Day 1: Travel by Eurostar direct from St Pancras to Avignon. On arrival, transfer by coach to our hotels, the Bristol Hotel or the Avignon Grand.
Day 2: Morning visits to Uzès and the Pont du Gard with the afternoon free. The delightful hilltop town of Uzès sits on the source of the Eure, the river that supplied the Roman town of Nimes via the Pont du Gard aqueduct in the 1st century BC. Its narrow streets are wonderfully atmospheric and perfect for strolling. The Pont du Gard is a remarkable symbol of the engineering capabilities of the Romans. Built over the Gardon River in 19BC and remarkably preserved, at 48 metres, it is the highest bridge the Romans ever constructed.
Day 3: Full day tour to Orange and Chateauneuf-du- Pape. From the lovely town of L’Isle sur la Sorgue, known for its excellent antiques market, we approach Orange through the countryside. Home to two of the finest Roman monuments in Europe; the Theatre Antique d’Orange and the Arc de Triomphe, Orange’s old town is also worth exploring with its Hotel de Ville, Notre Dame Cathedral and peaceful shady squares. The Popes of Avignon built Chateauneuf (new castle) and the surrounding vineyards which now produce one of the finest Côtes du Rhône red wines in the world. There is plenty of opportunity for tastings in the attractive village.
Day 4: Full day tour to Arles, Les Baux de Provence and the Camargue. Arles is best known for its fine Roman arena, baths and theatre – there are lovely views over the town from the arena’s top tier. It was also the sometime home of artists Van Gogh and Gauguin. The ancient, ruined citadel of Les Baux clings to a high ridge of the Alpilles range, a stark contrast to its bustling, Renaissance other half situated just below. An area of outstanding natural beauty, the Camargue is a nature-lover’s paradise, famed for its flamingos and white horses.
Day 5: Full day to relax and explore Avignon at your leisure. Avignon is perhaps the most rewarding city in Provence. Home to Popes in the early part of the Middle Ages and a centre of art for centuries, the old is separated from the modern by the restored medieval ramparts. Within you’ll find the impressive Palais des Papes, excellent museums and lovely old churches.
Day 6: Full day tour to Aix-en-Provence and the Luberon. The elegant city of Aix-en-Provence is immediately attractive with its medieval centre a knot of grand architecture and atmospheric lanes, peppered with fountained squares. Home to artist Paul Cézanne, you will find his studio preserved exactly as he left it on his death in 1906. There are many lovely cafes to sit in and watch the world go by along the Cours Mirabeau. A spectacular area, the Luberon starts out as lush foothills covered with vineyards and farmland before peaking in an area of rugged cliffs, rough-hewn gorges and rustic villages. Like many of the region’s villages, picturesque Gordes tumbles down the Luberon foothills and makes a wonderful place to wander.
Day 7: Transfer by coach back to Avignon station to catch the return TGV to Lille. At Lille, board the return Eurostar service to St Pancras.
NB: Exact order of itinerary of Provence by rail may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 41 passengers.