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South of France trip
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'm back in a week and I'll suggest you a schedule, with approximative times of visit. I've done this itinerary many many times with my groups, and there are musts and non- musts, at least in my opinion. As for rooms, yes , there might be trouble in July. It's the peak season. It's also hot and overcrowded everywhere. But still beautiful.
Best
Simona
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minkey



Joined: 30 Oct 2005
Posts: 80
Location: Tempe, Arizona; US

PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is so cool Simona. I figured there would be some people out there who were practically professional -- but to have the advice of a real pro is a real treat Very Happy

And, it sounds like a real itinerary will be more important, if the hotels will be filling up.

Hope your trip is great!
-Kristen
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pimpille



Joined: 18 Nov 2005
Posts: 12
Location: St Drézéry, Languedoc Roussillon, France

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:20 pm    Post subject: Paroles de languedocienne Reply with quote

Toulous ? You mean Toulouse ? Toulouse is in the Midi Pyrennees. We call it la ville rose (the pink town) because it was built with pink bricks. It's famous for its food too (cassoulet)
Sorry for telling you the truth but we don't produce perfume in Grasse anymore. It is just a tourist trap !
Les Baux de Provence is a little paradise on earth at winter time when it is deserted. It s so peaceful. At summer time, the heat and the mass of tourists turn it into hell.
St Guilhem le desert is worth visiting too. All my guests loved it.
As for getting rooms in villages (you mean "gites de France" ?), you'd better book them right room. I worked at the tourist office of Sommières (a lovely little town too) and the best ones were already fully booked for Summer in... February !!!
Sete is the little Venetia of Languedoc. Lots of its inhabitants come from Italia. And some seafood restaurants are great (such as les terrasses du Lido)
PS : do you really want to visit Marseille ?
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minkey



Joined: 30 Oct 2005
Posts: 80
Location: Tempe, Arizona; US

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops, yes I meant Toulouse. Sounds like it is a little out of the area I was thinking of.

I don't know about Marseilles, it seems to get very mixed reviews. Are you in the camp of the bad reviews, Pimpille?

I think I was just reading about St Guilhem last night. Haven't heard of Sete but that sounds really nice. So, do you not recommend Les Baux in the summer?
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been enjoying Rick Stiens French Odyssey which is cuurently being screened on our television. He visited Sete and Marseille and I'm determined to include them in my next trip to France. In Sete he dined at a very simple seafood restaurant called Chez Juju that was so appealing. Here's a link to his site http://www.rickstein.com/rickstein_frenchodyssey.htm for further research.
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pimpille



Joined: 18 Nov 2005
Posts: 12
Location: St Drézéry, Languedoc Roussillon, France

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must admit I don't like Marseille : it's too big, too noisy, and unsecure. I prefer smaller town and villages. I'm an earth girl too !
Marseille is worth visiting because of its rich past : Notre Dame de la Garde, le Musee de la marine etc.. Take some self defence course before... it might help!
Concerning les Baux de Provence, it's worth visiting it so it is unique. Try to visit it early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the heat and the tourists buses. One thing : the parking fee is around 5€ (at winter time)
Just after Sete you can visit the storehouses of Noilly Prat (vermouth wine) and see thousands of oak barrels in the enclosure. And you can taste it after the visit. After you can have a rest on the beach next to Noilly prat store houses or have a meal at "la table d'Emilie".
I've never heard of "chez Juju". I'm going to ask some information to my epicurian friends living in Sete. Maybe they know that mysterious restaurant.
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pimpille - Chez Juju has closed down or moved since the programme was made. Rick Stein visited Noilly Prat and it was very imformative. The filled barrels are put outside in the sun and they simulate rain by spraying water over them to develop the taste of the wine.
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Barbara
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pimpille



Joined: 18 Nov 2005
Posts: 12
Location: St Drézéry, Languedoc Roussillon, France

PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:51 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the info Barbara Reply with quote

I visited Noilly Prat two years ago by chance (too much traffic on the road and so I stopped at Marseillan and landed up at Noilly Prat). When I saw an employee splashing water on the oak barrels outside, I first thought they were going bananas ! The visit gave me the explanation. I've never thought we could make wine that way. Le Château Puech Haut in my village produces one of the best wine in Languedoc Roussillon. The oak barrels are in the cellar not outside. In Gallician near Nîmes they make wine like the Romans used to do. Visiting the site is quite instructive too altough the wine has a funny taste. I don't have the same taste as the Romans did !
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"Si vous n'êtes pas capable d'un peu de sorcellerie, ce n'est pas la peine de vous mêler de cuisine" - Colette -
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minkey



Joined: 30 Oct 2005
Posts: 80
Location: Tempe, Arizona; US

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pimpille, the things you mentioned were sort of what I have heard of Marseille. I am pretty sure we will be in Cassis for a night, but maybe we'll just see how it goes as far as visiting Marseille.

It doesn't take long to run out of time in the itinerary!

Barbara, the Rick Stein thing looks really cool; I think I need to order it!

