Getting to Provence

Jul 21st, 2008, 04:36 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Getting to Provence

I need advice on an arrival point in Provence that will make renting a car easy and avoid any high traffic areas.
We could either fly into Marseille or travel from Paris to Avignon or Aix via train. The plan is to spend 2 weeks in Provence and we are trying to decide on 3 towns/villages that will provide the most diversity.
I really appreciate any advice.
firstlake is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 05:11 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
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We flew into Paris and took the TGV to Avignon. We got a very good seat sale at the time for 544.00 per person as opposed to travel into Marseille at 1144.00 per person.

We kept an eye on the TGV sight and booked the tickets as soon as they were listed. We got 2nd class ITGV ticket down for 19.00 Euros per person and 1st class tickets back for 44.00 Euros per person.

We rented a Europcar thru Kemwell. We found it very easy getting in and out of Avignon as the TGV is on the outskirts of town.

We very much enjoyed our stay in St Remy...visited Uzes, Les Baux and the Pont du Gard. Uzes would have made a very good base as well.

We then spent 5 nights in the Luberon in Bonnieux which was lovely. Visited Curcuron, Lourmarin, Gordes, Menerbes, Oppede le Vieux, L'Isle sur la Sorgue, Lecoste, Rousillon, Saignon and Goult...We also spent a day in the Dentelles and another day discovering the Mt Ventoux region.

I enjoyed Bonnieux as a home base but many of the towns we visited would have made an equally good choice depending on where you want to allocate your time.

crazyfortravel is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 05:28 PM
  #3  
 
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Nimes, Pont-du-Gard, Uzes are not in Provence but worth the visit if you stay part of your time in the Alpilles with all it's knarled olive tress. St Remy or it's outskirts would be a good choice to visit Les Baux and Gordes(two of the best Perché villages) and perhaps the Camargue. The landscape changes as you go into the Luberon where you can visit villages like Bonnieux, Lourmarin Saignon, Ansouis, and maybe stay around Aix if you want to vist Moustiers-Ste-Marie, the Gorge Verdon and the sea coast.Buy I good book on Provence. You'll get feel of what you like. Her we all differ at times for instance Avignon vs Aix
cigalechanta is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 05:41 PM
  #4  
blh
 
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It is very easy to fly into Marseille and rent a car. The airport is outside the city, and it avoids city traffic. You can then go to any number of places to use as a base - Aix is nearby, also Loumarin. If you can get better flight rates into Paris, then by all means train to Provence. Although we haven't done that, everyone on this board recommends Avignon as it easy to rent a car from the train station.

We have stayed in St. Remy, Vaison, and Lourmarin. They are all easy to drive into and out of which makes driving more pleasant. If you plan to spend some time in the Cote d Azur, then a number of other towns would make a good base in that area. We stayed in St. Paul de Vence and thought it a nice place with easy access. From there you could fly into or out of Nice if you were flying open jaws. We didn't have too much trouble from the airport as it is on the outskirts of Nice as well. It is much harder to navigate from the train station, but we managed that once without too much trouble. We don't really care much for driving in cities.
blh is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 06:26 PM
  #5  
 
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firstlake,

Last summer my wife and I started our French holidays in Nice, after having taken a train from Italy's Cinque Terre. After enjoying some time in that large city, we rented a car in Nice and headed for Provence, where we would stay in the Cotes du Rhone town of Vaison la Romaine (a lovely region). We then concluded our trip by driving south to St. Remy, which worked as a great base to tour such standout sites as Les Baux and Pont du Gard (both magnifique). This combination of busy seaside city (Nice) along with a couple small Provencal towns worked very nicely for us. Having a rental car in Provence was a real plus, too.

To view some photos from our trip, simply go to:
explorerbear.blogspot.com

Best of luck.
ExplorerB is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 11:11 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
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Marseille airport is easy to drive a car from, Nice is more busy but also has easy access to the A8. There is also an airport in Toulon-Hyeres but I don't know how much traffic there is by that airport.
Odin is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 07:26 AM
  #7  
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Thanks for the great info--I was able to use FF miles and booked this AM all the way to Marseille so I am really glad to hear that driving from the airport is not difficult.
I have also found a house in Menerbes and think we may spend a week there and on either end of this rental select 2 other sites--probably B and Bs. I have a book and a good map as suggested and this along with all your great suggestions is very helpful.
firstlake is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 08:27 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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We flew into Nice and picked up a rental car last year and will do it again this October. It was a direct flight from JFK. Whole process was a breeze. We stayed in Luberon and will do the same in the Fall- didn't take very long to get there and the drive was beautiful.
caroltis is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 02:04 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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We had a great experience taking the train from Paris to Avignon...rented a car...stayed in St. Remy and did several day trips thru Provence...I recommend St Remy as a base...easy reach via auto to some beautiful Provence towns....Mikek
mike1728 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 02:18 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,689
hi, first,

when i was researching our trip to Brittany later in the year, I came across some good B&B sites which you might like:

www.hotels du charme.fr

www.alastairsawdays.com [you have to register first, but after that's it's all free]

www.bienvenue au chateau.fr.

I'm not sure I've got the addresses quite right, but if you google, you should get there.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
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