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My Uzès Day Trip Dilemma - North or South

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Jun 1st, 2016, 09:00 PM
  #1
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My Uzès Day Trip Dilemma - North or South

Ok, dilemma might be overstating it, since I don't believe there is a wrong answer.

I had planned to take our day trip to Nîmes checxking out Roman ruins, however after doing further research I have a hankering (must be watching too many cowboy movies) to head north and visit Gorges de l'Ardèche, l'Aven d'Orgnac and La Roque-sur-Cèze.

Your suggestions, as always, are appreciated.

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Jun 1st, 2016, 09:19 PM
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Nimes is interesting, but it is a big city, and except for Les Arènes, La Maison Carrée, and a very pretty park, I am kind of underwhelmed by it. I liked our day trip north of Uzès to Lussan and La Roque-sur-Cèze better. Also another day of lovely scenery is west to St. Guilhem-le-Desert and Le Pont du Diable, on the way.
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Jun 1st, 2016, 09:53 PM
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We'll be staying in the Ardeche for 2 weeks starting June 18. On June 20, we have 10:15 reservations for the newly opened Caverne du Pont d'Arc
http://en.cavernedupontdarc.fr/
We've visited the Gorges de l'Ardeche and Aven d'Orgnac on a prior trip & thought they were both fantastic. I'm not a big fan of Nimes - compared to other cities in the region. So I would vote for the Ardeche.

Stu Dudley
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 04:14 AM
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Nîmes has the very best Roman archeology in France if not the world - an almost completely intact amphitheatre, one of the few fully intact temples and more.

You need half a day for Nîmes, so you can combine it with Pont du Gard.

The Gorges d'Ardeche is just a scenic drive unless you do a canoe or kayak trip - very recommendable, but only for the sportive ones.

La Roque-sur-Cèze is very scenic with the bizarre rocks. Also requires some agility. I also love the small village Montclus on the Cèze (in fact, stayed there once for a week),

So the alternative would be: either archeology or scenery. I am afraid, nobody can help you make your decision because it is up to your taste and mood.
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 05:05 AM
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We were in Uze on Monday as well as Nimes and Pont du Gard. Nimes is certainly worthwhile for its Roman ruins and I suspect has a pretty good market. If you go north you could stop in Orange for its Ruins and could consider visiting CDP if you are into wine.
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 06:58 AM
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I thought you are staying in Pezenas. I think the "next door" Gorges du Tarn and it's various gorge tributaries is much more scenic and interesting than the Gorges de l'Ardeche. Unless you take a canoe, you can only view the Ardeche Gorge from above. In the Tarn, you can actually drive along the river and view if from below, and view it from above also. Lots of castles & interesting villages along the Tarn Gorges. Plus there are many caves in the Tarn Gorges region that are equal to Aven d'Orgnac. Ardeche does have the recently open Cavern, with pre-historic paintings advertised to be the best in Europe.

I believe that I sent you my Languedoc and Provence itineraries - which has stuff about both areas. There are some interesting small villages in the Ardeche region.

Also, except for the Roman Ruins, I found Montpellier to be a lot more interesting than Nimes.

Go Warriors!

Stu Dudley
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 07:12 AM
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I think you have to consider your transit times--Uzes to Nimes is about 40 mins but Nimes to Ardeche or the Pont d'Arc Caverne is about a 2 hour drive.

We were in all of these places in May of this year and we also made a point to visit the Caverne du Pont d'Arc--a fantastic recreation of 34,000 year old cave paintings actually located nearby. It was a must see for me and having been in the Lascaux re-creation as well, I thought this presentation was important--bigger, more slick and very well presented. Its built to service a lot of visitors and because of that suffers a feel of authenticity---still, the paintings and story are breathtaking.

BTW-We picnicked at the Nimes fountains in our journey and exploration of the entire aqueduct--source near Uzes to Nimes--and enjoyed the hike up above the fountains to the Magne, another roman ruin of consequence.
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 07:17 AM
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not sure when your trip is, Tom, but one thing to consider when it comes to the Gorges is the traffic - on the excursion there from the Rhone cruise that I did in May, the guide said that in July and August the traffic is appalling. And as someone up thread said, you can only see the Ardeche Gorge from above i.e. from the road, unless you kayak down it.

Just something to consider.
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 07:41 AM
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It is not precisely right that you can only see the Ardeche Gorge from above. Just before and after the most scenic part - the natural arch - the road comes pretty close to the water. There are pullouts for fantastic foto stops. And you can walk down to the beaches. Actually, these are the beaches where you are picked up after your canoe trip.

We once did the canoe trip. One of the rapids seemed to much for us and we carried the canoe for 100 metres or so. However, there was a buch of young guys who rushed into the rapids which wrecked their (rental) canoe. They had to carry it for kilometres. I do no know what they had to pay for the damaged canoe. Carrying it was punishment enough.

