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Proximity question Provence/Cote d'Azur

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Proximity question Provence/Cote d'Azur

Since we want to take some time and explore the countryside in Provence I am not sure whether or not basing in Nice will suffice. I just dont really have a perspective for the geography and ease of travel in the region, please forgive me.

I know we will spend a few days in Nice exploring the Riviera but we also want the true Provence experience so I want to spend two or three days hitting small countryside villages and towns. Places like Arles, Aix, Luberon, Avignon, and smaller places like Lourmarin, Bonnieux, Cadenet, Roussillon, etc.. peak our interest.

My thoughts are to have two bases - one in Nice for a few days for the Cote d'Azur and then travel to one in Provence proper, a place like Arles or Aix for exploring the countryside. Is this a good idea, or can we just base in Nice and take day trips to these Countryside destinations? Thank you very much.

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11. Re: Proximity question Provence/Cote d'Azur

See the recent thread just belie re small towns near Arles for day trips.

In the smaller towns we found nice hotels for around 100 euro but we spend more in aix nice and vf.

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12. Re: Proximity question Provence/Cote d'Azur

Like Anna-Roz, I think that you should opt for two bases - one along the Riviera/Cote d'Azur and the other in Provence.

Since it is clear that you are seeking a village-type experience in Western Provence, I would absolutely not consider Aix - as it is a small city ( population approaching 150,000 ) and thus doesn't have any real small-town / village ambiance.

We have based ourselves for many years in a lovely village not far from Arles and St Remy - and find it to be a great base for exploring the region via a series of day trips. We generally drive directly to our primary day's goal, and then visit another site or two as we wend our way back "home" via those routes that are highlighted in green on the Michelin map for the region (ie. - scenic routes).

The Michelin Map for the Bouches-du-Rhone in the Local Series is # 340

The Michelin Map for the Drome, Vaucleuse in the Local Series is # 332

I also urge you to get the Michelin Green Guides for both:

- The French Riviera / Cote d'Azur and

- Provence

They will provide you with all the information that you will need in order to decide which sites you want to visit when you are in both regions

Edited: 10 January 2013, 01:58
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13. Re: Proximity question Provence/Cote d'Azur

If you don't want to do 2 bases a day trip to either Arles or Avignon by train ( starting early)from e.g. Nice or Antibes is not a bad idea. Although I don't think I would recommend selkie's both in one day.

My preference would be for Arles as there is such a wide variety of cultural interest from Roman and mediaevel sites to the Van Gogh connections. In any case a great contrast to the Cote d'Azur even if it's not quite the blue shutters and woodsmoke of the ( to my mind somewhat mythical) Provence we all have in our heads. A scenic rail journey as well - and much better than the boring A8 motorway car journey.


Edited: 10 January 2013, 10:49
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14. Re: Proximity question Provence/Cote d'Azur

People have often asked on TA if Avignon or Arles was doable from Nice and generally the answer has always been probably not worth it even though the train times looked ok so i decided to investigate for myself

it turned out that the previous advice was wrong and that it was really easy as long as you don';t want to eat leisurely lunch at a cafe or restaurant

I guess most people would prefer seeing one or the other , of which Arles would be my recommendation.

i enjoy marathon day trips anyway - i used to do the day trip to corsica from Nice by NGV

I think my next really big day trip this year will be Nice-Orange.

15. Re: Proximity question Provence/Cote d'Azur

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