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Arles or Nimes?

We'll be in Provence for a few days this spring and we're wondering which city we should see. If it makes a difference, I've seen a fair share of Roman ruins in Italy, Turkey and even Switzerland. We're also not into art, so the Van Gogh sights aren't a massive pull. I'm a photographer and we both love food (prefer neighborhood restaurants vs super fancy Michelin starred restaurants. Recommendations on which to choose?

Posted by
11294 posts

I liked them both a lot, but slightly preferred Nimes. Even if you've seen other Roman sights, the audioguide for the Arena in Nimes has lots of information I hadn't heard elsewhere. The Nimes arena is also much closer to being intact than most others (including the one in Arles).

Posted by
11613 posts

I've been to both and preferred Nimes as a base (I went to Arles and Orange as daytrips, as well as to the Pont du Gard). At the Pont du Gard, you can raft down a portion of the river (great photo ops of the acqueduct) but I think you need to arrange this in advance (hotel can probably help with this).

Posted by
782 posts

They are both nice. We went to Nimes this summer and really enjoyed the free audio guide at the Nimes Arena, as someone else mentioned above. If you are fascinated by the gladiators and their varied uniforms/weaponry, you'll love it. Other than the arena, however, the other sites in Nimes weren't terribly exciting; we opted to head to Pont du Gard, which was wonderful to see. If it's warm enough you can swim in the river beneath the aqueduct. That's what we did, it was great!

Posted by
122 posts

Definitely see both. We stayed in Arles and loved it.

Posted by
2916 posts

We've stayed in both and liked both. If you have a car, there is probably more of interest to explore from Arles than from Nimes.