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All information gathered first-hand, since 1995

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Surrounding Aix-en-Provence

Day trips from Aix can include the Baux-de-Provence fortress, Cassis (photo) with its picturesque beach and Calanques, popular Lourmarin in the Luberon, 12th-century Silvacane Abbey or the nearby metropolis of Marseille active for the past 26 centuries.

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Surrounding Arles

Arles sits at the northern edge of the Camargue, and is within an hour of Avignon and Nîmes. To the northeast are the Alpilles hills, with St-Remy-de-Provence, Les Baux-de-Provence and the fabulous Roman site of Glanum. Just beside Arles is the Montmajor Abbey (photo), and just 15-minutes up the Rhone are the opposing towns of Tarascon and Beaucaire.

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Surrounding Avignon

Just beside Avignon (photo), across the Rhone, is Villeneuve-les-Avignon, with a castle and a magnificent Monastery tucked into the center. It's an easy day trip to Nimes or Arles, or the towns of Orange, Carpentras and Cavaillon. Nearby Rhone wine towns include Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and the picturesque Vaucluse towns of Gordes and Roussillon are about 45-minutes away.

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Surrounding Briançon

Briançon is a mountain town fortified by Vauban, with surrounding 17th-c forts in the nearby hills. To the west is the Ecrins National Park with mountains and glaciers; to the SE the Queyras full of picturesque valleys and villages, like Chateau-Queyras (photo); south is Embrun and Lake Serre-Ponçon, and a bit further the Mexican inspired town of Barcelonnette.

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Surrounding Carcassonne

Carcassonne, with its amazing walled fortress-town (photo), is close to many lovely villages and site. Located between Narbonne (1-hr away) and Toulouse (1h15), Carcassonne town is on the Canal du Midi, with many small villages with canal locks along its length. To the south are towns and old Cathar castles, with more old castle ruins and lovely towns to the north.

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Surrounding Nice, France

Nice is a great base town for day-tripping the surrounding area. Lovely seaside port villages are all along the coast towards Monaco and Menton. Southwest are more seaside towns, including Cannes, Antibes and Fréjus. In the hills just behind Nice are beautiful little perched villages like Gorbio (photo), St Agnes, and Peillon. In the hills to the west are Grasse (45 minutes) and many nearby villages, like Biot, Gourdon and Opio.