Tailormade tour Cities of Paris, Lyon and Avignon by rail holiday France

7 nights/8 days

Paris • Lyon • Avignon

This rail holiday to the three superb French cities of Paris, Lyon and Avignon transports you by Eurostar from London to Paris and then TGV between each of the cities and back to London by Eurostar. We include a stay at charming, centrally-located hotels which make a great base to explore each city. Our own helpful hints on things to do are included for each city.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotel, from about £1,790 per person.

Luxury rail holiday to the French cities of Paris, Lyon and Avignon

Highlights

Paris • Visit the Eiffel Tower • Musée d’Orsay • Champs-Elysées • Tuileries and the Louvre • Lyon • Place Bellecour • Notre Dame Basilica •Avignon • Palais des Papes

Day by day

Begin your rail holiday by departing on a Eurostar train from London to Paris. Departures are hourly and the journey takes approximately 2 hours 30 minutes. Choose a departure time that suits you best, although we suggest taking a mid-morning train that means you arrive in Paris in the early afternoon. Check-in to your hotel in Paris for three nights.

You have two full days at leisure to explore Paris. The hotel we suggest is situated on the Left Bank, a stone’s throw away from La Place de la Concorde, the Assemblée Nationale and Les Invalides. Highlights to visit include the Eiffel Tower, perhaps the most famous of Paris’s monuments, where you can take a lift to the top floor at 899 feet and enjoy the view across Paris. Other places to visit include the Champs-Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe which dates from 1836. Spend some time taking in the atmosphere of Montmartre where you can find the Sacré-Coeur basilica. Montmartre is one of the most charming areas of Paris, and it is worth exploring the narrow winding streets that make it so appealing. Another appealing district is Le Marais, on the right bank. Here you can find the elegant Place des Vosges, an attractive square known formally as the Place Royale built in the early 1700s. There are also many museums on offer. Notable museums include the Louvre, Musée Rodin and Musée d’Orsay. Take a break from sight-seeing and enjoy one of the many pretty gardens such as the Jardin du Luxembourg or the Jardin des Tuileries.

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before taking a taxi to the Gare de Lyon where you board a direct TGV service to the city of Lyon. The journey takes about two hours with trains departing about two every hour. There are no tunnels on this route and you’ll see the forests and fields south of Paris give way to the hills and vineyards of Burgundy. Check-in to Hotel La Cour des Loges where you will spend two nights.

Your hotel, which resembles a Renaissance chateau, is a great base situated in the heart of Lyon’s Old Town. The luxurious hotel offers a spa, rooftop garden, indoor swimming pool and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Lyon has much to offer, with history dating back to Roman times. The old town is located on the banks of the River Saone. Spend time exploring the narrow, cobbled streets with medieval buildings and a variety of restaurants to choose from. Visit Place Bellecour, an impressive square with a statue of Louis XIV on horseback as its centrepiece. Stroll to Place des Terreaux and admire the fountains dotted about the square. The striking Notre Dame Basilica, situated in Fourviere, can be accessed on foot up several steps or by funicular. Enjoy panoramic views over Lyon from here. Lyon is also home to around 30 museums including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilisation. Dine in one of Lyon’s many restaurants or try the Michelin starred restaurant, Les Loges, at your hotel. 

You might want to spend the morning for last-minute sightseeing in Lyon before boarding the TGV to Avignon. The journey on this fast, direct train will take just over an hour as it travels along the high-speed line along the Rhone Valley, passing traditional villages and chateaux. To your left you might be able to glimpse the snow-capped peaks of the French Alps in the distance or the mass of the Massif Central on your right. As you approach Avignon, the train crosses a viaduct over the River Rhone and to your left you should be able to see the Palais des Papes. Avignon TGV station is about 3 kms from the centre of the city, so take a taxi to your hotel. You spend two nights in Avignon.

You have today at leisure to explore the city of Avignon. The city is set on the banks of the majestic Rhone river and was the seat of the Catholic popes for most of the 14th century, only coming under French rule in 1791. Its centre, which is surrounded by high mediaeval ramparts, houses the imposing Palais des Papes, the largest gothic palace in the world. The old town of Avignon is home to numerous other architectural gems including the 12th century cathedral, the ramparts, and the famous Pont d’Avignon. Hiding amongst the streets are several gardens and in the summer months your visit may coincide with the Avignon Theatre Festival, founded in 1947 and recognised to be one of the greatest in the world. Watch performances of theatre and dance; listen to readings; and indulge in the vibrancy and colour of the event that makes superb use of the city’s historical buildings and monuments. Other museums are the Calvet Museum and the Musée du Petit Palais, the Collection Lambert and the Musée Lapidaire.

Depending on the season, you might be able to take a direct Eurostar from Avignon to London. The train leaves Avignon TGV Station at 16:00 hrs and arrives into London just after 22:00 hrs. If you take the TGV back through Paris, you leave Avignon just before 11:00 and arrive into London in the early evening.

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,790 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room and including standard class rail travel. Supplement for standard premier/first class about £350 per person.

Holiday Code FRBR12

Luxury rail holiday to the French cities of Paris, Lyon and Avignon

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,790 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room and including standard class rail travel. Supplement for standard premier/first class about £350 per person.

Holiday Code FRBR12

Our prices include ● Second-class travel on all trains, with standard class on Eurostar (first and standard premier can be booked at a supplement)
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a superior room at Hotel Bourgogne et Montana, Paris
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a classic room at Hotel La Cour des Loges, Lyon
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in an exclusive room at Cloitre St Louis, Avignon
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers, entrance fees and meals except daily breakfast at each hotel
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, usually between Euros 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel
● Transfers in Paris, Lyon or Avignon

Additional information This holiday can be arranged throughout the year. Additional nights can be added at any point on this itinerary. Timings can vary depending on the month and day of the week.

Luxury rail holiday to the French cities of Paris, Lyon and Avignon

Highlights of Paris

We can arrange tickets for the opera, ballet and concerts throughout France. Please let us know what you want to see and we will do our best to book tickets in advance.

Paris Climate

Average air temperatures in Centigrade: Jan: 7.5, Feb: 7.1, Mar: 10.2, Apr: 15.7, May: 16.6, Jun: 23.4, Jul: 25.1, Aug: 25.6, Sep: 20.9, Oct: 16.5, Nov: 11.7, Dec: 7.8. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France.

Luxury rail holiday to the French cities of Paris, Lyon and Avignon

Highlights of Provence

Cultural highlights include santons, Souleiado Provençal fabrics, herbs and lavender, wine and olive oil, melons and pastis, boules and berets.

Provence Climate

Average air temperatures in Centigrade: January: 12.2, February: 11.9, March: 14.2, April: 18.5, May: 20.8, June: 26.6, July: 28.1, August: 28.4, September: 25.2, October: 22.1, November: 16.8, December: 14.1. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France.

Luxury rail holiday to the French cities of Paris, Lyon and Avignon

Highlights of the Rhone Valley

Cultural highlights include the Beaujolais vineyards, the Gastronomic centre of the city of Lyon, vineyards of the southern Rhone valley, jazz festivals, olive festivals, and the International shoe museum at Romans.

Rhone Valley Climate

Average air temperature in Centigrade: Jan: 12.4, Feb: 11.5, Mar: 12.5, Apr: 17.6, May: 20.1, Jun: 26.5, Jul: 28.4, Aug: 28.1, Sep: 26.1, Oct: 21.1, Nov: 15.8, Dec: 13.5. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France

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