Tailormade tour Pyrenees to the Luberon fly-drive holiday France

8 nights/9 days

Molitg-les-Bains • Montpellier • Joucas • Luberon

This 8-night fly-drive holiday has been designed so that you can explore the southern regions from French Catalonia to Provence. You stay near Mount Canigou, Montpellier and in the Luberon providing an atmospheric mix of the mountains, coast and countryside of southern France.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £2,350 per person.

Luxury fly-drive touring holiday combining the French Pyrenees, Languedoc and Provence

Highlights

Molitg-les-Bains • French Catalonia • Pyrenees • Mount Canigou • Montpellier • Visit Sète • Joucas •Luberon • Provence • Visit Gordes

Day by day

Start your holiday by flying from the UK to Toulouse. We include flights with British Airways from London Heathrow to Toulouse. Pick up a hire car from Toulouse airport. It is a drive of about 3 hours to the Chateau de Riell from here. Depending on the time of arrival, you could take the motorway to reach Molitg-les-Bains most quickly or you could take a choice of roads across country heading south towards Andorra and into the Pyrenees or driving on the winding roads south of Carcassonne, skirting Cathar country. Settle into your hotel where you spend three nights.

You have two full days in French Catalonia to use your boutique hotel as a base to enjoy the natural surroundings of Molitg-les-Bains. Your hotel looks out onto snow topped Mount Canigou in this thermal spa town in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Enjoy exploring on foot with hikes through the nearby forest-clad hills and orchards with plenty of time to unwind by the pool. A short drive away is the town of Prades, situated at the foot of the Canigou, home to a weekly farmers’ market and the Pablo Casals museum, once home to the Spanish-born cellist, composer and conductor.  Another nearby town is Villefranche de Conflent. This fortified town dates from the 11th century and has the 12th century Church of St Jacques. Nearby, visit the Canalettes caves. Spend a day on the Mediterranean coast in the town of Collioure, just over an hour’s drive away. Situated in the Roussillon wine area, the town enjoys a pretty location on a bay. Continue south towards the Spanish border to Port Vendres where you find Vauban fortifications. Visit the historic city of Perpignan to discover the citadel and royal castle. Near to the town of Arles sur Tech, you can find the spectacular Gorges de la Fou. This is well-worth visiting and takes about an hour to walk. Céret is about a 1 hour 10-minute drive from your hotel. The old town is composed of narrow, winding streets and alleyways. Notable sights include the 12th century church of St Pierre, the old town gates, museum of modern art composed of works presented by artists who worked in Céret such as Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and Dali.

Your drive today will take about 2 hours 30 minutes if you drive there directly but this would be the day to visit the Corbières and Minervois vineyards near the cities of Narbonne, once a Roman port, and Béziers, famous for its bullfighting. Your hotel, the Domaine de Verchant, where you spend two nights, occupies a 16th century country mansion on the edge of its own vineyards just outside Montpellier.

You are situated just a few minutes by car from the cultural hub of Montpellier, with its mediaeval centre, wide boulevards, natural spaces, architect-designed modern buildings, and great places to wine and dine. Join a guided tour organised by the local tourist office to peek behind the gates into the courtyards of the grand, private mansions of the city. The Musée Fabre is one of the best Fine Arts museums in Europe. As well as the stimulation of the city, just 15 minutes or so away by car are the long sandy beaches from La Grande Motte to Sète. Sète, known as the ‘Venice of the Languedoc’ sits on an isthmus between a saltwater lagoon and the sea and is renowned as a seafood destination for gourmets. To the north of Montpellier, you can explore the vineyards and mediaeval villages of the Hérault, such as St Guilhem le Desert. About 40 minutes’ drive away is the Pic Saint-Loup, a dramatic vantage point, and with many wineries in the surrounding countryside.

After a leisurely breakfast, check-out of your hotel and drive for about two hours to the last stop on this tour, just outside Joucas, immersed in the verdant landscape of the Parc Naturel Régional du Luberon in Provence. You spend three nights here.

Relax into the charming landscape of the Luberon. Just 20 minutes from Joucas is one of the finest examples of the famous Provencal lavender fields at the Abbaye de Sénanque, just outside the village of Gordes. The former Cistercian monastery dates from 1148 and now guests can take tours of the church and cloisters and feast their eyes on beautiful fields of lavender beyond (the lavender is usually harvested by the beginning of August and is in bloom from the end of June). For a more in- depth view of the history of lavender in Provence why not visit the Musée de la Lavande in Coustellet. Gordes itself is one of the most beautiful villages in Provence and nearby is the curious Village des Bories, an open-air museum of stone dwellings possibly dating as far back as the Bronze Age. Explore along the Sorgue River and the surrounding countryside by bike or on foot. Local markets take place in the villages every day: Lourmarin and Bonnieux on a Friday, Gordes on a Tuesday and Ménerbes on a Thursday, for example.

Today, depending on the time of your flight, you check-out after breakfast and make your way to Marseille. If time allows call in to the city of Aix-en-Provence on the way. Aix is renowned as a cultural, university and artistic city in Provence and is strongly connected with Cézanne. You can visit his studio here. Drop off your car at the airport before taking your flight back to the UK.

Holiday price guide Prices from £2,350 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code FRFD13

Luxury fly-drive touring holiday combining the French Pyrenees, Languedoc and Provence

Holiday price guide Prices from £2,350 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code FRFD13

Our prices include ● Scheduled return flights with British Airways from London to Toulouse and from Marseille to London
● Hire of a Group C car for the duration of the holiday
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a cottage in the gardens at Chateau de Riell, Molitg-les-Bains
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a deluxe room at Domaine de Verchant, Castelnau-le-Lez
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a terrace room at Hotel Le Phébus, Joucas
● 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 additional transfers, entrance fees and meals except daily breakfast
● 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

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.
Travel times for this holiday
Toulouse Airport to Molitg-les-Bains: 2 hour 45 minutes by car
Molitg-les-Bains to Castelnau-le-Lez: 2 hours 25 minutes by car
Castelnau-le-Lez to Joucas: 2 hours
Joucas to Marseille Airport: 1 hour 10 minutes

Luxury fly-drive touring holiday combining the French Pyrenees, Languedoc and Provence

Highlights of Languedoc-Roussillon

Sample the earliest cherries in France and other seasonal fruit. Take a visit to see the local ceramics and paintings, travel on the narrow-gauge railway from Villefranche de Conflent to Font Romeu. There are Folklore and music festivals in August. Gastronomy Sample anchovies, macaroons, Rousquilles aniseed biscuits. Local wines include Banyuls and Rivesaltes wines and Cotes de Roussillon wine. This is one of the most highly-regarded new wine regions of France.

Climate of Languedoc-Roussillon

Average air temperatures 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

Luxury fly-drive touring holiday combining the French Pyrenees, Languedoc and Provence

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.

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