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Lavender fields in Provence

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DD and I are going to Paris from +- 15 July to +- 15 August.

I want to do a trip from Paris to the LAVENDER FIELDS in Provence, perhaps to stay one or two nights in a hotel and then return again to 'our' place.

Having read about a Fodorite who received eight speeding tickets, another person describing traffic jams on small roads in August, and some-one else telling about the intricacies of finding and paying for parking, I have decided not to rent a car. I know this will limit what I can visit / do / see, but to me it feels more restful. It seems that to see the Lavender fields, I will have to go on either a half day or full day trip with a small(ish) group from Avignon. My questions:
Is there any other way of doing this? I am kind of allergic to doing things in packs.
In a perfect world I would like to stay in a pretty small town with nice views and a good restaurant ;) Can you recommend anything like this that also has public transport, or am I totally unrealistic? Any favourite hotels in this area?
I should buy train tickets asap. Do I understand correctly that these tickets are booked for a specific date and time?
Anything else that I should know??
Thanks that I can ask, looking forward to your responses!

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