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Advice re base(s) for provence. Would love help!

Hi fellow travelers.
I'm working on a June itinerary for Cote d' Azur and Provence. After spending a few days in Nice, we plan to move west. I'd originally wanted to spend a night in Antibes but we only have 8 nights to play with after Nice so it might make more sense as a day trip.) I'm having a really hard time figuring out where to stay after Nice...whether we should stay in several different places, moving every night or two, or settle on one or two good bases. We are energetic travelers and don't mind switching hotels if it's the best way to see things. We'd prefer to overnight most of the time in places that aren't too sleepy; we don't plan to go clubbing but part of the charm of Europe for us is the night ambience. Places I'd love to visit include:
Porquerolles (visited Porquerolles briefly 25 years ago and remember it soooo fondly);
St Remy and surrounding sights;
The Luberon (Gordes, Roussilon, hopefully lavendar!)
I'd originally also wanted to get to Carcassone and the Dordogne but have realized it's likely too ambitious.
I expect I'll need to rent a car.
Any advice re where to overnight would be greatly appreciated!

Posted by
119 posts

I'd consider Aix for a couple of reasons. First, it's a decent size city with a variety of things to do without being overwhelming.
But, maybe most important if you want to do day trips to include both Provence and Cote d'Azur, you can do it from Aix.
I understand what you're saying about changing hotels but you can waste a lot of time moving in and out.

Posted by
17005 posts

I recommend using ViaMichelin to estimate the driving time from any base you are considering to the Provencal towns you know you want to visit. It appears that Porquerolles will be a bit of a slog if you choose a base that is convenient to your other targets. It will take more than 2 hours to drive from St-Remy to Hyeres, and you must go farther to reach the ferry port and deal with the ferry itself. I found Hyeres very picturesque; you might consider spending one night there to facilitate your visit to Porquerolles. You could do that in transit from Nice to your ultimate destination.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for the responses. We have eight nights to spend AFTER our stay in Nice. I was wondering if something like this makes sense:
Hyeres/Porquerolles (2)
Cassis (2)
Aix (3)
St Remy/Avignon/Isle-sur (or somewhere closer to some of the historical sights than Aix)

Posted by
953 posts

That looks ok, although Hayers/Porq will be mostly beach-sitting and swimming, and then Cassis will also be hiking/beach-sitting/swimming. So you won't actually visit sites until you get to the Aix/Arles/Isle sur area. We did 4 in Isle sur and 2 in Cassis. I would move around (not stay one place for 8 nights). Yeah, you'll want a car, especially in Provence proper. I would figure out which sites and activities you want to prioritize and choose accordingly. If the Calanaque hike is a priority, then Cassis is definitely on the list, if St. Remy, Roussillon, Gordes, Abbeyde Senaque are definite then somewhere like St. Remy or Isle sur, if you really want that ferry/isalnd experience, then Porq, etc...

Posted by
493 posts

Google Isle-sur-le-Sorgue to see if it tickles your fancy. The Venice of Provence has a river that divides into a number of rivulets that flow through the town. Kakay down the river to the town. Dine at a restaurant on the bridge. Shop at the market. We loved it.