S. France - overnight destination
November 16, 2011 10:44 AM   Subscribe

Overnight Trip (from Paris) without a car -- which would be better: Avignon or Nimes? We will be on foot, staying just one night, and are into history, archeology, museums, good food. If one not better than the other, what differences should we know about?
posted by nancoix to Travel & Transportation around Lorient, France (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Avignon! Palais des Papes (with the audio guide!) and a walk through the gardens is a great day.

Food: Christian Etienne. Make a reservation sooner rather than later if you can.

If you want a little less formal, La Fourchette.
posted by spec80 at 11:20 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd lean toward Avignon of the two (smaller and more charming, for me), but gosh, they are both more than 400 miles from Paris. I hate to think that you'd have so little time in either because of show long it'd take just to get there and back. It'd be like going from Minneapolis to Kansas City for the night, you know?

Would you consider other cities that are closer, like Chartres, Reims, Orleans, or Tours (and some of the Loire Valley chateaux nearby), or even Mont St. Michel? Heck, even Brussels or Bruges would be less than half the distance to Avignon/Nimes.

Could you give a little more info on what is drawing you to Avignon/Nimes in particular?
posted by argonauta at 11:21 AM on November 16, 2011

Response by poster: More Info: This will be in December, so we wanted someplace warm. We will take the super-fast TGV train (3 hours to Avignon). We will tour the Loire Valley separately. Thanks!
posted by nancoix at 11:34 AM on November 16, 2011

The TGV rules! I think you'll love Avignon, given your interests. And seconding La Fourchette!

[I hate to be the cold-water-thrower, but for what it's worth, I'm afraid you won't find much more warmth there, unfortunately: the average temps in December are 3-7oC in Paris and 3-10oC in Avignon. But it's still wonderful! Hope you have a fantastic trip.]
posted by argonauta at 11:54 AM on November 16, 2011

Avignon is directly on the TGV lines that run Paris > Lyon > Marseille, so it should be easier to get to.

Papal Palace is okay for what it is--it's huge, but history has stripped it of a lot of the original interiors and stuff. Basically a big monster stone castle. Avignon on its own merits is perfectly nice, though, lots of small museums and things to explore. Should make for a perfectly lovely quick getaway.

I personally think Nimes is awesome, but it's probably not as direct to get there compared to Avignon. Consult your train schedules, etc. for details. However, Nimes is packed with lots of Roman vestiges and monuments, so if that's an interest, it might win out on that alone.

I think you'd enjoy either one.
posted by gimonca at 3:18 PM on November 16, 2011

Nthing Avignon! The Palais des Papes is an incredible visit for the history (it's very well-documented, the handheld tour things are great to rent), its gardens are indeed beautiful, and there's also the pont d'Avignon (bridge), which inspired a well-known song that is now stuck in my head just like it is for everyone in France who knows it, sigh.

Nîmes is great too, yes, worth a visit, but if you have to choose between it and Avignon, then I'd definitely go with Avignon.
posted by fraula at 9:41 AM on November 17, 2011

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