Avignon and vicinity

Oct 14th, 2012, 07:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 47
Avignon and vicinity

My wife and I are considering a trip to Avignon next summer. We generally travel for about 3 weeks, want to spend the final two days in France in Paris (TGV to from Parist to Avignon and back), and were wondering if we should make Avignon the center of our travels and do day trips to the countryside, or spend a week in the city and 10 days with a car.

Obviously, this is just the beginning, but last year we received so many remarkable responses here that it seems like a good starting point. Nothing beats the advice of experienced travelers.

Thank you in advance,

Renaud is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 07:57 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Avignon is a good base for train and bus travel. Cars have to be parked outside of the walled city (everyone does it so not a critical issue). I've spent 5 days based there and then 5 days in Nimes and found enough to do. Though Nimes and Arles are relativley close. I might hire a car if you were staying out of Avignon for say half of it so you could drive down to the Camargue etc
bilboburgler is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 08:04 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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We just spent 2 weeks in a spectacular, fully equipped gite run by the nicest couple in the world. The gite is in Saint Saturnin les Apt ( about 10 minutes north of Apt) and it was the best place for doing day trips.

We went to Avignon, St Remy, Gard, and to all of the small villages in The Luberon.


We preferred being in the beautiful countryside rather than in Avignon, which was crowded, hectic and too much city for us. We will do Paris for a city feel, in Provence, you to feel the country.
DebitNM is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 08:29 AM
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I don't think anyone can tell you what to do, it is purely a personal preference as to which one you want (staying in a city and doing day trips or renting a car and staying outside). I like cities and find staying in the countryside rather boring with nothing to do, but partly that is because I have traveled to Provence alone. So I want to go out to some lively cafe on a square at night for dinner and doing things. If you stay in some inn or whatever out in the country, there is nothing to do at night, but if you have company you might not care. And you have to deal with driving in the dark in unfamiliar areas, etc., as well as the costs of a car. I don't want to drive when I have been drinking much at all, and I like wine with dinner, so that is another issue with me when driving alone (in the dark in rural areas).

Having said that, I have enjoyed a few times I stayed in a country inn but I have one I like just outside Pernes-les-Fontaines and I know that area and know where I can eat dinner within a few miles, so I stay there when I do want some more rural driving around experiences.

Aix and Avignon are both cities, but very small ones (around 100K population) and are nothing remotely like Paris which is humongous. So I wouldn't equate staying in Avignon with staying in Paris myself (or any large city).

Avignon is a good base for day trips by bus or car, probably better than Aix.
Christina is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 08:56 AM
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We've spent 18 weeks vacationing in various locations around Provence. Almost all of that time has been spent in Gites (like Deb). We've traveled dozens of times in & out of big cities like Avignon, Aix, Nimes, and Arles (Arles is smaller). We've stayed overnight in Avignon, Aix, and Nimes.

I would not center in Avignon. There is lots & lots of very ugly urban sprawl everywhere around Avignon, except to the west. The sprawl is what you'll experience the first thing when you set out in the morning for your day trips, and also as you return - not the type of "remembrance" of Provence you'll want to "take home" with you.

I would stay in the Luberon like Deb did, or in St Remy if you want a small village atmosphere with lots of shops/restaurants. The Uzes and the Vaison area are also nice bases - but they are a little farther removed.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 09:05 AM
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Will you be in Avignon during the festival? That's most of the month of July. It makes an absolutely huge difference on how you should plan.
kerouac is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 09:31 AM
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I Stayed two weeks in the lovely little village of Villeneuve-lez-Avignon. A short walk and I am in Avignon or Take the short bus or boat ride.
cigalechanta is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 09:34 AM
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I am in no way trying to compare Avignon with Paris. But to me - I don't want to see stores that I can find at home and hassle for parking and such.

It is in the end what YOU like to do; we found doing day trips kept us so busy we were happy to have dinner chez nous or at a small, local restaurant.
DebitNM is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 05:16 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
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I agree with Stu that the getting in and out of Avignon in a car is a hassle. We were very impressed by Villeneuve lez Avignon so that's an option, or maybe St Remy. We based ourselves on the Ile de Barthelasse between Avignon and Villeneuve lez Avignon for a few days. The place we stayed at on the island was very lovely and our children loved having lots of room to run around and climb trees, but it had the disadvantage of needing to drive everywhere even to buy bread. It wouldn't suit people looking for more active village or town life.
Judith_Hunter is offline  
Oct 16th, 2012, 07:18 PM
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We just got back from two weeks in France and we spent six days in Avignon. We used it as a base for day trips and rented a car. I would NOT recommend this. The traffic was horrible. It was so hard to get back into the city and French drivers are fast and aggressive. I would spend enough time in Avignon to see the fabulous Papal palace and then rent a car and skip town. Either book a place in the other places you want to see or maybe try St. Remy which also has a great market on Wed. and seemed less crowded and pretty central. We thought that it would be a hassle to pack up each day but we could have just thrown our suitcase and been off. I would definitely try to find a place in the Luberon instead and stay two days there and enjoy each little gem of a town. I would skip Nimes unless you must see Roman ruins. It's another big city with lots of traffic.
thorspecken is offline  
Oct 16th, 2012, 07:54 PM
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We enjoyed staying in Villeneuve lez Avignon as well as Le Baux and Eygalieres.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Oct 28th, 2012, 05:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 47
So many great ideas. Thanks to all. If the Provence plan works out we will be there in late June/early July, the fate of teachers restricted to traveling during high season. LOL. We are working on our plan and will return with questions when encountering the next obstacle.
Renaud is offline  
Oct 28th, 2012, 04:12 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 127
If you do decide on using the Avignon Area as a base, I can recommend this place


good reviews on tripadvisor as well
theotherside is offline  
Oct 29th, 2012, 03:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Several years ago we stayed in Avignon for a few days to see the city and its sights, but then we rented a car at the TGV station and drove to Fontvielle to use as our base for the rest of our stay. Using a small town as a base worked well for us. We visited, St. Remy, Les Baux, Uzes, Pont du Gard, Arles, etc. At the end of our trip we turned the car in at the Avignon TGV station and took the train to CDG for our trip home.
waterdog is offline  

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