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Provence/South of France

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My husband and I are planning a first trip to south of France-- we've been to Paris, so we will not include it.

We would travel for approximately 2 weeks, during which time we'd like to find 3-5 (or more, if necessary) --places to stay, from which we could also do day trips. We plan to rent a car (or buy back option) and will go mid-late August.

I have read a lot about the south a France and the more I read the more confused I get about where to stay. Some thoughts, in random order:

Nice
Avignon
Cassis
Arles
Montpellier
Aix-en-Provence

Ideally, we would fly into Nice, as it is very reasonable from Montreal (where we live) and from Nice make our way and see as much as possible.

Any suggestions for an itinerary would be helpful. Since we love to travel and may not get back to the region for a long time, it would be great to have a 'best of' experience, however, we do not necessarily have to stay in the largest or most populated/tourist places.

Thank you

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