close to Gordes, Murs, Sault and just across the valley from the more known villages such as Lacoste or Bonnieux.

Posted by
6356 posts

I based in Roussillon for my Provence trip and loved it, stayed at a hotel in town with parking available across the road. It was so convenient to get to the other towns I wanted to see and so nice and quiet in the evenings. It was beautiful.

Posted by
38 posts

Again, thanks for the information, especially suggestions for specific places. And I definitely don't want to go somewhere where they will make fun of my french - taking lessons, but it's not just rolling off the tongue at this point!