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Aix en Provence or Arles or Avignon

We are planning some travel from Barcelona into France. I had really hoped to go to Collioure but am having trouble figuring out where to base us and what to leave out. We have from Oct. 14-Oct. 25. Should we start by traveling to the furthest point and then work our way back or does it matter? We also have the chance to stay in Eygalieres for a few nights in a more personal lodging. Should we just leave Collioure out for this trip? We have to keep it leisurely because of my husband's health issues but don't want it to be boring either. We won't have a car -- it will all be by train.

Posted by
7080 posts

Hi,
Unfortunately, Eygalières is not an option without a car. Avignon and Arles are the most obvious choices: Avignon for greater convenience, Arles for extra charm.

Collioure is easily accessed by train from Perpignan so you can stay there either on the way from or to Barcelona - it does not matter.

Posted by
16 posts

Mary,

I did Aix as well as Arles. I had a car for both, but I only used it to get there and explored everything by foot. Both were absolutely lovely and full of charm! Aix is a bigger town but still feels small and very easily explorable. Arles additionally gives you a chance to see Pont du Gard, the Roman aqueduct, which is such an amazing experience. I don't know much about Avignon, but it is also very close to Pont du Gard. Long story short being, don't miss Pont du Gard, either way :)

Posted by
86 posts

When we went to Aix en Provence recently we did it as a day trip and that was good enough for us. Many of the Cezanne sites are closed for renovation and the art museum closed early (no advance announcement) right as we got there for an art installation. We were not that impressed with Aix en Provence of all the places we went in Provence but that was probably because what we had planned to do was closed. We did have a car. We stayed in Avignon and it is a good place to go out from for day trips. I liked Avignon. I would imagine it has pretty good transportation as it is one of the bigger cities in Provence. We did a day trip to Arles (in our car) and enjoyed our time there too. I would pick Arles or Avignon over Aix en Provence. Honestly, you will have people that probably liked Aix en Provence better. It's really a matter of opinion. Have a great trip.

Posted by
6670 posts

Without a car I'd recommend Avignon because of its good rail and bus connections in all directions -- Arles, Pont du Gard, Nimes, Marseilles, Cotes-du-Rhone, Luberon, etc. I didn't have enough time in Avignon to evaluate it for sightseeing, all I really saw was the Papal Palace, which I found disappointing. I agree that both Arles and Aix are charming cities in different ways. Aix's charm is its main value unless you're a big Cezanne nut (who checks openings and closings ahead of time).