Provence in March - buses, cars, etc.

Old Dec 15th, 2002, 05:23 AM
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Provence in March - buses, cars, etc.

We will be spending 6 days in Provence during the first week of March. This will be our first trip to this area (I visited Avignon when I was 12 and do not remember much!). Since our time is limited, we want to visit Avignon, Arles, St. Remy and possibly Gordes, Chateneuf-du-Pape, and Aix.

Since it will be winter, we are not expecting to take advantage of drives through lavender fields. The question is: can I visit these towns using buses and regional rail? Does anyone know of a website that would provide this information? I looked into renting a car for 4-5 days through autoeurope, hertz, avis, etc., and the cost is absolutely prohibitive - about $100 per day (all-incl) + gas.
Old Dec 15th, 2002, 05:55 AM
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I just went to Autoeurope site. i entered Avignon TGV Station pick up and drop off. Renault Clio economy, manual, a/c, incl insurance for $300.USD. That's $50 a day!!
We were there in Sept 2001 and basically had the same itinerary but were there for 12 days, we had a little bigger car and drove it all the way to CDG in Paris for about $500.
Rent a car if you can. you will be able to see things you can't get to from train stations.
Old Dec 15th, 2002, 07:00 AM
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We were in Provence inthe spring. Stayed in Arles, took train for day trip to Avignon (I think 8 euros each way), then from Avignon, a bus to St. Remy for part of a day (I think 5 euros). The train ride was about 1/2 hour, and the bus ride about 40 minutes, if I remember correctly. Worked well for us!
Old Dec 15th, 2002, 11:20 AM
John B.
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If you want more info about Provence, where to stay, what to do, where to eat and the like check out the postings, photos and archives at:
Old Dec 15th, 2002, 11:37 AM
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If you really do not want to rent a car, Avignon is the best location. You can visit all towns on your list by train & regular bus. The bus station is next to the central train station.
There are companies in Avignon that organize day trips by bus (abt $28 p.p.), but from April to Oct only.

On the other hand, since -as you say- your time is limited, a car will give you a lot more flexibility to combine several towns in a day, and will allow you to stay in a smaller town and save on your accomodation. As xxx said, you can surely find a car for $ 50 or less, especially in March.
A car also gives you the opportunity to stop at a supermarket, pick up some goodies and have yourself a first class countryside lunch. More savings again.
Bon voyage!
Old Dec 15th, 2002, 11:47 AM
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I don't know how you got a price of $100/day, based on 4-5 days, through autoeurope, unless you're planning on renting one of their most expensive cars.

You can certainly visit the towns you mention using public transport but having a car gives you so much more flexibility.
Old Dec 15th, 2002, 12:25 PM
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There is only one railroad in France, SNCF, so you can find out rail possibilities on their web site ( (there are a couple private very small scenic rail lines in a few places, I think--such as north of Nice--but only one for your purposes).

You can get to Avignon, Arles and Aix by rail very easily; St Remy by bus. I don't know the others but almost any town/city of any size has access information on their city's web site that tells you how to get there. For general Provence transit information, plus bus routes, the Beyond Provence web site is the best I've seen (and outstanding for many other things you may want to know about Provence, such as markets). Here is their URL for the transport page:
Old Dec 15th, 2002, 12:35 PM
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Thanks for the replies!
Now, for those of you that have found rates of $50, the reason why the rates I found were so expensive is because we don't drive manual. We have had learning to drive stick on our "to do" list for many years, but we don't know many people that own cars (I myself have never owned a car either in high school, college, graduate school, etc., and I have always lived in urban areas - e.g., Manhattan). We rented a car in Andalucia a few years ago and it was such a big disaster, I vouched never to do it again. We wasted a lot of time picking up the car - Avis did not have the car at the location we specified and while they drove us to the airport, we wasted a alot of time, then we got the car stuck between two buildings, then we got lost...

So, has anyone taken a bus from Avignon to some of the smaller towns like Chateneuf or Gordes? If I can't get there by bus, I'll just go ahead and rent the car at whatever cost, but I first want to make sure that I cannot accomplish my itinerary bu public transportation.
Old Dec 15th, 2002, 12:36 PM
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Chirstina, thanks for the reply. I was writing my response as you were posting yours! Thanks for the website!
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