One of the smallest departments in France, the 2,200 – square – mile Vaucluse lies some 65 kms north of Marseille and 280 kilometers northwest of Nice. The main city is Avignon, and among the largest towns are Orange, Vaison -la-Romaine, Carpentras, Cavaillon and Apt. The Rhone River forms the department’s western boundary, the Durance River is southern. The beautiful Luberon covered extensively in the Vaucluse essay, lies 50 kms east of Avignon. The wine country of Gigondas and Chateauneuf-du-pape is in the northwest corner of the department, between Carpentras and Orange. Mount Ventoux is the most prominent geographical feature located in the north, the highest peak is at ( 6,233 feet) between the Alps and the Pyrenees.
How to get there.
The best way would be to reach the Vaucluse would be to fly to Paris-Charles de Gaulle, and then take the Air France navette ( shuttle) to Marseille, where you can rent a car . Or from Charles-de-Gaulle take the TGV to Avignon , I believe a three hours train ride. There are about eight or more Air France shuttle flights on week days and maybe seven on weekends or maybe more. Flying will take you 75 minutes, a little bit over an hour. If you plan on staying in
La Fountaine de Vaucluse
Abbaye de Senanque
the easiest way to book a flight is at Orly airport, which is much closer to the city center. There are about more or less 26 flights on weekdays and about 16 on Saturday and 20 on Sunday.
Charles-de-Gaulle international airport is served by Air France, Delta, United, American, Continental from various getaways.
Be careful about making connections from international to domestic flights on Air France at Charles de Gaulle, give yourself a 2 to 3 hours before flying domestic. It is important to remember because you don’t want to miss your connection, have a coffee and read the newspaper because you do not want to be stressed out trying to reach your connection flight.
You can also fly from Paris to Avignon, but only from Orly. There are far fewer flights on this route; three to four on weekdays , maybe one Saturday and two on Sunday ( approximately). But like the TGV you will land on the doorstep of the Vaucluse or right in Avignon.
Another idea is to fly from Paris to Nice. Delta in conjunction with Air France, flies this route nonstop from New York’s JFK. Flying will be approximately eight hours. There is a drawback, the drive from Nice to the Vaucluse takes almost three hours. Again a good way to reach the Vaucluse from Paris by train , take the TGV to Avignon ( 3 hours and 20 minutes) and rent a car at the station.
The Vaucluse basics are:
Telephone numbers. The country code for France is 33, the area code for the Vaucluse is 04. Omit the zero when dialing from abroad.
Best time to visit : April through June, September and October.
Closest major Airports: Avignon, Marseille and Nice.
Airport car rentals: The major companies have offices at all three airports.
Restaurant tipping:Service is included.
Remember that shops frequently close from noon to 3 pm on weekdays and at noon on Saturday.
Further information: Contact the French government tourist office at 212-745-0967