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Is Saint-Remy-de-Provence right for us?

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Los Angeles
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Is Saint-Remy-de-Provence right for us?

We're spending four days in Provence, northwest of Aix, the first week of May. We have a car, speak French, and have traveled many times in France, especially the southwest (specifically the Dordogne). This time we want to stay in one spot in Provence and just hang, with short (at the most) half-day trips. I initially thought of Uzès but it's a bit far west I think since we don't want to spend the entire time in the car. We're thinking of visiting Arles, Les Baux, Avignon - the usual suspects.

Here's the problem: Everything I've read indicates that Saint-Remy may be too touristy. We're not adverse to things-to-do. My wife especially prefers to have lots of cafés, restaurants, and shops in walking distance. But there's a limit; we don't want a tourist trap. Friends who've been there are split: some say it's quite charming and even relaxing (especially in early May), others have suggested that it's worth a day trip but it's not a place to stay for three or four nights.

But where then? Aix and Avignon are cities. Les Baux seems a bit like Disneyland.

Where would you recommend that's a good base, typically Provencal, not overwhelmed with tourists, and with enough to do if we don't want to get in the car and drive somewhere? Or is that not possible any longer in Provence?

Thanks!

Le Bugue, France
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1. Re: Is Saint-Remy-de-Provence right for us?

Mausanne-les-Alpilles.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Is Saint-Remy-de-Provence right for us?

St Remy is an "underwhelming" tourist trap.

Mausanne-les-Alpilles is indeed a lovely little place, as is Uzes.

I would put Bedoin on your short list as well, together with the lovely little Luberon village of Goult.

Destination Expert
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3. Re: Is Saint-Remy-de-Provence right for us?

Here's a third vote in favor of Maussane-les-Alpilles. We find it to be perfectly centered for exploring all of the places that you have listed, and it has exactly the atmosphere that you are seeking - we love it, and have spent every September there since 1995 _ only another 311 days until were back in the place that we think of as Heaven on Earth.

provence
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4. Re: Is Saint-Remy-de-Provence right for us?

4th vote for Maussane! Or indeed any village in the Alpilles National Park.

I also think Arles is a good place to base yourself if looking for a slightly larger town as you can access the Camargue from there aswell as lots of restaurants to walk to.

As datthecoast says St Remy is underwhelming and far too touristy Provence for our taste. Bedoin to the north of Avignon at the foot of Mont Ventoux has long been a favorite village of ours (great Monday morning market) but I was a little surprised at the increased number of English/American accents the last time we went there.

Los Angeles
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5. Re: Is Saint-Remy-de-Provence right for us?

Good suggestions. I will research Maussane tout de suite! Merci!

Charles

UK
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6. Re: Is Saint-Remy-de-Provence right for us?

A lone voice in the wilderness for St Remy. I adore it, and though touristy, it will be less so in the first week of May.

aberdeen
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7. Re: Is Saint-Remy-de-Provence right for us?

+1 for St Remy: had a great week there one October with my children.

I'm always amazed at the comments dissing it.

Of course, Maussanne is a small, pretty village, but with an emphasis on the small - that doesn't suit everyone.

Also, OP's comment that his wife likes to have shops, restaurants within walking distance suggests that St Remy might be a better bet as a base.

Los Angeles
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8. Re: Is Saint-Remy-de-Provence right for us?

OP again: the more research I do, the more I wonder whether Arles might be a perfect compromise. Something in the old town, and then drive here and there for slow lunches in the smaller villages? Has anyone done that?

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Is Saint-Remy-de-Provence right for us?

Arles is a wonderful destination. Lot's to see / do. Very different from Mausanne and St Remy as it is multiple times the size.

Le Bugue, France
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10. Re: Is Saint-Remy-de-Provence right for us?

And multiple times the traffic and parking issues. I do love Arles, though I'd rather be in a village and visit Arles than be in Arles and visit villages (done both).