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Avignon & surroundings without a car

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Belgium
posts: 23
reviews: 14
Avignon & surroundings without a car

Dear Avignon experts,

I'll spend 4 days in Avignon at the end of March. I will, of course, explore the city, but would like to visit some of the places around Avignon without renting a car. Is this doable with the public transport (train or bus) or should I rather take one of the excursions organized from Avignon that cover some of the top attractions in half a day?

I'm mostly interested in discovering small, beautiful villages, markets, olive oil tours - anything that makes Provence unique and charming.

I don't mind walking and finding my way around won't be a problem since I'm fluent in French.

Any advice regarding the transport & best destinations to visit would be indeed appreciated.

Thanks in advance and have a great day!

Bedoin, France
posts: 4,913
reviews: 10
1. Re: Avignon & surroundings without a car

Of course it is doable to visit Avignon without a car. You are limited to going where trains and buses will take you. Many have done this and been happy. You can reach Arles, Nimes, Tarascon, etc. via train and many buses will take you further off to Carpentras, etc.

It is this sentence that makes me wonder if you would be one of those happy without a car:

"I'm mostly interested in discovering small, beautiful villages, markets, olive oil tours - anything that makes Provence unique and charming."

I read that to mean cities are not your high priority. You can certainly take guided, group tours. You will find many listed through the Avignon tourist office. http://www.ot-avignon.fr/

However, with only four days, the tours might be limited in what you can cover and bus schedules are not always suited to tourist schedules. Guided tours are also not particularly cheap, so you may want to compare the cost of tours to the cost of renting a car.

Belgium
posts: 23
reviews: 14
2. Re: Avignon & surroundings without a car

Thanks for your quick reply, toutou. I would prefer the small villages to the big cities. Any suggestions on this? Which ones to choose?

I'm aware that for an olive oil tour I would need to take a guided tour.

Bedoin, France
posts: 4,913
reviews: 10
3. Re: Avignon & surroundings without a car

Actually there are several places in Nyons where you can tour olive oil production at the source without a group tour. But, I think you'd need a car to get up to them. There is an excellent olive oil manufacturer in Caromb, but I don't think they do tours.

As to suggestions for smaller villages, there are just so many around me. I am to the North of the Vaucluse, near Mt. Ventoux. There is the village where I live; Bédoin, Villes-sur-Auzon, Mormoiron, Malaucene, Beaumes-de-Venise, Le Barroux, Malaucene, Vaison-la-Romaine. I could go on and on, but you really need a car to do this area justice.

If you won't have a car. I think Avignon is a good option as it offers good train and bus service and is the pick-up point for a great many guided tours.

Avignon, France
Destination Expert
for Avignon
posts: 5,816
reviews: 78
4. Re: Avignon & surroundings without a car

As Toutou says, without your own transport Avignon is a very good base, although many who have cars also stay there especially.

The tourist office has lists of tours:

around Avignon:

avignon-tourisme.com/menu/discover/guided-to…

in the region around Avignon, with various companies they recommend :

avignon-tourisme.com/menu/discover/guided-to…

www.avignon-tourisme.com/index-129-1.html

There are trains to many nearby towns, and local buses can take you to towns and some of the smaller villages.

UK
Destination Expert
for Provence
posts: 3,799
reviews: 82
5. Re: Avignon & surroundings without a car

I've stayed in western Provence many times and I can't drive. Local buses get you to most places, but you do need to plan carefully. Make sure there are no strikes or public holidays on the day you want to travel and that you can get back as well as getting there in the first place! I say this because a lot of local buses run from outlying villages into big towns early in the morning, then back home again in the evening.

The most useful timetables for you are here:

www.lepilote.com/horaires_ligne/…

you can get buses to St Remy, l'Isle sur la Sorgue, Carpentras, Apt etc. You can also go to Uzes:

www.edgard-transport.fr/horaires_ligne/…

The 54 bus goes very close to this oil mill http://www.moulinducalanquet.fr/ but you would have to walk back to St Remy as the bus isn't very frequent.

And trains to Arles, Nimes, Tarascon and l'Isle sur la Sorgue - click inside the first box shown on this link for a list of timetables:

ter-sncf.com/Regions/…Default.aspx

Edited: 1:50 pm, March 18, 2013
Belgium
posts: 23
reviews: 14
6. Re: Avignon & surroundings without a car

Extremely helpful information! A big thank you for your suggestions. I'll check time tables for trains & buses, as well as local tours from Avignon + the tourist office. I'll probably need to plan very carefully where to go and what to see, as I expect it won't be easy to jump on and off buses.

One more question though (and thanks in advance for your patience): if you had a top 3 of places to go to, outside Avignon, what's your ranking of "must see"?

Destination Expert
for Provence
posts: 3,583
reviews: 2
7. Re: Avignon & surroundings without a car

Although we are not familiar with exploring Provence using public transportation, three places that you may want to consider visiting should include:

St. Remy and the nearby ruins in Les Baux-de-Provence

Arles

Nimes

Belgium
posts: 23
reviews: 14
8. Re: Avignon & surroundings without a car

Noted that! Thank you, AG :-)

UK
Destination Expert
for Provence
posts: 3,799
reviews: 82
9. Re: Avignon & surroundings without a car

You cannot get to Les Baux by public transport at this time of year. The only bus (59) runs on weekends in June and September and daily in July and August. To visit Les Baux you would have to get a bus to St Remy and take a taxi from there. Or walk or cycle - it's about five miles from St Remy.

I'd visit

St Remy and the monastery of St Paul de Mausole and Glanum, preferably on a Wednesday as that's the market day.

L'Isle sur la Sorgue and Fontaine de Vaucluse, which you can do in one day by bus if you plan carefully and the 'fountain' should be good at this time of year, plenty of water in it

Uzes and the pont du Gard although they aren't strictly speaking in Provence

Edited: 9:51 am, March 20, 2013
Belgium
posts: 23
reviews: 14
10. Re: Avignon & surroundings without a car

Thank you for your suggestions CC and also the info about Les Baux is very important. I think I'll skip Les Baux for now and leave it for next time.

Shame I can't plan St Remy on a Wednesday for the market, but will only be in Avignon Thursday to Sunday. I'll find consolation in a market in Avignon, if there is any during the week-end.

Thanks again :-)

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