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Staying put with kids - Nimes? Arles? Montpellier?

Staying put with kids - Nimes? Arles? Montpellier?

Jul 13th, 2019, 07:32 PM
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Staying put with kids - Nimes? Arles? Montpellier?

Hi!

My first post...looking for some general advice, please.

My wife and I are experienced travelers, but this next March will be our first overseas trip with both children. One will be 7, the other 5. The girls are pretty active and will want to move around and explore (as will we). We know we want to be in the Southern France area, and intend to stay in the same spot for about 10 days, spending some days exploring the local town and others on day trips to other nearby villages. I lived in Napoli for 2 years and appreciate the joy of getting to know various small towns through extended stays; we are hoping for the same on this trip.

We are currently considering Nimes based on a recommendation, but neither of us have been there or spent much time west of Toulon. I ask for thoughts regarding "the best" towns in near the Languedoc-Provence border (Nimes, Arles, Montpellier, etc.) with lots of park space and closed streets (i.e., kid-friendly) that may warrant at least a couple of days of wandering and also are centrally-located to support day trips.

Small ask, I know...thank you!!

-HawaiItalian
HawaiItalian is online now  
Jul 13th, 2019, 10:03 PM
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Arles would be my choice.

and other pictures around this one.
Michael is online now  
Jul 14th, 2019, 07:04 AM
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Will you have a car?
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Jul 14th, 2019, 09:42 AM
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I thought Nimes was kind of dull myself, but it could well indeed be a good place for a base, these are probably two different things. I think it probably did seem easier to drive in and more level. I think it could be better than Arles as an easy place to stay and drive out of. I haven't been to Arles in years but wasn't that enamored of it, myself, I wouldn't call it kid-friendly in the center due to the topography. Nimes has a very nice big park near the amphitheatre (Esplanade CDG), but I think the part of Arles that has a big park (Jardin d'Ete) is not in the area a day tourist goes (which is just mainly between the gare and the arena). And that part is closer to a main road, so probably someone who has stayed in Arles and used a car for day trips would be best suited to answer that.

I liked MOntpellier better but it's a much larger city so very different experience. Arles is the smallest, Nimes a bit bigger so maybe a good compromise. Montpellier is nice but I don't know where you are staying. I wouldn't want to stay near the center and drive in/out every day myself, probably.

I suspect you may not know how big these are when you call them small towns, maybe look that up. I think Montpellier is around 500K.
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Jul 14th, 2019, 01:42 PM
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https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=kid...c=Uzs%2C+Gard

A couple of years ago, a family stayed in Uzes and posted on Fodor’s about how much they liked it.
Sassafrass is online now  
Jul 14th, 2019, 02:06 PM
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I would stay in Avignon. Much better location for exploring Provence than your 3 choices. And it has better public transportation options. I'm kinda with Christina about Nimes & Arles. We've visited Nimes 3-4 times & I've always felt underwhelmed. Arles is better - but we much prefer Avignon. We're fans of Montpellier - but it is not centrally located in Provence and it is difficult to get in & out by car. We've spent 22 weeks vacationing in Provence, 21 along the Cote d'Azur, and 14 in the Languedoc.

Stu Dudley
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Jul 14th, 2019, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
A couple of years ago, a family stayed in Uzes and posted on Fodor’s about how much they liked it.
My question about a car was exactly that, to suggest Uzes if you will have a car because, though I used a bus to get there & away, there aren't many & you'd need a car for what you're planning. The whole center of town is pedestrianized and would be fun & safe for kids. The town isn't big, though everything you need is there including a variety of restaurants. Parking shouldn't be an issue, especially if you stay on the edge of town, still an easy walk to the center. I loved it there, much more than Avignon where I was before & after Uzes.

Last edited by MmePerdu; Jul 14th, 2019 at 03:30 PM.
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Jul 14th, 2019, 04:14 PM
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>> Uzes.... Parking shouldn't be an issue, <<

Except on Saturday - market day. Smaller market on Wednesday - but still a tad difficult to park in the AM. Uzes is a gem - but small.

Stu Dudley
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Jul 14th, 2019, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by StuDudley View Post
. . . Saturday - market day. Smaller market on Wednesday - but still a tad difficult to park in the AM. Uzes is a gem . . .
If they stay in Uzes they'll already be parked, will either walk around and leave the car where they parked the night before, or leaving, not looking for parking in the morning. If they stay on the edge they may very well find a place with parking included.

Also, though not a large town as in Avignon-sized, it is a comprehensive town, not a village. I found it a perfect size and then there's the markets, as you say.

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Jul 14th, 2019, 06:11 PM
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Thank you all for the quick responses and ideas!

MmePerdu StuDudley We WILL have a car; I've heard we should be able to arrange weekly parking with our VRBO/AirBNB landlord. I hadn't considered Avignon and was initially concerned Uzes may be a bit too small, but we will take a look at both of them.

Christina You're right about size, I hadn't researched the actual population of Montpellier...I think that will be too big for us!
HawaiItalian is online now  
Jul 14th, 2019, 07:05 PM
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We stayed a week in a tiny house in Arles. We loved it, especially the market and a wonderful little bakery. It has nice parks, toy store and carousel. It was very convenient to use busses and trains to many other places like Avignon and Les Baux. People were super friendly. However, maybe it was just the time of year (Fall), but it seemed a bit gray and not as pretty as other places.

Other towns have parks and carousels too and other posters with kids find Uzes to be pretty. That is why I mentioned it.

Probably not a fair observation as I was there only one day, and there is no particular reason, but Avignon, while nice and certainly convenient, did not seem as special as Arles or, my favorite, Aix. Too bad Aix is not convenient because it is beautiful and magical.

Your kids might enjoy a visit to Aigues Mortes and The Camargue.
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Jul 15th, 2019, 06:57 AM
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Not sure about stuff for kids, but Aix was a great fave of DH's and me. Our hotel -- https://www.aquabella.fr/en/ -- has a pool (naturally heated), a resto, a spa, the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in, and a parking garage (private? don't know) within steps.

Les Halles in ​​​​​​Nimes is fabulous as are the areas around the colosseum and oldest part of the city with the Maison Carree.
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