On the edge of Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon, Nîmes airport is an ideal jumping-off point for many key tourist attractions in the area such as Arles, the Camargue, the Pont du Gard and the Alpilles.
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Also called Nîmes-Alès-Cévennes-Camargue or just Nîmes-Garons, Nîmes airport (IATA code FNI) is located in the small town of Saint Gilles, near Garons. It's about 12 kilometres / 7.5 miles south-east of central Nîmes.
This is a mixed civilian and naval airport. From the tourist point of view, Nîmes primarily handles international traffic on low-cost routes. Unsurprisingly, Ryanair is the dominant carrier.
The address of Nîmes airport is 30800 Saint Gilles. Tel: (+33) 4 66 70 49 49. Fax: (+33) 4 66 70 91 24. Website for Nîmes airport
Not for the first time in its history, Nîmes airport is threatened with closure!
If that happens, it would remain open to industrial and freight traffic and remains a vital airbase for the airborne firefighting squad Sécurité Civile, whose main operation recently moved there. But a proposal has been mooted to end passenger services to Nîmes and Béziers and divert these routes to Montpellier.
We should stress that nothing has been decided at this stage and any closure would be in the long to medium term. Watch this space for further developments.
FACILITIES AT NIMES AIRPORT
Nîmes airport has one runway and almost all its amenities are concentrated on the ground floor of the main terminal building. The airport information desk is here next to the check-in area.
It's centralised, easy to navigate and generally wheelchair- and pushchair-friendly. A couple of offices are on the first floor but you can get there via a lift / elevator tucked away in a corner by the Hertz car rental desk.
In the departure lounge is a little bistro, Maison Jules, which serves simple snacks such as sandwiches, salads and a small choice of light hot meals, either to take away or eat on the spot (there's an outdoor terrace).
It opens a couple of hours before flight departures, as well as at every lunchtime in order to cater to locals. At other times you can buy coffee or soft drinks from nearby vending machines.
Maison Jules also sells newspapers and magazines as well as gifts and a few regional specialities, including calissons, and Marseille navette biscuits, and operates the business meeting rooms on the first floor level.
After you pass through customs and immigration, another shop air-side has regional wines and foods.
A welcome bonus throughout Nîmes airport is the free wi-fi. The VIP lounge - for which you can buy either a day ticket or an annual subscription - is called Espace Confort. It offers fast-track access to the departure lounge, sofas and armchairs, drinks and snacks, national and international press, internet access, a computer and printer.
Telephones, which accept either prepaid France Telecom cards or credit cards, are tucked away under the central staircase.
Other amenities are basic. Nîmes airport has no ATM (cash dispenser) and no luggage lockers or left luggage facilities. Lost and found items (objets trouvés) can be deposited or retrieved at the information desk.
GETTING TO AND FROM NIMES AIRPORT
By car: Take exit 2 off the A54 (E80) motorway. The road signs still call the airport by its old name of Garons, but the plane symbol is clearly indicated. The airport is just a couple of minutes' drive from the motorway.
Several major car hire companies, including Avis, Hertz and Sixt, have desks in the arrivals area of Nîmes airport. You can also pre-book a car with our affiliate partner, a comparison search engine for all grades of hire car from Smarts to 4x4s and limousines.
It will instantly compare the current rates on offer from all the suppliers at your chosen location to ensure you get the best deal.
The car hire car park is just outside the terminal, to the left of the main car park as you exit the airport. You can drop off keys either at the office there or, if this is closed, at slots on the desks of the various car hire companies in the main terminal.
The two nearest petrol stations are in the small town of Cassairgues, 10 km / 6 miles north-west of the airport and on the edge of Nîmes itself.
Just opposite the main terminal building is Nîmes airport's one public car park. It provides parking spaces on two levels: an open-air upper level and a covered lower level, where the car-park office is also located.
Pedestrians can go into the car-park down a ramp right opposite the terminal, but the vehicle entrance is now off the roundabout on the access road to the airport.
Spaces are always available on the upper level, though the lower level, where vehicles are protected from rain and blazing sun, fills up more quickly.
Parking is free for the first 10 minutes, with a rising hourly rate thereafter. You can also take out a weekly or monthly forfait, which allows you to enter and exit once only, or a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annual abonnement, which enables you to enter and exit as often as you like.
Machines to pay the parking fees can be found in the stairwell between the two parking levels and on the lower level near the pedestrian entrance / exit. Click here for a list of the current parking charges at Nîmes airport.
The guarded office is open until the mid-late afternoon, depending on the flight schedule, and the car park itself is open from 5am-midnight.
The taxi rank at Nîmes airport is just outside the exit from the main terminal. A taxi ride into central Nîmes should take 10-15 minutes. One company, Groupe Taxi Aéroport, offers a shared taxi service.
Just one bus serves the airport: a shuttle (navette in French) to Nîmes city centre. The bus-stop can be found a few metres on the right as you exit the airport terminal.
The shuttle is timed to coincide with flight departures and arrivals. It will drop you at Nîmes airport between 80 and 100 minutes before flight departures.
It leaves the airport shortly after arrivals, so you will need to pass through the airport fairly smartly to catch it after your flight. You can buy tickets on board the bus, by credit card if necessary.
The journey takes around 30 minutes and stops at Nîmes train station (Gare SNCF), as well as on the boulevard Gambetta and at various other central locations.
You can ask the driver to drop you off at a specific hotel or (in theory) arrange to be picked up at your hotel by phoning in advance. Tel (+33) 4 66 28 14 49
Once in Nîmes itself, all sorts of onward connections are available from the rail station, including regional buses and trains to Avignon, Montpellier, Arles, Bordeaux, Marseille and (if you really want to go there) Paris. Website for Nîmes SNCF train station