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Provence/Lyon/Burgandy itinerary suggestions

I would like suggestions around this itinerary for the Provence area/Lyon/Burgundy trip we have planned.
It is now just Provence, Lyon and Burgundy. Our flights are firmly booked for arrival in Paris Saturday, Sept. 23 and departure from Paris Sunday, October 8. (14 days). We have been to Paris several times and that is not a focus on this trip.
Any feedback would be much appreciated! We have been to the south of France--25 years ago on our honeymoon. We are revisiting old haunts ( Aix-in Provence, Arles, Avignon, etc. ) but we are different people now. This is to re-visit and some of those places but also add on with Luberon villages, Cotes du Rhone area. We have never been to Lyon or Burgundy. That is where I need some guidance. But also appreciate any other observations on any part of this itinerary.

Sat. 9/23: Arrive Paris ( 1:25 pm ) TGV train (3 h 15m) to Avignon straight from CDG airport. --(Sleep Avignon)
Sun. 9/24: (no car) Day trip from Avignon to Nimes (train 30 min) and Pont du Gard (bus 40 min?/) --(Sleep Avignon)
Mon. 9/25: (no car) Day Trip Arles (20 min. train). (no Les Baux b/c no bus service etc. in Sept... will do later with car). ( Sleep Avignon)
Tues. 9/26: (no car) Day Trip Aix-en-Provence. Good market day. (Sleep Avignon)
Wed. 9/27: Morning Avignon: Train (3 hours) to Carcassonne. Arrive late afternoon (after tourists leave) and evening (Sleep Carcassonne) * pretty determined to go here, even though it backtracks to the Provence area.
Thurs. 9/28: Early morning Carcassonne. Train to Arles (2.5 - 3 hours); pick up rental car in Arles ( @ Europcar or Hertz.) Drive to Les Baux (20 min from Arles), spend an 1 - 2 hours at Les Baux; drive via St. Remy (supposedly beautiful drive between Les Baux and St. Remy? but no stop in St. Remy) and from there keep going to Roussillon. Check into place in Roussillon. Evening there. (Sleep Roussillon)
Fri. 9/29: (with car from here on out) Roussillon and Luberon Villages: Drive to Luberon hill towns (Joucas, Gordes, Abbey Notre-Dame Senaque, Merbes, others??) Other recommendations here? (Sleep Roussillon )
Sat. 9/30: Drive to Vaison-la Romaine-- (best route?? please help here) (Sleep Vaison-le Romaine)
Sun: 10/01: Vaison-la-Romaine and Cotes du Rhone villages (Rick Steves suggested Seguret Loop--i.e Cotes du Rhone du Wine Road Drive ( Seguret, Crestet, Suzette, Domaine de Coyeux Winery (views of Dentilles, Gogondas). Is this good or other suggestions? (Sleept Vaison le Romaine).
Mon. 10/02: Drive to Lyon. 2 nights. Need suggestions here about what to do... and best location for sleep (sleep Lyon)
Tues. 10/03: Lyon ( what to see? help please) Sleep Lyon.
Wed. 10:04: Drive to Beaune (Burgundy). Best way to drive from Lyon? Need to stop and see anything along the way? Where to stay in Beaune?
Thurs. 10/5: Beaune-- (help here--where to go, what to do, we still have a car) (Sleep Beaune )
Fri. 10/6: Beune and surrounding areas (help of how to relax and maximize our time-- still have a car, can drop off at anytime , Digon? ) Sleep Beaune.
Sat. 10/07: /Train to Paris ( Sleep Paris)
Sun. 10/08: Depart Paris, 10:15 am,
Any suggestions are welcome. I need to book our accommodations soon, but appreciate any feedback.

Posted by
232 posts

In Sep 2021 (as part of larger trip), my wife and I stayed in Lyon 2 nights, and then rented a car and drove to Burgundy for a 6-night stay. Rather than Beaune, we stayed in Meursault (right next to Beaune), and are happy we did.
Information on where we stayed, what we experienced, and our driving route from Lyon to Burgundy is in our trip report posted on the RS Forum (Parts 5 and 6).

Posted by
6107 posts

Great plan overall!

