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South of France Itinerary Options

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A few years ago we spent about 10 days in Provence. Mostly Avignon with day trips.

One of the day trips was to Montpellier where we spent only a few hours. Upon leaving the train station we immediately were taken with the city and decided we could easily come back and use it as a base for a couple of days and a couple of day trips.

Our intention is to use AA air miles. The closest airport for AA (Iberia) is Toulouse.

So the first choice itinerary would to arrive in Toulouse, spend 2 days there plus day trips to Albi and Carcassonne. Then move to Montpellier for 2 days with 2 additional days for day trips (undecided where). The trip would end with 2-3 days in Paris (we've been to Paris 4 times over the years the last being 2012).

Anticipating AA being difficult for using air miles at the minimum (30k per person each way), I would like to have some backup destinations.

One possibility is landing in Marseille. However, on our trip to Provence we spent a day and a half in Aix-en-Provence before moving to Avignon where we visited, Montpellier, Pont du Gard & Uzes, Arles, St Remi, Isle sur la Sorge, Roussillon, Gordes & Les Baux.

While we would enjoy a day or so in Aix, I'm not sure what day trips would be of interest given what we saw on our previous trip to Provence.

Another possibility would be arriving in Lyon. I spent a week in Lyon at a conference many years ago. I don't remember much about the city and definitely didn't visit any of the surroundings.

One last thing. We absolutely, do not rent a car and try to do most of our travel by train although in recent years my wife has been able to do a couple of the tamer bus trips.

We would like to restrict travel on day trips to not much more (if that long) than a hour.

To summarize, we're looking for day trips from Aix that we didn't visit on our last trip or from Lyon.

Thanks in advance.

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