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Re: Montpellier vs Aix en Provence

We are a family of 4 with 2 young daughters aged 8 and 10 and are considering a one year move to the south of France in the fall of 2010. We are considering a family cultural sabbatical where children will attend school but my wife and I will take courses but take a year off from work. We live in Toronto, Canada. While we know we want to live in the south of France primarily for climate reasons we have no strong opinions on where to live other than preferring a city along the coast - though this is not a must. Marseille is too big as we prefer a city between 100,000 and 500,000 people and have identified Aix en Provence and Montpellier as 2 possibilities. We are curious to understand the following:

- Is there an overwhelming reason why one city is better than the other?
- What are the arguments in favour of each?
- is the cost of living comparable or is one considerably more expensive?
- Is schooling comparable or is there an advantage in one city vs the other?
- How do the 2 cities compare from a safety/crime perspective?
- Weather?

Any commentary on all or any of these or guidance on some resources that compares the cities on these criterias would be helpful.
Thanks to all in advance.
SR
 
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