Avignon, Aix or a town?

Old May 7th, 2008, 11:40 AM
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Avignon, Aix or a town?

We (8 adults) want to spend a week in southern France starting Sept 7. We are thinking of staying in or near Aix or Avignon, using it as a base for day trips. Or would one of the local towns be preferable as a base. We are interested in history as well as scenery; good food is taken for granted. We hope to rent a house. A day trip to the shore would be nice but beach access is not a must. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you
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Old May 7th, 2008, 11:49 AM
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If you really want to be going to the beach, Aix is a lot closer. I think it really depends what you want to do and see. I've stayed in both cities, and in the area just outside both and enjoyed all those stays, but I had reasons for choosing my locations based on where I wanted to concentrate seeing that trip.

I doubt if you'll even find a house to rent actually in Avignon or Aix for 8 adults, so that may well rule that out entirely. Both are cities of around 100K population.

I think Avignon area is more central to what many people want to see and do if they haven't been there before (Pont du Gard, Luberon, St Remy, Arles, Les Baux). But there is plenty to do odwn near Aix (beach, Camargue, as well as Ste Victoire mountain and Abbaye de Silvcane. Of course you can cross the river and go north to Lourmarin, Bonnieux, etc.

Because you will no doubt have a car (two?), I'd suggest you definitely stay outside the main urban areas for easy access and parking. I stayed in Pernes-les-Fontaines once (just north of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue) and really enjoyed being in that small town, and it had good road access -- but I don't think I'd recommend that area for someone interested in going to the beach. It's well located for the Vaucluse and the Luberon.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 12:11 PM
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I would stay in Avignon, or the town across the river (Villaneuve?). Or anywhere but Aix. it is too congested/crowded.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 12:18 PM
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I sugggest St. Remy. Not near the beach, but centrally located for many daytrips. Charming town, many restaurants, and easy to get in and out of. I stayed there for five nights last May and really loved it. I had thought about Aix and Avignon as a base town, but was so glad I chose St Remy when I saw the other places. They do not compare in charm as well as auto accessibility. Have a great trip...wish I was there right now.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 12:21 PM
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I agree with Christina that Avignon is in a better location. If you get out a map of Provence (Michelin 113) and put a red dot on every site you want to visit - Avignon will be in the center of things, and Aix kinda off in a corner.

However, I would not stay in Avignon. There is too much ugly urban sprawl around the old center, and driving through this several times a day is not what I want to experience in Provence.

I would look in the Luberon, near St Remy, north near Vaison, or around Uzes.

We've stayed in houses in various areas in Provence 8 different times for a total of 16 weeks. We always have our place reserved about a year in advance - so you don't have much time - especially for 8 adults that probably need 4 bedrooms & 2-3 baths. Early Sept is a very popular time for visiting provence. Better decide soon or make other plans.

Stu Dudley
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Old May 7th, 2008, 12:53 PM
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If you want a pulse and a little calm also; stay in Aix. You can go easily to Cassis and a hike in the calanques or to Marseille and it's so easy for drives and day trips along the cote d'azur. You can get to Avignon and St. Remy easy enough for more serenity. If you are interested perhaps you could go gliding at the club in St. Remy and get back to Aix for a night of jazz or club or walking by the fountains.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 02:05 PM
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Isle sur la Sorgue is often considered to be a delightful alternative to some of the larger cities of the region.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 02:20 PM
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I would recommend the Avignon/St Remy area. We rented a house in Noves north of SR one year and found the location great for exploring Provence.

If you haven't already done this in your research on Provence you should probably check out posts for StuDudley. As you can tell from his response to you, he has spent a lot of time in this area
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Old May 7th, 2008, 03:05 PM
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Avignon... we stayed her at a Mecure and the parking was inside the hotel and no problem. Visit my web site to see some pictures... emilyandjim.info
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Old May 7th, 2008, 05:48 PM
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A couple of years ago, my husband and I stayed here. It was absolutely magical. This could be an option for you and your friends, if they have 4 rooms available.
I remember they did a dinner on Friday night that was incredible. It was like having our own chef!! Very reasonable dinner as well.

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Old May 7th, 2008, 05:58 PM
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If you want beaches, good food yes,Aix and go from there to the beaches. If you want history, food and warmer people. I suggest Avignon. Most houses for rent say Avignon and elsewhwere are usually outside the town, as on the roaad when you drive, you don't look for the village but the nearest big town.
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