I assume that you will have a car, as many of the most interesting places are not easily accessible via public transportation,.
Also keep in mind that many important sites have limited opening hours in the "off-season" - ie: late fall through very early spring, and that many hotels and restaurants close for vacation during what they consider to be the off-season.
I urge you to get the most current Guide Michelin Guide - red, as it will have information regarding annual closings of restaurants and even hotels.
With regard to a great base for exploring Western Provence, we have spent every September since '95 about 12-15 minutes from St. Remy, and find it to be a perfect base. Needless to say "we love it" - only another 305 days until we're back - but, hey, who's counting ???
Your main issue with regard to travelling in late January will concern hotels and restaurants. I would recommend St. Remy because it will provide you with easy access to the entire region - 30 minutes to Arles / 40 min. to Avignon / 15 min. to Les Baux etc, and it is large enough so that it is a viable place to stay, with good hotels and restaurants, even in the dead of winter .
I urge you to take a copy of the current Red Guide Michelin, as it will list the dates that hotels and restaurants are closed for vacation.
As ever, I'm banging the drum for Marseille, partly because it's a great place to visit in its own right, partly because it's at the hub of a great network of transport connections. You can get to Aix very quickly via train or bus shuttles and there are regular rail services to Avignon and Arles. Aubagne (Marcel Pagnol country) is a short train or bus ride away. Not to mention boat trips to the calanques or the Chateau d'If, some of which continue to operate in winter.
If you are renting a car, it's a very different matter and then Marseille is not the ideal option, but I'd say it is definitely the best choice for anyone relying on public transport.
Make sure the hotel has a car park for no other reason than convenience (though as with all hire cars in any country there is also the element of security as required by the rental agreement).
Do also be aware though that late January can be fairly desolate in some of the rural areas of westen Provence. Yes the normal shops etc for the locals will be open but other attractions that many remember Provence for will not be operating - I rember shortly before we bought in Provence standing in the same village in late January as I had the previous August. In August shorts and T shirt (and still too hot), in January thick cord trousers, shirt, jumper, overcoat, scarf, gloves and still freezing!
We have twice stayed in Avignon in early January. Both times we had mainly sunny weather and we greatly enjoyed ourselves. We found Avignon to be a lovely town and a great base for driving around the area. Arles, even at that time of year, had rather too many tour groups.
Hotel D'Europe is by far the best in the town but it is not cheap. We also enjoyed a stay in the much cheaper L'horloge.
If you don't have a car, I would suggest staying Aix - their bus station services many parts of the region or you could simply stay put and enjoy the local sights/sounds.
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