Avignon to Nimes
Nimes is a historic city with excellent connections to the rest of the county. It’s a popular tourist stopping point, least of all for its incredible ruins still intact. Best of all, it’s easy to navigate by public transport and foot.
On your day trips from Avignon, make the ‘Arena of Nimes’ a top priority. Found in the heart of the city, this extraordinary Roman amphitheatre dates back to AD 70 and is still in operation today. Its bullfighting history is laid bare in the Musée des Cultures Taurines next door. You can easily lose a day studying the many other incredible ruins in the area, such as Maison Carrée and the Temple of Diana.
Consolidating its history into one giant collection, The Musee Archeologique is another unmissable sight. It contains one of the most significant collections of relics in France, including objects from the Iron Age and Roman dynasty to be wowed by.
Avignon to Montpellier
Sand, sea and sights are in store on a day trip from Avignon to Montpellier. Start with the Old Town, its winding streets and café culture make it a pleasant place to walk around. You will get a sense of its history with ornate architecture and Renaissance-style buildings interwoven with modern boutiques popping up. Work your way to City Park where you can see the Saint-Clement Aqueduct built in 1766 and the great statue ‘promenade of Peyrou’. Within walking distance, the 15th-century Montpellier Cathedral is known for its twin conical pillars and stained-glass windows. While one of the best collections of art in the country can be found in Musée Fabre.
A quick 25-minute drive takes you to the coast. Carnon Beach is the closest, although Espiguette is worth the extra trek for picture postcard views, white sand and whimsical windswept dunes.
With a local airport, Montpellier is well connected for further onward travel too.
The direct TER train from Avignon Centre to Montpellier St-Roch takes 1h 9m.
Avignon to Arles
Nothing short of architectural delight, Arles is known for some of the most magnificent buildings and art in the region and is more than worthy of a visit. Its Roman history remains ever-present, especially seen in the Arles Amphitheatre built in 90 AD, where chariot races took place and gladiators once fought. Don’t miss the underground vaults known as the Cryptoportiques, which take you back to as far as 46 BC.
In contrast, the aluminium clad Luma Arles Tower, built by renowned architect Frank Gehry, twinkles in the sunlight, like a rocket-ship taking you to the future! Equally, the Grand Halle brings stylish modern design to the city, showing how far its cultural rebirth has come.
Perhaps most significantly of all, the acclaimed artist Vincent van Gogh resided in Arles in the late 18th century. His mark is still left, not just in the hundreds of paintings he created during his tenure here, but by bringing its sights to a world stage. The Fondation Van Gogh and Musée Réattu, which also contains works from Picasso, are a must-visit.
Located on the ever-beautiful River Rhône also makes Arles an appealing spot for a glass of Rosé wine, along with steak tartar and frites – a local favourite. To explore further, L’agence Vin is a delightful vineyard very close by. Here you can sample all kinds of wine, although it’s mainly known for a glass of full-bodied red.
Take a day trip from Avignon Centre to Arles by train in just 18 minutes.
Avignon to Béziers
Take a step back in time on a day trip from Avignon to one of the oldest towns in Europe. Soak up the sights of this picturesque city by boat on its famous Canal du Midi. This UNESCO protected waterway runs 240km through the city, with cruises available to enjoy at a leisurely pace. For a more upbeat experience, the Fonseranes 9 Locks is great family fun.
Back on land, the Cathedrale Saint-Nazare de Beziers is hard to miss, standing at one of the highest peaks in the city. If not to examine its gothic design, come for sweeping vistas across the skyline.
Unsurprisingly, as one of the largest wine producing regions in the world, there’s plenty of vineyards to explore in nearby Languedoc-Roussillon. Within Béziers, there are several closer options, such as the country retreat of Domaine de la Barthe.
To enjoy the local wine and much more, take the train from Avignon Centre to Béziers in 1h 58m.
Feel inspired yet? For more information about train connections and popular routes in France, check our page about Trains in France.