Provence & the French Riviera Guidebook
Favorite discoveries or tips:
In Salon de Provence, Abbaye de Sainte Croix, for an elegant, centrally located home base to explore. We loved it. Not for dinner though - over-priced and inexperienced, stuffy service.
Rachael Paul in Nashville, TN USA 05/09/2013
I enjoyed staying at a wonderful small hotel with an excellent restaurant in St. Remy called Mas des Carissins. We used this hotel as a base to explore Provence. The hotel has wonderful grounds and a great 5 course dinner. They had a special during November of 130 Euros for a standard room for 2 people, breakfast, and dinner for 2 people. We were very impressed with the hotel and the meals. The staff spoke good English and took very good care of us.
Jim Perschbacher in Mableton, GA USA 12/02/2012
The luckiest moment of my indepently planned trip was discovering David Price of Imagine Tours listed in the book. It suggested that one could contact David to ask for help planning places to see and with accommodations. I really needed help because my husband had developed a health condition which required staying more than a month in Provence before we could travel home. David met with us, talked about options for lodging (since it was September, a very popular month, and little was available), and was able to help us tremendously with accommodations and also made other helpful suggestions.
Anne Hayden in Danville, CA USA 11/11/2012
The guidebook was rather dismissive of Aigues-Mortes but we found it an interesting little town and the boat tour (€12 for two and a half hours) was an informative introduction to the Camargue. I am British but found this guidebook really useful and informative.
Glennys England 09/27/2012
Barbara Schuerenberg's cooking class in Vaison la
Susie in Orlando, FL USA 09/24/2012
Marseille...Vieux Port...all torn up with construction of a pedestrian zone opening in 2013...but we discovered La Chope d'Or; 32 Quai du Port. A creperie, bar, glacier, restaurant. On our first visit, we had artisanal glaces-- magnificent ice cream coupe with sauces, fruit, cream. We returned for a meal with 6 others, and everyone loved what they ordered (mussels, salads). My husband and I each enjoyed the BEST salad Nicoise in recent history here! Lively ambience, very reasonable prices, delicious food. And when the improvement "travaux" are finished, it will be a delightful discovery!
Suzanne Thompson in Portland, OR USA 07/13/2012
Aix-en-Provence recommended Restaurant "Chez Charlotte". This was recommended in the Provence guidebook and I wanted to make a comment about our experience there. The restaurant was quite good with the owner attending to the customers. Unfortunately, at the end of the meal when we tried to get our bill, the owner said ok, but he would never bring the bill. After a very long wait, we went to him and he hunched over a calculator acting confused and presented with a calculator showing a bill inflated by 30 to 40%. It was only later when we reconstructed the bill that we realized what had happened. He apparently does this with tourists he knows he'll never see again. We never did see a bill, and I think this was on purpose. It spoiled what had been a delightful evening meal. Perhaps a warning is in order for people going to this restaurant to demand a bill.
Gerald Raine in Redmond, WA USA 06/05/2012
Yes, LOVED "Imagine Tours" in the Provence area of France.
Donna Kleinman in Redondo Beach, CA USA 05/31/2012
Please correct our comment (below) which was posted incorrectly on your web site:
We just returned from a wonderful 14 day tour of Provence and the French Riviera. Couldn't have done it without Rick's expert guidance. While in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue we wanted to do some bike riding. Rick's recommended rental shop was permanently closed but we found VÃ©lo Services at 3 Rue Docteur Tallet, run by David Bollack to be very accommodating. We rented two 3-speed bikes from him and set off on the circuit ride including Lagnes and Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. As we neared Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, we began to see signs for Kayaks Verts. Curious, we detoured to check them out. The very friendly owner, Michel offered to transport our bikes in his van if we wanted to take the canoe trip down the Sorgue river to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. They offer watertight screw lid containers to keep your valuables totally dry. Before departing downriver we had a wonderful lunch at his restaurant. David and Michel allowed us to maximize our time and see much more of the beautiful countryside than we had ever expected.
