Our Budget Trip to Southern France – Carcassonne, Avignon

We found $449 tickets to Marseilles that we couldn’t pass up.

“Budget Trip” to Southern France

I don’t know what possessed me, but for some reason, I put “Europe” into Google Flights for the days I was free during spring break. I was shocked to see round trip tickets from San Antonio to Paris for $449 each way. I refined my search to “France” to see if any other destinations were available, as I had been to Paris. Marseilles also popped up for $449 so I quickly booked two tickets before the price disappeared. I was lucky that the flights were that cheap for the exact dates I wanted to travel during spring break in 2018. Below is a brief summary of our budget trip to Southern France.


We only had 5 nights in France, so immediately wanted to get where we were going. From the airport, we took the free shuttle bus from platform 5 to the Vitrolles train station and caught the next train to Avignon.

We crossed the street, passed through the old city walls, and went straight to the Hotel Danieli ($54 USD) and dropped our bags.

We wandered around town, enamoured with some of the quaint little cobbled streets.

We also enjoyed walking as much of the old city walls as we could.

And we finished the evening in the Plaza in front of the Palace of the Popes, seat of the Catholic Church from 1309 to 1377.


Nimes caught my attention right away, as we exited the train station onto the beautiful tree-lined Avenue Feucheres.

Citotel Cesar ($58) was along this avenue, so we dropped our bags and went back out to explore.

The next thing that caught our attention was the Arena de Nimes at the end of Avenue Feucheres . It’s not the Colisseum, like Rome, but still pretty impressive.

We had a little picnic in Garden de La Fontaine

and then climbed up to see the Tower Magne.

Budget trip to Southern France

Another Roman sight that cannot be missed is Maison Carree, supposedly the best preserved Roman Temple in all of Europe.

Budget trip to Southern France

Nimes isn’t really talked about as a travel destination, but we really liked it.


Budget trip to Southern France

We knew we wanted to stay in Avignon, Nimes and Carcassonne, but we had an extra night to fill, so we decided on Bezier, on the way to Carcassonne. Since this town was an afterthought, we stayed as cheaply as possible for $42 at the Ibis Budget Beziers Centre Palais Congres.

Beziers was a nice little town, with a nice view of the valley below from the Cathedral.

Budget trip to Southern France

We are glad we saw a new city, but we don’t feel the need to return to Beziers.


Our final stop on the journey was the walled city of Carcassonne.

Budget trip to Southern France

We paid a little extra to stay at a hotel within the ancient walls of Cite de Carcassonne ($120 for the Best Western La Donjon) and are glad we did.

We wandered around for hours just taking in the medieval city.

Once it got dark we felt transported back to the Middle Ages, as we seemed to have the entire city to ourselves.

We loved Carcassone.

Summary: Budget trip to Southern France

Well, technically our final stop was Marseille, but we just took a train back to Marsailles and stayed at a hotel close to the airport to catch our morning flight.

We had to take advantage of our $449 round trip tickets to France, even if it was only for five nights.

We loved Carcassonne and would definitely consider going back. We would definitely pay more to stay within the ancient city walls.

We liked Avignon. The main reason we went there was to see the Palace of the Popes. We liked, but didn’t love the rest of the town.

We liked Nimes much more than we thought we would.

If we had a “do over” we would probably find somewhere other than Bezier for our other night.

Our “budget” trip to Southern France cost $1,269.87 for two people (plus 8,000 Choice Hotel points to stay in Marseilles near the airport).

Spend Less; Travel More

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