Fascinating Paris, the charms of Avignon and the Côte d'Azur are combined in this 9-day Rail Tour for a truly unforgettable French experience!
Welcome to France! Collect your luggage, clear customs and make your way to your Paris hotel. Check-in and pass the remainder of the day exploring your new surroundings. (An optional airport transfer is available).
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before departing for a Small Group Tour of Paris’s main attractions. You’ll be picked-up at your hotel and your driver/guide will give you an insight into the history of Paris with its major monuments & historical sites. Your tour ends with a walking tour of Montmartre, the Sacre Coeur, Place du Tertre & Moulin de la Galette. The afternoon is yours to spend as you please in the city of lights, perhaps visiting the Louvre Museum or some of Paris' many art galleries, or indulging in some shopping. (B)
Come spend an exceptional full-day in the heart of France's Loire Valley visiting the Château de Chenonceau and the Château de Chambord, two of the Loire Valley's most illustrious chateaux, with our tour guide. This trip deep into France's history begins with an early departure from Paris aboard a comfortable, air-conditioned bus, a day of guided visits through some of the most sumptuous rooms, seeing period tapestries & paintings, and will be completed by a wine tasting at Chambord. On Saturday & Mondays, the Chateau de Chambord is replaced by the Chateau d'Amboise and the wine tasting replaced by the Cave des Domes in Chenonceau. (B)
After breakfast at your hotel make your way to Paris Gare Lyon to board a high-speed train for a journey of just over 2 & a half hours to Avignon. Named the City of the Popes, Avignon retains the indelible mark of the Popes' stay in the city, which was for a while the capital of the Medieval world. Make your way to your hotel for check-in and the remainder of the day to pass as you choose. (B)
Today you’ll enjoy a full-day small group tour of Provence. Departing from Avignon, the tour starts by visiting the hill-top town of Roussillon, famous for its red and yellow ochre cliffs and ochre-washed façades and where on Thursdays you can enjoy the local market. Continuation toward the medieval hilltop village of Gordes considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. Its fortified castle and church dominate the typical houses entirely made with the local stones called ‘lauze’. If visiting on a Tuesday, make sure to stroll through the local market in Gordes. Next, we drive to Fontaine de Vaucluse where you'll walk up to the cave from which the River Sorgues emerges. This impressive resurgence spring hasn't revealed its secrets yet and many speleologists have searched in vain the exact depth of the well. Free time for lunch on your own in Gordes or Fontaine de Vaucluse. Continue to Pont du Gard and visit the best-preserved aqueduct of the Roman period, dating back to the 1st century and listed by UNESCO (entrance fees included). In Les Baux de Provence enjoy free time to visit this medieval village located on a rocky spur in the Alpilles mountain range, admiring its historical centre, beautiful 16th-century houses & the Romanesque style St-Vincent Church. A photo stop at the Antiques in Saint Rémy de Provence, the Triumphal Arch and Mausoleum located in an olive-tree field, is planned before returning to Avignon. On Sundays only, the order of visit will change to include a stop in L’Isle sur la Sorgue, a village famous for antique shops & its Sunday open-air antique market, one of the most colourful and typical in Provence. (B)
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then make your way back to Avignon train station and board a high-speed train for Nice. In just over 3 hours you’ll arrive in this city surrounded by a rich blue-green sea with diverse shopping, excellent dining and exquisite art-deco façades & second only to Paris in the number of museums and galleries. Check-in to your hotel and then set out to discover Nice at your leisure. (B)
This morning's small group tour takes you to Eze, Monaco & Monte Carlo. Experience stunning panoramic views as you travel along the coastal road leading from Nice to Monaco. Stop at Eze, a perched medieval village with charming crafts shops and breathtaking views. Continue toward the principality of Monaco and discover the charm of its old town, "The Rock", where you can see the Prince's Palace, the majestic Cathedral, and the Cousteau Oceanographic Museum. Take a tour of Monte-Carlo and drive the amazing Grand Prix circuit. Then enjoy free time at the Casino Square - amuse yourselves with luxurious shopping, stroll through stunning gardens, see the mega-yachts and chic casinos, or simply watch the “rich & beautiful” in their favourite haunt. Drive along the spectacular Lower Corniche harbouring ancient villages and modern marinas on the return to Nice. (B)
Enjoy a full-day to pass as you choose, perhaps strolling the bustling Promenade des Anglais & relax in one of the royal blue chairs which line the shore. Or visit Nice's famous Flower Market or Matisse Museum. (B)
Today marks the end of your stay in France. At the appropriate time, make your way to the airport for your return flight. (B)
Paris & Charms of Provence operates as shown on a Tuesday, Thursday & Sunday and can be modified for other departure days.