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Suggestions for a 3 week holiday in Southern France?

My best friend and I are trying to arrange a 3 week holiday. We are two fit 40 something year old females- super healthy and are accustomed to big city living in Los Angeles, Ca. We are single, high energy business minded females accustomed to stressful days and looking for an adventurous , cultured and stressfree vacation. Does anyone have any suggestions on itineraries ?
Any ideas are greatly appreciated! Laura

Posted by
22 posts

By the way, our interests are wine, art, museums, music and we are hoping to get as far away from our hectic stressful hurried life. Thank you!
Laura

Posted by
3319 posts

Here are just a couple of suggestions we have enjoyed... You like wine? Go here. http://beta.valmagne.com/ Old abbey that makes it's wine in huge casks in the side chapels of the stone church. Amazing place! The whole region surrounding it is laid back, gorgeous, and all about wine. We love the "village circulade" town of Pezenas for it's beautiful, winding streets, good restaurants, focus on art and artisans, and it's weekly market. Spent 5 weeks there are few summers ago and it wasn't long enough. You can take a boating vacation on the Canal du Midi which is here as well. Either self pilot or hire a boat + captain. Relaxing, beautiful, and a great was to wind down and see the real France!

Posted by
4125 posts

Laura, time of year matters some, but I would roughly say something like this: Fly into Toulouse and spend a 4-7 in the Perigord (Dordogne and Lot) region. (Okay, the Lot isn't technically in the Perigord) and a few days in Languedoc. Sample the Black Wine of Cahors; it's not great, but it is interesting. This is about small towns, great food, neolithic art, and stone fortresses dating from the Albigensian purge to the 100 Years War. If you are feeling urban, switch gears and fly into Barcelona. Spend time in Toulouse, Perpignan, and Narbonne. Unless you are serious about wine (in which case consider visiting Burgundy, which is much more interesting), stay away from Bordeaux. Spend the next 7 days in an apartment you rent in Provence. Visit France's greatest Roman antiquities in Nimes, Arles, and Orange; check out some Rhone Valley wineries; eat bouillabaisse on Marseilles waterfront, and hike in the Luberon. Walking and biking are excellent options in either region. With advanced planning you can probably arrange inn-to-inn itineraries on foot or by bicycle. Finish up on the Cote d'Azure, flying home from Nice.

Posted by
22 posts

Thank you Anita and Adam! Excellent suggestions- i am researching now. The period of the year would be next coming July 2014.
You are right- that is crucial information! Thanks so much!!!! Laura

Posted by
1138 posts

You might consider flying into London, spend a couple days there, get a car service to Portsmouth from Aquacars, great door to door service, take the ferry to near Caen, and pick up a reserved rental car right across the street from the RR station. It's 15 miles to Bayeux, do some research about the town and proximity to the D Day beaches. Send me a PM and I can put you onto a wondrous rural B&B near Bayeux. All the rest is an easy drive. You can also train from Paris to Monaco or Nice for not much money if you book tickets 120 days prior to travel. The high speed train from Paris can get you to Nice or other points south. Get on www.seat61.com to learn how to get cheap train bookings all across Europe. No sense driving long distances if you can train to a place an get a car there. Paris demands a week there alone. The Riviera needs a week or 10 days and a car there is mandatory to visit the villages. Normandy and Brittany need a week maybe too. Lucky you with 3 weeks. Get some guidebooks and plan your trip. Lots of us can help with details at tripadvisor.com, Nice forum or Normandy forum. Don't skip Monaco and the Casino and get a martini there, shaken, not stirred....

Posted by
2788 posts

If you haven't already, you might want to check out RS tours that cover southern France to get an idea of where he takes his tour members. I took his S/O France tour and really enjoyed it.

Posted by
500 posts

You want to go to the South of France? Why are the replies on London and northern France? South of France, were you thinking Provence, The French Riviera, wine, lavender, hikes, markets? I would look at the Provence area, maybe perhaps a few days in Paris at the beginning if you haven't been there. Three weeks is a good window. You might look into a river cruise for a portion of it, then perhaps rent an apartment or gite in a city and/or village for the other two weeks. Then you can explore areas on your own by car, hike, bike, train depending on where you go. I too am planning my trip to south of France in July 2014. Check out Michelin guide to Provence and Rick Steves' Provence and The French Riviera (new edition being published in a few days on 10/15).

Posted by
9110 posts

'You want to go to the South of France? Why are the replies on London and northern France?' Because this is the Helpline and Help consists of interjecting your own non-relevant ideas along with the ever-present admonition to wear a money belt since there have been rumors of pickpockets at the train station in St Remy. Laura, you've got to narrow it down a bit. You know that the South of France runs from the Italian border over to ever what's west of Aquitaine, right? Since you're healthy and high energy, you might want to read up on the GR10 since it's in the neighborhood. Three weeks might not be quite enough. Give us a couple of hints!

Posted by
4125 posts

In July and August there will be many cultural events, worth looking into as you hone your itinerary. Huge arts festival in Avignon. Reservations a good idea traveling that time of year, at least in Provence. Make your plans early!

Posted by
22 posts

George, Charlie, Ed and Adam ( Lisa or course)
Thank you so much for your ideas. I am doing my research and will be booking a place with in the next week per your advice.