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4 days in Provence

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Three of us including teenager will be in France for 9 days in August. We would like to spend 4 of those days getting a flavor for the Provence and Cote d Azur areas. Here are my questions:

1. Taking the TGV and basing ourselves in a comfortable hotel that allows 3 people in a room in Provence - should our base be Avignon or Aix-en-Provence or some other city? Any suggestions about a 3.5-4.0 star hotel will be appreciated.

2. Thinking of doing day trips from Provence base to Nice and Cannes and Monte Carlo - is it better to drive or take bus tours (are those even available ?)?

3. Leave Cote d Azur for another time and explore Provence area instead. If yes what would you recommend as the "must see" sites in the 4 days?

We are interested in the usual things - villages, dining, landmarks, - not so much shopping.

Thanks in advance.

Dante

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