HILLTOP VILLAGES AND FIG TREES: Exploring Provence by public transportation

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When I decided to go to Provence, one of the key things I had to think about was transport. Most people drive around Provence, but I had to make do with public transportation.

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Where to stay:

I decided to base myself in two places: I spent the first half of my trip in Aix-en-Provence and from there I moved to Arles.

Aix was one of the places I definitely wanted to see. It is close to the coast, so you can visit Cassis and other beaches. Arles, on the other hand, is an ideal place if you want to travel around, as it is well-connected to other towns by train and bus.

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Itinerary planning:

There are loads and loads of places to visit around Provence, so it’s difficult to choose. After some research, I found this itinerary the most useful (although it covers more than what I saw).

Aside from Aix and Arles, my favourite places were Les Baux de Provence and Nimes (all my Provence posts are saved here), but I’m sure there were many great places which I didn’t get to.

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Travelling by train:

Travelling by train in France is weirdly not as easy as in other countries. As ever, Seat 61 was very helpful. The main thing to do is to use this website to search for and book tickets, as it’s definitely better than the local alternatives.

There is an useful rail map of Provence here, and this is a good website to find more information and discounts (in the summer there are discounted day passes on offer).

The trains themselves were all good, and mostly on time.

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Travelling by bus:

In hindsight I would have probably taken the bus more often than I did, as you can often get a direct bus and I got lots of connections on trains.

You can find information on routes and timetables here and tourist information places can also help. There are usually buses going to most (if not all) tourist sites, particularly in the summer.

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All in all, it is definitely possible to explore Provence by public transportation – I did all I wanted to do and really didn’t feel like it was particularly difficult. I’m sure it would be easier by car, but with a little bit of planning I had no problems and saw a lot!

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