Need some advice about traveling from Marseille to Lyon for a one week in mid-May. We do not want to spend time in Marseille. Thinking about spending 2 nights in Arles and the last 2-3 nights in Lyon. We are open about the other 2-3 nights in between. Also thinking about taking the train from the Marseille airport to Arles and then renting a car there and dropping it off in Lyon. We hope our trip through Provence will be low-key, not rushed, time to enjoy the scenary, good food, and relatively stress free drive. Sound possible??? After this leg of our trip we are going to be in Paris for 2 weeks. Any advice including hotels would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Chris
Arles is a great base for the entire lower Rhone valley and there is lots to see there, so you might consider spending that unallocated time there. There is something to be said for not packing up every other day or so. However, if you are feeling restless, you might pick a small town in the Luberon after Arles and explore. Sorry, no hotel recommendations. But your plan sounds charming, and mid-May will be dazzlingly beautiful.
From Arles Nimes- 30 min. Saint Remy-de-Provence- 30min. Avignon- 40 min I'lsle-sur-la-Sorgue-1 hr From Lyon Aix-les-Bains- 1H30m Annecy- " Grenoble- 1H15m A good site is beyond.fr
Have a great time!
I think you should consider renting your car at the Marseille airport and driving from there to Arles. If you take the train, you will have to get into Marseille from the airport which will take time. It's very easy to get a rental car at the airport in Marseille and a pretty straight forward drive out of there onto the highway and get to Arles. It's only about an hour or 90 minutes if you take the main highways. It will take you 30 minutes to get to the train station in Marseille from the airport. Arles can be a good base for many other places in Provence and it's got some interesting places to see - there used to be a tourist ticket and a walking route around town available which included quite a few Roman architectural things and other sights. The archeological museum is quite interesting too. And, of course you can follow the trail of Van Gogh and see the places he painted. There are reproductions on site so you can see what he painted and compare with the real thing. It also has a big street market on Saturday and Wednesday mornings. It does make for a bit of traffic chaos as a few major roads are closed for the market, but it is huge and has everything including a lot of good local food producers. Well worth seeing. Lyon is great for restaurants. Too many good ones to begin to mention. It's a lot bigger than Arles and has more of a city feel for sure.
Thanks for the advice. As a result we have fine tuned our plans. Now we are thinking about spending the entire week in Provence (skipping Lyon) and taking the train directly to Paris. I've been looking at Arles and Avignon vacation rentals rather than hotels. There are some rentals that are in each city (Arles or Avignon) but also there are some choices that are in the countryside or smaller towns outside of each town. Any suggestions about the best location to stay in order to take day trips. We are open to rental a car for part or all of the week (depending upon cost). Thanks. Chris