Avignon or Arles?

We are planning a trip to France in May, arriving in Nice and leaving from Paris. We have 2 nights to spend in Avignon/Arles area, but are not sure where to stay. Any advice or recommendations?

Posted by shirley
Toronto, Canada
296 posts

Do you have a car or are you travelling by train? If you have a car, then it's less important where you stay. Ease of parking might be the most important consideration. I lived in Arles for a month a few years ago and enjoyed it. I recommend the archeological museum and the Roman arena in Arles. Since I love Van Gogh, I also liked finding the places around town where he painted and seeing them for myself. The town has placed copies of the paintings in the spots around town where he painted so you compare the real thing today with Van Gogh's paintings. Unfortunately there are no Van Gogh paintings in Arles. In Avignon, I liked the papal palace. Avignon is definitely larger than Arles. Arles can be quiet at night although there are certainly plenty of good restaurants in town. If you are travelling by train, I suspect that Avignon is easier. The TGV goes from Avignon to Paris (albeit from its own station in Avignon). If you stay in Arles, you may have to contend with more transfers or slower trains.

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6733 posts

We see this question occasionally, Half of us who have stayed in the either of the two citiies have stayed in Arles. The other half have stayed in Avignon. We stayed in Avignon. The last sentence on your question nicely summarizes the trains there.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

As a town, I preferred Arles to Avignon, but I agree that Avignon probably has better transit connections (without a car, that is). My favorite place in the region was Nimes.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2612 posts

You say the Avignong/Arles area... does that mean anywhere in the area... or only a choice between the two. I prefer Arles because it is smaller, but I always have a car. But... if you are looking in the whole area my favorite place to stay is St. Remy.

Posted by steven
white plains, ny, usa
650 posts

Kate , As Larry says ,it's a 50-50 split . We also stayed in Avignon ,and loved it . We had a car which made seeing the sites very easy . I'm sure that you'll have more suggestions than time , but I'll share one of our experiences . One day we visited Les Baux in the morning ,and in the latter part of the afternoon ,made our way to St. Remy . We parked close to the center and walked up the Rue Pasteur where it becomes The Avenue Vincent Van Gogh . we followed the signs along the very roads that Van Gogh walked during his sojourn there , As in Arles , as Shirley points out , there are reproductions at the locations where he painted . We eventually arrived at St. Paul Mausole , the hospital where he was recovering from his infamous accident. Seeing the cloisters , his room and other pertinent things was quite an experience . As Terry Kathryn says , St. Remy is wonderful .