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South of France - a big place... looking for advice!

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Hi everyone. I am going to be traveling with my girlfriend to the south of France for a few short days - arriving September 24th and leaving the 28th and am looking for some assistance. As you all know, the south is a big place and I'm a bit overwhelmed by all of the options! We have been debating on staying in Aix en Provence - taking day trips to Cassis, Avingon, etc - or traveling to Nice and exploring from there. We are not adverse to renting a car if it's the best option for getting around, but I also hear public transportation is excellent.

Our issue is finding the place a location that suits what we are looking for. Ideally we are looking for a beach setting that is relaxing (but not too small!), full of great food, accessible, and without the ritz, glamour and exorbitant prices (something we hear which is common in Nice). We will be heading to Paris afterwards, so we are looking to do our relaxation first :). If any of you have recommendations on where we should head using this criteria, it would be most appreciated.

Thanks all!

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