Leaving Your Trip in NIMES

This page offers help (concrete or informational) on leaving your trip. Topics include...

  1. Where you Leave Your Trip (see immediately below)
  2. Our “Access Packages,” designed to help you to do so.
  3. Suggestions on how to time your ongoing travel, whether you are having us arrange it, or doing it yourself.
  4. Service information regarding train travel from your trip end location.
  5. Suggested post-trip visits, especially when these are not geographically obvious, but are rendered economical and convenient by direct rail connections.
  6. Hopefully helpful hints for those setting up their own travel from the trip.

If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.



1. WHERE and WHEN Do You Leave Your Trip?

Your trip disbands on Saturday evening, in Nimes, after a full biking day and a short train ride out of the mountains.  An optional Sunday night extension to ARLES is on offer... see the post-trip visits, below, for details.

If you wish to arrange your own ongoing travel (in other words, you do not want to set up any ongoing travel arrangements through us), a couple of hints regarding ongoing travel are offered at the bottom of this page.  Otherwise...


2. Our ACCESS PACKAGES
as of January 19, 2016

The closest intercontinental airport in terms of travel time is Paris’ Charles de Gaulle.  Barcelona, Geneva and Nice, listed in order of convenience, are all geographically closer, but they take as long or longer to reach.

Our “Access Package” includes a Saturday night hotel in Nimes, and a Sunday ticket to any of the above, or to downtown Paris.  Our London “Access Package” includes a train to London.  Be sure to consult “Service Information,” below, before booking a Sunday flight, to ensure that train schedules to your selected departure point are compatable.


Base (Starting) Access Package Price:  121€.
To see what this means in your currency, look here:  http://www.bluemarble.org/CurrencyConv.html

Availability is generally good until 30 days prior to trip start (order received by us).  This is because we try to hold an allotment of hotel rooms in Nimes until that point, and there are several trains to most destinations, so at least one will generally offer the necessary discount fare code.  On less notice, costs may be higher (in particular, of the rail component).  We will, of course, confirm with you before booking anything if we cannot honor the Access Package price.

Included:

  • A hotel night in Nimes, based on shared occupancy.  Typically, a majority of your past weeks’ travelling companions will also be staying over, and this is a nice evening of reaquainting yourself with civilization after a week in the Cévennes.
  • Breakfast, if you have time / can get out of bed for it.
  • Sunday train tickets from Nimes to any of Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, downtown Paris, Geneva, Barcelona, or Nice.
    Tickets are not refundable or exchangeable once ordered (see below for extra cost first class or flexible tickets).
  • Seat reservations on trains which require them.
  • A printed schedule / itinerary, highlighting any connections.


Options Offered at an Extra Cost (subject to availability)
Prices are in addition to the “Base” Access Package price. 
For a general discussion of train upgrades, see here.  Topics include the relative comfort of 1st versus 2nd class, and different types of accommodation available on overnight trains.

  • Tickets to London.  Add 79€ if you are also purchasing tickets from London at the start of your trip, 109€ if not, or if you prefer a changeable ticket (in 1st class, add 109€ or 149€; 1st class tickets include meal service).
    Add 10€ to any fare for service via Paris (stop-over permitted).
  • Sunday train to Milan:  +39€.  To Madrid, Florence, or Rome:  +79€.
    See below for 1st class upgrades.
  • Flexible (Exchangeable) Tickets.
    To Paris, CdG airport, Geneva or Barcelona:  +22€.  To Nice, +11€.  To all other points within France:  +29€ maximum.  To other non-French destinations: +49€.
    These tickets are exchangeable at any station, on a space-available basis, at any time until the train’s departure, for 5€ if the exchange is made at least 2 days prior to the date of travel, or for 15€ on or the day before the travel date.  Cost of either exchange is 10€ higher if you make it through us (as opposed to going to the ticket counter yourself).  Tickets are refundable less 20% before the train’s departure.
    You may either request tickets to a specific destination on a specific train (in which case seat reservation charges are included in the cost).   Or you may ask for an open travel voucher, which is good for travel to anywhere you choose to go — you may even decide where you want to go locally.  The cost of seat reservations on your chosen trains (typically 5€ / train if you wait on line at the station, 15€ / train if you book through us) will be additional if you do not order them at the same time as the travel voucher.
  • Travel vouchers are available for further trips within France at a cost of 39€ per travel day in 2nd class, 45€ per travel day in 1st class.
    - Vouchers are only available to guests with trains included in both their pre- and post-trip Access Packages.
    - Travel must be in the same class as the Access Package travel.

