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Base City and Accommodations in Provence

My company is sending me on vacation to Paris, and I would like to extend the trip for about 3 days/4 nights in Provence. I think the best option is to take the train to a larger city, perhaps Avignon, pick up a car and go from there.
My questions are:

  1. I'm confused about which city to make as my base, I prefer smaller places. Any suggestions?
  2. Does anyone have recommendations on accommodations in this area? I have Rick's guide book, but always like a referral from someone if I can get one!
  3. Any absolute postive, "must see" locations? I have a list, but again, if you have been there, would love to hear your experience!
  4. Do you agree a car is the best way to travel this area?

Thanks so much!

Posted by
591 posts

Hotel Le Calendal in Arles is an excellent place to stay. You'll be closer to Nimes and Aix-en-Provence which IMO are must see locations. Also Avignon & the
Pont du Gard would be included. Public transportation is very good in this area, so a car wouldn,t be necessary (you can take a tour bus from Nimes out to the Pont du Gard).

Posted by
1358 posts

Since I had a car when I traveled that area, I will recommend you have one. I feel the convenience of stopping where you want to and staying as long as you choose outweighs the cost of a car.

When we were there we drove through several small towns, looking for a zimmer. I don't remember which one we chose, but any one in the area will appeal to you.

I also agree on your seeing Pont du Gard. Plus Nimes and Arles.

Posted by
4132 posts

You have the right idea. Avignon and Arles are popular base cities, but given your preferences and your car you have lots of small-town choices. (My personal experience in that regard is limited to St Remy, which was lovely, but you have many choices; we rented a place for a week, so I can't advise on hotels.)

If you go the small-town route, you might think of your choices as (a) the area around Arles, Avignon, and the Sorge valley, and (b) Luberon hilltowns, exquisit but a bit farther from such popular sights as the Pont du Gard, Arles, Avignon, and Les Beaux. If you go the big-town route, I like Arles better than Avignon--see the latter as a day trip.

Posted by
118 posts

You can't hardly go wrong whatever you decide to visit in that area. We rented a car at the train station in Avignon and stayed in the Luberon valley for a little over a week. The small towns are fun to explore, the food is great and the people are very friendly. A movie you might watch that will give you an idea of this area is "A Good Year" with Russell Crowe, Albert Finney and Marion Cotillard. There's a scene in the movie where he is driving around and around a town square and that is Gordes which is a beautiful place and a nice town to stay in to explore from. Have a great trip, whatever you choose to visit will be fun.