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- "Where do we start?"
- "Where do we go and what should we see?"
- "We would like to experience the region, meet the people, go on beautiful walks, sit at a cafe, expose ourselves to local culture, get a taste of the arts, etc. I need advice from someone who knows the area and could recommend where we should plan to go,which villages tovisit or which village we should stay in."
An itinerary is very personal; depends completely on your personality, tastes, etc. Get a Michelin map and follow the roads is a method that works pretty well. Driving a car is by far the best way to get around, but if you need to use public transportation, you should base yourself in a large town (such as Avigion, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, Nice) where you can make day-trips by train or bus.
Distances across Provence and the Cote d'Azur are rather short (Avignon-Nice is under three hours) so a single base allows a lot of day-trip possibilities. Since smaller roads are slow going (summertime traffic and a lot of stops to see the sites), you should consider a few days at one base, then move on for a few days somewhere else. For example, start with a few days in Avignon, move to Aix for two or three days, then across to Nice for a few days visiting the perched villages of the Alpes-Maritimes.
Driving across Provence and the Cote d'Azur, stopping in towns and villages for a night or two along the way, is also feasible. We've never had a serious problem finding hotels. If you phone during the morning you have an excellent chance of getting a room easily for that night. We've occasionally, accidentally, arrived at a town on a holiday or fête day and found "no space at the inn". Then it's just the nuisance of going to some different town (an hour at the most) to a place to stay. If you don't want to plan ahead too much, take a list of the Office de Tourisme phone numbers for all the towns (listed in Beyond) so you can contact them as you travel.