Cities of Provence & the French Riviera
Immerse yourself in the culture of Provence
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.
Highlights and Inclusions
- 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
After meeting at our Departure Office in London St Pancras, we board the direct* Eurostar straight to Avignon. On arrival we check into our boutique hotel in the heart of this ancient city, the Cloitre Saint Louis. This evening, we celebrate the start of our holiday with a group dinner at a local restaurant. (Eurostar meal, D)
*Please note: our May 8 departure travels via Paris.
Day 2 – Discovering Avignon
Our morning starts with breakfast, followed by a guided walking tour of Avignon. Escorted by a local guide, we learn the secrets of Avignon's fascinating history - starting with the Palais des Papes, where entrance is included. The seat of the Papacy for 6 successive Popes during the 14th century, Avignon became the centre of the Roman Catholic Church after Pope Clement V fled the violent chaos and corruption of Rome. Next, we enjoy included entrance to the Rocher des Doms gardens, a lush hilltop garden set on a rocky bluff overlooking the city. From here, we get a glorious panorama across the terracotta roofs of the Old Town, as well as of the Rhône River flowing peacefully below. In the afternoon there's free time to look around. Why not head to Les Halles, the city's vibrant market to savour the sights, smells and tastes of fresh Provençal produce? From here, art-lovers can happily while away a few hours at the wonderful Angladon Museum. Home to Van Gogh's 'Railway Carriages', other famous artists displayed here include Picasso, Manet and Cézanne. (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, spanning a width of 902 feet. This mighty aqueduct was built around 50 AD, using solid blocks hewn from nearby but no mortar to hold 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 in the 9th century, long after the fall of the Roman Empire.
This afternoon we drive to nearby Coustellet for lunch. After our meal, we walk the short distance to the town's quaint lavender museum. Here, we learn about the history, cultivation and distilling process involved in making all the lavender products available in the gift shop and café. We transfer back to Avignon for dinner this evening, served at one of the city's many popular restaurants. (B, L, D)
Days 4-5 – The Côte d'Azur
We make our way to the station after breakfast this morning, where we catch the train to Nice, on the famous French Riviera. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel for the next 3 nights, the art-deco style Villa Victoria. After time to settle in, we head out for dinner at a local restaurant.
On Day 5 we meet our local guide for a sightseeing tour. We drive up to Mont Boron, which offers terrific views over the Bay of Angels. We continue to the hill-top quarter of Cimiez, former home of the artist Matisse. The Roman remains at Cimiez also offer an insight into the history of the region. 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 lunch. This afternoon, we make 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. (Day 4 - B, D, Day 5 - B)
Day 6 – Monaco
On arrival in the principality of Monaco this morning, we meet our local guide for a tour. The second smallest country in the world, Monaco is famous as a haven for the very wealthy, its electrifying Grand Prix, and casino. It's here we begin our explorations, admiring the opulent high-rollers entrance 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 before free time to look around at your own pace.
Back in Nice this evening, we sit down to a dinner of French specialties. (B, D)
Day 7 – Tour Conclusion
After breakfast this morning, you are free to depart Nice at your leisure. (B)
Extend Your Vacation
Extend your rail vacation with new city packages in Chicago, Toronto, and Vancouver. Optional pre- or post-night packages include hotel accommodations for two nights and popular local sightseeing, and may be added to the beginning or end of qualifying rail vacations.
Look for the Extend Your Vacation icon to identify those vacations which offer new city stay packages. Ask your rail specialist for details about these pre- and post-night extensions.
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Hotel Cloitre Saint Louis, Avignon
Housed in a former, 16th-century Jesuit seminary, this refined hotel is located in the heart of Avignon's medieval quarter. Filled with authentic features, experience history brought to life as you wander the original cloisters with their vaulted ceilings, and fountain-filled courtyards. In the evening, the hotel's terrace is a wonderfully relaxing place to be.
Villa Victoria, Nice
The 4-Star Villa Victoria in Nice is situated on Victor Hugo boulevard, and is famous for its large gardens. We can enjoy breakfast in the garden, while all rooms offer views over this green space or the boulevard and are soundproofed. Each has individual climate control, satellite television, a telephone, a safe, a minibar, Wi-Fi, and tea &coffee making facilities. There is also a dry cleaning service available (payable locally) and an iron and ironing board can be provided on request.
The high speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.
The highest class of Eurostar travel available for leisure customers is Standard Premier Class. In your dedicated Standard Premier carriage you'll find a less dense seat configuration, meaning the seats are larger and you have ample space to relax and stretch out. As part of the service you'll enjoy complimentary drinks and refreshments, served at your seat by friendly, helpful waiting staff.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|8th May 2020||$2,625||Book Now|
|19th June 2020||$2,625||Book Now|
|11th September 2020||$2,625||Book Now|
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: Departs 8th May 2020 ($2,625), 19th June 2020 ($2,625), 11th September 2020 ($2,625)
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