  • 1st class train tickets (in lieu of 2nd class):
    Tickets are not refundable or exchangeable once ordered (see above for extra cost flexible tickets).
    - 19€ to Nice, Geneva or Barcelona, via direct train only. +10€ if a connection is required.
    - 28€ to Paris, Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, Barcelona; or to Nice or Geneva via connecting train.
    Also applies to “Comfort Couchette” upgrade on overnight trains to Strasbourg or Paris.
    - 45€ to Milan or Madrid (meal service included on the Madrid train).
    - 62€ to Florence or Rome, or to points in Germany / Austria / Denmark / the Czech Republic.
    Trips involving the overnight train to Strasbourg include a “Comfort Couchette” on the overnight train to Strasbourg.
  • Private single room in Nimes:  +31€ / night.
  • Tickets on the Paris airport train, to Charles de Gaulle or Orly from anywhere in Paris.  Follow this link for details.

Alternate Arrangements, in lieu of our usual packages (subject to availability)
Prices are complete (in other words, they are not in addition to the “Base” Access Package Price)

  • Hotel in Nimes (additional nights, or without rail tickets):  60€ for a single bed in a shared room, 89€ private single room, 102€ for a double or twin room.  Prices include breakfast, all taxes, booking charge.
    Shared occupancy rate often available to singles (on the post-trip Saturday night).
  • Saturday evening TGV to Paris or Barcelona (no Saturday lodging):  69€ including seat reservation.
    Tickets are in 2nd class, not refundable or exchangeable once ordered (see above for extra cost 1st class or flexible tickets).  If you choose this option to Paris, we recommend the 7p or 8p trains (3 hours to Paris).  Trying to book an earlier train requires that you rush through a long cycling day, and exposes you to the risk of having to buy a new ticket at full fare should you not reach Nimes in time for your train.  See “Service Information,” below, for details.


3.  TIMING Your Trip

It is possible to rush through the final riding day, but (a) it is a pity, and (b) you cannot compress it completely.  It is 40 hilly kilometers from our final Cévennes hotel to the nearest rail station.  From there you must catch an (infrequent) train to Nimes.  Planning a pre-6p departure (or a flight scheduled to take off before 8p) will effectively take one of the most beautiful days of the trip, and turn it into a bucket full o’ stress.

In addition, Nimes is interesting:  a center of Roman antiquity, 50 times larger than any town you will have seen over the previous week, and in a different climate.  You will not have time to see it on Saturday evening (when the trip arrives). 

If you have the flexibility to do so, try to schedule your departure such that it leaves you time to visit a bit. 

Finally, if you can afford an extra day, after certain trip departures we offer a one-day extension to nearby Arles, one of Provence’s prettiest towns.  Details are below.

Like airplanes, trains from Nimes require reservations.  You must not only tell us where you wish to go, but at what time of day you wish to travel.  Allow ample time to connect to a flight:  the airline is not responsible for train delays, and though these are rare, they can happen.  Moreover, it can take a while to get from train to check-in counter.


4.  Service Information
Schedules are approximate – exact timetables can be consulted at http://www.raileurope.com/index.html
Best trains are mentioned.  Others are slower or have multiple connections.

  • To Paris.  Travel time is 3 hours, Sunday services run at 8a, then hourly from 10a.
    The last Saturday evening train is at 8p.
    To save a hotel night, you may alternatively take the overnight sleeper train in a couchette (dp Nimes at 9p, connect in Narbonne at 10p, arrive Paris 7:30a Sunday morning).
  • To Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport.  Travel time:  3.5 hours, Sunday services at 7:30a, 9:30a, 11a or 1:30p with a connection (adds an hour to the travel time), and 3:30p.
    At other times it is necessary to travel via downtown Paris.
    If you need to, you can reach CDG at 10:30a via a 75€ taxi ride to Avignon, and a 7:30a TGV from there.
    The last Saturday evening train from Nimes is at 5p, which puts undue pressure on the riding day.  If you need to get to the airport Saturday night, consider travelling via downtown Paris.
  • To Nice.  Travel time 4.5 - 5.5 hours, depending on connections.  Sunday services at 7a, 10a, 12:30p..., with one connection.
    The best appropriately-timed Saturday evening train is an express at 8:30p, also with one connection, but an hour faster:  arriving in Nice at midnight.
  • To Geneva.  Travel time is 3.5 - 4.5 hours.  Sunday service is every 3 hours from 7:30a (arrive 12:15p), with one connection. 
    The only appropriately-timed Saturday evening train is at 5:30p, but this puts some pressure on the riding day.
  • To Barcelona.  Trip time = 3.5 hours.  Fast Sunday services at 7a (with one connection, which adds 30 minutes to the trip), 9a, 10a, 1p and 4p.
    The only comfortable Saturday evening train is at 5p, but it puts pressure on the riding day.
  • To Madrid.  Fast Sunday service at 9a (a 6.5-hour trip).
  • To London.  Fast Sunday trains via Lille at 7:30a and 3:30p.  Trip time 6.5 hours.
    Additional services with approximately the same travel time are available via Paris, spread throughout the day.


