Do we need a vehicle in Beaune or St Remy

We have rented apts in Beaune and St Remy 5 days each for this coming Sept. We plan to take the train from Paris to St Remy would like to see surrounding areas. Arles or/and Avignon are on our wish list, as well as smaller towns if possible. Are there shuttles or local guides or is a car necessary we want to enjoy the sights without the hassle. We will travel up to Beaune next. Has anyone done this using trains, bus and drivers. Our trip to Italy we did most of our travels by train but did hire a driver for a most memorable day.
Thank you

Posted by Darren
Boulder, CO, USA
676 posts

Hi Stephanie, To see Provence, you'll really want a car. You can see towns like Arles and Avignon by train, but the hill towns, Luberon, Pont du Gard are accessible by car. Yes, you can rent guides for each day, but that is going to get pricey pretty quickly as the days tick by. As for Beaune, you don't mention what you want to see. Wine villages? My favorite way to see them from beaune is by bike on the excellent bikes only (occasional vineyard vehicle) path. You can rent bikes right in Beaune, so it's really easy. Again, cars will make this simpler, but not nearly as intimate with the vineyards.
If I haven't adequately answered your question, clarify and I'll try again.

Posted by Adam
2925 posts

There is no train to St Remy so if that is your base I think you will want a car. You can rent one in Avignon. You won't be sorry; with five days there it will greatly extend your reach and your trip. Beaune is great but you will exhaust its charms long before your five days are up. A car or bicycle (rentals in Beaune) will be very helpful to see the countryside and small towns. You can rent a different car in both places and take the train between them. How are you going home? There is a 6:30 AM train from Beaune, changing in Dijon, that will get you to Charles deGaulle with no further transfers by 9 AM.

Posted by Bev
Decorah, Iowa, USA
307 posts

My suggestion would be to rent a car because it gives you the freedom to see ALL those little towns in both areas. There are so many really special places around both towns. I know lots of you like trains but we like to have the flexibility of a car. Question to Adam, why would you rent a car in Beaune, turn it in, figure out a way to get to St. Remy, then rent another car in St. Remy? How much money would be saved? It isn't that far to drive down the A route to get from Beaune to St. Remy. There are lots of neat things to see, even from the A. You can always get off the A. The only hassle is going around Lyons. We have never stopped there and I know we should. Most important, if you don't drive the A, you may miss being able to stop and get nougats in Montelimar!

Posted by Adam
2925 posts

Reply to Bev: I am a fan of serial auto rentals when that makes sense. Road trips are fun too, but take time. Avignon-Beaune by rail less than 3 hours. OP can decide. Note in this case the OP plans to visit St Remy first.

Posted by Stephanie
Vashon Island, WA
53 posts

Hello Thank you for all the kind replies. To clarify, we will start our trip in Paris and then take a train to Avignon and rent a car. Will stay in St Remy inside the wall of the city close to the fountain for 5 days. A friend suggested Isle sir-la-Sorgue as a home base. It looks lovely. Will we be dissappointed with our decision upon visiting? We have already paid for our apt in full. Also is it more of a hassle than a benefit to turn in our car back in Avignon and train it to Beaune and rent a car there? We will stay for 5 days and then take train back to Paris for last 2 days. Merci

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3553 posts

St. Remy is an amazing town to use as your base. I have stayed there numerous times and love it. It has great restaurants, galleries, shopping and the best market for foods and some wonderful French items. The hospital where VanGogh spent time is within walking distance. The drive into town is absolutely beautiful with the quintessential tree lined road. There are so many great things about that town... but I have some incredible memories from there so it does affect my view. I have been to all the other towns you mention and I still would choose St. Remy as home base with visits to the others. You definitely will want a car to enjoy all the surrounding villages and towns.

Posted by Adam
2925 posts

St. Remy is a brilliant base, and I write from personal experience there. In Sept. there may be a local festival as the sheep migrate from their summer pastures in the Alps. If so, don't miss. Serial car rental lets you take the best of train and auto. Car to get about, train to use the great rail system to get from region to region. It might be an added expense, but it is not any kind of hassle, rather an great convenience.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
5926 posts

The aqdvantage of using a driver/guide in Beaune is that you don't have to spit out that delicious burgundy at all the wine tasting spots when someone else is driving.