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Need base for next April-Montpellier?

Simpsonville, South...
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Need base for next April-Montpellier?

We are planning on spending a week or so visiting southern France prior to our cruise which departs out of Barcelona. We will have a rental car so will need a place with parking. We would like to experience a more relaxed atmosphere but still have enough places to purchase food whether we prepare it or is prepared for us. On our must see list is the Pont du Gard and other Roman spots and also the medieval elements of Carcassone. We have a port day from Marseilles so we do not want to go too far east. Would Montpellier be a good place to use as a base for the week? Or are there other towns/cities that would work out better? We also would like to explore vineyards.

We do not have our flights as they are not available. We are possibly looking at flying into Charles De Galle and then taking the fast train to Avignon and renting the car there OR flying to Barcelona and renting the car there and then would be able to return the car to original place to save drop off fees. Price and schedule will determine a lot of this. We will be flying around Easter next year so may need to come earlier to save money on flights. Will that make this part of France more crowded?

Suggestions? Thanks.

Pearl

Montpellier, France
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1. Re: Need base for next April-Montpellier?

Do some research on Sommieres.

It is a medieval market town with full facilities. By car it is 30 mins to Montpellier, Nimes, the Med beach and the Cevennes hills. It is under 3 hrs from Barcelona (40 minutes from Avignon), 12km from the A9 autoroute and 14km from Lunel main line rail station. It is well situated for visiting Pont du Gard & Nimes to the East, Anduze and the Cevennes to the North, Aigues Mortes etc to the South and the A9 or train covers the westerly directions.

Hotels to consider (cheapest first) :

http://hoteldelestelou.free.fr/

http://hotel.delorange.free.fr/intro-e.html

http://www.aubergedupontromain.com

Photos of the area : http://the-languedoc-page.com/photos

Peter

Liverpool
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2. Re: Need base for next April-Montpellier?

Peter's advice is good - unless you actually want to see Montpellier, basing yourself there will just make it difficult for you having a car. If you are based elsewhere and do wish to see the city, you can always drive in for the day or use public transport.

I don't know Sommieres, but it is also well placed for exploring the beautiful countryside around the Pic St Loup. There are other places worth considering too - Pezenas, Lodeve and any of the villages in those areas.

Simpsonville, South...
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3. Re: Need base for next April-Montpellier?

Thank you both for your replies. I finally got a map that has everything together so I can see where the places are. I am looking at VacationRentalByOwner(VRBO) for rentals but I haven't found exactly what we need. Basically we need a clean place that is somewhat central with a 1 bedroom and 1 bath(can be just a shower). I am hoping to prepare some meals to cut down on costs. Suggestions where else to look?

My next concern is where to fly into from the US. Originally I thought about flying into Barcelona and renting the car there but I am not sure one can take a car rented in one country into another. Anyone know? Then I remembered there is a direct flight from Pittsburgh to Paris. We could then take the train to possibly Avignon and pick up a car there. But, we would need to return the car in France. After our week in the Montpelier/Nimes or close area, we would like to spend three or four days in the Carcassonne area before we head back to Barcelona to pick up the cruise. Is there a train that would take us to BArcelona--don't know which station--from Avignon? If there is another station that would be more feasible, please let me know. Also, should one purchase tickets before leaving the US or can one purchase them once in France?

Sorry for so many questions, but I want this figured out before I do the flights. Thanks again.

Pearl

Montpellier, France
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4. Re: Need base for next April-Montpellier?

There is no problem using a rental car across borders. If you collect in one country and drop off in another the drop off charge is high as someone has to recover it.

You can pick up rental cars at all the airports and most larger rail stations.

The TGV goes from Paris to to Avignon in about 2h30m. The track splits - some trains continue towards Marseille and the rest head West towards Nimes, Montpellier and eventually Spain. TGV's to Nimes and Montpellier take around 3 hrs. The dedicated TGV track currently stops at Nimes and there is a small section through the Pyrenees . Search here - http://www.tripadvisor.com/SearchForums?ff=849&geo=187149&scope=2&q=perpignan+tgv&s=D - for info on Perpignan TGV. TGV tickets must be booked in advance. Paris - Barcelona is very slow because you need to change.

