Provence Initial Planning Question

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Jun 9th, 2010, 12:58 PM
  #1
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Provence Initial Planning Question

I am in the early stages of planning a rather last minute ( for me) trip to France in the first two weeks of October. We ( two females late 60's) want to concentrate on Provence area and Paris. We will likely fly into Marseilles and out of Paris and Train from Provence to Paris. My question ( first of likely a few more to come) For a week or so in Provence would you stay in Aix and do day trips ( no car) or divide the week between Aix and another city ( which one?) to get a flavor of the area and see some smaller towns. Thanks for any input
geosand is offline  
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Jun 9th, 2010, 02:08 PM
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To me Avignon/Arles is a more perfect base for the highlights of Provence - so many neat places within 20 miles or so of either dreamy city - Pont du Gard, St-Remy-d-Provence (Van Gogh's asylum) - the Camargue, Nimes and especially IMO Les Baux.

And with planning all can be reached by public transportation - buses for the most but trains between Arles, Avignon and Nimes.

It would be expensive and more time consuming to train to Avignon from Aix and then do those places.

Aix is much farther from these places.
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Jun 9th, 2010, 02:16 PM
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I believe I would stay a couple of days in Aix and then go on to another town/towns. A few years ago we spent 10 days in Provence. We began in Aix and spent two nights. This allowed only one full day for Aix and it was a full day. We walked most of the area and went to Cezanne's studio. From there we drove to the Luberon stopping at Lourmarin along the way to Joucas where we stayed at Le Phebus for a few nights. From here you can visit Gordes, Rousillon and several other towns in the Luberon. Also we went to Avignon, St Remy and several other places. Perhaps you can do a little research on some of these places and see what you would like. If you do not drive it may be more difficult to get to some of these places. WE stayed also near St Remy. So we had three different hotels plus our last night near the airport. With no car you could stay in Aix and then go on to perhaps St Remy or Avignon (which has good train connections - even the TGV). My trip report is from 2007 but you could find it by clicking on my name and searching. Whatever you decide I know you will have a great time. We were there in May so I don't know how October will be. Hopefully, you will get some other input. Happy travels!!!!
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Jun 9th, 2010, 03:44 PM
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I'd pick Avignon over Arles or Aix. Avignon has a nonstop TGV to Paris whereas you have to change trains going from Arles. And Avignon is better located than Aix for excursions as Palenque indicates above.

As mimipam suggests, you could stay in Aix a couple days (I like that town), maybe to get over jet lag, then train to Avignon.

But if it's at all possible, reconsider your plan not to drive. Driving is just the best way to see Provence.
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Jun 9th, 2010, 03:47 PM
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I'm a non driver and stayed in Avignon one year and took advantage of the bus, train and boat.
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Jun 10th, 2010, 04:42 PM
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No matter where you stay, if you don't hire a car you'll either not be able to visit many of the charming hill towns, or it will take a while to get around. But if you have a week that may not be a problem.

Agree that if you don't drive you're best dividing the time between Aix and Avignon or Arles. I'd pick Avignon because it's more central. There are good connections to Arles and other not-smallish but interesting towns.
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