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Aix-en-Provence to Paris

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Aug 22nd, 2014, 10:25 AM
  #1
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Aix-en-Provence to Paris

My husband and I will be traveling from Aix-en-Provence to Paris and would like to spend a weekend somewhere in between. Does anyone know of any interesting towns to visit between these two destinations that are easily accessible by train?
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 10:36 AM
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Lyon if you want a city and food is a major interest.
Perouges if you would like to stay in one of France's prettiest little towns.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 11:14 AM
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Pérouges is not worth a weekend. When we were there, we drove through Maximien which was hopping. I was afraid that Pérouges would present problems in finding a room. The town was empty. It can be seen in a couple of hours.

I would stick to easily accessible towns along the train route: Lyon, Beaune, Dijon.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 12:08 PM
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Lyon would be my choice. Lots of things to do and see, and great food and wine.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 12:19 PM
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Avignon is very close to Aix but it is most definitely worth a visit.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 12:51 PM
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Yes the Avignon area is the heart of tourist Provence for good reason - Avignon is an old town reeking of history and old-world ambiance - the Palace of the Popes being one of the most monumental edifices in southern France.

In a short area and accessible by public transit are a raft of great places - the Pont du Gard - Roman aqueduct still bridging a river not far from Avignon

Arles - another neat old town - Van Gogh worked a lot here and copies of his paintings have been put up right smack where he executed them.

Les Beaux-de-Provence - the famous Dead City - a ruined medieval fortified city topping a high plateau (this one has sporadic bus service however so plan carefully

St-Remy-de-Provence - near Les Baux and a neat old town with in it the asylum where Van Gogh interred himself after slicing off his ear in Arles - again he did many canvasses here and copies are set up where he did them.

and many more

Avignon is but 2.5 hours or so by train from Paris. Be sure to book discounted tickets way in advance at www.voyages-sncf.com or www.caitainetrain.com (same trains same fares easier for many to get to work unlike the official SNCF site) - TGV duplexes run the route - get a seat on the upper level and have neat views of Burgundian countryside - sit in the lower level and you'll see very little - mainly wind blocks and walls.

For lots of great stuff on French trains check these IMO superb sources: www.seat61.com - good info on discounted tickets; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. You are not traveling enough to merit looking at any railpass.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 01:55 PM
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If going to Avignon by train you will get a TGV to the Avignon-TGV station a few miles out of the town center - there are shuttle buses that meet trains to take you into the city center.

The Avignon-Ville station (I believe it is called that but not sure) is the old train station in the town center but only has regional trains and there is no direct regional train line between Aiz and Avignon I think so the TGV is the only option - again booking really early can save a lot of moolah.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 03:27 PM
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I think Lyon is a good choice. I'd do Avignon if you have missed it somehow during the trip. Otherwise, Dijon is an excellent option, also. There are some TGVs direct between Aix and Dijon, only takes 3:15 hours.

Both Lyon or Dijon would be great if you want something other than the Provence area.
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 09:46 AM
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I would take Lyon over Dijon thought the latter is a nice enough town but Lyon is so so fantastic - like Paris has its ownunique flavor and atmosphere - lovingly bordered by two converging rivers. Many French regional cities like Dijon on Sundays are rather void of people and seem dead - mandatory store closings create this somnolent effect but Lyon is different a bit - stores are still closed but much livelier on Sundays IME than many.

If the Dijon area you may want to stop in Beaune, a city known as the Burgundy wine capital and a nice old town in its own right - I'd prefer it as a base over Dijon or any huge city anytime.

But if you have not been to Provence
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 10:00 AM
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PalenQ, the Avignon shuttle bus is a thing of the past. They have reopened an old train line now to link Avignon-TGV to Avignon-Centre. The new train shuttle awaits all of the TGVs arriving from either direction, but it runs at least every 30 minutes no matter what.
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 10:03 AM
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kerouac - thanks for that update - which someone told me about here not long ago but old brains sometimes do not process or remember everything - i suppose they call the shuttle trains "navettes" like the do in Orleans and Tours connections to in-town stations from mainline stations out of the town center.
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 10:05 AM
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kerouac - thanks for that update - which someone told me about here not long ago but old brains sometimes do not process or remember everything - i suppose they call the shuttle trains "navettes" like the do in Orleans and Tours connections to in-town stations from mainline stations out of the town center.
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 10:44 AM
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Thank you all for your wonderful information. We have been to Lyon so have seen all of the major sites. I think we will look for a wine tour in either Lyon or Dijon for Saturday and spend Sunday traveling to Paris.
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Aug 26th, 2014, 10:14 AM
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Not sure Dijon has wine tours but perhaps mustard tours - the city of Dijon Mustard - for proper wine tours thru ornate wine houses head for Beaune, about 30 minutes or so from Dijon by train and easy to get to by train from Lyon. This is the Burgundy wine capital not Dijon.
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Aug 26th, 2014, 10:23 AM
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Of course they have wine tours, this is major wine country. They won't be tours within Dijon itself, but I can't imagine the OP expects a wine tour in the middle of a city, assuming wine tour means going to vineyards. The tourist office has various options with some local day trip companies in Dijon for that.
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