If you are going to the Luberon villages and the Vaison area, perhaps you can skip Les Baux de Provence. You will see plenty of equally scenic villages further east, and the drive from Les Baux to St Rémy is scenic for sure but the scenic portion lasts for 10 minutes, if that. Also, car rental options are a bit more plentiful in Nîmes Centre and Avignon Centre than in Arles, so you might want to compare.
That way, you can reach Roussillon earlier and have time to visit Roussillon that day.

In the Luberon, starting from Roussillon, Joucas (a 20-min stop, but worthwhile) and Gordes make sense. Sénanque is optional - the drive is circuitous and the guided tour is mandatory so it is time-consuming. Ménerbes makes sense to visit after Gordes if time allows - it is the one main Luberon village I have never been to so I cannot judge. For what it's worth, I like nearby Lacoste too.

To drive from the Luberon to Vaison, there is no bad route. Personally, I would pick an "eastern" option: you could drive to Sault (no stop needed), then either up the Ventoux if the weather is clear (beware of bikes on the road. BEWARE of bikes on the road) and down on the Malaucène side (wider road for the most part so bikes are less of a problem), or round the north face of the Ventoux with possible detour to lovely Brantes, perched off a small road. Montbrun is also almost on the way and looks pretty but I've only ever driven thru.
The western option would be the road through Murs towards Carpentras, with the possibility of a stop in Venasque (not my favorite village, but if you're driving by...), then north towards Malaucène.

For Vaison to Lyon, just take the A7 motorway, it is much faster. I cannot really advise on hotels, but somewhere on the Presqu'île north of Perrache station would work well: car access is easy, and it is super central.

Between Lyon and Beaune, I would stick to the A6 until Mâcon, then veer west towards Cluny (can visit the Abbey) and north towards Cormatin (can visit the castle) and all the way to Beaune through the famous vineyards (Mercurey, Meursault...)

Posted by
186 posts

I am so thankful for this forum! Thank you GeoffB and Also for your input, (and anyone else who chimes in!)
GeoffB: RE: our trip to Lyon and Burgundy--I went into your trip report and am so impressed by the detail and helpful guidance you gave! I am still digesting it all. I will seriously consider the Lyon City Cards, and your recommendation to stay in Meriusault in Burgundy. I looked at your place specifically and alas, it is a 4 night minimum, or I would book it in a second. It sounds like a great place for

Posted by
186 posts

Thank you GeoffB and Balso for your prompt replies! So helpful!
GeoffB: AMAZING! your recs around Lyon and Burgundy are most helpful. The Lyon City Card seems like a winner.
I'm still digesting all your info from your trip report, which you helpfully linked---thanks SO much! So thorough!

Looked into your recommendation for lodging in Meursault in Burgundy--unfortunately, it is a 4 night minimum and we are in the area just 3 nights. Shoot!

Also so appreciate your recs for restaurants, etc. for the areas in Lyon and Burgundy we are visiting-- so specific and helpful. Thank you!
Balso: WOW! You are so helpful, as always. THANK YOU! Good advice on skipping Les Baux, given what we will see elsewhere--quite a relief actually :) Appreciate the specific recs around driving routes from Roussillon through the Luberon (and advice on specific villages) and Cotes du Rhone areas. I am looking forward to some of those offshoots you have suggested. Thinking we'll skip the potentially homicidal path of Ventoux (killing bikers) and taking the north face part of Ventoux and detour to Brantes.

I so appreciate your recs on the rest of the drive to to Beaune.
I have not booked any accomodations yet -- trying to get the itinerary ( number of days in any one spot) figured out first. Any recs are welcome. We use Airbnb, VRBO as better value options usually but are open to suggestions. .

Posted by
186 posts

Balso--an extra thanks to you for your input. You offer such good information and insider stuff that is so helpful. It's not in the guidebooks. Thank you!

Posted by
6107 posts

You are welcome!

By the way, regarding the suggested wine loop near Vaison, I can vouch for Seguret: a lovely village overlooking the vineyards. And if you want to taste multiple wines from many vineyards in one place, I had a good experience at the Rhonea cooperative in Vacqueyras. There is very little pressure to buy. No cellar visit since the wine isn't made/bottled on site, so it does not necessarily replace a vineyard visit, but it gives you a different experience.