All tours on this holiday have now departed. Future departure dates will be confirmed in due course.
Exclusive lunch, tour of the Camargue and dinner with Sir Michael Morpurgo
Beautiful countryside – rolling vineyards, sumptuous orchards and enchanting hill towns
Elegant cities – Avignon and Aix are full of lovely architecture
Roman remains – Provence has some of the world’s best
Sleepy villages – glimpse authentic rural life
Distinctive and delicious regional cuisine
Join the much-loved writer and storyteller in the beautiful, unspoilt region of France where his latest book is set and enjoy fascinating visits to Avignon, Aix and Arles.
Sir Michael Morpurgo OBE
The award-winning author Michael Morpurgo is one of the nation’s favourite storytellers. A former Children’s Laureate, he has written more than 150 books, which have sold over 40 million copies and delighted readers of all ages around the world. One of his best-loved stories is War Horse, which was adapted by the National Theatre into a smash-hit play and later into an Oscar-nominated film directed by Steven Spielberg.
Michael’s inspiring new book, Flamingo Boy, tells the story of an autistic boy living in Aigues-Mortes in the Camargue during the Second World War. Receive a copy of The Flamingo Boy per booking (which Michael will be happy to sign at lunch or dinner)
Day 1: Travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras direct to Avignon. (nb returning via Lille)
On arrival, transfer by coach to our hotels, the Bristol Hotel or the Avignon Grand.
Day 2: The Camargue and Aigues-Mortes
Today you will spend the day exploring the Camargue region, including a wonderful lunch in Aigues-Mortes with Sir Michael Morpurgo. An area of outstanding natural beauty, the Camargue is a nature lover’s paradise, famed for its flamingos and white horses, and this afternoon Michael will join you on a special wildlife safari to see them for yourself. This evening, back in Avignon, Michael will give a private talk with a Q&A about his life as a writer over dinner at a local restaurant, as well as sign copies of his new book.
Day 3: Avignon, France
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 new by the restored medieval ramparts. You’ll do a guided walking tour in the morning, which includes the unfinished bridge, and then have the afternoon to explore the impressive Palais des Papes, excellent museums and lovely old churches at your leisure.
Day 4: Arles and Les Baux de Provence, France
Arles is best known for its fine Roman arena, baths and theatre and 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. It’s also home to the Musee de la Camargue that tells the history of the area through the ages.
Day 5: Aix-en-Provence and the Luberon
The elegant city of Aix-en-Provence is immediately attractive with its medieval centre, atmospheric lanes and fountained squares. Home to artist Paul Cézanne, you will find his studio preserved exactly as he left it on his death in 1906. You’ll also visit picturesque Gordes which tumbles down the Luberon foothills and is a wonderful place to wander.
Day 6: Uzès and Pont du Gard, France
This morning you’ll visit the delightful hilltop town of Uzès which 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. Built over the Gardon River in 19BC the Pont du Gard is remarkably preserved and at 48 metres is the highest bridge the Romans ever constructed. You’ll then have the afternoon to explore by yourself.
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 49 passengers.
PLEASE NOTE: As with most trains, passengers are responsible for carrying baggage onto and off the train. Baggage can be stored on overhead shelves or at the entrance to the carriages.Trollies are available at St Pancras and Lille, but bags do need to be carried on to the platform.
Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890
You have a choice of two centrally based hotels in Avignon for your stay: the three-star Bristol Hotel (included in price) or upgrade to the four-star Avignon Grand.
Bristol Hotel Located on the main throughfare in central Avignon, the Bristol Hotel enjoys a superb location in the heart of the city. Facilities at this traditional three-star hotel include bar and comfortable bedrooms with private bath/shower, TV and telephone. There is also a ground floor brasserie serving inexpensive meals throughout the day under separate management.
Avignon Grand The superior four-star Avignon Grand Hotel, is located directly opposite the old city walls and a 10 minute walk to the main square. All rooms are spacious with modern facilities. Unfortunately, the Avignon Grand does not offer a restaurant for individual guests but a room service menu is available as well as many excellent restaurants nearby. Please note that there is a supplement applicable to upgrade to the four-star Avignon Grand.
OUR VIEW ON THE HOTELSOur two hotels in Avignon are excellent in their category and both have superb central locations. The Bristol is a traditional family-owned three-star, whilst the four-star Avignon offers more stylish and sophisticated accommodation - both have a bar but no restaurant though Avignon's myriad of excellent restaurants are within an easy stroll of both.
