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Aix or somewhere else in Provence as "base" city for family?

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Vienna, Virginia
posts: 6
reviews: 26
Aix or somewhere else in Provence as "base" city for family?

Hello there! We are strongly considering spending our summer (part of it) in Provence this year - last year we spent 2 days in Nice as a bridge between Italy and Spain and we felt in love with it! We would like to go back this year to explore Provence.

I would go first with our 3 y. old and stay there by ourselves for the first 2 weeks, then my husband would join us. So, as an initial thought, I am considering spending 3 weeks in Aix (2 alone with preschooler and 1 with husband) and one week in Nice to enjoy the beach surrounding it.

Anyway, does that sound like a good plan? Is Aix a central city in Provence? Ideally, I am looking for something like Florence - a great city in itself and also central for day trips to other villas and towns surrounding the area (Lucca, Pizza, Sienna, etc.)

If not Aix, which city would you suggest?

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 8,027
reviews: 53
1. Re: Aix or somewhere else in Provence as "base" city for family?

Aix is less than half of the size of Florence and there is nowhere near as much to do in Aix as there is in Florence. I am reading between the lines and guessing that you won't have a car. Aix is somewhat of a rail hub, although you can't really explore much of Provence using trains or buses.

Vienna, Virginia
posts: 6
reviews: 26
2. Re: Aix or somewhere else in Provence as "base" city for family?

Yes, I would not have a car for the first two weeks.

Avignon, France
Destination Expert
for Avignon
posts: 5,265
reviews: 76
3. Re: Aix or somewhere else in Provence as "base" city for family?

I'd suggest Aix or Avignon; both have good transport links and a fair amount to do with a little one.

What are your dates, as that could affect advice.

Edited: 5:03 am, February 04, 2013
Vienna, Virginia
posts: 6
reviews: 26
4. Re: Aix or somewhere else in Provence as "base" city for family?

We will be arriving on July 27 and staying until August 19/2013.

Avignon, France
Destination Expert
for Avignon
posts: 5,265
reviews: 76
5. Re: Aix or somewhere else in Provence as "base" city for family?

You'll be in the area during the peak weeks, and just at the end of the Avignon festival which runs from 5 - 26 July, so will be extremely busy.

UK
Destination Expert
for Provence
posts: 3,777
reviews: 82
6. Re: Aix or somewhere else in Provence as "base" city for family?

I would choose Arles over Aix or Avignon, for the Roman ruins, cathedral and general walkability.

Destination Expert
for Provence
posts: 3,580
reviews: 2
7. Re: Aix or somewhere else in Provence as "base" city for family?

I'm voting along with ChicChantal for basing yourselves in Arles - my second choice would be Avignon. - have to admit that I am not a big Aix fan ...

Since you will be in France for at least 3 weeks, you may want to seriously consider leasing a car, for the duration of your stay, and using it to easily explore the region, withought having to consider/rely-upon the local bus/train schedules. Also, if you are looking to spend some wonderful time enjoying the beach, you may want to consider the wide sandy beaches of the Camargue, as opposed to the beaches to the Eastm heading toward Nice, which tend to be quite stony.

8. Re: Aix or somewhere else in Provence as "base" city for family?

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