This rail holiday combines the fast rail connections between the UK and the south of France with the convenience of a hire car to travel between destinations.In our suggested itinerary, you catch a morning Eurostar service from London to Paris and then continue on the high speed TGV train to Avignon. After arriving in Provence you then have all the flexibility of a hire car to travel around the glorious inland areas of the region with its colourful lavender beds and patterned olive groves. Explore the stunning landscapes that inspired Van Gogh and so many others. These three hotels have been chosen to give you a full view of Provence, but they can be modified according to your preferences. Please speak to one of our travel specialists if you would like to find out more about alternative options. Click here to download a pdf with full details of some of our rail holidays to France.DAY BY DAY ITINERARYDay one Leave London St Pancras at around 7am on the direct Eurostar service that takes you all the way to Avignon TGV station. This six hour journey is a fantastic and carefree way to travel down the entire length of this beautiful country, admiring the rolling landscapes outside of your window from the comfort of your seat. This service operates every Saturday and on other days of the week dependant of the time of year. On arrival into Avignon, collect your hire car and drive to the Auberge de Noves, where you spend two nights.Day two You have today at leisure to explore Avignon and surroundings. The city is set on the banks of the majestic Rhone river and was once the seat of the Papal court in France. Its centre, which is surrounded by high medieval ramparts, houses the massive Palais des Papes which is well worth a visit along with the Pont du Gard and Pont d’Avignon.Day three Drive from Avignon to La Bastide de Tourtour, high in the hills of Provence – this is a journey of approximately two hours. Spend three nights at La Bastide de Tourtour.Days four and five At leisure to explore the area around La Bastide de Tourtour. This region offers a wealth of sites of outstanding natural beauty, such as the Gorges du Verdon and Massif de l’Esterel. From your base at La Bastide de Tourtour the towns of Cannes and St Tropez are also easy to visit for a day trip. Day six Drive from La Bastide de Tourtour to Crillon le Brave in beautiful countryside in the east of Provence. This is a drive of approximately three and a half hours. Stay three nights at the Hostellerie de Crillon le Brave.Days seven and eight You have two days at leisure to explore the area. Why not visit one of the local wineries to try the Ventoux vintages, or perhaps travel further to Chateauneuf du Pape? The surrounding villages are the hosts of attractive markets and local artisans, hidden gems to be discovered.Day nine On your last day you drive back to Avignon – about 45 minutes away and leave the hire car. From here you catch the afternoon Eurostar service that takes you all the way back to London St Pancras, where you end your rail holiday a little after 10pm.PRICESFrom £1,595 per person for first class rail travel.From £1,470 per person for second class rail travel. Prices based on two sharing a double or twin room.What’s included?First or second class travel on all trains (as above) including EurostarAt the hotels: 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a standard room at Auberge de Noves near Avignon3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a standard room at La Bastide de Tourtour in Provence3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a standard room at Hotel Crillon le Brave near Gigondas Group A hire-car for the duration of your stay in ProvenceWhat’s not included?Meals other than breakfast at the hotelsAny services not mentioned aboveDatesThis rail holiday can be arranged throughout the year. Timings can vary depending on the month and day of the week.For more information regarding rail services to and within France, view our train guide.
Below is some information regarding each of the hotels featured in this touring itinerary. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations – please contact us for full details.Auberge de Noves – 4 star – Noves, near AvignonThe Auberge de Noves is a peaceful property, in a secluded location nestled in over 15 hectares of wooded parkland. The hotel is only 10 miles from Avignon, near the village of Noves, making it the perfect location from which to explore the sites of Provence. The Auberge offers 23 rooms and suites, decorated in provencal style with modern bathrooms, that are scattered around the main building and the converted chapel. The hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant serves a delicious menu of local flavours, complimented by an enormous wine-cellar with over 60,000 bottles to choose from.See more detail on Auberge de Noves.Bastide de Tourtour – 4 star - Tourtour From its lofty position, 650 metres above the sea level, La Bastide de Tourtour offers unrivalled panoramic views stretching over the picturesque hills and villages of Provence in one direction and the seaside resorts of the Cote d'Azur in the other. Surrounded by oleander, lavender, pine and olive trees this beautiful hotel offers 25 elegant and sophisticated rooms with a wide range of amenities and stunning views as standard. During the warmer months dinner is served on the hotel's expansive terrace or in the intimate vaulted restaurant if you prefer.See more detail on Bastide de Tourtour.Hotel Crillon le Brave - 4 star - near GigondasThis is an exquisite bolt-hole in the village centre of Crillon le Brave, a village that nestles near the foot of Mont Ventoux and a short distance from the wine producing villages of Gigondas and Beaumes-de-Venise. The hotel has 35 rooms and suites scattered across the main eight buildings throughout the village. The hotel’s main restaurant, Restaurant Jerome Blanchet, serves guests gourmet food either in the magnificent stone vaulted dining room or outside on the terrace. Stylish and relaxing, this hotel comes highly recommended.See more detail on Hotel Crillon le Brave.
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Paris Airport Main airports are in Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon, with scheduled and low cost airlines flying into the country from all over the UK. Currency Euro (£1 = Euro 1.24) Size Roughly 600 miles wide and 700 miles long Population 66 million Average temperature Varies dramatically, from about 8 degrees in winter in Brittany to 26 degrees in summer in Corsica, with snow on the Alps and Pyrenees year-round
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