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Nimes or Arles, with beach trip

Western Mass
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Nimes or Arles, with beach trip

Hello everyone,

I will be traveling with my 2 girls, ages 9 and 14, from Paris for 4 nights (3 1/2 days) at the end of June. It took a while for me to decide which side trip from Paris... there are so many fantastic possibilities!

I have settled on Nimes or Arles. Whichever one we stay in, we'll also visit the other one. I am very interested in artists, so I want to go on the Van Gogh trail in Arles. We also want to see the Roman sights in Nimes.

The girls would like to visit the beach (and being so close to the Mediterranian, who can blame them?)

So, I am trying to decide which town to stay in: Arles or Nimes. I have the the guidebooks about both of them, but can't decide.

Is one or the other more relaxing? More interesting to stroll around in?

What about the beach trip? I am thinking of Les St Maries in Camargue, or is there a better option? I thought the town there looked different, and maybe we would see some interesting landscape and perhaps the horses, from the bus.

I do not want to rush around too much. I want to have a relaxed time with the kids, carefully planning to allow for interesting experiences, while also allowing plenty time for serendipitous events.

We are definitely on a budget. If we stay in Nimes, I am thinking of Premiere Classes Nimes Center on rue de la Republique. (46 euro for all 3 of us) My only concern with that: is this a safe place for a mom and 2 kids to be walking in the evening?

It seems like the r/t from Paris on train will cost about $50 more to Arles. However, then we'll have a shorter trip to the beach I think.

Thank you so much for any input!

Paris, France
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for Paris, Loire Valley
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1. Re: Nimes or Arles, with beach trip

There is a train from Nimes to le Grau du Roi which takes about 30 minutes. The Grau du Roi train station is about a 5-7 minute walk from the beach which is very sandy. There also is an aquarium worth visiting next to the beach and a miniature golf course next to the aquarium.

The restaurants here are very inexpensive and serve a good amount of seafood. There is also an excellent Creperie owned and operated by a former professor from Brittany. Info here:


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for Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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2. Re: Nimes or Arles, with beach trip

How are you planning to travel around once you reach Provence, and, aside from visiting the beach, what are you interested in seeing?

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for Grasse
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3. Re: Nimes or Arles, with beach trip

Arles also has fine Roman ruins: the intact arena, the Roman theater, and the Alyscamps (an avenue bordered by sarcophagi). There are also good museums, including one on Provençal life and costume that we found extremely interesting. For contemporary interest there's the very large outdoors market on Saturdays.

Nîmes is actually in the area of the Gard, and with Roman ruins on your list you won't want to miss visiting the Pont du Gard, an ancient aqueduct that is really stunning.

You'll have something of a drive to get to the beaches if you're staying inland, but a trip to the scenic and strange Camargue would be fun: wild bulls, white horses, pink flamingos, and more.

Edited: 01 April 2010, 04:25
Montpellier, France
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for Languedoc-Roussillon, Montpellier
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4. Re: Nimes or Arles, with beach trip

Some bus info :




Western Mass
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5. Re: Nimes or Arles, with beach trip

Thank you all! I decided to stay in Nimes, because the trains just worked out better for us. We plan to visit Arles anyway, because I'm interested in Van Gogh. We won't have a car. The camarauge and the beach there sounds really interesting, but it seems easier to take a day trip to Grau Roi (thanks for the suggestion!)

I originally booked in the Premiere Classes hotel in Nimes, but changed to the Hotel du Provence. It just seems a lot more central and atmospheric for a small increase in price.

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6. Re: Nimes or Arles, with beach trip

Hi Mass. Mom,

I am going to Nimes end of July. I would be very interested in hearing about your trip with the girls. I am going with my 10 yo son by train also. Would appreciate you coming back to forum with feedback.


Illinois mom

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7. Re: Nimes or Arles, with beach trip

Please please please wear something on your feet at all times on the beach (beach shoes can be bought in the big supermarkets).

Last time I was down at St Maries we found freshly broken glass from beer bottles in the sand. This is even though the beach cleaning machine had covered the area. We took photo's and showed the Tourist information office, but they were indifferent.

I suppose i'm more wary than the average person given I have had to get the sole of my foot stitched because of this, and let me tell you, that ain't a thing you want to go through.

8. Re: Nimes or Arles, with beach trip

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