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Where to Flat for a Week in Southern France?

My teenage daughters and I are going to spend about 2.5 weeks in France this June. We've got some friends to visit in SE France, but we'd like to rent a modest flat somewhere for a week -- the only question is where? We'd like a big town/small city that meets the following criteria:

  • It is in southern France (so we don't have to travel far)
  • Good public transportation and pedestrian friendly (we won't have a car for that week)
  • Safe, so the girls can go out on their own on occasion
  • accommodation available in the centre of town

The girls are studying French in school, so more than visiting a bunch of museums and landmarks, I want the girls to experience living in France - shopping at markets, talking to people, finding their way around, eating local foods, etc. We have been to Paris together, and that was fantastic; now we'd like to try something a little less cosmopolitan.

At this point I'm thinking Avignon because of its proximity to our other required stops (Vesseaux near Aubenas, Annecy, and Charmonix), but who knows. I am hoping for suggestions from those with more experience. Thanks!

P.S. We are flying into France from Rome, if that makes any difference.

Posted by
4132 posts

I'd go for a smaller city than Avignon. Arles and Nimes are popular, both convenient to a lot of sights.

Posted by
1318 posts

I'd suggest Arles or Aix en Provence. Both have great markets and aren't too large.

Posted by
809 posts

We visited Nimes for a day this summer and enjoyed it very much, but stayed in Montpellier, where my daughter did a summer study program in 2012. It's a fun small city with a nice central core. And there was a TGV from Paris straight to both Nimes and Montpellier. If you are feeling adventurous and want to practice your/their French, you might want to look at BedyCasa, which is sort of a European version of AirBnB; we used that for lodging in both Montpellier and Avignon and it worked well for us.

But as I look at the map Montpellier might be too far from your other stops. Have you thought about Lyon? I've never been there but have read nice things about it.

It sounds like a great trip - enjoy!

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you all for taking time to reply to my post. That gives me something to work with.