Gabès (Arabic: قابس , Gābis) is in the Gulf of Gabès, along the Tunisian coast, and the last stop for the railway line heading south. For most tourists, you will pass through Gabès on the way to another city.
There are direct trains from Tunis, journey time about six hours, as well as regional trains from Sfax that takes about two hours. The main station, 1 Gare de Gabès is located on Ave Mongi Slim. The national railway operator SNCFT sells online tickets and at ticket offices in stations.
There are two types of trains from Tunis: Direct and Express. The direct trains are quite run-down and dirty, doors might not close, etc. Getting the first class tickets for a few dinar more will at least guarantee you a bit cleaner compartment.
While the bus may drop you off near the louage station, the bus station is (unverified) located about 200 m to the south-west.
The main louage station is near the Palmerie.
Louages to Matmata, however, leave from a different place: the Esso station about 300 m to the east of the main louage station. The first louage will get you to Matmata Nouvelle (New Matmata) for 1.5 TD, and another louage to old Matmata (1 TD).
Fast food places line the louage station area.
Hotel options in Gabes are not impressive. Most tourists will want to catch a series of two quick louages to Matmata, or another destination.