We will be in the Provence region in October for four days. Planning to stay in Avignon. Is this a good plan. Any suggestions about lodging?
I like Avignon a lot! Arles used to be my favorite base for Provence but I've recently decided that I like Avignon a little better. You didn't say how much you'd like to spend on a hotel. We're budget/basic travelers and liked Hotel Boquier where we stayed on our last visit. It's very near the train station so if you're doing day trips, it's a good option.
Avignon makes a good base for non-drivers thanks to its convenient public-transit options (within an hour, you can reach Pont du Gard, Uzès, and St. Rémy by bus, or Marseille by train; within a half-hour, you can reach Arles, Nîmes, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, and Aix-en-Provence by train). If you're driving and prefer a smaller-town base, St. Rémy is manageable and central. It offers a nice range of hotels with free and easy parking, good restaurants, and a few sights of its own. You can find all of our specific hotel recommendations in Rick's Provence & the French Riviera guidebook, which is available on our website here: http://travelstore.ricksteves.com/catalog/index.cfm?fuseaction=product&theParentId=158&id=165. I've included a couple selections for you below from Avignon and St. Remy.
[$$$] Hôtel Bristol*** is a big, professionally run place on the main drag, offering predictable “American” comforts, including spacious public spaces, large rooms decorated in neutral tones, duvets on the beds, a big elevator, air-conditioning, and a generous buffet breakfast (standard Db-€116, bigger Db-€140, Tb/Qb-€170, breakfast-€12, parking-€12, 44 Cours Jean Jaurès, tel. 04 90 16 48 48, www.bristol-hotel-avignon.com, email@example.com).
[$$] Hôtel Colbert** is a solid two-star hotel and a good mid-range bet, with richly colored, comfortable rooms in many sizes. Your hardworking hosts--Patrice, Annie, and le chien Brittany--care for this restored manor house, with its warm public spaces and sweet little patio. It’s a popular place, so it’s best to book in advance (Sb-€72, small Db-€78, bigger Db-€92, some tight bathrooms, no triples, rooms off the patio can be musty, air-con, Wi-Fi, no elevator, closed Nov-mid-March, turn right off Cours Jean Jaurès on Rue Agricol Perdiguier to #7, tel. 04 90 86 20 20, www.lecolbert-hotel.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
[$$$] Le Mas des Carassins***, a 15-minute walk from the center (but easy parking), is impeccably run by friendly Michel and Pierre. Luxury is affordable here. Your hosts pay careful attention to every detail, from the generously sized pool, gardens, and outdoor lounging spaces to the muted room decor and optional €34 home-cooked dinner. Reservations are smart--its 22 rooms fill fast (standard Db-€140, superior Db-€170, deluxe Db with terrace-€180-205, Db suite-€230, extra bed-€36, includes American-style breakfast, air-con, Wi-Fi, table tennis, look for signs 200 yards toward Les Baux from TI, 1 Chemin Gaulois, tel. 04 90 92 15 48, www.masdescarassins.com, email@example.com).
[$$$] Mas des Tourterelles Chambres, a converted Provençal farmhouse, hides behind a walled garden just a five-minute walk from the center of St-Rémy. Restored by friendly Brits Richard and Carrie, it has four well-appointed rooms with top-quality English beds and good showers (Db-€110-125, 2-night minimum, includes breakfast, Wi-Fi, pool, 21 Chemin de la Combette, tel. 04 32 60 19 93, www.masdestourterelles.com, firstname.lastname@example.org). Turn right at the top of Place de la République onto Chemin de la Combette; after 400 yards look for the entrance on the left (past the speed bumps).
The giant Accor chain operates a number of hotel brands, at various price points, in an around Avignon. Some outside the walls have parking, if a car is a factor for you. http://www.accorhotels.com/hotel-directory/gb/europe/france/avignon/avignon-hotel.htm
The Avignon tourism centre is very helpful, both on-line and at their office in the centre of the city http://www.avignon-tourisme.com/home-1-2.html
We have stayed at Mercure Avignon Cite des Papes several times. It's in the central area and has underground parking. http://www.mercure.com/gb/hotel-1952-mercure-avignon-cite-des-papes/index.shtml
We stayed at Hotel Colbert in Avignon (one night) a few years ago and liked it for the location and price. The room was plain but had a comfortable king sized bed. There is no elevator and the owner/manager was not especially friendly and helpful. We requested glasses for wine (juice size was what he had available) but we were denied this request-he said plastic ones from the bathroom could be used. Very tacky IMO. We based ourselves in St Remy for five nights and made various day trips from there and had no regrets regarding the location. Avignon is more of a one night stay type of town. If you are considering St Remy I can suggest lodging--Sous Les Figuieres--delightful small hotel.
We too have stayed at the Hotel Le Colbert (not Hotel Colbert). Excellent for the price and location. It's about 3 blocks from the Avignon Center train station and if you have a rental car, there's a very large underground parking garage one block away. Street parking is not easy. We had a rental car for touring the beautiful villages east of Avignon. Plain but very clean. No elevator. As seniors, we did carry our luggage up to the third level. The male owner is a tad crusty.
We have stayed at Le Mas des Carrasins and loved it- recommended it to two different friends who also stayed there and loved it. Highest recomendation! We found St. Remy to be a great base for taking day trips to Arles, Les Baux, etc. We did not love Arles the way we expected to.
We also stayed in Avignon and liked it quite a bit (great for visiting the Pont du Gard, Uzes, and that part of the region)- I think we stayed at the hotel Boquier as well but can't recall (it was 2011), but a few nights were sufficient.
Loved our stay in Avignon at the B & B le Clos du Rempart. It's a 19th century house just inside the old wall, central to all main sites. Mme Ada, the owner, is most helpful and charming. The house is full of character and Mme serves a delicious breakfast.