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Provence in summer with kids ?

Hi !

We hope to be in France for 35 days next july-August. We are doing a loop from paris and we want to have some tim in Provence region. We have think about staying somewhere around St Remy.

Questions :

1) What would be a good base for a family with 9 and 13 years old kids ? We enjoy history, good food food, kids like to swim (maybe a rental with a house ?)

2) Is it much easier to stay for a week (saturday to saturday) ?)

3) Planing Day trip to : Marseille, Arles, Pont du Gard, Haribo factory, Luberon, Avignon, Carmaques....

Thanks !

Posted by
46 posts

St Remy or Uzes would be good choices for your day trips and both fun, compact towns that your kids would enjoy (I think they share the same market day but not sure). I would shoot for St Remy as Glanum is right there and they can walk the Roman ruins. I would put Les Baux on your list. Fun medieval castle, touristy town center and Carriers de Lumieres (art installation in quarry mine of the coolest thing we have ever done!)

Plenty of GR trails by both towns if your family likes to hike.

Marseille is probably being the furthest away (90 minutes or so). If you are renting a home or gite, then Saturday to Saturday makes it easier, plenty of options out there with a pool and probably needed for that time of year with kids.


Posted by
17630 posts

Many rentals probably won't be air conditioned, so be sure you understand how to best manage the heat. I've read the answer is to keep the heavy shutters closed during the daytime but haven't actually ever stayed in a rental house in Europe myself. I think a pool would be a fine idea with kids.

Posted by
6058 posts

The one drawback to renting in most of Europe is lack of a/c. We did have it in Ortigia, Sicily but no where else.

Posted by
1136 posts

Look up Gites (rentals) in Provence online. This will give you some info to help you plan. A lot are stone which helps keep them cool in Summer. Some multi-unit places have pools. June average is 75F, July and August 85F. There are commuter trains that can be fun trips on the coast and can be quicker than by road. If you go to Marsaille be sure to take the boat to Chauteau D'If.

Posted by
7076 posts

Better to stay further east than Uzès, which is two hours from Marseille, a bit of an outlier, but Uzès is a wonderful day trip--and you zeroed in on the Haribo factory. The big market is on Saturday, the smaller on Wednesday.

Posted by
51 posts

I haven't been to Provence yet, so I don't have much in the way of helpful advice.

I did notice in planning my own trip that most home rentals in Provence have a minimum 7 night stay in July and August. Some even will only do Saturday-Saturday or Sunday-Sunday stays.

Posted by
4112 posts

We stayed in an Air BnB just outside Nice in August a couple of years ago. It had A/C and a pool, both of which were greatly appreciated as there was a heatwave at the time with temperatures averaging 40c most days. During my accomodation research I found plenty of properties with A/C so it's not as uncommon as some make out.

Posted by
1007 posts

We stayed at Le Mas d’Aigret in Les Beaux which is a short walk to the castle. It was very nice. The hotel has a lovely pool and ac. If you are going July/August, bear in mind that it will be very hot and you and the kids especially will appreciate the pool and ac.

Posted by
12 posts

Definitely agree with Pont du Gard - we loved our visit there. The museum is worth it. Was not as much of a fan of Arles and Avignon this last time we went, but the Roman ruins in Arles were pretty.

We stayed in Perne Les Fontaines at a rental house and it was a pretty good home base. Perhaps a little far north for your itinerary. If you're up that way, Isle Sur la Sorgue is quite pretty to walk around.

Nimes has Roman ruins if you're looking for more history.

Highly recommend going to Cassis and hike to the Calanques. Especially in summer where you could take a dip in the water. We hiked from the edge of town to Port Pin.

We also really enjoyed the drive up to the top of Mont Ventoux and back. Stop for pizza in Bedouin.

Le Colorado Provencal park near Roussillon was a neat place to walk around - looks like you're in Utah.

Posted by
1211 posts

Interesting that someone said they have never had AC anywhere in Europe except once.
I've been renting apartments in Italy, Paris and Spain for nearly 20 years, and each one has had AC units!
They are often in the same machine as the heating , and if you look on photos of your accommodation, they are usually white metal machines about 2-3 feet long, often mounted high up on walls or above doors.

Posted by
7076 posts

I've noticed more air conditioning in vacation rentals these past few years. It's not something most French people have or care much about. In fact, they'll tell you that it will make you ill. If you're looking at Gites de France, rentals used a lot by the French, you will find few offerings with air conditioning. If you look specifically for lodging with air conditioning, you'll find it.

Of all our friends and family in France, we know only one person with one unit in the living room, and that was installed at the end of the deadly heat wave in 2003. They turned it on only twice for a couple of hours this summer, they told me. Instead, people use shutters and awnings to keep direct sunshine out of the house, use cross ventilation whenever possible.

Posted by
285 posts

I'm not sure I'm answering your question, but have you started looking for the place to stay? A few years ago we were trying to find a place to stay in Provence in July for us and our 3 kids. Impossible! Most didn't even bother replying to us. I can't remember exactly how far ahead I was looking, but I know it was before Christmas.
Certainly times are different now, and there may be more availability, but I would suggest flexibility. We ended up staying in southwest France instead, in Collioure, which is a gem of a town.

Posted by
971 posts

We were in Provence with our three kids that age in 2017. Based in Il sur la Sorgue. There is a market that the kids loved roaming on their own (we gave them money and off they went). Pont du Gard was great for the river! I dont remember going to the museum, but my kids had a great time swimming and rock/cliff jumping there. Vaison La Romaine was a nice day of touring ruins and ... swimming in the river. Same for Fontaine de Vaucluse (you can rent a boat on the river there but we didn't). We visited the Abby de Senanque and Gordes and Rousillon - loved all those visits (go the Abbey early for an emptier experience). We also went to Cassis (stayed for two nights. Stayed in Il sur la Sorgue for 4 nights) and rented a boat and hiked to the Calanques. That was a really great day. Calanque En Vau has a high cliff for jumping that my son loved. We haven't had problems renting through Airbnb or actual b&b's for 5. We haven't rented places with pools, but definitely plan for swimming spots, as you can see, and it helps a lot.
(I also liked Arles, which we visited after seeing Le Baux. I thought, if we hadn't based in Il sur, I would have looked to base in Arles)

I would replace Arles by Nimes - so much better and more to see: the best-preserved Roman Arena outside of Italy. Arles' is in a very disappointing second place!

And I think you mean The Camargue? Yes, another reason to combine it with a Nimes visit. However, not to be done in August as the queues of cars are horrendous into and out of the Delta. July is definitely better!

I strongly recommend you visit Aigues-Mortes, a fabulous walled cité from where the Crusaiders departed for the Holy Land. A walk around the ramparts is an unforgettable experience. As too is the nearby Parc Ornithologique - see the best of the Camargue's emblematic pink flamingoes!