Itineraries in Provence
Here are some suggested towns for a base for a few days of visiting Provence. Each of these has a plentiful supply of hotels, restaurants, shops and transportation. We've picked these towns because each is in a different area of Beyond and each has ready access to a wide variety of villages and other interesting sites.
- "Where do we start?"
- "Where do we go and what should we see?"
- "We would like to experience the region, meet the people, go on beautiful walks, sit at a cafe, expose ourselves to local culture, get a taste of the arts, etc. I need advice from someone who knows the area and could recommend where we should plan to go,which villages tovisit or which village we should stay in."
An itinerary is very personal; depends completely on your personality, tastes, etc. Get a Michelin map and follow the roads is a method that works pretty well. Driving a car is by far the best way to get around, but if you need to use public transportation, you should base yourself in a large town (such as Avigion, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, Nice) where you can make day-trips by train or bus.
Distances across Provence and the Cote d'Azur are rather short (Avignon-Nice is under three hours) so a single base allows a lot of day-trip possibilities. Since smaller roads are slow going (summertime traffic and a lot of stops to see the sites), you should consider a few days at one base, then move on for a few days somewhere else. For example, start with a few days in Avignon, move to Aix for two or three days, then across to Nice for a few days visiting the perched villages of the Alpes-Maritimes.
Driving across Provence and the Cote d'Azur, stopping in towns and villages for a night or two along the way, is also feasible. We've never had a serious problem finding hotels. If you phone during the morning you have an excellent chance of getting a room easily for that night. We've occasionally, accidentally, arrived at a town on a holiday or fête day and found "no space at the inn". Then it's just the nuisance of going to some different town (an hour at the most) to a place to stay. If you don't want to plan ahead too much, take a list of the Office de Tourisme phone numbers for all the towns (listed in Beyond) so you can contact them as you travel.
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We have directly-bookable hotels for ProvenceBeyond, Paris and the rest of France.
Arles Camargue Itineraries
The Roman town of Arles is an excellent base for visiting the Camargue and surrounding area.
Loire Valley Chateaux Itinerary
A 4-day itinerary, starting in Chartre, visiting some of the most famous Loire-Valley chateaux, and some of our own favorites, and ending in Bourges.
Murs Luberon Itineraries
Murs is a great off-the-beaten-path place to stay. The village is lovely and unspoiled. It's located just north of the Luberon mountains at the western edge of the Vaucluse mountains.
Nice Cote d'Azur Itineraries
Not full-fledged itineraries yet, but here are some itinerary ideas.
Riez is at the Plateau de Valensole, in the heart of Provence and the land of lavender.
Vaugines Lubeon Itineraries
Vaugines, at the edge of the Luberon and close to Lourmarin is well located for touring the Vaucluse.
An excellent base location for doing day trips to visit Provence, with more things and places to see than you'll have time for.
This itinerary visits 7 villages to the north and northeast of Aix-en-Provence. The route is a loop, with a total distance of 85 km (about 2 hours driving time).
Aix-en-Provence Historic Itinerary Northwest
This itinerary visits eight villages of historical interest to the northwest of Aix-en-Provence. The route is a loop, with a total distance of 89 km (about 2hr15 driving time).
Aix-en-Provence Historic Itinerary South
This itinerary visits six villages south of Aix-en-Provence. The route is a loop, with a total distance of 53 km (about 1h35 driving time).
This itinerary visits five villages to the southeast of Aix-en-Provence. The route is a loop, with a total distance of 65 km (about 1h35 driving time).
Aix Martigue Itinerary
A loop itinerary from Aix-en-Provence, passing Martigues, Istres, Miramas and St Chamas is about 115 km and 2 hours driving time.
An Aix-en-Provence to Arles itinerary, via Martigues, Istres and the east side of the Camargue is 135 km and 2hr30 driving time.
Aix St-Remy Itinerary
This route is 143 km, 2h13 driving time, from Aix-en-Provence via St-Remy-de-Provence and Arles to Sainte Maries-de-la-Mer. Aix-en-Provence via Arles only is 105 km, 1h43.
Aix Verdon Itinerary
This route is 137 km, 2h10 driving time, from Aix-en-Provence to Castellane.
From Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, the final 45-km part of the route follows along the north side of the Gorges de Verdon, past la Palud-sur-Verdon, La Pointe Sublime, and along the Verdon river between the Gorges and Castellane.
Apt Gordes Itineraries
This loop is short to give you time for sightseeing and photography. The route goes by some very interesting villages and sites, and there are several lavender fields along the way.
Apt Vaison Itineraries
This route from Apt to Vaison-la-Romaine is 3 hours driving time, making a very long day if you visit some of the villages and all six of the lavender distilleries along the way. If you run out of time, you can skip the last two distilleries, Saint Trinit and Aurel, which are on a side trip out-and-back from Sault.
From a base in Avignon (with the Pope's Palace, good hotels, restaurants and shopping) you can visit a lot of Provence. Avignon is central enough that you could spend your vacation based here, with day-trips or multi-day-trips in different directions. And there's such a tremendous variety of sites in the area that nobody will be disappointed, whatever their tastes.
It's only a 3-hour drive, round trip, but there's a lot of beautiful places to see between Avignon and Apt.