Bonjour mes amis!
I am starting to plan a trip to visit Provence and Paris, hopefully for September 2021.
I would love feedback and suggestions on my itinerary so far, so tell me what you think!
Some background: Trip will be two couples in their 30s and 40s.
I have been to France before, and lived there for a year, near Chartres, from 2004-2005. I'm not fluent in French, but I can certainly get around well. Last time I was in France was 2005. I have been to Paris several times, but never Provence. The other three people on the trip have never been to France.
Here's what I have so far:
Sat Sept 4 - Leave USA
Sun Sept 5 - Arrive in France, probably at the Marseille airport. Rent a car, and drive to our home base, most likely Le Moulin de Roques in Noves (about 30 minutes east of Avignon). http://moulindelaroque.com/
Check in, maybe go to the grocery store for a few essentials, get settled.
Mon Sept 6 - Take a tour of the Luberon with a Rick Steves recommended guide, Doug Graves. The tour circuit I'd like visits two wineries, the Lavender Museum, the Corkscrew Museum, Bonnieux, and Menerbes.
Daytrip to Cassis to take a boat tour of the Calanques, with some swimming if it's not too chilly. Any recommended boat tour companies? Should we drive ourselves to Cassis, or hire a guide for the day that will arrange the boat tour and chauffer us?
Tues Sept 7 - Start the day at the market in Vaison La Romaine. After we finish at the market, do the Rick Steves self-guided driving tour of the Cotes du Rhone villages.
Wed Sept 8 - Day with the guide Ashley Tinker, of www.curiousprovence.com. (Anyone ever used her?)
Tour of the St Remy market, and then visit St Paul de Mausole for our Van Gogh history. Have a home cooked lunch at a private home, then in the afternoon visit an olive oil producer and a cheesemaker.
Thurs Sept 9- Visit the L'Isle sur la Sorgue market in the morning. Maybe eat lunch in L'Isle.
Spend the afternoon in Avignon where hopefully we have enough time for the Rick Steves Welcome to Avignon and the Backstreets Avignon walks.
Friday Sept 10 - Luberon Tour with Doug Graves OR Cassis, whichever one we didn't do on Monday.
Maybe, if time permits, visit the market in Eygalieres first?
Sat Sept 11 - Arles, or more Avignon?
Sun Sept 12 - Other couple leaves to return to USA, My husband and I will be staying longer. I'm thinking we would leave the Moulin de la Roque to stay somewhere in Arles or Avignon.
Monday Sept 13 - Thinking this would be a good day to visit Nimes.
Tues Sept 14 - Leave Provence for Paris
Check in to our hotel. I'm leaning towards staying in The Marais. I've always stayed there because I love the vibe and location. You can walk to so many sites and the metro stops near there make for easy access to everything else. Or should I branch out and try a different neighborhood? There were a few hotels in the Latin Quarter area that looked nice.
After we check in and store our luggage, we would do some kind of orientation tour - perhaps the Rick Steves Old Paris Walk, and the bus #69 tour? This is for my husband to get his bearings and an overview. Paris is mostly about what he wants to do since I've done all the big sites there before.
Wed Sept 15 - Visit the Louvre in the morning.
Visit St Denis Basilica in the afternoon
Maybe do a tour with www.Paris-Walks.com, time permitting? I used them a few times in the past, and see they are still around!
Thursday Sept 16 - Daytrip to Chartres to see the Cathedral and town. Stop to see the town of Rambouillet, my old stomping grounds, on the way out or back (it's on the same train line as Chartres). We'd also like to stop in Maintenon to see the Chateau there (again, same train line), but I suspect there will not be enough time for all three stops.
Friday Sept 17 - Cluny Museum and Army Museum/Napoleon's Tomb
Saturday Sept 18 - Fly home.