Around where is Marseillan / Noilly Prat?
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Denise



Joined: 12 Jan 2006
Posts: 22
Location: Sénas, France (Provence)

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Uzès is one of the most beautiful towns in Provence, if you go there you might want to visit St Quentin la Poterie which is right next to it - famous for ceramics, many artists and artisans have shops there. It is also near the Pont du Gard which is terrific to visit...bring a bathing suit to have a dip in the river - a great place to have a picnic. There is a museum and 1000 year olive trees...last year a storm had damaged the beach on the river bank so there were groovy wood decks set up here and there to lounge on.
Marseille is beautiful! but it is a big city and tourists are a target...my boss and I both had our bags snatched there...she was sitting in her car and had her bag grabbed off her lap! and mine was grabbed as I got out of the car. But that can happen anywhere...I was at the American consulate once and there was a couple there trying to get emergency passports because their bag had been grabbed in Monaco. Word to the wise - keep a copy of your passports accessible somewhere else like they did just in case!
Aix of course is beautiful too...Les Baux is too packed with tourists!!
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bulkarn



Joined: 10 May 2006
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Minkey, I am so happy to discover this topic. I, too, am going to spend my honeymoon in France, but in June for 3 weeks. we fly into Paris from San Francisco and then from the airport south to Provence, with a few days in Paris before returning home. so far I have us booked for 5 days in St. Remy but no other definite plans and it is less than 4 weeks before we leave so i am frantically looking for an itinerary. I hope you don't mind that I borrow all the tips on this site. I am marking some of these towns on my map. Any help is most welcome.

My thought is to take the TGV to Lyon, rent a car and spend 2 days driving to St. Remy, perhaps a night in Lyon, then a stop in Orange?? After St. Remy, along the coast, up through northern Provence though not Camargue, end up in Marseille to drop off the car and train it back to Paris for about 4 days and then home.

My big question is could we get a place say in Antibes for several edays and see the whole coast, Nice, Menton, etc., or are they too far apart for day trips?

We want to do this nicely but not lavishly. Good luck with your trip and your wedding--or has it already occurred?
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the post of the newlyweds, so congratulation to all of you!!
Dear Bulkarn(??!!), You have quite a lot of time to spend in Provence , and this good, as June is still pre-high-season ( no screaming kids).
I'll just comment about several details you wrote :
1. If you arrive in Paris in the morning, there is no reason to take the TGV to LYon and hire a car in the city. It will be more expensive and less comfortable than renting the car at the airport ( "shlepping" luggages, in/off train, renting in Lyon etc). With a car , you can decide, according to your state of fatigue, where to stop. You have the Autoroute down south, quick and easy.
2. Lyon: I personally don't see any reason why to enter Lyon, a big modern city, with a nice but not special old town. Any small town would be nicer- e.g. Tournus ( If you can't reach Orange or even better , St. Remy, the same day).
3. Orange is not an interesting city besides the Roman Theatre. If you stop somewhere between Paris and St. Remy, you can visit Orange and its theatre on your way to St. Remy.
4. St Remy is beautiful, From there you can visit a lot of places : Avignon of course ( 40 km)+ le Pont du gard ( 15 km from Avignon) Arles ( 20 km) Camargues including St. Marie de la Mer and Aigues Mortes ( 40-60 km) , Les Beaux ( early morning or late afternoon or elsewhere you're going to burn) (15 km) Nimes ( 50-55 km) Gordes ( a must ) and even Aix en Provences. ( 50? km) Actually you can visit most of this part of provence from St. Remy. ( there are many other small towns I have no place to mention here, each one a jewel)
5. Yes, you can stay ( it's even reccomended to stay in one place as long as possible and have day trips) in Antibes and do everything from there : Nice, Cannes, St.Paul de Vence, Monte Carlo, Eze, the Cote D'azur ( beautiful!!) to St. Tropez through St. Raphael and back. If you're there on a Friday, I recommend to drive to Vintimiglia (on the italian border) , there is a famous big market there ( clothes, food, really fine) . On your way back ( it closes at about 3 p.m.- but check before) enter Menton .

Bon Voyage
Simona

No more war, more honeymoons!!
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mary Frances lived in Aix for some years. I'd love to visit there someday. I agree the markets in Vintimilgia are great. I'm still wearing the leather gloves I bought there in 1996.
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minkey



Joined: 30 Oct 2005
Posts: 80
Location: Tempe, Arizona; US

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bulkarn -- Congrats to you, too. We had our wedding in January. Is yours still upcoming? If so I hope the plans are going smoothly and that you have a wonderful day.

Denise - I can't believe that happened to you and your boss. Same trip?! I think we are running out of time for Marseille, so I don't have to decide! Uzes sounds wonderful. Heck -- everyplace does.

"Next time" is becoming my motto Cool
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Denise



Joined: 12 Jan 2006
Posts: 22
Location: Sénas, France (Provence)

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

minkey - no, not on the same trip, but within the space of six months! We were in Marseille to look at an apartment, the poor real estate agent who was with us! "this never happens! especially not in this neighborhood!!" needless to say we didn't buy that apartment, had to go to the police instead!!

I agree with Simona on with all the above...bulkarn, on your outings from St Rémy you might want to stop chez moi in Sénas, on the N7, there's a great farmers' market every morning except Sunday...especially lively on Saturday. Then you can say you've been somewhere no one else has in Provence!!

there are many cultural events in Provence in June and July...you both might want to investigate...music, food festivals...there are operas in the Roman theatre at Orange...you can visit the Pope's palace at Avignon and have dinner in the courtyard, or listen to a concert...these things sell out fast though so need to get tickets in advance...go to the "office de tourisme" in whatever town you visit and check out the different events...a free concert on a summer night is the most wonderful thing!

If anyone does brave Marseille, have bouillabaisse at Chez Fonfon...some say it's not the best bouillabaisse but we thought it was wonderful...in any case it's quite chic and on the most gorgeous little port possible...I took my friend from California there when she came to visit and she said..."I hate that you brought me here because I will never be able to forget it and will be unhappy until I'm able to return"

Congratulations on your weddings and have a great trip!
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