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Provence The camargue and other things

We are heading to France next week with our teens. Four days in Paris over Easter and then to Provence. Two nights in Cassis (one is a travel day and the other is to hike the Calanques). Then 4 nights in St. Remy. We have our guide books and some ideas of Roman Ruins to see, markets, we have a car so drive around.
Questions if anyone has time to help:
1. Is the Camargue worth going to or is it just a swamp with horses running around!? We love natural sites but we aren't in Provence that long and nobody is a horse lover here.
2. We like to poke around off the beaten path but of course, sometimes the most interesting sites are ON the beaten path. Of course Roman ruins for sure..... but Just wondering with ALL those towns.... Lacoste? Luberon? Glanum? Abbey Montmajour, Les Baux-de-Provence, Fort de buoux, Bories Village?
3. Traveling with teens we like to do some poking around ruins, castles etc. and then I drag them into museums. (-: Happy for suggestions and for consolidating the driving.

Yes yes. I should have this all mapped out by now but with work, kids, life... I have a spreadsheet of ideas and now want to make sure I don't miss something that we would have really loved.

Thank you

Posted by
139 posts

Personally I would pass on the Camarque. I think there are far more interesting places to visit in the area around St Remy, such as,
Les Baux (do the Carrieres des Lumières),

Pont du Gard (look into kayaking to it if the weather is nice). That is a very fun thing to do with teens.

The Luberon is a region of Provence with many beautiful small hilltowns. You can visit several of these towns in a daytrip. Roussilon, Gordes, Lourmarin are some of the prettiest in MHO.

I really love Arles as well. It is close to St Remy and the Roman ruins, especially the arena is very impressive.

Enjoy your trip! It is a beautiful area and St Remy is a great base for travel in Provence!

Posted by
679 posts

Wife and I enjoyed driving around the Camargue. If you are interested in birds, you can see flocks of flamingoes(!), plus lots of other species (we also saw the famous white horses). We thought the little towns were interesting too, not least for their contrast with the surrounding wildness. We were there c. 5 hours, and are glad we went.

Posted by
8293 posts

The ancient walled town of Aigues Mortes in the Camargue is worth an afternoon visit.

Posted by
8293 posts

And apart from the historical significance, Aigues Mortes has a charming town square, ringed with pretty restaurants.

Just got back. Les Baux entertained my kids in their 20s. Go late in the day and walk around it was pretty empty. Then return in the early morning for the light show in the quarry.

Posted by
1776 posts

We visited Provence September, 2018. Here's a list of sites we enjoyed that I think teen-agers would also enjoy:

Vaison Romaine, extensive ruins of a Roman town and theatre. Just north of Provence. Lots of cafes there for lunch.

Oppede de Vieux, a ruined medieval village and castle on the SW edge of the Luberon. Free site, not many tourists.

Chauvet Cave, a perfect replica of a nearby prehistoric painted cave. (Netflix has documentary about it , called "Cave of Forgotten Dreams.") It is located west of Orange at the far end of the Ardeche Gorge. We combined it with Uzes and Pont du Gard. This was our longest drive day but well worth it and not as crowded as other areas of Provence.

Barbegal Aqueduct, a few miles south of Fontville. Extensive ruins of a Roman aqueduct. Not restored, very evocative. We combined it with Les Baux and the Luminaries.

Parc Ornithologic on the western edge of the Camargue. Here you can see hundreds of flamingos in salt water lagoons. Picnic sites available. No mosquitoes in April. We also saw some of the white horses on that drive. You can drive a few miles farther south to Saint Mers and have a peek at the Mediterranean if that appeals. This could be combined with Aigues Mortes which is interesting but extremely touristy.

Hope this helps you with your planning.

Posted by
73 posts

Thank you. This is all very helpful. There is a lot to see for sure. And love the tips for when to go when less tourists. That was one thing about Greece... planning around tour bus schedules. Let's face it, we all want to see some of the same things.

Now figuring out eating with teens! Any great restaurant choices in Cassis? Not really expensive or formal but I would love bouillabaisse. A good family hole in the wall kinda of place?

Posted by
327 posts

I was interested in seeing the Camargue but chose not do to a tour. I was underwhelmed. If horses are not your thing and you don't want to take a tour, I recommend placing a low priority on seeing the Camargue.