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Avignon,Arles---3 nights each--too long or not long enough ?

71 year old travelling solo in May---train only no car.

Off to the Riviera then, so time is of the essence.

Posted by
993 posts

We spent 2 nights in Arles and I thought it was enough... I did really like it there!

If you are there when they have the Bull Races in the arena you must go! They may not start until later in the summer though.


Posted by
5684 posts

I spent two nights in Arles last May without a car. Although Arles is really interesting and is most definitely worth visiting, I didn't enjoy basing there or find it that convenient. I day tripped to Avignon and Pont du Gard (both in one day) and like Avignon more than I expected (the Pont du Gard is amazing). Although Avignon isn't as old as Arles and seems more touristy than Arles, Arles seemed dead at night. There were restaurants open in Arles, but not all of them - I felt like I had to hunt for open restaurants especially Monday night. Could be if you were there on a Friday or Saturday night it would be more lively, who knows?

Avignon is a convenient base (by bus) for day trips to Pont du Guard, Uzes, and (by train) to Nimes. Arles to Nimes is also convenient by train.

I guess I would figure out what you want to do and see in the time you have in Provence. I assume you would be doing some day trips from each town and not just staying in each one for three days? I think you'l find Avignon is a more practical base for day trips than Arles, so you might spend one fewer night in Arles, I suppose. I came the opposite direction - from the Riviera to Arles so you can easily get down there by train from Arles.

Posted by
25537 posts

So much depends on what you are interested in, and whether you take side-trips. I used Avignon as my base in that area and side-tripped to St-Remy, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Arles, Villeneuve-les-Avignon (short visit), and Fontaine de Vaucluse (short visit). It would be difficult for me to say how much time I actually spent seeing Avignon itself.

However, Avignon and Arles are about 20 minutes apart by train. Given the hassles in checking in and out of hotels, I would not opt to stay in both places. By consolidating your stays, you might find 5 or even 4 nights enough. If Roman sites are of special interest to you, you might prefer Arles. I quite liked Avignon.

Posted by
3956 posts

Another nod for Avignon as a base. It is a small city surrounding the historic walled core, so it has more choice of accommodations and services. The municipal tourism office can be very helpful, both at its central office and on-line, including substantial ideas for attractions in the region:

Posted by
12154 posts

If you have a car, both are relatively close to each other. You don't necessarily need to use both as a base. There are six days worth of sights within a short drive of either. I based in Arles and was glad I did. Avignon will likely have more transportation connections. Be sure to consider buses; there are more options.

Posted by
5295 posts

The OP is not asking us which of these cities to pick as they are clearly staying 3 nights in each city for a total of six nights. I question staying in two different cities that are so close to each other. I’d pick one of the two and stay six nights in that one place. As time is of the essence, you lose st least half a day switching locations.

Posted by
46 posts

Thanks to all, great advice.

I will take your opinions and base myself in one location only . Maybe trim the stay to 5 nights.

thats why I enjoy this site----lots of travellers experiece to tap into.

Thanks again.


Posted by
742 posts

Solo traveling at 71, I hope I can match you! Just my two cents, it seems like everyone has differing opinions on these two towns. I’d say two nights each is probably plenty. I stayed in Avignon four nights, and was bored to tears. I found it to be kind of dreary place whose own sights are quickly exhausted. It was, however, convenient for sightseeing. The tourist office offers half/full day tours of the major sights in the region, and as a no-car-having traveler I thought it was worth doing. I didn’t stay in Arles, but I found it far more interesting and charming. If you manage it, I highly recommend trying to be there for a market day (Saturday?) Another word of warning, these places SHUT DOWN on Sundays. If you’re around on a Sunday, be sure to have your dinner reservations in order!

Posted by
25537 posts

Without side trips, I agree that 3 nights in either of those places would be very long indeed for me. But people traveling without cars often stay in a base city and take day trips to nearby towns. With that comes the need for staying longer.

Before my trip I had decided I'd probably find Arles more congenial than Avignon, but I could only find affordable lodging in the latter. I found Avignon quite good for wandering around when I wasn't off on a jaunt somewhere else. I encourage veering off the straight path between the train station and the Palais des Papes. I think Rick mentions restaurants on or near the Rue de Teinturiers. What's not to like about a waterwheel?

Posted by
3961 posts

We spent 2 nights in Arles on a tour and felt that was enough to see everything that it offers. If you are interested in affordable table linens our RS guide recommended a shop across from the Roman Amphitheatre.

A couple of side trips along the way to consider is the Camargue and The Pont du Gard. Well worth a day excursion.

Posted by
11294 posts

I spent three night in each in 2006 with no car. I also took day trips to Nimes and Orange. I could certainly have trimmed a night from each, but it was nice to relax a bit (particularly in Arles, which I definitely preferred to Avignon, although Avignon has better connections to other places). The towns themselves are small and don't take long to see, although I did spend some time in museums in Arles.

Make a list of what you must do and want to do in each place, including day trip options. If the Riviera is of more interest to you, you can definitely cut back on your time in Arles and Avignon.

Posted by
2916 posts

I liked Arles, but did not like Avignon. However, for day trips by bus and train, I think Avignon is far better. We stayed in St. Remy for a week w/o a car, and almost all day trips by bus took us through Avignon.