Provence and Southern France ..... May 3 - 11, 2018

This is our first trip to France. We'll be in Avignon 3 days before the tour begins. There will be rose wine.... will there be truffles ?

  • I am reading "Van Gogh's Ear" by Bernadette Murphy for some insight into Arles and Vincent's past.
  • In reply to dirkgeorgeson090737:

    Someone just gave me "Mastering the Art of French EATING" by Ann Mac. I feel like a real insider already.
  • In reply to carolyn.stephens022425:

    Ignore that auto correct... the author is Ann MAH.
  • In reply to carolyn.stephens022425:

    I am reading the ".. French Eating" book and it is quite good ! Below are some of the Avignon restaurants. Fou will be our first 'good' restaurant. The boulangerie will be for cheap sandwiches. The other restos seem reasonable costwise. The Euro is now around $1.39 (ouch !).

    Fou de Fafa (menu translated 29E each) ($$) #1 in Avignon on TripAdvisor. 17 rue des 3 Faucons, 84000, Avignon, France +33 4 32 76 35 13
    La Petit Gourmand 12-2:30 and 7-9:30 35 rue du Vieux Sextier +33 4 88 07 84 94
    Le Coude a Coude ($) 37 rue de la Saraillerie, 84000, Avignon, France +33 4 84 14 22 92
    Restaurant Avenio ($$$) Tues-Sat 12-2, 7:30-10pm 19 rue des 3 Faucons, 84000, Avignon, France +33 4 90 03 14 41
    La Fabrique des Saveurs , the boulangerie/patisserie across from the covered market the best. The selection of breads, croissants, pastries, freshly cut sandwiches and more is excellent. 2 rue Grivolas, 84000, Avignon, France +33 4 90 86 16 61
    Le Moliere 11:45 – 10pm where Sophie makes tou feel welcome, and the reviewer enjoyed two delicious dinners there. The food was reasonably priced and well prepared with a favorite starter being a samosa in a small green salad. 68 Place des Corps Saints, 84000, Avignon, France +33 6 74 74 00 53
  • April is white asparagus season in Provence…
    We have booked an all-day wine tour with an English speaking local wine-maker: http://www.toursdurhone.com/ . He has 4 tours to choose from: all tours look great and Doug Graves has good reviews on TripAdvisor. His tour includes a visit to his winery in an old "mas" with thick walls and mistral-proof design. I look forward to seeing the building.
    3.5 hour walking and tasting gourmet tour of Avignon: www.avignongourmetours.com/.../
  • I'm using four tour books to get some background on where we're going. My current #1 fave for photos/maps/diagrams is Eyewitness Travel's "Provence & the Cote d'Azure". My #2 fave for maps/activities/restaurants is Lonely Planet's "Provence &he Cote d'Azure". Fave #3 for activities/history/restaurants is Rick Steves' "Provence & the French Riviera". Fave #4 is Fodors' "Provence & the French Riviera". All are updated version for 2018 and can be found on Amazon.
    I compare the RS itinerary stops with each book and read an overview and the highlights. Then I search the books for restaurants if we will be dining in that location. Lastly I look on TripAdvisor. All of this research can be thrown out the window if the RS tour guide gives advice. I plan to return in a couple of years and spend more time in the better areas of this region.
    Since I speak no French I also got a copy of Rick Steves' "French Phrase Book & Dictionary" as a take along resource.
  • A friend who caught some Parisian attitude negatively directed at Americans gave two pieces of advice:
    1. Always be extra polite: start with "Bon Jour", use "sil vou plait" for please and use "merci" for thank you. If you still catch a negative American sentiment, don't take it personally go to step 2.
    2. Tell them you are Canadian. Everybody loves the Canadiens. If you want to try to speak French tell them you are from Quebec and if you are like me then we are from Ottawa.
  • A good book to help guide you with French food is Peter Mayle's "French Lessons - Adventures with Knife, Fork, and Corkscrew". His discussion on escargot begins on page 105 with the title "Slow Food". The first sentence is, "An adult snail in prime condition has a top speed of just over four yards per hour." The rest is about a visit to an annual Foire aux Escargots in Martigny-les-Bains.
    Bon apetit ?
  • In Avignon, the Road Scholar hotel is right next to the non-TGV train station and outside the walled city on a main street. It appears to be a very 'modern' hotel. I'm opting for an 'antique' hotel experience closer to the quieter center of town. The Hotel de Garlande has terrific reviews on TripAdvisor and the photos look fine.
    The website is: en.hoteldegarlande.com/ There is no elevator and it is a 15 minute walk from the train station. The management is accommodating to English-speaking tourists with excellent customer service reviews and restaurant recommendations. The cost is comparable and the location is better as it is close to Les Halles produce market, the Palace d' Papes and a lot of restaurants (see my other comment/reply on restaurants).
    Beaux reves ! (I use Google Translate for my French...)
  • From GerryL on RS:

    For those of you traveling to France this Spring, here is an English-language article about how to handle train travel during the period of the rolling strikes (sorry for the ridiculously long URL): www.cntraveler.com/.../how-to-navigate-the-french-train-strikes-happening-this-spring

    If RS is handling your whole trip, you likely will not be affected, but if you are planning any independent travel or arrival or departure, this is useful info to have. Note that the RER trains between Paris and CDG airport are subject to the intermittent work stoppages.
  • In reply to dirkgeorgeson090737:

    Thank you so much for your information!!!
  • France railroad information in English can be found at: https://en.oui.sncf/en/
    TGV and TER are the two flavors. Spring 2018 rail strikes are 'rolling' and scheduled in advance. The strike schedule is posted in a copied post by GerryL on this discussion.
    For comparison: a taxi from Marseille airport to Avignon is estimated at 180E, 2 senior tickets on TER 2nd class are 38E (total). The TER train leaves from St. Charles station and there is some minor hassle getting to St. Charles station by shuttle bus.
  • In reply to dirkgeorgeson090737:

    Pack 'light' - don't let your luggage be an anchor or a ball-and-chain.
  • In reply to dirkgeorgeson090737:

    It is very funny!! I am worried re strikes! Thanks for advice
  • Nice is close to where perfume was industrialized in or before 1849. The perfume center of France is in Grasse about an hour north of Nice. A good attraction in Nice is to visit the Molinard Perfume Workshop in the downtown/old part of Nice. We'll be in Nice towards the end of the week so the Workshop will probably not require a reservation. We plan to consult with the tour guide.

    What is part of the Workshop (for 87E) ?

    1.5-hour perfume workshop in Nice Learn about the history, tradition and production of French perfume from an expert Molinard perfumer. Sample a wide selection of scents and fragrances, and mix your own perfume like the pros. Take home a vial of your unique hand-crafted perfume.

    Read more about Molinard Perfume Workshop in Nice - Nice | Viator at:
    www.viator.com/.../d478-6748PERFUME