Bill and Rosemary in Springfield, VA USA 05/13/2012
VÃ©lo Services at 3 Rue Docteur Tallet, should be changed to: Velo Services at 3 Rue Docteur Tallet.
Bill and Rosemary in Springfield, VA USA 05/16/2012
We just returned from a wonderful 14 day tour of Provence and the French Riviera. Couldn't have done it without Rick's expert guidance. While in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue we wanted to do some bike riding. Rick's recommended rental shop was permanently closed but we found Vélo Services at 3 Rue Docteur Tallet, run by David Bollack to be very accommodating. We rented two 3-speed bikes from him and set off on the circuit ride including Lagnes and Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. As we neared Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, we began to see signs for Kayaks Verts. Curious, we detoured to check them out. The very friendly owner, Michel offered to transport our bikes in his van if we wanted to take the canoe trip down the Sorgue river to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. They offer watertight screw lid containers to keep your valuables totally dry. Before departing downriver we had a wonderful lunch at his restaurant. David and Michel allowed us to maximize our time and see much more of the beautiful countryside than we had ever expected.
Bill and Rosemary in Springfield, VA USA 05/13/2012
Aix en Provence good restaurant...
nick in venice, italy 04/15/2012
We took the TGV from Aix to Avignon, as suggested in the guidebook. Locals advised that the bus would be quicker, given the distances from towns to TGV stations, particularly in Aix. I think the locals are probably correct.
Jean M Southworth in SALEM, OR USA 04/13/2012
First, a note, French restaurants open at 7pm and close at 10pm (at least in November) -- plan accordingly.
Don't be afraid of the toll expressways -- they don't cost that much, and are a much more efficient way to travel longer distances.
A great "tea house" near Place Pie in Avignon: Le Gritz Salon de the Gourmand 23 rue Bonneterie passage Bernheim-Lyon 84000 Avignon Tel: 04 88 61 060 28
A nice Boulangerie, in the main square of Beaumes de Venise: Boulangerie Duperon Plenty of parking across the roundabout, by the police station. There is also a local arts/crafts shop nearby on the main road.
Eric in Dixon, CA USA 12/03/2011
Imagine Tours of Avignon My husband and I vacationed in France in the Summer of 2010. While touring south of the country we took a guided tour offered by Imagine Tours based in Avignon. The day before the tour Mr. David Price (an Occitania aficionado from Texas) of Imagine Tours spent the evening with us in a tiny café in a town across the river from Avignon. Like a sincere teacher he explained the history and culture of Occitaine region to help us get oriented to the tour. We were very impressed by his passion, knowledge and energy.
The following morning our tour started from our hotel in Avignon in a sedan. Our guide was an elegant Scottish lady, Evelyn Matheson. Within a few minutes Evelyn became a good friend (language definitely helped as we do not speak any French). She was not only nice and friendly, she was extremely knowledgeable. The trip was a fest for our eyes. Evelyn stopped at every lush and well-groomed lavender and sunflower fields so that we can take snaps. We visited quite a few tiny and very pretty hilltop towns and also got to see grand panoramas of the land. She went out of her way to help us during and even after our trip. Our trip ended in a tiny and very “Red” hilltop town of Roussillon.
Sampa Santra in Brookline, MA USA 07/27/2011
Sampa Santra in Brookline, MA USA 07/27/2011
Restaraunt- Le Grand Balcon in Nice- with a delightful tour guide named Pascale Tucker
grant c. stebbins in great falls, mt USA 07/25/2011
Yep! WinesinProvence.com We used them for Wine Tasting in Provence. I loved it! The ladies were very knowledgeable about the wines and area. They prepared a wonderful French picnic for us with wines and cheeses. This surprise was after visiting the vineyard and wine tasting there. Magnificent!
Lourdes in Miami, FL USA 06/25/2011
The Cotes du Rhone Wine Road: This self-guided driving tour with all of its deviations was wonderful! We especially liked the Hotel les Florets for lunch and the English-language tour at the Domaine de Mourchon. We were surprised by the impressive chateaux in Grignan (p. 185).
