Avignon & Arles questions

Old Aug 21, 06, 11:37 pm
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Avignon & Arles questions

Am planning on doing some S. France exploring next Apr and want to see both places but have a question for those that may be able to help: should I stay, say, 5 nights in Avignon and do a day trip to Arles? Or should I divide up the 5 nights and do 3 in Avignon and 2 in Arles? I can read a map enough to get that the two centres aren't that far apart, but is there enough to see in Arles to warrant more than a day trip to see the Roman amphitheater and Van Gogh sights? Is 5 nights enough time to hit the highlights? I'd love to stay longer but can't afford the time to work in probably any more than 6 nights in the region.

Thanks in advance for any feedback on the subject.
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Old Aug 21, 06, 11:42 pm
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my advice: stay at Avignon. better location and a day-trip to Arles is just fine. there's much to see in that area:

Vaison-La-Romaine
Pont du Gard
Le Luberon Mountains
Nimes

and why not making a day trip to Marseille, see the Vieux Port and take a boat trip to the Chateau d'If ...
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Old Aug 22, 06, 12:21 pm
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Originally Posted by chrissxb
my advice: stay at Avignon. better location and a day-trip to Arles is just fine. there's much to see in that area:

Vaison-La-Romaine
Pont du Gard
Le Luberon Mountains
Nimes

and why not making a day trip to Marseille, see the Vieux Port and take a boat trip to the Chateau d'If ...
Will you have a car or are you taking trains? The Pont du Gard is wonderful, but not the easiest place in the world to get to. We did it from Nimes and while the bus was fairly easy to take from the Nimes train station, the pickup point at the PduG was not the same as the dropoff point and involved a bit of a hike out to the main road (not horrible, but not something to do if you have mobility problems), and a confusing bus schedule left us stranded there for several extra hours. I'm not sure about buses from Avignon, but someone will know.

We did Avignon in the other direction - as a day trip from Nimes - and we wished we had spent some time there.

If you do stay in Avignon and are doing trips by train/bus just get a hotel in the central part of town. The train station is an easy walk.
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Old Aug 22, 06, 12:28 pm
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Drive north to visit Chateauneuf-du-Pape for great wineries and restaurants (like La mere Germaine). Head further N to visit Orange and their spectacular amphitheatre.
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Old Aug 22, 06, 12:58 pm
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Smile My 2-cents

Just my opinion, but you're either an "Arles" person or an "Avignon" person, depending on your personal tastes. If you like more funky, rural Provence mood, then I would stay in Arles rather than Avignon (cheaper too).

From an "arles" person slant -

Here's my fave Arles hotel:
http://www.lecalendal.com/
Room 44 is a great little room I rent that looks over the garden;
Other provence thoughts: (make sure you have a car or motorbike)

The Roman arena in Nimes is better than the one in Arles;
The above poster is right imo: The amphitheater in Orange is amazing; and I always rent a car or moto and drive up to Chateauneuf du Pape & buy wine; (You have to bring home some Chateauneuf du Pape and some Rasteau);
If you can, spend at least one full day in / around Aix-en-Provence;
Make sure to have some soup du poisson with rouille or better yet, some bouillabaisse in Marseilles;

Here is my Arles / Provence travel site (amateur / free only, not a commercial site) with tons of restaurants to hit, pics, and other stuff:
http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/48d21/21c75/

Just my opinion, all the other ones here are good also.

Hope you have a great time. Bon vacance!
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Old Aug 22, 06, 10:35 pm
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Many thanks for the wonderful insights.

I would love many weeks to explore in a leisurely manner the whole south of France, but, alas, only have limited time so will do some more reading and legwork to see how to best divvy up my available time.

Gotta admit, the idea of going bohemian and staying in Arles has it's appeal...
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Old Sep 1, 06, 1:46 pm
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Originally Posted by tcook052
Am planning on doing some S. France exploring next Apr and want to see both places but have a question for those that may be able to help: should I stay, say, 5 nights in Avignon and do a day trip to Arles?
When we did that trip, we made Avignon the base, and drove to Arles, Nimes, Les Baux (sp?...cute hill town) and St Remy.

If you get bored, you can drive to Aix. It has a huge walking district and many shops and cafes. We enjoyed Aix.

Have a great trip!
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Old Sep 1, 06, 5:37 pm
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Originally Posted by milepig
Will you have a car or are you taking trains? The Pont du Gard is wonderful, but not the easiest place in the world to get to. We did it from Nimes and while the bus was fairly easy to take from the Nimes train station, the pickup point at the PduG was not the same as the dropoff point and involved a bit of a hike out to the main road (not horrible, but not something to do if you have mobility problems), and a confusing bus schedule left us stranded there for several extra hours. I'm not sure about buses from Avignon, but someone will know.
When I was in Avignon with my mother and no car, we took one of the Lieutaud buses to the Pont du Gard. For us it turned out to be a simple and convenient (the most important factor for my mother, which is why we didn't consider cheaper regular public transportation) way to get there and back, and the price included admission to the site.
Lieutaud bus trips from Avignon
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Old Sep 1, 06, 5:56 pm
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Was there in July

Bonjour,

I was on a River Cruise this summer on the Rhone and Saone Rivers. We docked in both Avignon and Arles. It was from Lyon to Arles. I stayed 3 days more in Nimes and loved that city.

