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Where to base in Provence with husband and mom?

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Hi everyone. My husband and I returned from Portugal on Friday which means I need to start planning next year's trip. Either that or I need to find a support group for lost souls with no purpose in life if they aren't planning a vacation.

Here's the plan. My husband suggested that our next trip be to France and that we take my mother. (Yes, ladies--he is a saint.). We seem to be zeroing in on Provence but need suggestions where we should base ourselves. My husband and I have rented apartments elsewhere in Europe and have found it fairly simple to find rentals that meet our requirements. However, renting a place that will make the three of us happy is proving to be a little more difficult given our criteria. I have found some possible rentals in Aix en Provence and Avignon but wonder whether these cities are really the best places to base ourselves. However, I recognize that there is probably a direct correlation between size of city and large inventory of rentals.

Here is the base that we are looking for:
-Ability for Mom to walk out the door and there is an immediate feel that she is in France. (She's an experienced traveler and has been to France a number of times. France is one of her favorite destinations.)
-She can't walk miles so it would be nice for her if she could walk to nearby shops, go to a café etc. (No country villas for us.)
-We will have a car so we would like it to be based somewhere where there are interesting day trips within 60-90 minutes drive.
--It would be nice to have some restaurants within walking or taxi distance so my husband, who will be doing the driving, can enjoy his wine with dinner.
-Fairly easy in and out of town.

At this point, I am not asking for rental suggestions but thought I'd let you know what we are looking for in case you have a suggestion for us:

Our rental criteria:
-2 bedrooms
-2 wc's
-2 tubs or showers
-1 flight of stairs only
-available parking
-no more that $300 per night (hopefully)

Travel time will be May/June or September/October.

I know it seems backwards to pick the base without knowing what we want to do while there, but I'm confident that I can come up with a good and interesting itinerary given almost any base (with your help of course). This just happens to be an instance where I think the right accommodations will be an integral factor in how much we enjoy our trip together.

Thanks in advance!


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thosedeas for a place to base ourselves. (We will have a car and intend to take day trips.) The plan is to rent an apartment/house and the key is find a place that will work for all of us and I'm finding that it is much more difficult to find a satisfactory rental to meet our criteria than it is with

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