BTW, as often, I find it interesting that opinions can differ so much. I personally find Montpellier rather boring while the grandeur of Nîmes' archeology remains undisputed.

Fully intact temples from Greek/Roman times are a rarity. There is the Jupiter Temple in Dubrovnik (but it is small and tucked to other houses), the Hephaestus Temple in Athens (but in worse condition). The Maison Carrée is Nîmes is the best of all them.

Here are some photos:

http://www.arenes-nimes.com/en/node/1317
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 07:55 AM
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"I thought you are staying in Pezenas."

We have two nights in Uzès and five in Pézenas (late September/early Ocotber). We will see the Pont du Gard on our drive from our place in Bonnieux and drive through the Camargue, visit Aigues Mortes when we travel from Uzès to Pézenas, where we will take trips to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Pont du Diable and numerous other places I have on my list.

Thanks everyone. I shall open a bottle of wine (well, not quite yet...it's not even 8 a.m. here) to ponder my options. Decisions! Decisions!

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Jun 2nd, 2016, 08:16 AM
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>> I find it interesting that opinions can differ .......grandeur of Nîmes' archeology remains undisputed.<<

These two phrases seem to conflict with each other. I'm not as enamored with Roman Architecture as you obviously are. But I like old medieval cities with pedestrian-only streets, lots of outdoor cafes, and large public squares with Belle Epoque architecture.

My wife's Shutterfly book
https://stududley.shutterfly.com/51

Click "full screen"

Gorges du Tarn & Pezenas is in the middle, and Montpellier is at the end.

Stu Dudley
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 10:41 AM
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There are pullouts for fantastic foto stops. And you can walk down to the beaches. Actually, these are the beaches where you are picked up after your canoe trip.>>

mmm - you have to be able to park in one of the "pullouts" [pull ins, surely?] in order to do the admiring, which is one of the problems in high season that our guide told us about.

Fully intact temples from Greek/Roman times are a rarity. There is the Jupiter Temple in Dubrovnik (but it is small and tucked to other houses), the Hephaestus Temple in Athens (but in worse condition). The Maison Carrée is Nîmes is the best of all them.>>

traveller - you have just reminded me of a day that we spent on our cruise that I had entire expunged from my memory; I recall now it because there is also a pretty well intact greco-roman temple right in the centre of the city:

http://www.vienne-tourisme.com/decou...ne-440946.html

Thank you!
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 11:07 AM
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My favorite restaurant in the Camargue.
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/france/arles-the-camargue
We stayed in Aigues-Mortes, a regularly visited Bonnieux.
Market day is wonderful in Uzes (Saturday)
The drive is lovely through the gorge of Tarn
St Guilhem is charming. You've chosen my favorite places.
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Jun 3rd, 2016, 02:39 AM
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Thank you for link to Vienne, Annhig. Vienne is often overlooked because it is on route between Paris and Provence.

Interestingly, you do not find the best Roman archeology in Rome but often in provincial towns where they have been better preserved than in Rome.

And Provence is especially rich in Roman archeology, partly because it was a flourishing Roman province, partly because it was half-abandonded after Roman times so that many buildings remained, among them the best-preserved amphitheatre at all in Nîmes and the temples in Nîmes and Vienne.
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Jun 3rd, 2016, 06:47 AM
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I prefer cities over temples & monuments, so I like exploring Ostia Antica, Pompii, and Herculaneum in Italy.

Stu Dudley
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Jun 3rd, 2016, 10:39 AM
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Have you been to Orange, traveller? I seem to remember that the arena there is pretty special - I once performed in it [in an earlier life] with a choir that I was in.
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Jun 3rd, 2016, 12:05 PM
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L'Aven d'Orgnac is absolutely amazing--and presented in a very French style.
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Jun 3rd, 2016, 12:54 PM
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Because I am a good husband (well, 73% of the time anyway) I let Tracy decide. She is leaning toward L'Aven d'Orgnac at al. Thanks.

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Jun 4th, 2016, 07:42 AM
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"Decisions! Decisions!"

We agree. So many choices!!! We've combed through so much info to plan a few day trips from Avignon, Nice, and in the Dordogne. We appreciate all the ideas shared by Fodorites, including your TR.

Fortunately, it appears that there are no wrong decisions. We'll probably obsess a little more about which is good, better, best for us, confident that we'll enjoy whatever. Sounds like you guys are doing the same. Good luck!

Go CAVS!
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Jun 4th, 2016, 07:58 AM
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Ah, Orange! Orange has no amphitheatre. But it has one of the best-preserved socalled "Greek" theatres.

Maitaitom, whatever Tracy decides for, it will be a good choice!
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