Strasbourg to Nîmes via train - From Munich to Spain to France - CycleBlaze

April 27, 2024

Strasbourg to Nîmes via train

Another Long Day on the Train

Bonjour from France where we are now holed up in a B and B to weather the storms in the region. This morning we had a scheduled, long (5 and a half hour) train ride from Strasbourg to Nimes. We were on the only direct train between these two cities and the train only takes two bikes so I booked this on the day the route opened up earlier this winter. The Strasbourg train station was packed and every train running south was fully booked through the weekend. We think it’s because May 1 is a holiday.

I was pretty bummed about our change in plan. I was excited to ride the Tarn Gorge — after seeing so many cycle blazers do so — and the change in plan means we will not ride the most iconic bits of it. Our change of plans also meant we had to add a train ride between Nimes and Millau (with a change in Beziers) — never a welcome issue for us. The SCNF train booking site is finicky, and I spent quite a bit of time trying to book the tickets and convincing SCNF to take our credit card, or our debit card, or our Apple Pay, or honestly, our first born….  I had to hand over the tablet to Dave to work through the options and finally SCNF took our money and I THINK we have reservations that will allow us to take our bikes to Millau.  This is the first trip where we have used French trains with our bikes so I am still working through the little tricks. 

The good news about the change in plans is that we were able to cancel two nights in Saint Roman and Meyruis without penalty. When Dave called the auberge in Saint Roman the owner said he was going to call and tell us not to come because the weather was so atrocious and they would worry about us on the road! So, I guess we made the right decision…..

The travel travel to Nimes went smoothly, aided by Train Travel Tip No. 1 - always ask multiple people if you’re on the right train. We were directed to platform 4 and when we got there, there  with a big crowd but we were told to go further down the track to ANOTHER train at track  4. How we should know that from the signage I don’t know but we successfully boarded our bikes and ourselves in what was a full carriage. The train was an older one - pretty worn — but the two lone bike slots worked okay.  The ride went fast; train travel is actually pretty soothing when you’re not stressed out about the bikes!

We arrived more or less on time in Nimes. On our ride away from the station we encountered a protest supporting the Palestinian’s in Gaza. We enjoyed a super fun lunch at a cafe right by the Nimes Arena. (The Arena just dominates this fascinating city.) We love French food and I savored my first Salade Chevre of the trip along with a half pichet of rose. We were able to sit outside and  watch the action.  It wasn’t crowded and what tourists there were seemed to be local.  Afterwards we made our way to our inn — Antichambre — close to the Arena. We met our host - Jean-Luc - and dropped our panniers and bikes off to go do some sightseeing as we couldn’t check in until 5 pm. (As an aside I need to watch for that when I book - 5 pm check in is too late for us and a few times it’s been super inconvenient.)

A spirited but well behaved protest greeted our arrival.
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Jill looking forward to having a chevre salad while enjoying the view of the arena.
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We toured the arena, and visted the tourism office for an interesting presentation on the history of Nimes presented in a geographical display. This town's early history is steeped in Roman influences and much of what there is to see and do here involves seeing those influences which have been well preserved. The arena which is modeled on the Colosseum in Rome is an excellent example. 

The building has been well restored to give visitors a sense of what the place might have been like 2 millennia ago. When we visited, there was a rehearsal going on for an upcoming May Day Roman festival. There's a cell phone audio guide which we thought was pretty lame. We quickly abandoned it in favor of wondering around on our own. We were treated to excellent views of the city from the top row of seats. There's a decent museum inside which gives a pretty thorough description of the gladiators that fought there along with an overview of how the arena hosted the games and other ceremonies. It was definitely worth visiting and given the weather forecast for the next couple of days was going to be pretty grim, we were glad to have seen it on our arrival when things were still dry, although a stiff mistral wind was a harbinger of the changes in weather to come. 

Rehearsals are going on down on the field.
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Scott AndersonGood heavens, it’s massive! Somehow we’ve never made it to Nimes.
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3 weeks ago
Nice view from the top row of seats.
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More on Nimes and our inn in later entries, but we like both Nimes and the Antichambre and  should survive 4 nights here just fine!

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Stuart GarrettAmazing Coliseum!
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1 week ago