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Advice for south of .france

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We are a family of 5 (3 boys, 11-20) travelling to France and Italy in late June/early July. We will be flying into Marseilles to meet our 17 year old who will be finishing a trip to Avignon with his HS French class. We are currently booked to stay in Mercure hotel next to palais des papes in Avignon for 2 nights and then 1 night at Fairmont in Monte Carlo (free rooms/points). Our general plan is to drive from MRS to Avignon day we arrive by mid afternoon and either see palais or pont du gard that afternoon. Whichever we don't see that pm we will visit next am. Then thought about a pm trip to Les Baux and drive back through towns nearby. The course camarguisie is in different towns those nights as well. We then would drive on the 3rd day thru St. Paul de vence/nice and stay in Monte Carlo that night. I've heard that Avignon is a little depressed (although we thought it would be easier to stay there as we need to pick our son up from there the 2nd day). Are there better town to stay in nearby (Aix? St remy?) or is Avignon ok for 2 nights? Is this itinerary too aggressive? Are there must sees with boys in these areas (pont du gard/les Baux seem to be most recommended). Also, does anyone know if the rental car we have can be driven into Italy? We are renting through Hertz and they say it can be ( we are dropping off in Italy). Thanks

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