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An overnight spot between Chinon & St Remy?

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Hello - we will be driving after 2 nights in Chinon, heading ultimately to St Remy de Provence for 3 nights,on a Tuesday in late September. We are all "of an age", and don't care for the very long day that drive would be (google directions says 7 hours) - besides which, there should be someplace lovely to visit along the way!
We'd like to divide the time roughly in half, so the area around/in Lyon attracted me. In researching this part of our 3 week trip, I've seen several notes about the dreadful, time-consuming traffic in and around Lyon. I had thought originally to stay in St Etienne, west of Lyon, but haven't found a spot that looks that great. Can anyone help with a spot you know, or explain the traffic issues a bit better to me? Needn't be Lyon area if anyone can help with another idea.
Thanks!

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