Help with Nimes or Arles

Feb 17th, 2007, 06:19 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 102
Help with Nimes or Arles

I'm going to be driving from Barcelona to Cannes in May and wanted a place to spend the night along the way.

It appears as though Nimes or Arles are about a 4 hour drive from Barcelona (which is about as much as I want to drive in a day).

The idea of seeing some of the Roman architecture in either of these two cities faciniates me. The books describe each in similar profile.

Does anyone have experiences in eithe of these cities? We are looking for a place to spend an afternoon walking around, nice dinner and spend the night before leaving in the morning.


bartorlando is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 05:23 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
Regarding the Roman ruins, Nimes is more spectacular than Arles (and it is a little closer to Barcelona). Nimes has the most intact amphitheater, a wonderful Roman temple (maison carree), almost comletely intact, a beautiful park with some ruins, and - interesting for engineers - a castellum divisorum (freshwater distributor), where the waters from Pont du Gard arrived.

Arles is more a sleepy mid-sized town. The amphitheater is also well-preserved, but IMO a little less than that of Nimes.

You will need 2 or 3 hours to see the Roman ruins in Nimes. Think about leaving Nimes and staying overnight at another place. I suggest: Avignon (grand medieval city with papal palace and the famous bridge), Aigues-Mortes (small medieval city with intact walls at the edge of the Camargue natural park), Les Beaux (ruined medieval village in beautiful landscape with Roman ruins - Les Antiques near St. Remy - nearby).

All these cities have more atmosphere for the evening than Nimes (which is a larger town) and you have the chance to see something different in the morning.

The way to Cannes is easy - all autoroute.
traveller1959 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 2,833
I second Traveller's suggestion, we were in Nimes last September for the fourth time just to drop off our friends to view the Maison Carree & amphitheatre and it took them almost 4 hours to appreciate both because they are real buffs of the roman ruins. Nimes is an inexpensive place to stay when compared to Avignon or Arles. Alternatively you can enjoy the Palais des Papes in Avignon in 2 hours with the modern underground parking just below the palace, add another hour for the bridge to nowhere.

I believe most Americans prefer Arles over Nimes perhaps due to the added Van Gogh history and the fact that it has more roman ruins. We somehow never really enjoyed it because usually it's way too crowded.
We also thoroughly enjoyed Aigues Mortes where the crusaders departed to civilize the barbarians, it's a great wall town. Are you sure you only want to overnight? You're passing thru some great places like Les Baux, St Remy, Aix and the Luberon towns.
DAX is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,384
Arles sleepy? Not in my experience! But that said, I'd choose Nîmes for reasons mentioned, plus it's easier to drive in and out of.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,124
My vote is also for Nimes. I also really liked Aigues-Mortes, and there is plenty there to see and worth an overnight stay.
Wayne is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 248
My vote is Nimes too. There was this little bakery around the corner from this little park that had a statue of a Roman. And I had a Salad, Quiche and drink (it was the lunch special) for like 5 euro's. It was so good, I can't forget it. It was family owned and had a flower store right next door. I also bought My granddaughter the cutiest little outfits there in Nimes. I will get there again someday.
THERESA10 is offline  

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