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Best base for transport options

Melbourne, Australia
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Best base for transport options

We will be spending a week exploring Provence in early October. We are hoping to visit towns such as Arles, Saint-Remy-de-Provence, Uzes, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. We would prefer to do day trips by train where possible and then hire a car for just a few days to explore some smaller towns.

We will be arriving into the region from Barcelona; I understand it is not such a straightforward train journey from Barcelona to say Avignon so I was thinking we would start in Marseilles, possibly spend a night there and then take a train to wherever we might base ourselves. I am hoping someone can recommend which town would be a good base for train travel to other towns, for ease of parking when we do hire a car and for ease of driving in and out of when it comes to exploring the smaller towns?

Also I rather like the idea of not booking accommodation so we can simply stop in places that appeal to us. Would we need to book during the first week in October?

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Best base for transport options

Establishing one base and doing day trips is a better idea.

Rent a car for the whole of your trip.....exploring Provence by rail is not practical. For instance of the destinations that you mentioned, St Remy and Uzes don't have train stations.

Le Bugue, France
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2. Re: Best base for transport options

Apart from the Côte d'Azur, where many towns are easily accessible by train, it's simply impractical to visit Provence without a car. Rent one for the entire week, establish a base (or two at most - but if you want to rent a gîte or apt., it's likely going to have to be one only, and Saturday to Saturday), and travel around from there.

Los Angeles...
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for Venice, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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3. Re: Best base for transport options

It will likely cost less to hire a car for the entire week than for a few days, and a whole lot more convenient. I cannot really help you with training from Barcelona, but a good idea would be to train to either Avignon or Marseilles and pick up the hire car at a train station. Then base in one place. St. Remy would be fine and certainly easy enough to drive in and out of. I could not make it without having all reservations in advance and confirmed, but I understand that some people are more adventurous in this regard. If you can get a gite or an apartment for a week, that would save you some money. On the other hand, if this is your first trip to the area, there will be no one to ask questions and/or directions and/or make reservations for you.

I think you would benefit by purchasing Michelin Green Guide for Provence, since it has loads of great info and also itineraries. It is also a good idea to pick up a map, so that you can appreciate the lay of the land and distances involved.

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Best base for transport options

Thank you everyone; it looks like hiring a car for the week will be more practical.

I will go and pick up the Michelen guide today.

Our stay in each country is working out to be from Thurs to Thurs and so far we seem to be finding availability for the earlier part of our journey in Sept. Do most places in a Provence still restrict to Sat to Sat bookings as late as October?

Which of the towns would offer better parking for our hire car?

Edited: 20 April 2014, 22:59
5. Re: Best base for transport options

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