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Bruges good base for day trips to war sites?

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Planning for summer 2012 has begun. I've always wanted to visit Bruges, so I'm thinking we make it our base camp for a week in an apt. In addition to the Bruges sites, we really want to see other options like Gent, WWI & WWII battles sites. Would Bruges be a good base camp? Will it be necessary to have a car for these day trips or are there good tour options for battle sites or readily available trains available from Bruges?

After that week, we want to head down to Provence. What is easier and/or more cost effective -- flight from Brussels to Marseilles or train into Paris and then TGV into Avignon?

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