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Flights to the south of France
This page uses two tables to show you the options for flying from the UK and Ireland to airports which serve Le Vieux Mas.
The first table is organised by airports in France by increasing distance from the house. Some of the airports are quite distant from the house but all have been used by visitors, whether because they are served by convenient airports in the UK/ROI or because they give the option of extending the holiday with a pleasant journey or an interesting stop-over. People (including us) have even flown to Barcelona, partly because of competitive fares and car hire prices. Driving in France may feel more part of the holiday than driving a similar distance in the UK. Driving is also generally easier in France, though the A9 across the south, and the A7 south from Lyons are as busy as many English motorways. And don't forget that autoroute tolls can add to the cost too.
The second table is organised by airports in the UK and Ireland, and adds detail on flights; when available and frequency. It was accurate for summer 2012 but I have not updated it since, and there will inevitably be at least some changes. Out of season there are fewer flights, sometimes none, to many destinations. So please check the airline schedules early on in your planning to make sure that you can fly on your chosen day. By the way, don't ignore the flag-carrier airlines - their claim that they are not always more expensive is fair.
Especially from the further reaches of the UK and ROI, including the Highlands and Islands, it may be worth checking whether flybe offer connecting flights to one of their French destinations listed below. You can book a through ticket for a flight with a convenient connection via for example at Birmingham or Southampton. Their flight search engine shows a destination reached via a connecting flight if it is available but you can also check the connections timetable here. Inverness to Avignon is shown in the table below but the full list (more examples: Kirkwall to Avignon, Béziers to Belfast) is too long to fit in.
Another option from further-flung starting points is to fly to Charles de Gaulle airport and then get a train. The interconnection is very good, and there are reasonably frequent trains south (roughly 3 hours to Avignon or Nimes). This might, for example, be worth considering from Aberdeen.
If you spot mistakes in these tables, or possible additions, please email me.
Airports in France
|Airport (France)||Time (hours)
|Ryanair||Our nearest airport and a very easy drive, the larger part on dual carriageway. Nîmes is a tiny airport with a short and quick transit from the plane to the hire car pick-up. At one point it seemed set to become a low-cost hub, but that has not really happened, possibly because it is not an exclusively civilian airport.|
|CityJet||London City||Avignon is an even smaller airport than
Nîmes. We have not used it but we do drive across to Avignon
regularly for the train. It's main road rather than autoroute and
can feel a bit slow. But Avignon is a fine place, of course, if you
have time to visit, as is Uzès which is en route and has an excellent
Saturday market. Pont du Gard is just off the route, though you do
need to have the time to enjoy this great spectacle.
It's worth noting that during the summer flybe have flights from Avignon with reasonably-timed onward interconnections. Inverness is listed here as an example, but there are quite a few other destinations including some of the more far-flung parts of the UK.
|Montpellier was once the airport we used most,
and it's the nearest "proper" airport. These days, though,
flights often seem relatively expensive, especially on summer Saturdays,
so it is worth checking other options. The drive from Montpellier is
either a straightforward dogleg up the A9 to Nîmes and then back to Alès
and Le Vieux Mas or a much more attractive (and not necessarily much
slower) trip through the garrigues and vineyards of the Costières de
|Dublin||Marseilles airport is very much on the right
side of town for Le Vieux Mas, not much beyond Aix de Provence and an easy
drive - which we have done in two hours when pressed (not
recommended). Flight prices often seem competitive so when we have
flown recently we have usually chosen Marseilles.
|Bristol||Béziers is a relatively new low cost option, a
smaller (and presumably for them cheaper) version of Montpellier.
The journey to le Vieux Mas is a shade longer
but also with the attractive cross country options. St
Guilhem-le-Désert, a lovely village and abbey on the Hèrault is a
possible visit if you're prepared for a real back-roads route.
|Ryanair||Dublin||We've flown to Rodez a couple of times.
It's another tiny airport and its main advantage is a difference in
scenery. You can divert to do some or all of your journey along the
Gorges du Tarn, though beware of this in the summer as the road, though
spectacular, is narrow and winding and you are almost certain to get stuck
behind camper-vans. Its also not too much of a diversion to
drop down to the Millau Bridge, one of the modern wonders of the world.
|flybe||Southampton||A new air destination for the UK, not tried by us, though
in our days of driving Clermont Ferrand was a regular stage post.
The journey to Le Vieux Mas from here is easy, on the wonderfully
engineered, toll-free A75. Arguably this is a greener option than
some, in that the airport is north of the Cévennes, so you don't
overshoot and then drive back.
|Possibly the only reason to fly to Carcassonne
is that Ryanair serves it from some places which otherwise lack cheap
flights to the south of France. Well, there is also Carcassonne itself; an odd
place, very touristy, but arguably worth a couple of hours.
|Aer Lingus||Dublin||We have not flown to Lyon, as the onward
journey is still quite long (though straightforward.) But
it may be worth considering as it is a major airport with lots of flights
from many cities. Like Clermont Ferrand, if you fly here, your
journey then continues south.
|Dublin||We've not flown to Toulouse but others have,
presumably again because it is well served from many cities in the UK and
Ireland. It is a long drive though - remember France is a big
Airports in the UK and Ireland
|From||To||Airline||Service Details (Summer 2012)
One flight per day, unless it says more
|Birmingham||Avignon||flybe||Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat to end Aug
Daily, ex Sat, through the year.
Sat from mid May to mid Sept, plus Tues and Thurs from mid July to 1st Sept
|Bournemouth||Carcassonne||Ryanair||Mon, Fri to end Oct|
|Bristol||Béziers||Ryanair||Mon, Tues (to end-Aug), Wed, Fri, Sun
Tues, Thurs, Sat to mid Sept
|Cork||Carcassonne||Ryanair||Wed, Sat, Sun, June to August|
|Dublin||Carcassonne||Ryanair||Mon, Wed, Fri plus Sat to end Jul
Daily, except Sat
Aer Lingus; Tues, Thurs, Sat, May to mid Sept: Ryanair; Mon, Fri, June and July
Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun, end Mar to end Oct
|East Midlands||Carcassonne||Ryanair||Mon, Wed, Fri plus Sun to end Aug|
Tues, Sat, to end Oct
Wed, Sun from June to mid Sept
|Exeter||Avignon||flybe||Wed, Sat to Sept/Oct|
|Inverness||Avignon||flybe||Sat from mid May to mid Sept. Change at Birmingham.|
|Leeds Bradford||Montpellier||Ryanair||Mon, Thurs
Sat from mid May to late Sept
|Liverpool||Carcassonne||Ryanair||Tues, Sat, plus Wed in Aug
Mon, Wed, Fri
|London City||Avignon||CityJet||Out Wed, Fri, back Wed, Sun, to late Sept|
|London (Gatwick)||Lyon||easyJet||Twice daily, except one on Sat
British Airways; three flights daily: EasyJet; daily, twice daily Sat to late Sept
Daily, up to twice daily in summer
Daily, up to three flights
|London (Heathrow)||Lyon||British Airways||Three flights daily
Three flights daily
|London (Luton)||Béziers||Ryanair||Mon, Tues, Thurs, Sat
Tues, Sat until end Oct, plus Thurs, Sun to early Sept
Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun
Mon to Fri
Tues, Fri, Sun, June to late Sept
|Newcastle||Toulouse||jet2||Sun, June to early Sept|
|Southampton||Avignon||flybe||Sat to end Sept, Tues, Thurs, Sun to late Oct
Sun, Mon, Fri, late May to late Sept
Mon Thurs, Sat to early Oct
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