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Where to live in Provence for a month

I'm traveling from Switzerland by train along the Alps the end of May and then would like to rent an apartment for June somewhere in Provence to paint, study french cooking, and explore. I am hoping to get along without a car, but would love to get out to see some of the rural areas. Any advice on where to set up my home base and specific things to do (markets particularly, safe and fun places to go solo as a 60 year-old female) would be appreciated!! I've spent a few days in Avignon and Nice in the past and just want to experience more!

Posted by
7509 posts

I’ve spent a month in both Avignon and in Nice, alone in my 60’s, and those are still my recommendations. Actually at this point, especially for cooking classes (start with Rosa Jackson at Le Petit Farcis school), Nice is my top choice.

The tram and bus system can get you out of town easily, and there’s a lot in the city to see and do, too.

If you did wind up with a car, Saint-Remy would be worth considering, but I don’t know what cooking class options exist there.

Posted by
338 posts

Have you been to Aix-en-Provence? There isn’t an abundance of smaller villages nearby that can be accessed by public transport, but they do have a great market and at least once weekly, a brocante. There’s good connections to Marseilles, both by train and bus.

I lived in Uzes for 6 weeks. It is remote, but during the week a local bus can get you to Nimes - and from there by train to Montpellier, Sete and all the way to Barcelona for an overnight stay. Uzes has a small Wednesday market and much larger Saturday market. Cookn’ with Class has cooking classes and I think another person does as well. I’ve stayed in a couple of different places. If you’re interested send me a private message and I’ll point you to the ones I’ve stayed in. There’s a pottery village nearby that can be reached by bus.
Good luck and safe travels

Posted by
10254 posts

Le Pistou, run by Petra Carter, is the cooking school in the center of Uzès. Even locals take classes from her, but her classes have been in English traditionally.
There is a lovely, supportive group of English speaking women centered around the private Facebook group Barefoot in Uzès. You could ask to join for a glimpse.
There are many artists and galleries as well as artisans who do restoration and creation for all the Medieval buildings being restored. I don't know about lessons.
The Wednesday market is large by any standards. But the Saturday market is huge, really huge.
We spent five months there during Çovid, including the second lockdown with restaurants, cafés, museum, theaters closed. We never ran out of things to do. It's a very unique place.
It's west of the Rhone, so it's officially in Languedoc jurisdiction, but linguistically and culturally, it's still Provence.

Posted by
6957 posts

There isn’t an abundance of smaller villages near [Aix] that can be accessed by public transport,

I thought so too, but a poster here (CaliMom I think) spent a month in Aix without a car this year and was able to do many day trips using the good regional buses, with the help of the local tourist information office. Aix would be a good choice!

Posted by
12172 posts

I like Arles best overall. It has great Roman ruins, Van Gogh connections and was decent for getting into and out of with a car.

Avignon is probably the best transportation hub in the area.

Bear in mind, Provence can (will?) be windy in the spring and quite hot in summer. I made a point of visiting later in the year. I was there last half of September and it was still on the hot side. I would have preferred October.