Planning Your Time

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Planning Your Time

The rugged, unpredictable charm of Provence catches the imagination and requires long, thoughtful savoring—like a fine wine over a delicious meal. Come here in any season except November or January, when most of the hotels close and all of Provence seems to be on holiday. The area's best in late spring, summer, or early fall, when the temperature rises and you can eat outdoors after sunset. The best place to start your trip is in Avignon. It's on a fast train link from Paris, but even if you arrive in record time, it's at exactly this moment that you need to slow down. As you step off the train and are confronted with all that magnificent architecture and art, breathe deeply. Provence is about lazy afternoons and spending "just one more day," and Avignon is a good place to have a practice run: it's cosmopolitan enough to keep the most energetic visitor occupied, while old and wise enough to teach the value of time.

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