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Help me choose a base for 4 nights in Provence

Help me choose a base for 4 nights in Provence

Aug 8th, 2011, 08:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 514
Help me choose a base for 4 nights in Provence

We're arriving in Nice at 8:30 AM on a Monday(late Sept) after an overnight flight from JFK. We want to stay in Nice for 2 nights, then head west.

We want to see Marseilles(maybe just a 1/2 to 3/4 day visit), Aix, Arles, Nimes(including Pont du Gard), then leave on Saturday by midday for Paris(maybe from Avignon?)

We need to choose a hotel in Nice that will allow us to hit our high points, and offer the ability to stroll interesting areas in between museums and in the evening. Our budget is about $200/night with some flexibility for a special place.

We need to choose a base for the next 4 nights, and decide if a car is desirable. We will plan to take the TGV to Paris on Saturday--should we leave from Avignon or Marseilles?

I know this is a very short trip, and we have intentionally chosen the city visits to see mainly art, architecture and historic sites. Please help me pick a possible place to stay and a practical order to follow in seeing these cities.

I know that the small villages are to many the most appealing part of Provence, but we will save that approach for next time.

Thanks for your help and suggestions,
Barb_in_Ga is offline  
Aug 8th, 2011, 08:39 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,049
Yes, rent a car.

If you are leaving the Luberon villages for next time 'round and you want to focus on Aix, Arles, Nimes, Pont du Gard and Avignon, then St. Remy would probably be your best base.

Take the TGV to Paris from Avignon.
sap is offline  
Aug 8th, 2011, 11:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,159
Hi B,

I think that you would greatly profit from a car.

We liked staying in Graveson, about 15 min from St. Remy.


Enjoy your visit
ira is offline  
Aug 8th, 2011, 01:34 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 36
I live in St. Remy and encourage people to stay here. It's a great base with many hotels to choose from.
In Nice, I like the Hotel Grimaldi
They have a good central location, lovely rooms, fair prices.
For the TGV train to Paris from Avignon, consider IDTGV.com, which offers cheaper seats than the SNCF site or RailEurope.com site. The drawback is, I believe, once you buy it, you can't change it. So if you need flexibility, use the more traditional sites for ticket purchase. For what's going on in the region, you might enjoy my website ProvencePost.com. Good luck and have fun!
JulieMautner is offline  
Aug 8th, 2011, 02:50 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,113
Julie: We will be staying in your town for 4 nights in the Fall.

We arrive Oct 31, leave for Paris on Nov. 4th. Do you know of any festivals during that time? (That Tuesday is All Saints Day).

I've saved your blogspot. Can't wait to check it out.
JeanneB is offline  
Aug 8th, 2011, 03:10 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,165
Another vote for St Remy. We were just there in June and found St Remy to be a perfect location. The mistral winds appeared on market day-added some interest. We loved Hotel Sous Les Figueres-adequate parking which was gated after 9 pm. Parking was a challenge in most towns.
nini is offline  
Aug 8th, 2011, 03:14 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 613
We stayed at Hotel Windsor in Nice and enjoyed our stay very much. You should have several room options in your price range.

Yes, you should definitely rent a car. It makes moving around and doing day trips much easier.

We stayed in St. Remy in 2006 and thought it was a little less enjoyable then our stay in the Luberon that same summer. We visited St. Remy twice during our two-week stay in Provence this June and were glad that we picked a smaller town as our base and did not stay in St. Remy this time. At least during the day, St. Remy was crowded with tour buses and quite trafficy.

My subjective opinion here..
anna_roz is offline  
Aug 8th, 2011, 07:33 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4,392
We stayed in St Remy for a week in early june. It was ok as a base, but next time i wouldnt use it for the area. It was too far West for the Luberon (which i realize you are not seeing) and is a bit too far East for much of what you want to see (but see below) IF you use it or any place as a four-day base for ALL your stated ciites, you'll be making lots of long daily round-trips.
St Remy however, good on a Wednesday--the market, then walk from the town center to The Van Gogh country trail (marked by paintings) and on to the Abbey/Asylum, and Les Antiques.

I know this is not what you asked, but IMHO, drive from Nice to Marseilles and Aix (or Aix and Marseiile)...after that...THEN pick a base that will be in the area in the midst of Arles, Nimes, Avignon.

People LOVE Uzes, although it is a bit north (I think) of where you'll be. BUt it might be worth it for more of a Provence country town atmosphere than a larger city. It's on my "list" for next time.

I know people love"bases" but i learned sometimes it is better to avoid all those long daily round trips (which nearly always took longer than predicted on computer maps) . Instead of days in a place that serves mainly as a base, pick some 2-3 day stopovers that are conveient for one's route. Sure, you spend time "packing" and "unpacking"...but you also sepnd LOTS of time in the car on round trips back to home base.

So...consider making a "base" of only three days? Perhaps after seeing Aix and Marseilles, spend a near Marseilles on the way up to Avignon, etc

Come to think of it, Avignon might be a GREAT base for the remainder of your desired sites (Avignon, Arles, Nimes). I loved Avignon, and fro recent posts here, I'm not alone!

Sorry to be so wordy.
CaliNurse is offline  
Aug 8th, 2011, 08:07 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 373
I stayed in Avignon for a few days in the spring and enjoyed it well enough. It's very convenient for the TGV to Paris, for visiting other towns in the area by train & bus, has some interesting things to see but if you sense that this isn't a ringing endorsement you'd be right. Next time I visit the area I'll try some where else, possibly Aix which many people seem to love.

From Avignon I went on to Uzes for 5 days in an apartment. Also a nice place to which I'm unlikely to return. It's not big enough to successfully absorb a lot of tourists and there were a lot. I know it's perverse to be a tourist and be looking for places where there are fewer of me but I'd prefer fewer nice stores anytime for a more authentic place to stay a while. Lots of nice stores and a great market in Uzes.
joannay is offline  

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