Traversing Provence through to Nice in 7 days by car.

We are a group of 3 couples in our 50's holidaying in France in Italy.
We will have just completed a week doing a canal trip and will finish with half a day in Carcassonne where we plan to hire a car/cars and probably stay somewhere near Avignon as a base for 3 nights. We have a good idea of the many places we would like to visit in that region but then are unsure what is the best to do from there. Should we spend 1 night halfway between Avignon and Nice, if so where? spending another 2/3 nights somewhere near Nice before heading off to Italy via train. We are more interested in the smaller villages than some of cities though will visit some. What would you recommend - where to stay and what to see once we leave the Avignon area. We are interested in the drive through the Verdon Canyon as well. Lynda.

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