5.  Suggested POST-TRIP VISITS

Arles.  A beautiful car-free city less than an hour from Nimes. Inspiration to Van Gogh, sight of a preserved Roman amphitheatre, and a delightful place to wander. Spend Sunday morning in Nimes, continue to Arles at your leisure.  Dinner and a hotel night in Arles, and travel onwards on Monday.

Following our spring trip, we offer a “package extension” to visit Arles, including the following.

  • Saturday night hotel in Nimes.
  • Sunday breakfast.
  • Sunday train from Nimes to Arles.
  • Dinner in Arles.
  • Sunday hotel for a nuit en Arles (apologies to Van Gogh).
  • Breakfast Monday morning.
  • Monday train tickets from Arles to any of Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, downtown Paris, Geneva, Barcelona, or Nice.
    Tickets are not refundable or exchangeable once ordered (see below for extra cost first class or flexible tickets).
    Upgrade and other additional travel options are the same as for Nimes, above.
  • The approximate services of our Trip Coordinator (present during your stay).
  • All taxes and booking charges.

Package price is 255€ shared occupancy (guaranteed to singles willing to share), 315€ for a private single room.
Service information for ongoing travel from Arles on Monday is generally similar to service information from Nimes:   add 30 minutes to travel times from Arles to all points other than to Nice, subtract 30 minutes from travel times to Nice.


6. Hints on TRAVELLING INDEPENDENTLY After the Trip
Guests subscribing to an “Access Package” need not read this section.

See also “Timing Your Trip” and “Service Information,” above, as either of these may additionally help.

We gladly provide travel consulting (schedule or routing information) concerning post-trip individual travel.  In particular, we have invested a great deal to become railway experts.  Our service fees are reasonable:  a 20€ charge for all but the most complex projects – or the most simple (for instance, only a 10€ charge applies if the service is limited to the preparation of a routine rail ticket).  You will generally find them well-justified by the time they will save you in research, standing on line, overpaying for your tickets, or all three.

But, for some, this type of research is fun.  So, here are some hints, intended to start off hardened “do-it-yourselfers.”

Trains.  Schedules for all routes can be consulted on this web site:
http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/point_to_point/triprequest.htm

Nimes is served by TGV (high-speed train) to northern France, including direct service to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport.  Main line trains also run to elsewhere in France, Switzerland (one daily TGV), northeastern Spain, Madrid, and northern Italy.  Overnight sleeper trains go to Germany via Strasbourg.  Night trains to Italy and Portugal depart too early for you to be able to catch them on Saturday night.

Planes.  Nimes has a tiny airport, traditionally offering mosquito planes to Paris (the airline has changed three times in as many years, and the route is not served at this writing).  Nearby Montpellier and Marseille both have more service, though only intra-European at this writing.

Ryanair serves London Luton from Nimes.  Other Ryanair airports within two hours by train are Marseille, Montpellier, Béziers, Carcassone and Perpignan.

Train frequencies and travel times to regional airports from Nimes are as follows.
Montpellier, Beziers:  hourly, 30-minute trip to Montpellier, 60 minutes to Béziers, service from 6a.
Marseille:  irregular service runs roughly every 2 hours; a 75-minute trip, service from 8a.   There is one direct train to the airport at 10a.  Allow 90 minutes including the shuttle bus to the terminal.
Carcassone or Perpignan:  irregular, but every 2 hours on average; trip time is 2 hours.  Service from 6a to Perpignan, 7a to Carcassone.


If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.

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