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South of France trip in May / June

My husband, college age daughter and myself will be traveling to Barcelona and South of France end of May. This is what we have booked (can change some things). Any advice will be welcomed:
May 29 - arrive in Barcelona (this is already all booked - flight and hotel in Barcelona cannot be changed)
May 31st - rent car from airport and drive to the Dordogne area (Belves) for 3 nights - using it as a base
June 3 - Carcassone for one night (Im wondering if this is worth it or just stay an extra night in the dorgdone)
June 4 arrive in Aix en Provence - using as a base to explore Provence.
June 9 - drive from Aix en Provence to Barcelona, spend night at hotel by airport
June 10 - fly back home
Thoughts? Drive from Aix en Provence to Barcelona says about 5 1/2 hours.. I guess this is my main concern - making it back okay. Should we go as far as Provence or stay in the one area?
Any thoughts or tips will be appreciated.

Posted by
208 posts

Hey there!

It sounds like each driving leg of your trip will take a little over 6 hours. So, you are effectively spending 3 of your twelve days driving. Just worth thinking about.

One way to break it up would be to stay in Carcassone the first night out of Barcelona. That appears to make more sense to me than doubling back to catch it later.

Just curious--what made you decide to home base in Belves?

What are you planning on seeing in Provence?

I am in the early planning stages of a Sept 2020 trip flying into Barcelona, then to the Dordogne, then to the Pays Basque, and then back to Barcelona. But we have 3 1/2 to 4 weeks, and are planning 3 two-night, rural stops on the way up to Dordogne.

Posted by
5 posts

Belves was were we found an airbnb we liked, but we could change it.. if a better area in the dorgdone is worth staying in.
I had looked at doing Carcassone first after Barcelona but the drive to Aix en Provence was best going thru that area so we just added it in there. I am not apposed to removing it completely.
In Provence we want to see some of the beach areas, the lavender fields, the wine country and possibly a day into Italy.. We do not mind being on the go a lot, just don't want each place we visit to be rushed.

Posted by
4230 posts

I think Carcassonne is worth it. Especially since you'll be staying the night. It's ridiculously crowded in the daytime, but after 8:00 and in the morning you can have the place to yourselves. I don't know if you're a morning person, but getting up to watch the sun rise against the walls is spectacular.

Here's the hotel we stayed at. https://www.hotelmontmorency.com/fr/hotel-3-etoiles-carcassonne

Posted by
27339 posts

I believe you're trying to squeeze in too many places. This is what your planned itinerary looks like:

May 29: Arrive in Barcelona by plane (2 nights = 1 full, non-jetlagged day)
May 31: Drive to Dordogne (3 nights = 2 full days and perhaps a few hours)
June 3: Drive to Carcassonne (1 night = a few hours)
June 4: Drive to Aix-en-Provence (5 nights = 4 full days)
June 9: Drive to Barcelona (a few evening hours, maybe)
June 10: Fly home

One day in Barcelona without jetlag and sleep-deprivation is about 3 days below my minimum suggestion--assuming you haven't been to that city before.

The Dordogne is a lovely area, and I think it's a real shame to have only about 2 days there.

ViaMichelin.com estimates the driving time for your itinerary at almost 19 hours, and that excludes all stops, getting lost, traffic delays, searching for parking, and walking from your possibly-inconvenient parking lots to where you actually want to be--plus the time spent picking up and dropping off the car.

I enjoyed Provence, but I do think you'd do better to hold off on that area this year so you can give Barcelona and the Dordogne more time.