This was an excellent tour with good quality and interesting visits. Having Michael Morpurgo with us on Monday, sharing his stories and his heart, was very special too. Our guide was absolutely first-class - always ready with a wide level of relevant information about the places we visited. She was able to be flexible about alternative visits or extra places when possible. On our journey home, when there was an incident on the TGV line, she worked long and hard to keep us informed of the situation and speeded us through immigration etc at Lille. The only negative points were the bathrooms in Hotel Bristol because the bath was too deep for an *elderly couple (not us) to get in, so they could neither bath nor shower; and secondly, the rather small breakfast room for the number of guests - but I loved the chewy rye bread! *Don’t know if they reported this as they only told us on the return journey.
Review by Pearson who travelled 16-September-2019
The overall impression would have been excellent save for the hotel which was adequate to poor. The tour itself was very well planned and the locations visited provided much interest as well as capturing the flavour of that area of France. Most people would have preferred to have spent more time in Aix en Provence with, to balance, less time devoted to Arles. The tour lunch in The Camargue was excellent whereas the evening meal at the attractive Cloitre Hotel in Avignon was no more than average. Highlight of the first two days were the talks given by Sir Michael Morpurgo and the superb manner in which he, his wife Clare and his their PAs mingled and talked to individuals in such a delightful manner. They were friendly, approachable and one almost felt that they were part of the tour party. The hotel was the weak part of the tour. It was no more than adequate. It is a venue for tour groups such as Travel Editions, no doubt offering attractive prices, welcoming tour parties in and turning them out day by day. Breakfast was sufficient but the room itself was small and crushed when full. Tea, coffee and wine were readily available in the room off the foyer. However attention to detail like the state of carpets, paint work on the walls, removal of cobwebs in the passages and such like probably come at the end of the season and not during it. The hotel’s location in Avignon was extremely good and the staff were most accommodating and polite. Our bedroom was adequate, cramped with three beds, but cleaned and prepared very well each day. The bathroom was a good size and well provided with mirrors and lights. The bath itself presented a safety problem to less agile elderly people, such as ourselves (not confined to us as we discovered), in that getting out of the bath was extremely difficult. Little space was provided to lever oneself out of the slippery bath owing to the length of the fixed shower glass and the lack of grab rails. The shower itself was at the wrong end of the bath, in the narrow sloping end, with no anti-slip mat provided. The tour was extremely well led by Gillian who was helpful, knowledgeable and highly organised. She is to be highly commended for the magnificent job she did in rearranging the tour party’s rail tickets, at short notice on return, at Lille to catch the next available train to St Pancreas after being unexpectedly delayed en-route. Please ensure that she receives our grateful thanks for that and for conducting the tour in such a pleasant manner. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed the tour and would be pleased to use Travel Editions again.
Review by Lawton who travelled 16-September-2019
Gill was a brilliant history-teller. She excelled herself in getting 32 of us onto the Eurostar when we were delayed for some hours by a suicide on the TGV line involving great re-routing. My only criticism is choosing a hotel with no restaurant- setting out after a full day to find a restaurant was unhelpful!
Review by Lanyon who travelled 16-September-2019
Great tour, and excdellent introduction to Travel Editions and group touring (this was our first time doing a group tour). Gill was excellent: informative, helpful, cheerful, just the write amount of discipline, etc. Michael was good value, and seemed genuinely happy to spend quality time with us. Have marked down the travel arrangements only because of the return TGV delays and therefore missing our connection (and drinks / meal!), which is completely beyond TE's control. Hotel was good enough for a three star establishment, though would have preferred to stay somewhere a bit more luxurious (I know there was an upgrade option, but the reviews on TA suggests that The Bristol is a better hotel than the other option). We will almost certianly be booking with TE again in the not too distant future.
Review by Spirgel-Sinclair who travelled 16-September-2019
We had a very good time. The visit to the Camargue was brilliant and the sessions with Michael Morpurgo were very good. We had a bad train journey back because the TGV line was blocked. Tour manager Gill Thompson was magnificent, especially keeping us informed and calm on the journey back and sorting out new seating when the TGV did not get us to the Eurostar in time. We enjoyed ourselves and would happily travel with Travel Editions again, especially with Gill.
Review by Lugton who travelled 16-September-2019
Gill was an extremely efficient, well organised, knowledgeable, thoughtful and perceptive tour manager throughout this visit. Her understanding of French bureaucracy , mastery of the language and quick reactions got us home from Lille with very little delay, despite the vagaries of the French transport system!
Review by Webley who travelled 16-September-2019