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La Rochelle and the Vendée by Rail

6 nights starting from
£999

  • The glorious Atlantic port of La Rochelle

  • Rochefort & La Corderie Royal

  • The pilgrimage town of Saintes

  • Cognac – with a tasting!

  • Historic Nantes

The Atlantic coastal Vendée straddles the Loire and Poitou regions and offers a wealth of sights for the visitor, yet is largely by-passed in the annual rush to the coastal resorts further south.  Highlights of this superb new tour include glorious ports, historic cities, maritime heritage, cognac and wine - a heady mix to delight any visitor.

Available Departures

From

12 - September - 2019 £ 999.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

St Pancras

Departing: 12th September 2019 at 09:24

Returning: 18th September 2019 at 16:10

ITINERARY

Day 1: Travel by Eurostar and TGV from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Niort. 
Transfer by coach to the hotel.

Day 2: Full day tour to La Rochelle Ile de Re.
The glory of the busy port of La Rochelle is its old harbour, surrounded by stately buildings and now the largest yachting centre on the French Atlantic coast. Sights here include the twin towers that guard the harbour – the Tour de la Chaine and Tour St-Nicolas, 16th century Hotel de Ville, 15th century Tour de la Lanterne that offers wonderful views from its summit and several interesting museums of natural history and emigration. Also worth a visit is the huge aquarium as is the delightful collection of perfume bottles at the Musée du Flacon a Parfum on Rue du Temple.

Day 3: Morning free in Fontenay-le-Comte on market day, afternoon boat trip and wine tasting. 
Morning visit to the pretty town of  Fontenay-le-Comte on market day.  Often referred to as the prettiest town in the Vendée, Fontenay-le-Comte is listed as one of the “Plus Beau detours de France.” Sitting astride the River Vendée, the former port was a fording town on the old Roman coastal road,  but now miles inland thanks to the silting and draining of the marshland by the Benedictine monks.  Market day is the perfect time to soak up the local atmosphere as well as explore the sights including the castle ruins, two chateaux and an imposing cathedral.  Afternoon visit to the Marais Poitevin waterways and trip on a flat-bottomed  boat (8-10 pax per boat). The marshlands are the second largest in France after the Camargue and offer a beautiful natural setting in which to relax in a small boat and let the world drift by. We will finish the day with a wine tasting at the prestigious Mercier winery. 

Day 4: Full day tour to Saintes and Cognac with tasting.
Saintes has a rich architectural heritage, thanks to its position on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. Sights here include the Roman Arch of Germanicus, Roman amphitheatre, Abbaye aux Dames and 15th century Eglise St-Eutrope.  The port of Cognac on the River Charente has become synonymous with its famous export – the spirit that shares its name. With a museum dedicated to the art of Cognac production and numerous producers offering tours and tastings,  you might think that that is all the town has to offer, however it also boasts an attractive old town as well as a host of excellent restaurants. Having said that, no trip here is complete without a cognac tasting – one is included as part of the tour.

Day 5: Full day tour to Rochefort with visit to the Corderie Royale. 
The historic rival to La Rochelle, Rochefort was purpose built by Colbert in the 17th century to be the greatest shipyard in France, producing over 300 sailing vessels each year. Its maritime heritage can be seen in the beautiful Corderie Royale that houses an exhibition on ropemaking and the Musée de la Marine that displays models of the ships built here. The town is also famed as the birthplace of flamboyant French writer Pierre Lotti whose extravagant house is open to the public.

Day 6: Full day tour to Nantes.
A fascinating town of great architectural vartiety from its medieval core through Art Nouveau squares to high-tech towers.  Once vying with Rennes as capital of Brittany, Nantes remains essentially Breton at heart, though now the capital of the Pays-de-Loire region.  Sights include the Cathedrale St-Pierre-et-St-Paul and the Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne, where the Edict of Nantes was signed by Henri IV in 1598.

Day 7: Transfer to station for TGV and Eurostar to Ebbsfleet or St Pancras via Paris.

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion. 

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 40 passengers.

INCLUDED

  • Return Eurostar and TGV from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Niort via Paris
  • Six nights’ accommodation in standard room on dinner, bed and breakfast basis at the three-star Le Rabelais Hotel, Fontenay-le-Conte, based on shared occupancy of twin room
  • Transfers and full coach touring as detailed in the itinerary conducted by tour manager
  • Tour manager throughout

NOT INCLUDED

  • Holiday insurance
  • Single room supplement
  • Standard Premier/1st Class upgrade on Eurostar/TGV. On the Eurostar this constitutes upgraded seating and light meal with complimentary drink with upgraded seating only on the French railway leg
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Porterage and gratuities

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 Paris, 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

HOTELS

Hotel Le Rabelais, Fontenay-le-Comte

The Hotel – Restaurant – Spa Le Rabelais is situated in the centre of the pretty town of Fontenay-le-Comte on the banks of the Vendée. Facilties at this well-appointed and well-run three-star hotel include a well-regarded restaurant, spa with sauna and comfortable bedrooms with all modern facilities including free wifi.

Hotel Website link

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