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Provence Hotel ....best city for home base

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I am trying to begin planning a trip to Provence and a looking for suggestion on a home base city and hotel in that city. I have heard St. Remy is the best - We would have a car and do day trips - hopefully not more that 3 hours or so driving each day so that we would have time in the city. Looking to visit Avignon and other cities in the area. Would also love to see lavender fields. Will probably stay for 7 or so days before taking the train back to Paris... We plan to rent an apartment in Paris for a month. Looking to go either mid-May or early June. Suggestion on the time of year welcome too.

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    Time of year - very late June or July for Lavender.

    Best location - people will have different opinions.

    I'm not crazy about St Remy - but it has many things "first-timer" Americans like - lot of other Americans so English is spoken, good central location, cute shops tourists like, lots of restaurants for every "category" of eater, easy access in & out. However, St Remy is small - so you won't spend too much time "seeing it". The first time we stayed in Provence, we spent 2 weeks in the Luberon near Gordes, then 2 weeks near St Remy. Then on a return trip we spent 2 weeks near Vaison. Then 2 weeks back in the Luberon and 2 weeks near Uzes. Then 2 weeks in Bedoin, 4 weeks in Bedoin, then 2 weeks in Bedoin, then 2 weeks in the Luberon. Note that we did not return to St Remy - too crowded & touristy, IMO.

    For first-timers spending more than 6 days in Provence, I recommend splitting your time between the Luberon & St Remy.

    If you only want to stay in one place, stay in St Remy if you want to be around other tourists (especially Americans) and want to walk to dinner, shops, cafes, etc. If you prefer a little more quiet & countryside - stay in the Luberon near Gordes, Menerbes, Roussillon, Bonnieux.

    Also - others may recommend staying in Aix or Lourmarin. We loves these two places, but IMO they are a little too far away from the sites most tourists want to visit.

    Things to do & see...
    What keeps us returning to Provence is the pretty countryside & small/remote villages - not the big cities (although we like them too).

    Stu Dudley

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    We spent three days in St.-Rémy in a chambre d'hôte, then, after a week in Languedoc, we returned to St.-Rémy where we spent a week in an apartment a few minutes northeast of the center of town. I kind of agree with Stu Dudley about the town, but we found it to be an ideal location for daytripping around Provence. From there we visited Avignon, Uzès, Pont du Gard, Arles, the Alpilles, Aix-en-Provence, Cassis, Gordes, Roussillon, Vaison-la-Romaine, the wine villages around the Dentelles de Montmirail, l'Isle sur la Sorgue, Fontaine de Vaucluse, and even the Gorge de l'Ardèche. I recommend basing there if you'd like to be able to drive easily to many areas of interest.

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