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.