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Provence Vacation

Hi There. My husband and I are planning a 21 day trip to France in the middle of April. I have the Rick Steves 14 day itenerary of Provence with a car and was planning on following that, but I am wondering if other travelers have found 14 days to be too long in this area. Also we were planning to not book any hotels until arrival so that we have the most flexibility of staying extra days in an area we love, but I am not sure if this is wise in the Provence region. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you Karrie

Posted by
3279 posts

I am usually in the pre-book camp; however, if you don't book ahead, you'll have the flexibility to go further west, should you tire of Provence. On the other hand, this year Easter is very late. I am pretty sure that French schools have staggered holidays, which means that you'll be competing with French families for accommodations for at least a couple of your weeks. I would want to have my lodgings nailed down for any time that coincides with school vacations. (You can probably find the French school holidays for this year listed somewhere.) Also keep in mind that many Europeans from more northerly climes get really tired of bad weather by that time and seek out warm spots for a break. Oops! I think I just convinced myself that, in your shoes, I'd book ahead.

Posted by
4125 posts

I think you can have a grand time in the 14-day itinerary, without running out of things to do. It's equally valid, however, too look at other parts of France.

For instance there are wonderful things to see and do in SW France, from the Spanish border to the Dordogne. You could fly into Toulouse and start your trip there.

I would not hesitate to travel without reservations in any part of France in April, especially with a car. On the other hand I am not terribly picky about where I sleep.

If you are very hotel oriented--if you really value particular accommodations--the way to guarantee yourself the bed of your choice is to reserve in advance. Otherwise calling to reserve morning of is sufficient.

I think you should consider another option for Provence, which is to rent an apartment in a small town for a week of your trip. Hotels are great, but a rental usually offers more room, and it's nice to have a kitchen (and fun to shop for groceries). Pick someplace central to many sights and plan day trips.

Rentals do need to be arranged in advance. They usually run Saturday to Saturday, but who knows what might be possible to negotiate in April.

It's great you have the time to spend exploring a few regions rather than dashing about. Have a wonderful time!