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please help with logistics

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Level Contributor
1,392 posts
1 review
please help with logistics

We're an elderly couple who are well-travlled, but we've never been to France together. We're hoping to be able to visit in June 2014, and I'd like to begin now to start forming an itinerary and making inquiries into hotels. We don't drive, so we will need to take public transportation or hire driver/guide or find small group tours (the latter would be our preference).

I'd like to plan for a week in Paris (and find tours to places like Giverny and Versailles) and 7 or 8 days in Provence. I think that in Provence we would enjoy splitting our time between Avignon and Aix (if I can find accommodations that suit our tastes and pocketbooks). From each of those places we could take advantage of small tour companies to surrounding areas. If I had my druthers, I'd prefer to stay in a smaller town, but without a car, we need to situate ourselves in places that have tour groups.

Here's my main question: Does it matter in what order we do these things? I.e. should we fly into Paris first and then train down to Avignon? Does it make sense to fly back from Marseilles? Does it make sense to go to Marseilles (and Aix and Avignon) first-- and end with Paris? Or is it really six of one, half dozen of the other?

Thank you for advice.

Level Contributor
754 posts
13 reviews
1. Re: please help with logistics

I would take the train to Avignon or Aix and go back with train (direct train to CDG airport are in operation).

I would split my stay in Arles, Avignon and Aix where you'll have plenty to see and get day tours in the region From Aix probably Cassis,

from Arles the camargue and St Remy and the Alpilles,

From Avignon, The Luberon and the Wine country

In order to find nice accommodation at budget, I suggest you book early...

Hope this will help

Fairbanks, Alaska
Level Contributor
1,619 posts
127 reviews
2. Re: please help with logistics

Doing an open jaw (Paris - Marseilles) does make some sense. If you do fly RT to and from Paris, then I think that it is easier to visit Paris last, so you'll be closer to the airport at the end.

We used Marlene Boyer as a private guide in Avignon, based on her TA reviews. tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187212-d1… She was great. She may do airport transfers too.

Level Contributor
1,392 posts
1 review
3. Re: please help with logistics

Thank you both very much.

I've been thinking that it probably makes sense to do Provence first-- it'll give us a chance to maybe feel a little more comfortable rather than rushing straight into a big city (wish I were there now!)

And I know that my husband would feel uncomfortable having to switch accommodations several times in Provence, so I'll need to pick just two. I haven't even paid attention to Arles yet, I guess because my memory from when I was in the area previously (46 years ago!) tells me that I didn't like Arles as much as some of the other cities in Provence. Maybe that's all the more reason that Arles should be on my "to-do" list.

Can one catch the train for Avignon right by de Gaulle?

And returning to Paris from Provence, would we be going back to de Gaulle and making our way to our hotel from there-- or are there other stations closer to the city?

Thank you!

(At our age, and with my husband's being not very comfortable moving around a lot on our own steam-- which is why we like cruises-- I do wish that I'd been able to find some good tour company to see these places with. Tauck seems to be highly regarded, but we couldn't get ourselves going that early in the morning. We wouldn't enjoy pushing to get up for breakfast before about 8:30.)

Fairbanks, Alaska
Level Contributor
1,619 posts
127 reviews
4. Re: please help with logistics

You can take a TGV right from CDG to Avignon. On your return, you'd want to take the train to Gare de Lyon, instead of going back to CDG.

I wasn't thrilled with Arles either. Personally, in Provence, I'd just stay in Avignon and take some day tours from there. You could put together a series of day tours that are more likely to fit your personal interests, and actually be less expensive, than a packaged tour.

Destination Expert
for Provence
Level Contributor
3,901 posts
83 reviews
5. Re: please help with logistics

I love Arles but am much less keen on Avignon, which I find a bit . . . dunno, dull, ordinary.

You don't have to stick with tour groups, you can use local buses to get to a lot of places. Most places you'd want to get to are served by Cartreize:


For local trains, see here www.ter-sncf.com/Regions/Paca/fr/Default.aspx

6. Re: please help with logistics

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