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Help with Provence/Savoie itinerary

Help with Provence/Savoie itinerary

Old Mar 29, 17, 3:29 pm
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Help with Provence/Savoie itinerary

At the end of August/beginning of September, my wife and son (15) and I will be in France for a few (4) days. We fly into Geneva and rent a car and will drive down to a small Relais and Chateaux property between Montelimar and Orange. We have two nights there and figured we'd do Avignon and Arles the second day of our trip, possibly including a stop to see the Pont-du-gard and the Roman amphitheater in either Nimes or Orange.
The third day is what I am wondering about--the main caveat is that we need to drive up to Chambery by 7 p.m.
The last (fourth) morning we will visit Annecy on the way back up to Geneva airport (we need to be there by around 1 p.m.)

So the big question is day three. My wife would like to see Aix-en-provence but that seems like a long drive, especially if we need to head north at the end of the day. Any thoughts or suggestions as to how to maximize our sightseeing time but not kill ourselves on day three? There seem to be some nice towns in Luberon (Gordes, etc.) but again that's south.

Or should we re-arrange things and do Arles and Aix and Luberon on day two and then Avignon and Orange on day three before heading north? Is there anything in Vercors that is a must-see?

Have read lots of the threads in this forum and I guess in some ways it's all good, but was wondering if there were things that should not be missed.
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Old Mar 30, 17, 1:54 am
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For me I'd head straight to Avignon and stay at the R&C property Hôtel Le Prieuré. Have an nice gourmet meal and the next morning walk around the Prieuré (priory) and then into Avignon itself.

As for the amphitheater in Nimes, for me it wasn't worth the time. Nor Orange. I'd spend a night in central Annecy having a nice mountain meal there, relax and then tour around the lake in the morning. You can also take a cable car up the mountain for some spectacular views and fresh air.

Lastly why not visit Geneva for a few hours? There are some interesting museums. One of my favorites in the Red Cross museum.
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Old Mar 30, 17, 5:15 am
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I don´t think you have sufficient time to reach all of the places on your itinerary, certainly not Aix-en-Provence. What most people want to see in this area are sites generally between Pont du Gard/Uzès to the west and Gordes, l´Isle sur la Sorgue, Roussillon to the east. You could fill a 10 day itinerary just in this area going no farther north than Vaison la Romaine and no farther south than St Rémy.

These are the areas in which I would concentrate. What to cut with so little time is the problem but I have never found Orange that compelling and Nîmes is probably too far.

What seems odd is why Geneva airport and not Lyon and why not a hotel property which is closer to major points of interest, such as the one stimpy suggests.
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Old Mar 31, 17, 1:00 am
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Thanks for the input. Most of what it comes down to re. flights and hotels is costs (Hilton tastes on a Holiday Inn budget as my mom used to say in the 60s). The Geneva flights were much cheaper than Lyon or Marseilles for our dates (like 1/2 to 1/3) and the same is true for the R&C properties we looked at. La Prieure (and most of the other properties in Provence) were double the cost of the Villa Augusta. So this seemed like an acceptable compromise to stay in a nice place and get a nice meal and not break the bank. In any case, looks like we'll cross Nimes off the list and focus on the Luberon towns and Avignon. Plus a morning in Annecy on the way back to Geneva. With only two full days plus a morning we can't do everything and I want to make sure we don't kill ourselves trying. Hopefully this will whet our appetite and we'll get to come back.
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Old Apr 8, 17, 11:54 am
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Originally Posted by stimpy View Post
For me I'd head straight to Avignon and stay at the R&C property Hôtel Le Prieuré. Have an nice gourmet meal and the next morning walk around the Prieuré (priory) and then into Avignon itself.

As for the amphitheater in Nimes, for me it wasn't worth the time. Nor Orange. I'd spend a night in central Annecy having a nice mountain meal there, relax and then tour around the lake in the morning. You can also take a cable car up the mountain for some spectacular views and fresh air.

Lastly why not visit Geneva for a few hours? There are some interesting museums. One of my favorites in the Red Cross museum.
Stimpy, thanks for your input. We had tried Le Prieure on the R&C website but it was really expensive for our dates. When we looked on the Le Prieure website itself, the rates were better, so we booked there for night two.

So we will drive down from Geneva on day one, stay the first night (with dinner) at the R&C Villa Augusta, do the Luberon on day two and stay at R&C Le Prieure (with dinner), do Avignon on day three and drive up to Chambery and stay at the Domaine Saints Pères (with dinner) and then drive back up to Geneva via Annecy on day four.

Any further comments or suggestions are welcome.
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Old May 3, 17, 5:40 pm
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One suggestion - renting a car will be much cheaper on the French side of the airport ...
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Old Nov 11, 17, 8:58 am
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Just a quick update on our short trip. Overall, the days were full and we really enjoyed Provence. In some ways we tried to see too much but it was still enjoyable.

We really liked the Villa Augusta in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux. The hotel grounds were beautiful and relaxing, the restaurant was wonderful and service was outstanding. Traffic from Geneva wasn't bad but we got turned around coming into Grenoble and went the long way around (my phone ran out of batteries and our rental car (a Volvo S40 from Sixt) didn't have a USB port to charge it). So instead of arriving at 8:30 we got there at 9 just as the kitchen was closing. Nevertheless they said no problem and after upgrading us from a junior suite to their full suite, we we able to wash our hands and sat down to dinner at 9:15. The food was wonderful and the service was great. I'm not sure I would want to spend several days in the this small town but for a night (or two) it would be great and the Relais & Chateaux property is a hidden, affordable gem.

The next day we enjoyed the morning market in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, lunch in Gordes and the afternoon in Roussillon. Definitely thought Gordes was the weakest of the three despite the beautiful view of the town from below and the view of the valley from the town. Loved the other two towns--the market in L'Isle was fascinating and fun and the Ochre Trail in Roussillon was breathtaking. Arrived at Le Prieure just before dinner. Service and room and food and grounds were all top-notch; definitely the nicest of the three properties we stayed at. The suite we had in the new building was very spacious and the second bedroom was great for our teenaged son. Everyone remembered our names, they made special gluten-free bread for us at dinner, and the food was outstanding. Wandering around Villenueve was very enjoyable (definitely recommend the fort/abbey) as was our next morning in Avignon itself (actually, we just did the Popes' Palace).

Our last night was at the Chateau de Candie in Chambery which was a replacement for us after our original hotel cancelled our booking with a week to go because of a wedding. Service at the Chateau was excellent and dinner at L'Orangerie was, too. Skipped Annecy because of time.

Overall it was a busy weekend but we really enjoyed our meals (our fifteen year-old appreciated the food and the wine) and our accommodations.
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