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Provence itinerary help

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Hi Fodorites! Thanks to your posts, I've begun planning my trip to Provence next July with my good friend and travelling companion. We are retirement age women, not terribly active, but not ready for the home yet! We've booked an apartment in Maubec from July 9 - 16. (Why Maubec? Yes, we know it's not the most charming village. We tried about 15 rentals and were disappointed to find that most were rented already!!!! OR else were incredibly expensive. So this is a Mas w/ just one rental unit, an affordable price, surrounded by vineyards, with a view, and a pool! It may not be Apt or Gordes, but I think we'll be fine.) Assume we will fly into Paris and take the TGV to Avignon. That's where I start to get muddled.

Do we stay overnight in Avignon (or two nights... to get rid of jet lag and then have a day to really explore). Pick up a car to head to our rental and then explore Arles from the rental

OR TGV to Avignon and then take the local train to Arles (stay two nights there, pick up a car) and then explore Avignon as a day trip from Maubec. Ah, to have such wonderful problems!

Thanks to all your tips, we have more villages to explore from our rental than we have time. We will be spoiled for choice.

At the end of our trip, we thought we'd go to Aix for a night, then to Cassis for a night (boat tour of Calanques) finally to Marseille for a night before flying home. (Is the road from Cassis to Marseille fun or harrowing?)

For this latter part of our trip-- we have one more night that we could spend somewhere along the road. My friend wants to do two nights in Marseille. I love the idea of looking over the sea from a B&B in Cassis and not rushing w/ the boat tour... or another night in Aix...or is Marseille really worth two nights of our only trip to the area? So much to see, so little time, so little money.

And speaking of money - any recommendations for a room w/ a view of the Vieux Port in Marseilles?

Many thanks in advance for what I know will be a whole bunch of conflicting but oh so enlightening suggestions!

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