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Nimes versus Aix as a base for Provence?

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Jan 29th, 2013, 04:26 AM
  #1
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Nimes versus Aix as a base for Provence?

My husband and I spent 2 weeks in Provence a few years ago and loved it. We are returning this summer with our 2 year old daughter, hopefully through a home exchange and need help deciding between Nimes or Aix as our base. During our last trip, we got a great feel for staying in small villages like Roussillon and big cities like Avignon. We loved Aix and Nimes and are trying to decide between which city to stay in this time. We realize that either location can be an hour from many sites, but we are okay with this. We are looking for a place that will be easy to eat breakfast and dinner in town, with most of our time spent on short day trips to the places we liked best from our last trip like Isle Sur La Sorge etc. Thoughts? Our trip will be in August. We are okay staying and getting around the city on foot.
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Jan 29th, 2013, 10:15 AM
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I would not stay in either city if you want to take "short day trips" to the various "popular" sites in Provence. It is 1 1/2 hrs from Nimes to l'Isle sur la Sorgue and 1 hr 10 mins to l'Isle from Aix on the somewhat boring autoroute. I do not consider that to be a "short" trip.

I much prefer the city of Aix over Nimes, but Nimes would probably be better located if you want to visit Arles, Avignon, Pont du Gard, Uzes, les Baux, St Remy, & Cote du Rhone winegrowing region. Aix would be slightly closer to the Luberon - but still 1 1/2 hrs to Roussillon & longer to Gordes.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 29th, 2013, 10:23 AM
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I agree with Stu.
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Jan 29th, 2013, 10:49 AM
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PS.

Viamichelin says the fastest way to get from Nimes to l'Isle sur la Sorgue is almost entirely on the autoroute - not very scenic. There is a "trick" at the toll booths when transitioning from the A9 to the A7. If you are not careful, you may be heading in the wrong direction on the autoroute & won't be able to get off for quite a while, & perhaps find yourself in the middle of Orange. The "other" route would take you through the ugly urban sprawl of Avignon. Both routes are still around 1 1/2 hrs each way. That's why I never recommend either Aix or Nimes as a base for visiting Provence (Nimes isn't really in Provence either).

Can you get a home exchange in Avignon?

Stu Dudley
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Jan 29th, 2013, 12:55 PM
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I wouldn't choose them either for visiting all of Provence, but you've been there and know these cities, so that's your choice. I don't really see what kind of advice you want if you've been to both of them? And homes that say they are in certain places often are not, they are somewhere within 10 miles of it or something like that.

I don't even really understand why you are trying to decide when it sounds like you don't even have a possible home exchange set up. I would think that would limit your decision, who actually wants to exchange with you and where they live, and what their home is like.

But you've already done some of the things already, so I wouldn't necessarily repeat the same trip as before. There are many other places to visit, in which case I'd pick Nimes. You could then explore some different places, say west of the Rhone, such as Uzes. I don't think that is Provence, though, but why try to repeat a trip, go for something different. If I were going to do a different trip east of the Rhone, I wouldn't pick Aix for a city, I'd pick something farther north in the Vaucluse area. Let's say something around Carpentras. YOu can get to the Luberon from there without that much trouble, but you also have opened up places such as Mont Ventoux, Gigondas area, and the Drome area (see Nyons and Grignan).

So that's what I would choose.
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Jan 30th, 2013, 06:59 PM
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Thank you so far for the input so far. We are actually looking to do a home exchange and have offers in either Nimes or Aix. That is why we are trying to choose. As mentioned, we have done a trip to Provence before and we stayed in Cassis, Roussillon, Avignon and Vaison-la-Romaine. We loved our time there but it was several years ago and we while we remember loving both Nimes and Aix we are struggling to recall which would suit us best now.

We took in the major sights on our last visit so there is not an emphasis on Roman ruins or medieval towns as much this time around, although we still enjoy those sights. We love good food and wine and with our daughter (she'll be 20 months when we go) we were thinking that a pedestrian friendly city would be a good base to take strolls with her out to eat or shop. We will have a car so were certainly planning on doing some day trips as well with potential trips to the Camargue, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Gordes, and Baumes-de-Venise, places we either didn't get to or wanted a return visit to. Thanks again for all your help.
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Jan 30th, 2013, 09:32 PM
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From what you've described as your "objectives", Aix would be the best choice, IMO.

>>and Baumes-de-Venise>>

However, that's 1 1/2 hrs away by the autoroute.

Stu Dudley
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