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What's Realistic? - Provence

I will be in Provence with my husband and two other couples in late August/early September. We are in our 20's. We will have 7 nights there. The plan is to be in western provence for 3 nights and the cote d'azur for 4 nights. We will have a car for the first 4 days. We want to see the can't miss things...but really just want to enjoy the markets and picnics. Is this realistic? What order would you do days 1-4? Would you stay in Nice or Antibes?

Day 1 - Avignon
Day 2 - Luberon: Gordes, Roussillon, L'isle-sur-la-Sorgue
Day 3 - St. Remy, Les Baux, Pont du Gard, Arles
Day 4 - 1/2 day in Aix then train or bus to Nice Area

Day 4-7 - Nice or Antibes

Posted by
417 posts

Personally, it looks la little crowded on says 2 and 3. Provence is all about taking it slow and enjoying the area, which is what it sounds like you want to do. Try not to get caught up in "seeing the sights" but rather in enjoying the moment.

That said, the places you listed are all fairly close together, so doable. Maybe make that your ideal, but leave it up to chance to lead you? This way if you see a market, go for it! Or if you want to take a walk, don't feel bad about missing something. Just enjoy it and soak it in.

Posted by
9110 posts

You missed Nimes and Orange, both of which deserve more time than some of the spots you list.

Posted by
4125 posts

Well, it's 3 days in Provence (not "western Provence"), 4 in the Cote d'Azure.

Suite yourself (obviously!), but I'd at least reverse those to 4 and 3.

Days 2 and 3 are so busy I predict you will not get to the last thing on your list for each day.

If Day 1 is really a full day, you might consider combining Avignon with the Pont du Gard. It will probably be hot--bring swimsuits to the Gard.

Ed's suggestions have merit, too, but you are short on time.

Can't see it all, but that's okay, right? Have fun!

Posted by
1294 posts

I think you have a good balance of a city, the Luberon villages, and the historical sights. My only suggestion is to leave out Arles from Day 3, or do Arles instead of Avignon.

What order you do days 1 to 4 should depend on what days of the week you're there. To take advantage of the wonderful Provencal markets, you'll have to do a little planning. If you can be in L'Isle sur la Sorgue on Sunday, you'll catch the famous antique market (also has food). For other places on your list, here are the market days. Aix - Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. St Remy - Wednesday, Gordes - Tuesday, Roussillon - Wednesday.

If you like wine, there's Mas de la Dame vineyard just outside Les Baux on the road to St Remy.

As Adam said, you can swim in the river under the Pont du Gard which is very cool.

You could add a day to Provence and go north to Vaison la Romaine (Tuesday market) and also visit the wine towns of Seguret (Mourchon winery), Gigondas, and Chateauneuf du Pape.

I would choose either Nice or Villefranche sur Mer to stay on the Cote d'Azur. Villefranche is a short bus ride from Nice and has a nicer beach (Nice beach is pebbles, not sand) and you can walk to the beach and other attractions in Cap Ferrat. You can take public transportation to Antibes.

Enjoy!

Posted by
13 posts

Hi Everyone,

Thanks so much for all the help. I will be in Provence Monday - Thursday afternoon and will be in the Cote d' Azur Thursday afternoon - Monday when my flight leaves at noon. I need to discuss with the others in my group the idea of switching to 4 days in Provence instead.

I love the idea of doing some wine tastings. Where do you recommend and how? Do you drive?

Thanks again!

Posted by
1294 posts

Andrea - I've suggested two places you can do wine tastings. Yes, both require a car and you'll have to have a designated driver as the French have tightened up their drunk driving laws. Both wineries have websites with directions. Mas de la Dame is right on the main road from Les Baux to St Remy. We just happened upon it. Mourchon outside Seguret is more complicated so you'll need directions or you can call ahead. It's owned by a very personable English family and has the most amazing views on its property as well as amazing wine. Both will do a wine tasting for you.

You will have a great time. Just try to get to at least a couple of markets, they are all wonderful!

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks again. I'm going to start a new post now for the Riviera

Posted by
48 posts

Just "hang". Go to the nude beach and after your group has ogled the natives, relax and enjoy yourselves. Don't speed from "place" to "place". Provence isn't about hurrying on, it's about leisurely passtimes. Drink Pastis, eat the fresh fish, and just "be". You will never forget this place for its light, its lovely aromas and its mix of people both rich and poor.