Robin in Menlo Park, CA USA 06/17/2011
We just returned from France and spent three days in Provence. We stayed just outside Les Baux at La Cabro d'Or which was expensive but spectacular. On a Friday, we took a tour through the Luberon villages using the guide. We started in Lourmarin which has a small but very selective market with excellent products. We then drove to Bonnieux, which as Rick suggests looks gorgeous from a distance but is rather limited in interest. We drove to Lacoste and ate lunch at the Restaurant de France which was good and had a spectacular view across the valley of Bonnieux. From there we drove to Roussillon which we loved. A beautiful town with good shops and wonderful views of the cliffs and valley.
Neil Phillips in Cherry Hill, NJ USA 06/06/2011
It would be helpful when talking about electronics if you told people to ensure they buy an adapter that accepts three prong plugs (as many computers require.) Also, they should check that ALL of the plugs for their electronics fit in the adapter. I had an adapterwith a flange that prevented both my razor from fitting and my camera battery recharger from fitting. I has to borrow pliers to break off the flange on the adapter.
Bill Jensen in Toronto, ON Canada 05/29/2011
Rick, Your guides are excellent, however, I suggest you replace the not easy to read black and white maps with color ones ! I am willing to pay more ! - Regarding accommodations in Nice: remove Hotel de la Mer. Instead, include Hotel Albert 1er. " www.hotelalbert-1er.com/ ". It is located almost on the Seafront, and some of the top rooms (4th, 5th, 6th floor) offer view towards the sea and Promenade des Anglais ! Much cheaper than Le Negresco (the doorman only let me in when I told him I was born in the same country as Henri Negresco, the one who built it). La Place Massena is just 1 min away, and bus 98 from the airport stops in front of the hotel. Needs a face-lift, but the rooms were clean, with bath tube and shower, and a small fridge was available. Good daily service, just avoid the 12EUR breakfast. - Regarding transportation: Since La Gare Routiere in Nice is not operational anymore, it may be useful to show how to reach buses 82 to Eze-le-Village and 116 to La Turbie - take the Tram till stop ("arret") Vauban, where one finds buses 82 and 116; - Timetables for TAM (Transport des Alpes- Maritimes) are hard to find (both the TIs and ticket offices of Nice's Lignes d'Azur did not help), therefore it is very useful to download the PDFs with the timetables from " www.cg06.fr/fr/servir-les-habitants/deplacements/transport-collectifs/lignes-et-horaires/lignes-et-horaires/ ". - While it is true that many speak English, I found out that one gets more, better, and faster what one wishes, if one speaks French (I do). - The SNCF-TER train is faster and useful (runs longer into the evening), but the stations are unmanned after 9pm, therefore one has to use the automatic vending machines - have lots of coins ready,since American credit cards without chip ("puce") are not accepted.
Emil Marcus in Aberdeen, NJ USA 05/03/2011
For the Arles listing of restaurants, you might consider Le Cilantro
31 Rue Porte de Laure 13200 Arles, France 04 90 18 25 05
The local folks thought that was a very good restaurant. We were there on the evening of 3/25 and had an enjoyable evening with good service and interesting food. Only 3 tables that evening and we were somewhat surprised that there weren't more guests, but that meant we had more attentive service.
In Nice, there is another open air market on the north end of Jean Medicin, just north of the tracks. This is clearly more geared toward local consumers, but is easy to get around and within walking distance of the hotels close to the train station. There is a short, strenuous hike to the peaks of the Dentelles de Montmirail starting from the Col du Cayron trailhead. The road from the Hotel les Forets isn't very far, but there are a lot of potholes.
Warren Lo in Columbus, OH USA 04/03/2011
"The Tastes of Provence" tour (tastesofprovence.ccom) (email firstname.lastname@example.org) was excellent. A great half-day in Aix-en-Provence with a wonderful guide, Jennifer Dugdale, who shares history, lifestyle information, best places to find excellent foods, visits to markets, bakeries, coffee roasters, cheese merchants, patisseries, etc.
Toby Citrin in Ann Arbor, MI USA 04/03/2011