May 2012 .... Avignon / Lyon / St Bonnet Le Froid
We're starting a trip in mid May. First night was planned to be at Michel Trama's L'Aubergarde, south of Toulouse. That got off to a bad start, as their refund policy on cancelling a room in excess of 3 weeks notice was very unacceptable.
So we opted for our first night at Relais Royale at Mirepoix.
Then we are meeting friends at Montpelier & we'll be heading towards Avignon or Lyon for about 3 or 4 nights. We're not sure whether to stay in Avignon, head a little more into rural Provence or go to Lyon.
Our last night has been booked at Jacques Marcon at St Bonnet Le Froid.
All feedback is gratefully appreciated.
We stayed at the Relais Royal last August and found it to be quite charming. We had dinner in their lovely courtyard and found it good (not great) - but good enough to warrant "eating home". Haven't been to Domaine d'Auriac in many years, but remember having an excellent meal (& Michelin seems to think it's worth a star) - so that's an option if you don't mind driving. As for the Avignon etc part of your inquiry, I'd recommend staying in a smaller town where you can easily get in & out....to go sightseeing or have a great dinner (Avignon parking & traffic is tolerable for an afternoon visit, but a hassle as a base of operation...IMO). That would mean villages such as St Rémy, Lourmarin or Bonnieux, near which there are any number of restaurants recommended by CHers in other threads.
I agree re Avignon.
It is a pleasant town conveniently reachable by main train lines. But that's about it.
If you have a car, you need not to be tied to it.
If you like larger towns, there are beauties like Arles (great eats), St Rémy, Uzès, Nîmes. Or, better, as Boredough suggests, enchanting villages like Bonnieux, Lourmarin, and also Cucuron, Saint Saturnin les Apt, etc.