An exclusive voyage through Provence and the French Riviera, this week-long journey features charming boutique hotels, wonderful guided tours and some of the most remarkable scenery in all of France.
About the Tour
Explore the south of France from Avignon to Nice on this small group tour, with capacity for just 20 travelers.
Enjoy exclusive accommodations in some of the region's most impressive boutique hotels, experience the high life of the sparkling French Riviera with afternoon tea at the famous summer retreat of the Rothschild family, and immerse yourself in the culture of Provence and the Côte d'Azur with sightseeing tours led by local guides.
- First Class rail travel throughout (Standard Premier Class on Eurostar)
- Hotel accommodations for 6 nights
- 11 meals
- Guided tour of Avignon
- Excursion to Pont du Gard
- Coustellet and its Lavender Museum
- Sightseeing tour of Nice
- Excursion to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
- Guided tour of Monaco
- Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
- Luggage handling
- Transportation by deluxe motor coach
- Services of a professional Tour Manager
Day 1 - London to Avignon
Arrive at London St. Pancras, and meet your travel group and Tour Manager at our Departure Office. Together, we board the direct* Eurostar to Avignon. The train travels at speeds of up to 186 mph (300 km/h) during its southerly route through France, passing through cities, parklands and quaint villages. Avignon has a rich history and idyllic setting on the Rhône River, and as we arrive in this beautiful city, we check-in at our boutique hotel, the Cloitre Saint Louis, which is located in the heart of the city. This evening, we celebrate the start of our holiday with a group dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight Avignon. (Eurostar meal, D)
*Please note: Our May 8 departure travels via Paris.
Day 2 - Discovering Avignon
Our morning begins with breakfast at the hotel, followed by a guided walking tour through Avignon. Escorted by a local guide, we uncover the secrets of Avignon's fascinating history - starting with the Palais des Papes, where entrance is included. The seat of the Papacy for six successive Popes during the 14th century, Avignon became the center of the Roman Catholic Church after Pope Clement V fled the violent chaos and corruption of Rome. Next, we visit Rocher des Doms gardens, a lush hilltop garden overlooking the city. The views from here are simply breathtaking, with the glorious panorama looking out across terracotta roofs of the Old Town and the Rhône River.
This afternoon is at leisure to explore the city on your own. Meander through Les Halles, the city's vibrant market, to savor the sights, smells and tastes of fresh Provençal produce. Art lovers have much to see at Angladon Museum, which is home to Van Gogh's “Railway Carriages.” The works at the museum vary greatly in style and include other famous artists, such as Picasso, Manet, and Cézanne. Rue des Teinturiers, lined with sycamore trees and next to a canal, is the perfect place to learn about Avignon’s 14th-19th century textile industry and to grab a bite at a shaded sidewalk café. Overnight Avignon. (B)
Day 3 - The Pont du Gard and Lavender
One of France's most recognizable landmarks, the impressive Pont du Gard stands 161 feet above the Gardon River and spans a width of 902 feet. This mighty aqueduct was built around 50 AD by the Romans using solid blocks of local stone, but amazingly, there is no mortar holding them together. Originally, the Pont du Gard was part of a 30-mile waterway used to transport 4.4 million gallons of water from the River Eure to Nîmes every day. The mineral deposits still visible on the aqueduct indicate it was still being used through the 9th century, long after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Our excursion continues to the nearby village of Coustellet for lunch. Sweet floral aromas fill the air as we walk the short distance to the town's quaint lavender museum after our meal. The history, cultivation and distilling process involved in making lavender products is presented to us as we tour the facility and look upon the gorgeous purple blooms. We transfer back to Avignon by coach and join together at one of the city’s popular restaurants for dinner this evening. Overnight Avignon. (B, L, D)
Days 4 - Côte d'Azur
Enjoy fresh pastries and other breakfast delights this morning ahead of our transfer to the train station. Our destination today is Nice on the famous French Riviera. The train ride takes us along the southern tip of France, presenting spectacular scenes of colorful villages and the broad blue waters that surround. As we arrive in the opulent city of Nice, we transfer to our hotel, the art-deco style Villa Victoria, which has an ideal situation for exploring the city. Take time to settle into your accommodations, then we head out for dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight Nice. (B, D)
Day 5 - Nice Sightseeing Tour
Today we meet your local tour guide for a sightseeing tour of Nice. As we make our way through the seaside city, points of interest include Mont Boron, which offers terrific views over the Bay of Angels; the hill-top quarter of Cimiez, former home of the artist Matisse and the Roman remains at Cimiez. After a visit to the bustling Place de l'Opéra and the narrow streets of the Old Town, we conclude our tour at the market in Cours Saleya, just in time for you to grab lunch on your own.
We continue our explorations this afternoon with a visit to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, the seaside holiday home of the wealthy Rothschild family. We enjoy high tea here, indulging in some traditional French patisserie while overlooking the perfectly manicured Mediterranean gardens and the azul waters beyond. Overnight Nice. (B)
Day 6 - Monaco
The second smallest country in the world, Monaco, is famous as a haven for the very wealthy, with its electrifying Grand Prix and world-famous casino. It is here that we begin our explorations for the day, with the help of a local tour guide. Our tour of Monaco kicks off at the opulent high-rollers entrance to Casino de Monte Carlo before making our way to the 13th-century Palais du Prince, home of Monaco's ruling family for over 700 years. Just before midday, we see the enchanting Changing of the Guard ceremony at the palace, then you are free to explore the city at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Jardin Exotique de Monaco, a stunning cliffside botanical garden that features succulent plants from around the world.
Back in Nice this evening, a dinner of French specialties is the perfect farewell to our journey. Overnight Nice. (B, D)
Day 7 - Tour Conclusion
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning, then you are free to depart Nice at your leisure. (B)
Hotel Cloitre Saint Louis, Avignon
A place where the history of Avignon and sumptuous modern amenities collide, Hotel Cloitre Saint Louis is a 4-star hotel located in the heart of Avignon’s medieval quarter. The building in which the hotel is located was built in the late 16th century and was a Jesuit seminary for almost 100 years. Guests of the hotel marvel at the authentic features, including the original cloisters with their vaulted ceilings, the chapel with its amazing dome and the fountain-filled courtyards. All this history sits aside modern amenities and conveniences, such as a rooftop pool overlooking the city, an impressive restaurant, a bar and lounge, and free Wi-Fi Internet. All of the guest rooms are air-conditioned and feature comfortable furnishings, flat-screen TVs and en suite bathrooms.
Villa Victoria, Nice
The Villa Victoria Hotel is a 4-star Meditteranean-style hotel situated ideally on Victor Hugo Boulevard in Nice. This hotel is renowned for its large gardens and serene atmosphere. A breakfast buffet is served daily in the garden, and all of the rooms offer views over this green space or the boulevard. In addition to the beautiful views, guests appreciate that the rooms are soundproofed and include individual climate control, satellite television, a telephone, a safe, a minibar, Wi-Fi and tea, and coffee making facilities. There is also a dry cleaning service available (payable locally) and an iron and ironing board can be provided on request.
Linking London St. Pancras International with the cities of Paris and Lille in France, Amsterdam in the Netherlands and the beautiful city of Brussels in Belgium, the high-speed Eurostar is one of the best ways to traverse this region of Europe.
Passengers of the train have the choice of several classes of service, including Standard Premier Class. Those that select this First Class seating enjoy spacious seats arranged in a less dense configuration, as well as more room to stretch out and relax. For your comfort, complimentary drinks and refreshments are served to your seat by the friendly staff.
Tour Dates & Prices
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