Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Provence home base, cars, trains, hotel, etc

Provence home base, cars, trains, hotel, etc


May 26th, 2015, 08:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 10
Provence home base, cars, trains, hotel, etc

Good morning everyone,

We are planning our first trip to Provence for late September/early October. We will be flying into CDG/Paris and land at 2:15 PM. We will rent a car once we get to Provence. Can you please give me some direction with the following questions.

1) What would be a good home base in Provence to do day trips from? We plan on spending seven days doing day trips and want to see it all!
2) What train service would be available from CDG to our Provence home base?
3) Are there car rental counters at the Provence train stations that would be at our home base? Or should we train to Aix or Avignon, rent the car, and drive the car to a smaller home base town/village?
4) We are two seniors in good shape and want comfort but don't need luxury. Would you recommend a B&B or a motel or ???
5) I assume we will need air conditioning in our suite in late September?

We just returned from a similar trip to Tuscany and absolutely loved it. We are hoping for a similar experience in Provence. In Tuscany we stayed in an apartment in a farm house on a vineyard in a small town in Chianti.

Thanks much,
gocardsjoeh is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 26th, 2015, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,622
There are TGV trains from CDG to Avignon and Montpellier. Probably Aix, also, but you aren't going to get a train from CDG to some small village, if that's what you are asking. You can't get any train to them, they don't have train tracks. So you'll have to go to some larger city and rent a car there. All major train stations have car rentals companies at them (like Avignon). The smallest town I know in that area with a rail station is Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, but you can't get a train there from CDG, anyway, nor any TGV.

Even if you could rent a car there or some small place, you won't have the choice of cars as you would at Avignon. It really wouldn't make sense as you'd have to transfer trains to get there, and if you planned on renting a car anyway, you are no better off.

I like to base around the LUberon. I tend to stay in Pernes-les-Fontaines, a smaller village, or that general area as it is very central; I've also based in Roussillon which I quite liked. Some folks on Fodors like to stay in St Remy (which does not have a rail station). Yet others have stayed around Gordes or Bonnieux, I believe. ALl of these places are do-able as a central base to see a lot by car.

I think the B&B vs. hotel/inn (more likely an inn or mas in this area) is a personal choice. I don't like B&Bs, so wouldn't ask someone if I should stay in one, I decide for myself. If you like them, there are quite a few in that area, though.
Christina is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 26th, 2015, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 13,956
I agree with Christina - TGV from CDG to the Avignon TGV station, rent a car there, and then off to explore Provence. You won't be able to "see it all" in 7 days. We've spent 20 weeks there - and we're still discovering new stuff. After 7 days, you'll depart with many worthwhile "unseen things" that you'll want to return to see.

Like Christina - I'm not a huge fan of St Remy - but lots of Fodors folks enjoy it. It's centrally located, has lots of cafes, restaurants, and shops - and lots of other American tourists. Late Sept/Oct the crowds will have diminished.

We stay in gites/houses while in Provence and we've rarely needed air conditioning in June & Sept when we go there. I suspect you won't need it at all in late Sept/Oct. On one trip in early Oct, we were scraping ice off our windshield in the morning. Many places have 2 1/2 ft thick walls that keep out the heat & cold if needed.

We've stayed in the Luberon for 6 weeks, in Bedoin at the foot of Mt Ventoux for 8 weeks, near Vaison for 2 weeks, near Uzes for 2 weeks, and just outside of St Remy for 2 weeks. Our favorite areas are the Luberon and the Bedoin region. Here is a good place to stay in the Luberon
The owners are an American husband and French wife. The husband is a frequent contributor to Fodors. We've visited their Mas several times.

I have a 31 page Provence & Cote d'Azur itinerary that I've sent to well over 3,000 people on Fodors. It describes our favorite villages, scenic drives, markets, sites, etc. If you would like a copy, e-mail me at [email protected] and I'll attach one to the reply e-mail. Do so soon - we leave for 4 weeks in France soon.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 26th, 2015, 10:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,595
Yup train to the Avignon-TGV station, a few miles outside of congested Avignon itself - pick up car and scoot to any of many possible bases. Check www.voyages-sncf.com or www.capitainetrain.comfor fares - book well in advance for deep discounted fares but also non-changeable from a specific train and non-refundable so when landing and training leave a lot of fudge factor time as they are non-changeable non-refundable - discounted tickets that is - full fare tickets of course can be changed - for lots of great info on French trains: www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

If Avignon is in your books then maybe stay there for the first two days and save on a car rental cost - Avignon is a fantastic old-looking romantic city in its center with more than enough to occupy a day and a half. Shuttle trains run constantly from Avignon's TGV station to the city center Avignon-Ville station.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 26th, 2015, 11:13 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 838
To get the Provence equivalent of the experience you lived in Tuscany stay at http://www.masperreal.com/

Le Mas Perreal is a converted farm house located in the Luberon among a beautiful setting of vineyards and orchards. Le Mas Perreal is in walking distance of the non touristy village of St Saturnin-Les-Apt.In addition, Elizabeth and Kevin are terrific hosts.

You will wake up in Peter Mayles Provence. You will start out the morning outdoors with a gourmet breakfast. Kevin will help you with planning daily activities, choosing restaurants (make reservations for you), and will help make your over all Provence vacation memorable.

Do send for Stu's itinerary.
dugi_otok is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 26th, 2015, 12:28 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,595
Yes to Stu's detailed itineraries which give a great guide to places not to miss on and off the beaten path. I don't have one muyself but many others have raved about them.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:57 PM.