Air travel

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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)

Distance (km)

Airline Served from Notes
Nîmes 1:30

90

Ryanair

Liverpool

Luton

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.
Avignon 2:00

115

CityJet

flybe

London City

Birmingham

Exeter

Inverness

Southampton

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 2:00

128

easyJet

 

Ryanair

Gatwick

Luton

Birmingham

Leeds Bradford

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 Nîmes.

 

Marseilles 2:30

174

Aer Lingus

British Airways

easyJet

 

Ryanair

 

Dublin

Gatwick

Bristol

Gatwick

Dublin

Edinburgh

Stansted

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.

 

 

 

 

Béziers 2.30

180

Ryanair

 

 

flybe

 

Bristol

Luton

Manchester

Southampton

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.

 

Rodez 2:45

178

Ryanair Dublin

Stansted

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.

 

Clermont Ferrand 3.00

264

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.

 

Carcassonne 3:15

266

Ryanair Bournemouth

Cork

Dublin

East Midlands

Glasgow (Prestwick)

Liverpool

London (Stansted)

 

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.

 

 

Lyon 3.30

298

Aer Lingus

bmi

British Airways

easyJet

Dublin

Manchester

Heathrow

Edinburgh 

Gatwick

Stansted

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Toulouse 4:00

375

Aer Lingus

British Airways

flybe

easyJet

 

jet2

Dublin

Heathrow

Birmingham

Bristol

Gatwick

Edinburgh

Leeds Bradford

Manchester

Newcastle

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 country!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airports in the UK and Ireland

From  To Airline Service Details (Summer 2012)

One flight per day, unless it says more

Birmingham Avignon

Montpellier

Toulouse

flybe

Ryanair

flybe

Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat to end Aug

Daily, ex Sat, through the year.

Mon, Fri

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

Marseilles

Toulouse

Ryanair

easyJet

easyJet

Mon, Tues (to end-Aug), Wed, Fri, Sun

Tues, Thurs, Sat to mid Sept

Daily

Cork Carcassonne Ryanair Wed, Sat, Sun, June to August
Dublin Carcassonne

Lyon

Marseilles

Rodez

Toulouse

Ryanair

Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus, Ryanair

Ryanair

Aer Lingus

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

Tues, Sat

Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun, end Mar to end Oct

East Midlands Carcassonne Ryanair Mon, Wed, Fri plus Sun to end Aug
Edinburgh Lyon

Marseilles

Toulouse

easyJet

Ryanair

jet2

Wed, Sat

Tues, Sat, to end Oct

Wed, Sun from June to mid Sept

Exeter Avignon flybe Wed, Sat to Sept/Oct
Glasgow Carcassonne Ryanair Thurs, Sun
Inverness Avignon flybe Sat from mid May to mid Sept.  Change at Birmingham. 
Leeds Bradford Montpellier

Toulouse

Ryanair

jet2

Mon, Thurs

Sat from mid May to late Sept

Liverpool Carcassonne

Nîmes

Ryanair

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

Marseilles

Montpellier

Toulouse

easyJet

British Airways, easyJet

easyJet

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

Toulouse

British Airways

British Airways

Three flights daily

Three flights daily

London (Luton) Béziers

Nîmes

Montpellier

Ryanair

Ryanair

easyJet

Mon, Tues, Thurs, Sat

Daily

Tues, Sat until end Oct, plus Thurs, Sun to early Sept

London (Stansted) Carcassonne

Lyon

Marseilles

Rodez

Ryanair

easyJet

Ryanair

Ryanair

Daily

Daily

Daily

Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun

Manchester Béziers

Lyon

Toulouse

Ryanair

bmi

jet2

Mon, Fri

Mon to Fri

Tues, Fri, Sun, June to late Sept

Newcastle Toulouse jet2 Sun, June to early Sept
Southampton Avignon

Béziers

Clermont Ferrand

flybe

flybe

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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