Of the choice between Avignon and Arles I would pick Avignon. I really enjoyed the atmosphere as I was their during the annual Theater Festival. It is also bigger then Arles. You can get back and forth easily.

I did not have a car and did Pt. du Gard from Nimes. No problem. I speak and understand French enough to get around and I asked the bus driver to please annouce when we arrive at the stop nearest Pont du Gard. He looked at me and said, "You want me to tell you when we get there?' and he had a puzzled look on his face. I found out why. You literally drive into the parking lot of Pont du Gard and would have to be blind not to see it. It is a bit of a walk to the site but you can stop in the museum, theater, etc (all for a fee) The site itself is free.

You can take buses and trains between cities/towns in the area. I took a bus from Arles to Le Baux which was amazing and also a bus to Saint Maries de Mer (sp) You can take the train between Arles and Avignon and the bus also.

As Avignon is larger you have more of a choice of restaurants s you do in Nimes. I liked the shopping best in Nimes and they actually had excellent Roman ruins.

Bon voyage
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Old Oct 3, 06, 11:46 am
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Originally Posted by cruisr
Bonjour,

I was on a River Cruise this summer on the Rhone and Saone Rivers. We docked in both Avignon and Arles. It was from Lyon to Arles. I stayed 3 days more in Nimes and loved that city.

Of the choice between Avignon and Arles I would pick Avignon. I really enjoyed the atmosphere as I was their during the annual Theater Festival. It is also bigger then Arles. You can get back and forth easily.

I did not have a car and did Pt. du Gard from Nimes. No problem. I speak and understand French enough to get around and I asked the bus driver to please annouce when we arrive at the stop nearest Pont du Gard. He looked at me and said, "You want me to tell you when we get there?' and he had a puzzled look on his face. I found out why. You literally drive into the parking lot of Pont du Gard and would have to be blind not to see it. It is a bit of a walk to the site but you can stop in the museum, theater, etc (all for a fee) The site itself is free.

You can take buses and trains between cities/towns in the area. I took a bus from Arles to Le Baux which was amazing and also a bus to Saint Maries de Mer (sp) You can take the train between Arles and Avignon and the bus also.

As Avignon is larger you have more of a choice of restaurants s you do in Nimes. I liked the shopping best in Nimes and they actually had excellent Roman ruins.

Bon voyage

We are boooked on the Peter Dielmann cruise next April that is a RT from Lyon. It will stop in Avignon/Arles etc. Any advise you have will be greatly appreciated.
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Old Oct 3, 06, 12:44 pm
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Just a word of caution as to an April river cruise. We were on the Viking Burgundy which stared in Avignon, last April 14th. The prior boats were not able to do the complete cruise due to river flooding. They did a good portion of the cruise using buses, as the authorities would not alow the boats to carry people.
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Old Oct 3, 06, 1:17 pm
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Originally Posted by rstidolph
Just a word of caution as to an April river cruise. We were on the Viking Burgundy which stared in Avignon, last April 14th. The prior boats were not able to do the complete cruise due to river flooding. They did a good portion of the cruise using buses, as the authorities would not alow the boats to carry people.
Now that would stink.
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Old Oct 10, 06, 6:29 pm
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Arles or Avignon?

I stayed a week in Avignon a few years ago and had no shortage of things to do in town or out of town via easy train or inter-City bus connections. I took separate day trips to Orange and Arles by train, which seems just right for the highlights of those two towns. Also, I took a bus east for a day to a charming town (forgot its name) that has a rest home (or hospital) a short walk out of the town center where Van Gogh lived. I did not go to Nimes because I ran out of time.

In Avignon, the local train station is right next to the intercity bus station and both are just outside the city wall, an easy walk from most Avignon hotels. The Avignon TGV train station, though, is far outside of town. Some arriving trains operate outside the bus service hours for the ride back to Avignon proper. Night arrivals must telephone a cab.
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Old Oct 15, 06, 1:59 am
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Thnaks again for the feedback. Have now booked 6 nights at Hotel Calendal in Arles and will do day trips to Avignon and possibly Nimes. Looking forward to the trip.
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Old Mar 6, 07, 6:32 am
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Provence - is Avignon a good base?

Hi all,
4 of us (two couple) are planning a few days away in Provence, in May.
Mrs. Clubman and myself will spend Friday-Sunday in MRS, and then our friends will join us on Sunday (to Thursday).
I am overwhelmed by the amount of info there is about Provence in general, and want to know if Avignon (or one of the little villages right next to it) would be a good placed to be based during the week.
We will have a car so we plan to do day trips to tour Provence.
I assume there are some good wineries in the area?

Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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