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  • Rail holiday in the footsteps of Toulouse-Lautrec

    La Reserve

    Royal Hotel Paris

    Les Sources de Caudalie

    La Reserve

    Les Sources de Caudalie

    Follow in the footsteps of Toulouse-Lautrec by rail

    In this holiday by rail, you will visit some of the key destinations in the life of French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. We suggest travelling between these interesting locations by rail and hire car, following the life of this enigmatic artist whilst staying in luxury hotels.
    This rail holiday includes time for you to visit Albi, where Toulouse-Lautrec was born in 1864 and home to an excellent museum of his works. We suggest that you next travel to Bordeaux, allowing you to visit Chateau Malrome – a vineyard dating from the 16th century which belonged to the Toulouse-Lautrec family, where Henri died in 1901. The itinerary also includes some time in Paris close to the Montmartre area where Henri spent much of his life and where he met Van Gogh and Emile Bernard.
    Click here to download a pdf with full details of some of our rail holidays to France.

    Day one

    You travel first by Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris, leaving late morning and arriving before 3pm. On arrival in Paris, take a taxi to Hotel Royal which is well located - close to Montmartre. Stay two nights.
    Day two
    You have one day at leisure to explore Paris. We suggest spending some time taking in the atmosphere of Montmartre – the area the Henri spent much of his time and where he met and was influenced by other artists. This district was historically separate from central Paris – geographically, demographically, historically and architecturally – and provided the backdrop for the decadent fringe culture that was Henri’s home for most of his career. Today, visitors flock up the famous hill to take a picture in front of the imposing Sacre Coeur, but for a more genuine experience we recommend taking the time to explore the steep and cobbled streets that still maintain the bohemian atmosphere of village.
    Day three
    Depart Paris by train for Montauban, leaving at 12.30pm and arriving about five hours later. In Montauban, collect a hire car and drive the remaining 50 miles to Albi. Alternatively, you can stay on the train to Toulouse and change for Albi, collecting your car there – this takes a little longer but lessens the driving. On arrival in Albi, stay at hotel La Reserve just outside the city for two nights.
    Day four
    Enjoy one day at leisure to explore Albi and visit the Toulouse-Lautrec museum. Albi is an attractive city built with iconic pink bricks, whose historical centre is a UNESCO world heritage site. Albi’s cathedral is a remarkable monument since it is both fortified and built out of brick, whilst next door you will find the fortress of the Palais de la Berbie, home to the Toulouse-Lautrec museum. This former bishop’s palace houses some of his most famous pieces and in total there are over 1000 of his works displayed here.
    Day five
    Return your hire car to Montauban and take a lunchtime train to Bordeaux. From Montauban this is a direct route taking less than two hours. On arrival in Bordeaux, collect another car and drive to Martillac, 10 miles from Bordeaux. Spend two nights at Les Sources de Caudalie a beautiful hotel on the Smith Haut Lafitte vineyard.
    Day six
    At leisure to explore the surroundings. We suggest a visit to Chateau Malrome which was the home of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s mother and somewhere he often visited, and it was here where he died in 1901 and was buried in the nearby cemetery of Verdelais. The chateau is surrounded by a 40 hectare vineyard which produces seven varieties of grapes, both red and white. In the summer, the chateau offers guests an hour museum tour followed by a wine tasting every day, though reservations are required in the winter months.
    Day seven
    Return your car to Bordeaux and leave on a late morning train back to London, changing in Paris en route and arriving back in the UK at about 6pm.

    From £1,810
    per person for first class rail travel.
    From £1,510 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 Eurostar
    At the hotels:
    2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at Royal Hotel in Paris
    2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at La Reserve in Albi
    2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at Les Sources de Caudalie near Bordeaux
    Category B car hire for the duration of your stay in Albi and Bordeaux.
    What’s not included?
    Meals other than breakfast at the hotels
    Transfers in Paris
    Any services not mentioned above
    This rail holiday can be arranged throughout the year, although during some months the Toulouse-Lautrec museum is closed on Tuesdays. 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.

    Footsteps of Toulouse Lautrec by rail

    Hotels featured in this touring itinerary

    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.

    Royal Hotel – 4 star - Paris
    The Royal Hotel is housed inside a typical 19th century Parisian building designed in Hausmann style and offers 58 stylishly decorated rooms. This hotel is ideally located near the Arc de Triomphe at the high end of the Champs Elysées, and is within walking distance of great restaurants. This hotel offers great value for a comfortable stopover in the Parisian capital.

    La Reserve –5 star - Albi
    Located just a short distance from the city of Albi, La Reserve offers comfortable and charming accommodation within five acres of its own parkaland and grounds bordering the river Tarn. The 22 rooms and suites are each furnished with traditional, period pieces of furniture with a cosy, homely feel and each have views of the park, swimming pool or the river. The hotel also offers guests use of their wellness centre, tennis court and table tennis table and there are several golf courses in the nearby area. La Reserve’s gourmet restaurant serves regional specialities and it is recommended to book in advance.
    See more detail on La Reserve.

    Les Sources de Caudalie – 5 star – near Bordeaux
    This excellently situated hotel is surrounded by the Smith Haut Lafitte vineyard and is owned by the same family. Les Sources de Caudalie offers high levels of service and comfort alongside a perfect combination of wine-tasting, gastronomy and relaxation. The 49 bedrooms, each one individually named and decorated to reflect the style and colours of the region, are spread throughout the wings and in small houses in the grounds. The hotel has two restaurants, run by chef Frank Salein: the Michelin-starred ‘La Grand Vigne’ and the more casual ‘Table du Lavoir’. Les Sources de Caudalie also offers a wonderful vinotherapy spa which uses the Caudalie products and cosmetics based on grape and vine extracts. This hotel comes highly recommended.
    See more detail on Les Sources de Caudalie.

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  • France

    Find out more about France

    France FAST FACTS


    Main airports are in Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon, with scheduled and low cost airlines flying into the country from all over the UK.
    Euro (£1 = Euro 1.24)
    Roughly 600 miles wide and 700 miles long
    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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