Getting there

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We have owned Le Vieux Mas for nearly 30 years, and have travelled there in many ways. Originally it was by car and ferry, the traditional adventure to foreign places, with a journey in France that was certainly two days. Quite quickly, though, the autoroute system expanded and the roads into the Cévennes improved so it became a one day journey from the coast. But would you want to do that? A more leisurely drive, with a break en route can be an enjoyable part of the holiday. But mostly, these days, we enjoy the relaxation of the train, though point to point air travel is usually cheaper and quicker if you are not convenient to a Eurostar station.

If you have questions concerning travel to Le Vieux Mas, please ask us - we have extensive experience of almost all ways of getting to the house and can offer tips on routes, interchanges, car hire, and getting the best value deals.

Le Vieux Mas is in the south of France, north-west of Nîmes and less than two hours from the Mediterranean. For a fuller description and map, see the location page.


More and more visitors to Le Vieux Mas are flying to the area and then hiring a car. You can fly from a range of regional airports in the UK and Ireland to several airports within striking distance of Le Vieux Mas.  Nîmes is the nearest, just over an hour away, with flights from Luton and Stansted.

Montpellier is next nearest, around two hours, with flights from Dublin, Bristol and London airports. Avignon is about the same, with flights from Birmingham and Southampton. Marseille is further but the drive is scarcely longer, with flights from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester and London airports. Other regional airports are a longer drive but might be worth checking for flights from your local airport.

You can use sites such as Momondo or Skyscanner to check options and prices.


Train travel to the house is easy and relaxed. Return fares start at around £150, though you must book early to get such fares. On summer Saturdays you can travel by Eurostar direct from London or Ashford to Avignon in less than six hours, arriving early afternoon (the return journey leaving late afternoon).

Otherwise, one easy change at Lille or a short metro trip in Paris gives you more journey options, including arriving at Nîmes which is more convenient for the house. Eurostar and the French rail company SNCF sell through tickets from the UK, and on the SNCF site you can choose prices in sterling or euros. It generally works out cheaper to book Eurostar and SNCF tickets separately, using their respective sites, and you are also likely to see more journey options.


For many visitors, especially those arriving at one of the Normandy ports, the best route will be down the centre of France on the A71/A75 by Clermont-Ferrand as this is quieter, cheaper and more attractive. An increasingly viable alternative, for all points of arrival in northern France, is the A77 which leaves the A6 east of Paris and links to the N7 and then the A75 as above. A more easterly route, on the famed autoroute du soleil, will suit visitors from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. To plan a route try the Michelin route planner, which has good clear directions. Bison-fute is a useful site on roadworks, heavy traffic etc.

Although it is easily possible to drive to the house from the northern French coast in one day, a stop-over en route, perhaps around the Loire region, can add to the pleasure of the holiday. Since we rarely drive we don't have our own recent recommendations but here are a couple from a recent article on "Perfect French Pitstops": Hôtel de l'Abeille (Orléans) and Hôtel de Bourbon (Bourges).

Car Hire

If you travel by air or train, you'll want to hire a car, which you'll be able to do at any place you might reasonably want to, but check opening hours (and thus possible additional costs for out-of hours pick-ups.) Costs vary rather unpredictably so, as ever, it pays to shop around. A broker such as Holiday Autos can help with this, and may offer additional benefits but it's usually best to check the direct cost as well.

It's fair to say that the car hire industry does not have the best of reputations. They often try hard to make more money from the rental than the basic hire charge. It's as well to be savvy to this by consulting sites such as Our top tips would be to book early, avoid renting from the cheapest firms such as Goldcar, and to consider purchasing excess insurance separately. And of course check the car when you pick it up, take photos of unmarked damage, and aim to get the car inspected at the time you return it.

A small or compact car will suit the some of the roads of the Cévennes better than a larger one.


If you are driving to the Cévennes from the UK you can use ports from Hull to Plymouth, and there are two ports serving France from Ireland. We generally use Eurotunnel because it is quick and convenient. Dover is the most popular ferry service, but visitors from the Midlands northward, may find advantage in the crossings to Normandy (Dieppe, Le Havre, Caen), as this gives the chance of some sleep and an early start in France. A possible alternative would be a ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge in Belgium. Visitors from Wales and the West Country, as well as from Ireland, might consider a crossing to Brittany (Cherbourg, St Malo, Roscoff): it is scarcely further from St Malo to Le Vieux Mas than from Caen (and less than from Calais).

 Specialist ferry search sites for all crossings include, Direct Ferries and Ferry Online.

Bookings, etc

We almost always book individual bits of our journey separately and directly with the provider. That usually gives best value. However you may want to shop around for discounts for example via travel agents. And if you are a member of the AA or RAC you may be able to book your travel at discounted rates through them, as well as other travel services such as insurance cover for driving outside the UK. Also, cashback outfits such as Quidco, can give quick chunky cashback especially for car hire.



About the photos on this page

All are from our holidays and all but one is from France. In order from the top:

1  Flamingos in the Camargue. This is from a pre-digital print, a picnic with my parents. My mother, enjoying the situation and maybe a glass of wine said "It's so lovely, especially with those penguins flying overhead". Naturally she was never allowed to forget it.

2  Every serious holiday destination must have its little train and rather surprisingly we have recently acquired our own. This fine machine runs all of 2km from St Cecile d'Andorge (where Jean Paul Sartre used to meet Simone de Beauvoir for walks in the woods) to St Julien des Points. The track is on the old line to Florac, and you can read more about that and the little train project here. A much better-known local attraction is the steam train which runs from Anduze to St Jean du Gard.

3  Jamie took this photo of a typical little road in autumn. They don't usually have speed limits but this is close to a village. Driving in France is much less demanding than in the UK, and can be good fun in the Cévennes.

4  A young Jamie practicing his skills in the cafe in our supermarket in Alès.

5  The boys canoeing in the Gorges du Tarn. A great way to spend a day.

6  This picture taken in Wales, I believe. Despite his evident enthusiasm here, I don't think Jamie plans to be an accountant.