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Towns/villages to visit in Provence

We will be staying in Vence for 9 days and have rented a car so that we can travel around southern Provence /the Rivera. Do you have suggestions about towns to visit or to avoid ? Thanks,
Charlene

Posted by
1825 posts

St. Remy and (although it's not a town) don't miss the Pont du Gard, it's incredible. On a side note....have you picked up the RS book yet? From this and some of your other posts, I think you will find a lot of your question already answered.

Posted by
10349 posts

For more detail on sights in Provence and the Riviera, you could get the English version of the Michelin green guides.

Posted by
387 posts

Regarding Pont du Gard, I highly recommend you go to the museum they have there BEFORE you walk up to see the bridge. It is a wonderful and very different museum and will make you appreciate the Pont du Gard even more.

Posted by
3696 posts

I can't think of any towns I would avoid, but some of the cities are a little harder to navigatge with a car. I found Aix a bit hard to park (although I did) and it is a little bigger than the places I tend to like. Love, love, love St. Remy and all the surrounding villages/towns that you can reach easily . LeBaux, Rouissillion (sp)
Fonteville (very small) Driving the Gorges de Verdon and the coast were also beautiful.

Posted by
9110 posts

Yes! I finally found a reason to disagree with Tk. Les Baux is the all-time tourist trap where nobody lives and the shopkeepers come in on turnip trucks just before the tour buses arrive. It has some historical significance, but that's no longer visible except for the castle ruins. The whole darn place was a ruin until it was rebuilt about fifty years ago as.........a tourist trap.

Posted by
387 posts

Ed, Aquaduct. I stand corrected. I guess because you can walk across it I called it a bridge.

Posted by
36 posts

This is from Ross' wife, Charlene
Thank you to all who answered our questions ! And, yes we do have all the books but they try to be impartial and we want frank opinions. So, thank you !

Posted by
1525 posts

The tiny hilltop village of Crestet a few kilometers south of Vaison La Romaine in the Luberon. It's only about 20 homes and two shops and isn't a place to go looking for a "bang" in the middle of the day. But in the evening, as the sun is setting, no one else is around and the setting is absolutely magical. If you can ignore the half-dozen cars in town, you would swear the year was 1550. Pack a picnic, sit on the edge of the town wall overlooking the valley, and watch the sun set.

Posted by
175 posts

Yes, Crestet is a little gem but quite a drive from the area the OP is asking about. I'd avoid Grasse - horrible traffic and nasty little roads
with little parking.

Posted by
3696 posts

Ok Ed... I agree it is touristy...however, since I am a photographer I loved the views and I have a wonderful memory of that village. We went there for a birthday celebration and were there after all the tourists left, so we were almost alone in the village and watched the sun go down and drank wine with my friends....SO, unless you can duplicate my experience, you are correct, it is a tourist trap! It clouded my judgement...

Posted by
1825 posts

The Pont du Gard was built as an aqueduct but was used as a bridge extensively. Up until a few years ago cars would cross the river using it.

Posted by
1320 posts

Can't think of many towns I'd avoid. I agree that Les Baux is missable. I loved Vaison la Romaine, Lourmarin, Cassis, Gordes, Roussillon, Eze, Uzes, St Remy. Try to visit a couple of market days while you're there. The Friday market in Lourmarin is wonderful, as are others.

Posted by
15 posts

Warning - I love every place I visit! I was on an educational tour that included Cassis, Nimes, Aix en Provence, Avignon, and then Carcassonne on the way to Spain. Everything was wonderful...loved the Pont du Gard, the Palais de Pape, the arena in Nimes (very well-preserved "Colosseum"), the beautiful turquoise water seen on a boat ride from Cassis, great food in that region, Cezanne's studio, etc. Lots to see and do. I still love the hand towels I bought in the region - beautiful textiles - and lots of gift possibilities w/lavender and olives. Have a great trip!

Posted by
2233 posts

Isle-sur-Sorgue on market day (Sunday) or any other town on market day. Rick does a section Isle-sur-Sorgue and it's everything he said. Loved Arles, not such a fan of Avignon. Pont du Gard is everything everyone has said, but there are two entrances to the park and the museum is on one side. Check it out before you go, our at least ask at the visitors center. We missed the museum because we didn't know about it.

Posted by
1178 posts

Vaison La Romaine...town market once a week since the 1500's or so...try to stay in the Citie Medieval..on top of the mountain. I stayed at the Bishop's house I think..do not recall the name, but it is listed that way. Fantastic!!!

Posted by
719 posts

Second (or third? sixth? I lost count...) Pont du Gard. Excellent day. Stop in a town with a market before you go and bring some picnic supplies (the cafeteria there is crap) and have lunch on the bank.
Yes it was an aquaduct, but I walked across a bridge (with tire ruts) to get to my picnic, so I think that Kathy is OK on this one.