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your unmissable stops in burgundy and provence?

eight days by car from paris through burgundy and part of provence, then flying out from marseilles. what is the best itinerary? we are not wine drinkers, sadly. we instead will focus on abbeys and art.

Posted by
120 posts

From Paris here are a few stops you may choose on the way down :
Vezelay, Fontenay Abbey, Dijon for Arts, history, architecture and churches, Citeaux abbey on the way to Beaune, Hospices in Beaune. This is my (small) contribution for Burgundy. 8-) Coco

Posted by
3086 posts

Beyond Beaune, I'd recommend Lyon and Avignon. There are so many great places to stop in ProvenceRick Steves' Provence guidebook would be a great resource to help you decide what you'd most like to see. Cassis is also a great destination not so far from Marsailles.

Posted by
27425 posts

Surely not missing out Montélimar for the Nougat and manufactory tour? Who would have thought that Nougat came in so many flavours and types?

Posted by
8192 posts

Chateauneuf-en-Auxois in Burgundy. The most charming village I have ever seen. It's on RS recommended scenic drive.

Posted by
4125 posts

I am a staunch disbeliever in "unmissable" anything, but here are some personal highlights. In Burgundy: Day trips bicycling out of Beaune, Abbey at Fontenay, Vezeley and the Cousin valley, small towns along the Serien. In Provence: Roman antiquities in Arles, St. Remy and Orange; Luberon villages; Pont du Gard. These are all likely to be highlights of most guidebooks, too.

Posted by
1986 posts

I endorse Pont Du Gard, one of those sights that makes you wonder how they could have done that 2,000 years ago; the Roman arena in Nimes, Bridge in Avignon (just to say you have seen it), there are other great sites in Avignon, lavender fields and perfume factories in Grasse, the village center in most little towns and villages, the incredibly blue Mediterranean, away from the towns, The highest Corniche. Was not excited about Marseille itself,, but some people like it

Posted by
8260 posts

What time of year?
Driving through Burgundy in April/May is marvelous. In northern Burgundy, the colza (rape seed, pardon the expression in English) is in bloom, turning fields a bright yellow against the lush green and stone farm buildings. In southern Burgundy, you might want to stop in Autun, a Roman garrison town. Also, there's Cluny, the mother of all abbeys before the revolutionaries tore it apart. For a good hike, you can go up the amazing La Solutre which overlooks the Macon vineyards. Quite a few chateau to see as well: Tanlay, Ancy-le-Franc, Bazooches, the one being built nowGuedelon. Montreal is a walled, medieval village way off the mass tourist route, not far from Avallon, which itself is named for King Arthur's Avalon. A Michelin green guide for Burgundy has it all. And with a good map you could get off the autoroute and toodle through Burgundy on a two-lane road.

Posted by
212 posts

last week of march, first few days of april. not ideal, we know. thanks again for all your guidance.

Posted by
1284 posts

Here's my list:
Pont du Gard, the old town in Vaison la Romaine, the hilltop villages in the Luberon, the lavender fields, the Friday market in Lourmarin, the town of Cassis, Renoir's house in Cagnes sur Mer, the Rothschild mansion and gardens in Cap Ferrat.

Posted by
212 posts

Thanks to you all. These are great to have as I sit down with a map and plot it. Any further suggestions for budgeting the 8 days (and overnights) much appreciated. Nancy

Posted by
1178 posts

Vaison La Romain Stay in the Cite Medieval in any of the places there...fantastic! On Tuesday (I think) there is a weekly market which dates from centuries ago. Also, Beaune and the local area as well.

Posted by
4125 posts

"Any further suggestions...?" Given what you have told us, here are a few. Plan to spend more time in Provence than Burgundy. I think there is more for you in the South. A 5/3 split would work. You might begin by catching the TGV to Montbard and getting your car there. Montbard is a pit, but close by the Fontenay Abbey. I'm not sure where your next stop ought to be. Beaune is an obvious choice, but there are other charming towns in the area. Your choice of where to stay should be based on the other things you'd like to see in Burgundy. If "we are not wine drinkers" means "we do not drink wine, period," that's one thing. If however you mean "we're not interested in all that poofy wine-tasting stuff," I do have some advice, which is to give it a (limited) try anyway. Wine is very integral to the cuisine, culture, people, and land. Consider it part of the program available to you, just as you might spend a little time viewing something unfamiliar in a museum. I'm not a big wine buff either, but found the whole scene in Burgundy to be friendly, accessible, and surprisingly interesting. Just saying. There are several easy opportunities for wine tasting in Beaune that will not consume your itinerary. There is also a place in Aloxe-Corton (near Beaune) that offers tasting lunches, traditional food with flights of wines. If you are not interested at all in wine, or in some bicycling, I am not sure there is a lot for you in Beaune. It's a pretty walled town with some great food and and the Hotel Dieu, but you can see all that as a day trip. I note that the drive from Burgundy to Provence is probably a good five hours. Given your limited time you might investigate taking the train, which might be a little quicker, and renting a second car in Provence.

Posted by
9110 posts

I'd quibble with Adam just a bit. Keeping up with traffic, I can scoot from Dijon to Aix in four hours, even with a quick stop. I have no idea how long the train takes, but by the time you turn in one car, pick up another, wait for a train, move your luggage, etc -- I'd think you could drive it about as fast. You've already got the car. The cost of gas and tolls can't be more than a multiple train tickets. The big kicker will be the cost of two short-term car rentals, rather than a single, longer one. I'd agree that the more time in Provence, the better.

Posted by
212 posts

again, thanks. all very helpful, esp re timing and train/drive. and yes, looking forward to tasting the wine culture. just meant we don't devote hours and hours to it or set the itinerary, even though one would be justified in doing that there.

Posted by
709 posts

Since you are willing to test the wine culture, I'd spend a night or two in Beaune. Bouchard Aine et Fils has a "5 senses of Wine" tour in their cellar that is spectacular and will really give you a basic foundation of Burgundy Wine (or any wine, for that matter) in not a lot of time. With your newly found knowledge, you can rent bikes from Florent at Randonee and spend a day biking the leisurely bike paths through the vinyards. This is a must, as it is absolutely spectacular! No big hills, signs directing you the whole way, and you weave in and out of tiny little Burgundian Villages the whole way.
I'd also hit Pont du Gard (awesome, in the literal sense of the word), Arles, Avignon, and the Luberon Hill towns.

Posted by
813 posts

For an awesome B&B experience, go to: "château de Rosières" Mr & Mme. Bergerot St Seine sur Vingeanne 21610 FONTAINE FRANCAISE FRANCE
www.chateauderosieres.com A wonderful couple has lovingly restores a real castle and it is really reasonably priced. It's worth a trip into the countryside to stay there. They also will recommend fantastic food in the area.