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Short trip to Nîmes (Southern France)

This trip has actually taken place exactly one year ago, in October 2015. I forgot to write it up, but just came across the photos, and thought it’d still be nice to make a “quick-and dirty” trip report. Nîmes is highly recommended as a destination.

The flight was IFR in the SR22, from Lübeck (Northern Germany) non-stop to Nîmes. Nîmes has two airports. One is Nimes-Garons (LFTW), which is asphalt, IFR and used by airlines, the military, and a little by general aviation. The other is Nîmes-Courbessac, LFME, a VFR grass airfield with no ATS and an aeroclub. Whereever feasible, I prefer to use the “small” airfields, also because they often happen to be closer to the city. Hence the plan to go to Courbessac. Distance was 700 miles or four hours, which as about as much as I like to do in one go.

The route was more or less direct (roughly via Cologne, Dijon and Lyon), with a few minor kinks in the route. The weather was good for most of the route. Only the first bit was affected by some scuzzy weather in the low altitudes.

Here we are, ready for start-up after fuelling up.

Scuzzy it was. It is those days when an IR really pays off. Even if it is just one trip a year that gets “saved”.

Routing via Osnabrück, Hamm and Cola.

The flying was on top, of course.

Flightplanned routings on this general route always have a nasty kink north of Lyon (KASON), but this usually gets sorted by ATC, even if sometimes only after insisting to some degree.

North of Dijon, the clouds finally broke up… us some good views of that giant city called Lyon.

45 minutes later, past Avignon, we descended for Nîmes. Here’s the city, taken from a righthand base leg.

Turning final. Be warned, the runway is a bit choppy.

Everybody was at lunch break, so we decided to refuel before departure this time.

We took a taxi to the city centre, which wasn’t expensive. After our lunch, a few first impressions (I had been in Nìmes previously). It’s a little smaller than Montpellier, but less “touristy”, and also at least as pretty.

The next day, we hired a car and went to a place called Saintes-Maries-de-le-Mer, a nice seaside town down in the Camargue. About 40 km, or about 45 minutes drive through beautiful scenery. Highly recommended.

Lots of small restaurants. We chose the “Les Embruns”, which I can recommend.

These tiny mussels, typical for that region, are called “Tellines” and are often eaten as a starter (like peanuts), with lots of garlic. Yumm.

When down in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, I usually go for “Picpoul de Pinet”, and have rarely been disappointed. Like!

After lunch, I even saw some people swimming.

In the afternoon, more sightseeing in Nimes was in order. The most famous sight is the Roman arena, of course, but I didn’t take any pictures of that.

The Maison Carrée (French for “square house”) is one of the best preserved Roman temple façades to be found in the territory of the former Roman Empire.

Le Canal du Quai de la Fontaine.

Le Jardin de la Fontaine. Very beautiful.

The remains of the “Temple de Diane”, from the 1st century!

Nímes is also a university city. Very well recommended!

The return flight the next day was on slightly different routing, more easterly, and thus passing closer to the Alps. Since the wind is always likely to be a headwind to some degree if heading north, we decided to make a stop about 150 miles south of Lübeck, at Hildesheim (EDVM). It’s also a place which always has very cheap Avgas, almost at French prices. The weather was fine. In fact, the return flight could have been completed under VFR with no problems.

Refuelling went fine. However, we had a lot of trouble with slots this time. Our punishment for planning via Switzerland.
In the end, the slot came down to a delay of about 45 minutes, but that we couldn’t get rid of, no matter what we did (refiling, modifying the route, the altitude, the whole lot). Time for another coffee, and off we went. At Courvessac, there is a local PA32 on paradropping duty, which is somewhat unsual.

Unfortunately, Nimes-Courbessac is threatened by closure…

Five minutes after departure, we flew past one of the main tourist attractions of the area, the “Pont du Gard”.

Some more impressions from southern France and the western Alps.


Somwhere in Burgundy.

Here we are, on final at Hildesheim airport.

After fuel and food, the final leg to Lübeck was flown VFR.

Via reporting point Lima, over the Elbe-Lübeck Kanal.

Right-hand base for runway 07 at EDHL.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 21 Oct 20:17
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Lovely report, thanks for sharing.

I love that region. Avignon used to be my primary destination, have to do that again some time. The whole area of the Provence is lovely, I fondly recall trips to Fontvielle (Le Moulin de Alphonse Daudet) or Arles. Nimes is great as well.

Les Saintes Maries de La Mer, great place. For the “Da Vinci Code” Fans, that is the place where Mary Magdalene and the Mother of Jesus were supposed to have landed after fleeing Palestine. They have a lovely Church there and every year there is a huge event where Gypsies unite and have a procession.

It´s nice reports like this which motivate to fly.

Best regards

(I quote the below lines as the pics belonging to these lines do not show with me. )

boscomantico wrote:

These tiny mussels, typical for the region, are called “Tellines” and are often eaten as a starter (like peanuts), with lots of garlic. Yumm.

When down in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, I usually go for “Picpoul de Pinet”, and have rarely been disappointed. Like!

LSZH, Switzerland

Urs, thanks. I already fixed the missing photos.

Nìmes is often associated with the Provence, but is actually in Languedoc-Roussillon.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 21 Oct 18:58
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Seen, very familiar sights.

I know Nimes is Langedoc, I was referring to the area you drove through to get to Stes Maries. One of my favorite places.

The other one is this:

(Pic by Wikipedia)

Even though it is known now that Daudet never lived there really, “Lettres de mon moulin” is still one of my favorite French books. Captures the lifestile of the Provence superbly.

LSZH, Switzerland
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