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Traveling to Provence , a few tips and recommendations.

Car rental. renting a car on arrival can be much cheaper than driving your own car. If the one you rent breaks down you can get a replacement car. Packages combining flights, car rental and accommodation can be very good value, or you can rent a vehicle for part of your stay from major rental companies at airports or in main towns and resorts.Most car companies require that you are over 21 and that you have a clean driving record.

By  car. Using your own car can have its own advantages : you can bring more luggage and see more of France and take home more souvenirs and gifts. Emergency breakdown insurance is also advisable: consult your insurer or motoring organization.

Taxis.

Taxis are reliable and use meters but are not flagged down on the street – you have to find one at a taxi rank, book by phone, or ask your hotel or restaurant to call one for you.

City Transport.

France has the best public transport in Europe and getting around the region’s major cities by bus, tram or (in Marseille) metro presents few problems. Fares are integrated , so a single ticket can be used on any combination of transport for one hour. Day passes and books of tickets are also available.

Train.

From Marseille, rail lines run west to Arles and Nimes, north to Aix and Avignon and east to Monaco and Nice. TER ( regional express trains) , they operate an inland route from Nice to Dignes-les-Bains.

Inter- city Bus.

Inter-city buses supplement trains between major cities. Quite a few companies operate from long-distance bus stations ( gares routieres) in cities or larger towns.Smaller villages and rural towns are not well served by buses, many villages have no service at all.

Cycling.

The best way to explore Provence. Mountainous regions may be only for the super- fit but there are easier rides in the lowlands, along the coast and in the Camargue. Mountain bikes ( velos tous terrains or VTT) can be hired in all major towns and resorts ( tourist offices have lists) and marked cycle trail ranging from demanding to totally relaxed. Eco- friendly free cycle schemes, like velo in Marseille are springing up in towns across the all region.

Walking trails.

Provence is a beautiful walking country, offering guided or marked walks through historic cities and coastal paths, sentiers balises (local trails) and sentiers de grande randonnee ( long -distance hiking tracks),part of a network that crosses France. Maps and guides are available from tourist offices.

On Horseback.

Horses can be hired by the day or for longer, with or without a guide, on gentle or more demanding trails. The Camargue is ideal if you want to visit it on a horse.

Yachts and cruisers.

The Riviera is prime sailing country and every kind of vessels, from small yachts and catamarans to fully crewed motor cruisers, can be chartered out of marinas including Nice, Cannes, St-Tropez, Antibes and St-Jean.