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Home base for Provence: Arles or Luberon village?

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Arlington, VA
posts: 88
reviews: 162
Home base for Provence: Arles or Luberon village?

We are spending 3 nights in Provence in late September. I was planning on making Arles my home base, but my husband asked why couldn't we stay in one of the hill towns like Bonnieux? Good question. What are the pros/cons of both? We plan to visit during our stay Nimes, Orange, Arles, probably not Avignon, and other places I haven't identified yet. Can you help me decide? Is Arles better because it is near larger roads? Luberon village better because it has more charm? Are there enough restaurants in these villages? Is it all a matter of logistics to the places we will be visiting. Thank you!

Seattle, Washington
posts: 317
reviews: 9
1. Re: Home base for Provence: Arles or Luberon village?

Hi. I can't really help you with comparison, but just wanted to say that my husband and I stayed in Bonnieux for a week and absolutely loved it. We felt it was easy access to the other charming villages -- Gordes, Menerbes, Golte, Lourmarin, Saignon, Aix, etc. There are 2 bakeries in Bonnieux, a little grocery, a market day, and about 5 restaurants (3 of which we tried and were very good). We loved the feel of the quaintness of the village. Our best memory was packing a picnic and taking it up to the top of the village and sitting on the wall to watch the sunset -- just heaven! We stayed at this apartment and it had everything we needed -- very comfortable and homey.


We also did a wine tasting/market day/cooking lesson with Janice. What a pleasure that was -- very fun and she is very knowledgable about the area. Her email is janice.jacquet@wanadoo.fr

Let me know if you have any questions and happy planning!


Los Angeles...
Destination Expert
for Venice
posts: 5,340
reviews: 316
2. Re: Home base for Provence: Arles or Luberon village?

I would be much happier in Bonnieux then in Arles if I was to visit Provence for three nights. As stated by Diane above, you will still have the shops and restaurants, lots more charm, and easy access to other villages. I see that Nimes, Orange, and Arles are on your list of places to visit. With the time you have in Provence, I would suggest that you spend enough time cruising the hilltop villages and, perhaps, pick one of the larger towns to spend half a day exploring.

Destination Expert
for Grasse
posts: 7,351
reviews: 37
3. Re: Home base for Provence: Arles or Luberon village?

Will you have a car? That would be the primary criterion for deciding between cities and the Lubéron, as public transport from the Lubéron is difficult.

posts: 734
reviews: 9
4. Re: Home base for Provence: Arles or Luberon village?

Luberon would be a nice base.

You might experience more of Provence.

The "downside" is that Bonnieux is a tiny village so you'll need to take you car in the evening if you want to experience something new.

Another option might be in or around st remy (with a bit more option than the luberon) and closer to Arles

Traverse City...
posts: 2,671
reviews: 77
5. Re: Home base for Provence: Arles or Luberon village?

Interesting that you're not going to Avignon - It's the base we chose and loved it, much more than Arles...

Arlington, VA
posts: 88
reviews: 162
6. Re: Home base for Provence: Arles or Luberon village?

Yes, we will have a car. We didn't choose Avignon because my husband is mostly interested in the Roman ruins, so that is why I picked Arles. But he is also interested in charming villages. However, I will research St. Remy. Any other cool places aside from Bonnieux or St. Remy I should look into? Thanks for all the input so far.

posts: 469
reviews: 2
7. Re: Home base for Provence: Arles or Luberon village?

Hi there, I have stayed in Arles on all of our trips except this last one and love it. I prefer Arles and will stay again, so many reasons. Everyone who has been there with us loves Arles and its proximity to everything. There are few cars in the walled town which makes it nice. Parking is inexpensive-7 euro for the night a year ago-if I remember correctly -in the garage near the Office du Tourisme just outside the wall,but you can park free after 6pm outside the walled town too-we've done it but maybe we were lucky. There are lots of restaurants to choose from, some in front of the arena. This was the first place we ate tellines, tiny 'clams' in garlic butter. And there's much to see here.The market on Saturday is great. The ruins are wonderful. We tried St Remy this year and didn't love it despite many recommendations.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for TripAdvisor Support
posts: 11,519
reviews: 67
8. Re: Home base for Provence: Arles or Luberon village?

I'd recommend Gordes. We stayed there and liked the location and the town. Driving around the Luberon is so enjoyable and fun; Gordes has a great market day.


9. Re: Home base for Provence: Arles or Luberon village?

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