There are flights into Barcelona from most European airports and the drive is around 3 hrs to Montpellier on easy main highways (have small change and credit cards ready for toll booths). Flights by Languedoc airport : the-languedoc-page.com/tourism/languedoc-tou…

There are some direct flights with http://www.airtransat.com from Canada into Marseille. Air France has routes from Paris Orly and CDG to Montpellier and Marseille. Another flight possibility is North America to Gatwick, then Easyjet Gatwick to Montpellier. Cheap flights into the Languedoc area : the-languedoc-page.com/tourism/languedoc-tou…

I live near Montpellier and many holiday home owners fly into Spain (often Girona) and pick up a rental car there. Girona had a very good selection of routes with Ryanair and Car Hire, fuel, tobacco and alcohol are cheaper in Spain. Locals pop across the border to do shopping. The border is 99% open - you don't need to stop. Almost like crossing a state line !

Peter

Edited: 21 April 2011, 07:29
Simpsonville, South...
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5. Re: Need base for next April-Montpellier?

I have investigated vacation rentals in three areas: Gallarques which is between Nimes and Montpellier, Uzes, and a place 5 km north of Nimes. Which would be the best of those three to use as our base for a week? We would have a car but would need a safe place to park it. I did look at Sommieres but I could only find hotels and not vacation rentals. Any comments on these three. They are all rentals advertised on VRBO and some here on TripAdvisor. Are there any we should avoid?

Car rentals seem to be cheaper in France from what I have found doing dummy bookings, but will need to sort out all this once flights become available. It is good to know that the trip up from Barcelona would not be that difficult.

Pearl

Montpellier, France
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6. Re: Need base for next April-Montpellier?

Uzes has many restaurants, a major Carrefour hypermarket as well as a mass of small shops, but is a little remote.

Gallargues le Montueux (be careful, there are several Gallargues around) is close to an A9 autoroute junction. It has 3 or 4 restaurants and some basic food shops, but it is close to major supermarkets in Lunel. It is also close to Lunel and Aubais restaurants.

Not sure where 5km North of Nimes might be !

How many people are in the party and do you want cheap, good or excellent accommodation.

I guess you don't need a pool at Easter ?

Peter

Edited: 25 April 2011, 18:16
Simpsonville, South...
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7. Re: Need base for next April-Montpellier?

There will be two of us. We do not need luxurious accommodations but do not want the lowest either--probably middle of the road. We would prefer a queen bed with an adequate kitchen and a decent bathroom (just a shower would be fine). We will have a car so parking is a consideration. WiFi would be a plus but I suppose there are places with WiFi from which we could check email. I will not be cooking all meals there but quite a few. While we are looking to keep costs down as we will be gone almost a month by the time everything is figured out, we do expect clean and comfortable. No, I don't think we will need a pool at Easter.

Thank you for your expertise; it is most appreciated.

Pearl

Montpellier, France
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for Languedoc-Roussillon, Montpellier
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8. Re: Need base for next April-Montpellier?

Self catering in historic town centres tends to be without parking - Hotel & B&B is easier to find.

Some ideas for self catering -

Many villas have an independent apartment ( I know personally that living here generates many friend & family visits ! ). If you could find one within a village with a supermarket and a couple of restaurants it could be interesting. One big advantage of this is the easy parking, and shared facilities.

Spotted these which fit :

leboncoin.fr/locations_de_vacances/195415336…

leboncoin.fr/locations_de_vacances/149586214…

leboncoin.fr/locations_de_vacances/195483228…

There are also apartments on resorts. They have various facilities and a restaurant on site, but also offer self catering. :

leboncoin.fr/locations_de_vacances/182272855…

http://www.jasses-de-camargue.com/Gites.asp

In cities and on the coast, there are many apartments/studfios in purpose built blocks :

leboncoin.fr/locations_de_vacances/190786834…

leboncoin.fr/locations_de_vacances/192353136…

leboncoin.fr/locations_de_vacances/195497051…

leboncoin.fr/locations_de_vacances/195414355…

leboncoin.fr/locations_de_vacances/194912896…

An oddball idea; remote comfortable shepherds house :

the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php…

Basic shopping at St Bauzille de Montmel, supermarkets Sommieres, Quissac, but a nice relaxed base. Owner is Dutch. Parking for 200 cars !

9. Re: Need base for next April-Montpellier?

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