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French lavender and cottages

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Hi there, I am just beginning to plan my long awaited trip to France I have dreamed of for 30 years! So I would love to get my France journey as near perfect as my dreams :)

After visiting Paris for a week I would like to stay in a cottage or cottages in Provence - around the Avignon, Arles, St Remy, Aix, regions to see and live in these beautiful towns for hopefully 2 weeks if I can.

I will be travelling with a girlfriend and we wont be driving (from Australia, just too stressful for me) so I plan to visit by train and try to get around on buses.

I would love suggestions on which is the easiest town to get to from Paris and if anyone has some tips on where to stay, I am looking for a French cottage. Also are the towns above easy to travel to without a car?

And my most important question is what month is the best to visit and see the beautiful lavender in bloom? My travelling period will be from late May, all of June and 1 or 2 weeks in early July - I am also travelling to Italy and Switzerland but want to make sure I am in Provence at the right time of the year. Thanks so much for suggestions and advice to help me plan my perfect French stay.

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