Subject: Advice on Lyon and Marseille
Group - I am seeking some planning advice for a planned two week trip to France at the end of October. I plan to spend about 9 days in the Provence area and 5 days at the end of the trip in Paris.

While I prefer to travel without an itinerary, I am forced to plan part of the trip in advance. I am seeking advice about Lyon and Marseille. I have read Don & Linda's travelogue about both cities, but they have only added to my list of questions.

My wife generally prefers visiting smaller cities and rural areas over urban centers. For that reason part of the trip will be by car, although Don's advice is to just use public transportation. Recognizing that this is a subjective area, I would like some input on choosing between the following itineraries.

One is - upon landing at Charles de Gaulle to immediately take the train to Lyon - spend a day or two and then take the train to Avignon - rent a car and explore the Luberon and other areas of Provence before returning to Paris by train. (Omit Marseille).

Second is - upon landing take the train directly to Marseille. - Spend a few days and then rent a car and drive up to Aix-en-Provence - on to the Luberon - then Avignon - leave the car and go to Paris by train. (Omit Lyon).

Third is - take the train directly to Avignon - rent a car and see the area around Avignon, Arles, Nimes, and the Luberon. (Skipping Lyon and Marseille).

Your information and advice will be appreciated.