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To Paris and Provence in June

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My wife and I are in the early stages of planning a trip to France in July of 2014. We have read many of the posts and trip reports and have lots of notes and ideas. Would appreciate comments and suggestions before going any further.
We want to keep a budget below $7000 Canadian, but $8000 as a max. Our flights will eat up about $3000 of that. Hope to travel for between 2 and 3 weeks. We are somewhat flexible in our itinerary but were thinking about some time in Paris,,,say up to a week, and another week in Provence. We speak very little French and are 50+.

Here are our thoughts so far:

Fly into Paris. Rent an apartment somewhere in the central area 4 5 or-6, for under $200 per night. Explore Paris by foot and public transport. Stay for 5 to 7 days.

Take train south to Provence rent an apartment and explore the area from there.

Train back to Paris and flight back to Canada.

We will probably have lots of questions later on places to visit and things to do but for now we would appreciate any comments on the above as well as the following:

Advice on renting an apartment would be welcome. We were looking at AIRBNB, but are a little nervous after reading some of the posts. Also looked at VRBO, vacationinparis and Paris best lodge. It is a bit overwhelming with so many choices. Any suggestions on apartment hunting would be great. Perhaps if I could narrow down an area to stay and decide on one rental agency would help.

Where to set up base in Provence? We were thinking Avignon or Aix en Provence since both seem easy to get to from Paris. Again we are flexible, but easy access by public transport is important. The biggest stressors for me will be getting from the airport to the apartment…from the apartment to the train…from the train to the second apartment and then the return.

While in Provence we would like to explore the surrounding area and experience the culture and history; again public transport will be important, and perhaps availability of local tours.

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