From Paris Take the TGV train from Gare du Lyon to Avignon(2.5 hours). Or a direct flight to Marseille. If you are arriving at Charles de Gaulle and wish to avoid Paris, there is a train station there in Terminal 2. Once you arrive in Avignon or Marseille, pick up your rental car -- we recommend small to midsize to help navigate streets and minimize expensive fuel costs.
Packing Pack casual and lightly, especially if you are taking trains which can be a hassle with large luggage. Provence is a very casual place -- leave the coat and tie at home unless you're planning fancy restaurants or a trip up to Paris. Be sure to bring a jacket and sweater for layering, plus a raincoat.
Weather Provence has a Mediterranean climate, warm from mid-April to mid-September and often into October. It can be warm as early as February or as late as November, yet we once wore sweaters to a July Bastille celebration -- the famed Mistral wind can be fierce. There is also rain in all seasons, but it is usually sunny in Provence.
The Language Bien sûr! Brush up on your French, but don't worry if you aren't fluent as villagers will normally respond to pointing, hand gestures and smiles. Do be sure to start every interaction with "Bonjour" (hello) and end with "Merci" as the French consider these essential to all interactions. There are countless language books on Amazon* and apps available for your phone. For those in Portland, check out the small classes at French Community of Portland or Alliance Française; the latter has offices in many American cities.