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Looking to find a base city in Avignon area

Shanghai, China
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Looking to find a base city in Avignon area

Hi, I am travelling with my two daughters (9 and 14, respectively) to Provence in mid June. Our flight will arrive in Paris, We plan to use trains as our major means of transportation. We plan to go south from Paris, stay in Lyon for two night with a day trip to Annecy, then go to Provence area and finally head to Nice for a couple of days. We do not drive. We do not drink. The main reason for going to Provence is to enjoy the countryside of Southern France. Ideally, we would like to find a base city/town in Avignon area where

1. it is safe for female travellers, especially at night when we finish a day trip back.

2. easy to take train or rent a bike to other small towns for a day trip.

I heard from a friend that some of the Southern France towns have self-guided bike tours (it may be wrong). Everyone said that a car is a necessity in southern france. I wonder whether I can use bikes to replace cars? We are not active bike riders but I think 30 KM per day is ok for us if the traffice condition is safe enough for a 9 year old girl.

Many thanks,

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Looking to find a base city in Avignon area

Public transportation is not the best way to explore Provence as it can be quite limiting. Howver. Avignon is a good public transportation hub and you can use trains and buses to reach a fair number of destinations.

Avignon is quite safe.

Los Angeles...
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2. Re: Looking to find a base city in Avignon area

Avignon would be a good base for a non-driver, Lydia. I am afraid that I cannot help you plan for your self-guided bike tour, but I bet you could find some info on the Net if you Google for it. Or wait until you get to Avignon and stop by the tourist office for info. Or, hopefully, one of our Provence experts will jump in and offer some assistance.

Montelimar, France
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3. Re: Looking to find a base city in Avignon area

Hi Lydia

Yes,you can easily take the local TER trains everywhere in france.Avignon is indeed a hub.Central station mainly for local trains .

The good thing is that you can take bikes into the TER.It gonna be more difficult because you are not solo.Some Provence côte d'azur (PACA)trains have a special storage for bikes.

Please,note the restrictions below:

On regional TER trains, Transilien and RER trains in the Paris region, your bike can be carried on board free of charge, subject to available space.

However, in the following regions and trains, the following restrictions apply:

o Alsace: some TER 200 are not accessible between Strasbourg, Mulhouse and Basel, Monday – Friday from 6.00 – 8.30am and 4.00 – 6.30pm.

o Nord-Pas de Calais: TER-GV trains do not accept bikes (see timetables for details of TER-GV trains).

o Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur: TER trains do not accept bikes Monday - Friday, 7.00 – 9.00am and 4.30 – 6.30pm.

o Île-de-France: Transilien and RER trains do not accept bikes Monday - Friday during rush hour, 6.30 – 9.00am and 4.30 – 7.00pm.

To avoid passenger inconvenience, please do not travel with your bike during busy times, and please seek advice from SNCF if you intend to travel in a group.

DOOR TO DOOR DELIVERY

If you have an address in France, SNCF can deliver your bike to.

http://www.bikes.sncf.com/

Otherwise there are bus links to the pont du gard or some villages in the Luberon.Many advises have been posted recently by experts.Browse back the forum about Avignon or Provence.One of the companies was called Cartreize, I remember.

You 'll also like the Old Lyon and Annecy and certainly enjoy cycling around the lake.

Have a good trip.

.

Shanghai, China
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4. Re: Looking to find a base city in Avignon area

Thank you all for the very helpful information provided. One more question, I heard that there's no need to purchase in advance those TER trains which do not have reserved seats. I wonder whether I need to keep lots of cash with me? Does the ticket machine take credit cards? Some people said the machines in France only take certain cards.

Also, I am a little bit concerned about taking bus as we barely know any French. I am not sure whether we can get off at the right stop (I would imagine that the bus stop won't have a big sign saying the name of the stop like what you have for trains). Are those bus drivers friendly enough to tell us to get off if I tell them in English where we want to get off?

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Looking to find a base city in Avignon area

Whether the bus drivers are friendly or not is not your concern here...it's whether or not they speak English.

Provence
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6. Re: Looking to find a base city in Avignon area

One other option could be basing yourself in St Remy. Take the train to Avignon and then a cab to St Remy (40/60€). St Remy is perfect for you, abs safe in the evening and you can rent electric bike at e-sunbike

saintremy-de-provence.com/company/439/189/SU…

(sorry only in French).

Sun e bike offers you 7 differents itineraries, a nice way of discovering the villages and the area.

St Remy also offers you a wide range of accommodation, rest & bar.

You can find more info on those 2 blogs

http://theprovencepost.blogspot.fr/

saintremydeprovencetourism.blogspot.fr/

I love Avignon but it is much bigger and not as easy to get through as St Remy and you can always bus to Avignon to visit this gorgeous place.

Hope this will help.

Shanghai, China
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7. Re: Looking to find a base city in Avignon area

Thanks Phidou. I wonder whether there is any lavender fields around St. Remy? We are going in the mid June. Just feel missing something if we don't see the famous lavender fields in Provence. If not, is there any other town/city that we can go and rent the bikes from there to see lavender fields?

Los Angeles...
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8. Re: Looking to find a base city in Avignon area

Probably Sault for a better chance to see lavender in mid-June, since it is technically too early in the season but Sault has vast lavender fields, so your chances may be better. I have no idea how you would get there by public transport from either St. Remy or Avignon. Perhaps you could reserve a one-day tour of the Luberon with a company that would also take you around lavender fields, that is assuming these will be in bloom.

Oaxaca, Mexico
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9. Re: Looking to find a base city in Avignon area

Avignon can make a great base for trips to the lavender country around Gordes, Lacoste, and Apt. There is local bus service from Avignon to many destinations. You can also find local trains in Avingnon (not TGV) for trips to Arles, which also offers good, local train and bus service to many areas including bus service to the Camargue.

Lavender ripens mid to late June in the valleys around Avignon and into mid July in the higher elevations. Mid June, and July/August will be busy on the roads so you will want to choose bike routes carefully or go with a guided group.

Montelimar, France
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10. Re: Looking to find a base city in Avignon area

I totally agree with Softseattravel .

Lydia,you are anxious about the language,don't be !

Why don't you brush up your french or learn a few words? With a bit of your french , a bit of their english, and a Smile, it gonna be fine.

languageguide.org/french/…

loecsen.com/travel/0-en-67-2-3-free-lessons-…

Some more info about trains in france:

http://parisbytrain.com/about/

Here are some coach services near Avignon:

vaucluse.fr/2842-horaires-ligne-par-ligne.htm

Bonne lecture.