avignon, 7 days no car, is it feasible?

Old Mar 25th, 2008, 05:54 PM
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avignon, 7 days no car, is it feasible?

We will be staying one week in provence with another couple and going to Nice for another week. None of us really want to drive. Our friend is a camera buff and wants to take pictures and my husband would prefer to people watch, sip wine, coffee and do la dolce vita in france. Can we do this without a car if we base ourselved in avignon. Where is a better area in avignon, with easy access to the buses and train. What would be your ideal 7 day itinerary without a car. Thanks so much for your help.
meesa is offline  
Old Mar 25th, 2008, 06:25 PM
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I stayed there for over two weeks. took buses and trains.The buses are right by the train station.
cigalechanta is offline  
Old Mar 25th, 2008, 06:57 PM
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I find driving very stressful even at home in the US! So although I lose some flexibility by seldom renting a car, it works for me. With careful planning (that is the caveat) I went all over by bus and train last summer, both in the area around Avignon and later outside Nice.

I started planning using the Rick Steves day-by-day itinerary although your must- sees might vary, as did mine- but it was very useful for sketching out the week.

I opted for Arles over Avignon as a base. When will you be there? In July Avignon was hopping with the energy of the theater festival...even with that, for me personally two days was more than plenty.

Isle sur la Sorgue could consume a day and is easy by train- I planned my week around its Thursday market. The saunter along the river was delightful and ends at a restaurant...we had to use a car to get to Fontaine au Vaucluse (sp? I don't have my notes); long story, but it is spectacular and would be a lovely end to the day.

I thought Arles to be a little more convenient for the train. Its buses are also right in front of the station. The bus station next to the train station in Avignon is underground and stinky. (Just my opinion!)Some of this will depend on the day trips you anticipate, too.

We toured the Camargue (tour from Arles)as well as St. Remy and Les Baux (via bus). Sitting in one or more of the squares in Arles would make everyone in your group happy! Another day I used a tour service for a full day drive through Sault for the lavender- this was out of Avignon.

Keep in mind that the TGV station in Avignon is in the suburbs 15-20 minutes away from the "walled" city- the local train station is just outside the "walls".

Last thought- if you are not shoppers you might prefer Arles. If you are big shoppers there is definitely more, lots more, in Avignon. Transportation-wise they are probably about the same...
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Old Mar 26th, 2008, 01:03 AM
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I think the others already gave you some good examples that you can see a lot in Provence even without a car.

Yet, I would say that it is somewhat harder to explore the "rural Provence" without a car. Places like Mt Ventoux, Sault, Haute-Provence, the gorges, etc. might be harder to explore.

But if you are more interested in the towns and cities, you will find a lot to do by train and bus.
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Old Mar 26th, 2008, 03:33 AM
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Nimes is a good options as well
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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 05:25 AM
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I personally preferred Avignon over Arles. We were in Arles on a Monday and nothing...I mean nothing was open.

There are good connections by bus and train from Avignon to the surrounding area. Some of the trains continue on to Avignon centre. As well, there are bus connections from the TGV station to Avignon centre.

There are lots of possbile day trips from there. Nimes, Orange, St. Remy, Les Baux, Arles, Isle sur la Sorgue just to name a few.
crazyfortravel is offline  
Old Mar 27th, 2008, 05:54 AM
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Driving is so easy, and lots more fun than stressing over arranging this and that on someone else's schedule.
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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 07:21 AM
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Hi meesa -

I personally preferred Arles over Avignon, Nimes over Arles, and Aix over the other three. Except for the Pope's Palace, I could have skipped Avignon altogether. That said, Avignon is the most conveniently located. You'd be about an hour from Nimes, Orange, Aix, Arles.

I'm not sure how you would get to the Pont du Gard or Les Baux without a car, but maybe your hotel can arrange something for you.

I think you should rent a car for a day and drive through the Luberon. There is no other practical way to see Roussillon, Menerbes, Senanque, Lacoste, etc. The driving was stress-free in this beautiful, very photogenic area.

On your way to Nice, I would stop in Aix for an afternoon and overnight. Very special.

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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 08:36 AM
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I would stay in Avignon myself, if I wanted to be without a car as I think it has the best transportation options -- and I have done that, in fact. Everyone doesn't even have a car, nor want to drive one on vacation.

I agree that car rental can be a big nuisance, expensive, and stressful. I do not agree that driving in a foreign country, at least not France, is less stressful than merely taking trains or buses. It's a big pain a lot of the time if you need to be in a city, or try to find the place to drop off a car (train station or airport) or even to find parking in some of these towns that have pedestrian-only sections.

As long as you are happy visiting places that have a train station, it's no problem at all.

I'm not crazy about Arles myself, would much rather stay in Avignon, and I think there are a lot better train and bus connections in Avignon, also, at least if you want to do things east of the Rhone and/or Durance rives.
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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 01:31 PM
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My husband and I did a similar trip in Avignon for 6 days (after spending about 4 days in Paris) without a car in '05. It was very convenient. We took the TGV from Paris, and took a taxi from there to our B&B in Avignon. From Avignon, we used the train for some day trips, and took 1 or 2 van tours to areas that weren't easily accessible by bus or train. The van tours were easy to arrange at the tourism office, and relatively inexpensive. The tourism office, train, and van tour pick-up locations were all within walking distance of the B&B. We managed to see Arles, Nimes, Villeneuve-les-Avignon, and some other destinations during that time, in addition to exploring Avignon itself. There were several van tour options for Pont Du Gard, although we didn't take one.
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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 04:37 AM
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We used Avignon as a center and drove out to various day trips with no problems--except Aix. Also don't care for it. But we could go to all the towns to the east one day, the west another day, and south another. Just a leisurely day, have lunch, etc. I agree that arranging a rental in a large city can be daunting, but Avignon is dead easy.
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