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3 Days in Southern France...Ideas?

We are traveling from Cinque Terre to Montpellier France for a conference. We have three nights to make our way west. We are interested in smaller quaint towns with the focus being on history, culture, scenery etc. Should we rent a car or go by train? Also, we are considering picking a town and staying all three nights....if so which town??? We don't want to get caught up in the "touristy" places. Thanks! :()

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Close to, but just past as I recall, is Penzas, and next to that (not on all maps even) is the small place of Cauxancient, off the tourist track for sure, but it has the most wonderful B&B - The Stone House Inn - check out its web site...A high recommendation from me, and you can tell them I said so! HJT I would drive did this myself a few years ago