Avignon or Arles?

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Jun 5th, 2012, 05:07 PM
  #1
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Avignon or Arles?

We are travelling from Barcelona to either Avignon or Arles or maybe Nimes (unless anyone has a better idea). We are planning to be there 3 or 4 days. We are hoping to do some sort of wine tour one day. Would either of these be a good central location? If so does anyone have a preference? Also any good ideas for hotels?
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Jun 5th, 2012, 05:46 PM
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I prefer Avignon over Arles. More stuff to do & see. Avignon is more centrally located, and if you're not going to have a car it has better transportation options also. I'm not a fan of Nimes - compared to the other two plus Aix.

Stu Dudley
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Jun 5th, 2012, 06:00 PM
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Thanks. We are thinking about a car, but we are a little worried about driving. Also, what did you mean about Aix...yes, or no?
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Jun 5th, 2012, 06:05 PM
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Why worried about driving? Superb roads...brilliant signposting... disciplined and consistent motorists...manageable distances: What's not to like?
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Jun 5th, 2012, 06:12 PM
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Thanks. Is a drive from Barcelona to Avignon out of the question, or would we be better off taking a train or flying and then renting a car?
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Jun 6th, 2012, 12:02 AM
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Here are a few wine suggestions, at least where to start:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-question.cfm

Avignon is a great location, but central to what? Are there places you would like to visit that you had in mind?
Avignon itself has a lot to see, some fine restaurants, the Palais des Papes at night....and a beautiful setting.
Google chateauneuf du pape, Gigondas, Vaison la Romaine....
We had dinner at a fabulous restaurant called Les Florets in Gigondas after a day of touring the area. It was a bit of a drive back to Avignon after that, but worth every bite of foie gras
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Jun 6th, 2012, 12:04 AM
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Mmmm. Think I need to go back to Provence....
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Jun 6th, 2012, 12:36 AM
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I'd choose Avignon ahead of Arles.

As to driving, expect about 4-5 hours non-stop, mainly on autoroutes,so easily do-able in a day . . . as long as you are happy devoting the best part of the day to the drive. ViaMichelin suggest that you would spend 84 euro on fuel & tolls and if you have a rental car you need to be aware of drop-off fees outside the country of rental.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 04:59 AM
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1. Take the train across the border and rent a car in France to avoid expensive drop off fees. I hate driving in Northern Italy but have had no problems in the South of France, though, mind you, I have not driven any of the Corniche roads.

2. I like Arles and Avignon both, for different reasons, and Aix as well, for even more reasons.

I am a sucker for Roman stuff, and the arena and theatre at Arles are wonderful. If you can rent the movie "Ronin" there are action-filled chase/shootout scenes set there. I also like finding Van Gogh's locations, and there is a very good, slightly dusty, museum of Provencal history.

Avignon has city walls, the Palace of the Popes, extensive vistas over surrounding country, a wonderful museum of Quattrocento Italian painting, and is a real small city with shopping and a university.

Aix is a larger city, but the center is mostly pedestrian. It has wonderful markets, lots of streets to explore, good places to eat, one of Europe's signature streets, the Cours Mirabeau, and its own university, seemingly populated entirely by beautiful girls. Cezanne was raised here and had a studio, and there are tours from the tourist office to surrounding towns if you haven't got a car.

Recent reports suggest that much of what you might go to Nimes to see is surrounded by scaffolding.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 08:40 AM
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Stay in either, but definitely see both. I don't think there's a choice between Arles and Avignon- I think you have to see both.

Taking the train from Barcelona saves you hours of driving, plus a lot of money because of international dropoff fees. Avignon has better train connections than Arles.

I would never discourage anything having to do with wine, but unfortunately I do not think you have enough time for a wine tour.
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