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From the rolling vineyards to the grand cities

Home to fine cuisine, romantic cities and world-class wines, France is a fantastic destination for an elegant holiday abroad. 

Rail Tours in France

Escorted holidays to enjoy France's History, Culture and Cuisine

France is a destination that really needs no introduction. Its capital, Paris, is regarded as the most romantic city in the world. It is revered for its wine and cuisines. It has an almost unrivalled historic and cultural heritage in its architecture, artworks and music. Beyond compelling cities that routinely feature exquisite palaces, ornamental gardens, gourmet restaurants and world-class museums, France also boasts natural beauty that extends from the snow-clad Alps to the sun-kissed beaches of the French Riviera.

Luckily, France also possesses one of the most modern and efficient rail networks in Europe, and an escorted rail tour in France with Great Rail Journeys is one of the easiest and most comfortable ways in which to explore and enjoy a host of France's greatest attractions.

We’ve found 33 tours for you matching: France

Carcassonne & the Canal du Midi

From timeless vineyards and sundrenched, rugged hills to imposing Cathar castles and historic abbeys, join us on a remarkable tour showcasing the very best of Languedoc. We explore the iconic walled Cité of Carcassonne, enjoy an excursion to the 'Ville Rose' city of Toulouse and immerse ourselves in local market life.

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7 days from £1,695 pp

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Avignon, the Rhône & Provence

Discover Avignon, the Rhône and Provence. Inspiration for artists including Vincent Van Gogh, this region of France oozes history, charm and atmosphere. Staying in the delightful city of Avignon, we explore Roman Provence and enjoy a lunch cruise along the Rhône.

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7 days from £1,195 pp

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Alsace & the Route des Vins

Discover the crooked, half-timbered town of Colmar - a quintessential Alsatian destination. Experience local hospitality, traditional cuisine and superb excursions, while enjoying the distinctive wines produced in the vineyards along the 'Route des Vins'.

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7 days from £1,445 pp

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Lille, Flanders & the Somme

A short rail journey to Lille takes us close to the Battlefields of Ypres and the Somme, two of the most infamous and iconic sites of the First World War. We also explore the fascinating city of Lille on a guided tour which includes a traditional beer and waffle tasting.

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5 days from £595 pp

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Garonne & the Dordogne CruiseGaronne & the Dordogne Cruise

Five-Star Bordeaux & The Dordogne Cruise (Fly & Cruise)

History, good food and great wine are in abundance on this hugely inclusive cruise as you make visits to Bordeaux and the Médoc wine region, learn the history of St Emilion and see the cave where he cloistered himself for so long, as well as uncover the buried secrets of Blaye.

Visit a part of France that gets missed by many visitors to the country but which is highly recommended by French nationals themselves and explore the most leisurely way possible, on a river cruise sailing through the picturesque Gironde Estuary.

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7 days from £1,495 pp

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Premium Rhine CruisePremium Rhine Cruise

Five-Star Rhine Cruise (Fly & Cruise)

From Switzerland to the Netherlands, this spectacular cruise reveals the majestic allure of the Rhine River, in all of its fairytale glory. We uncover beautiful valley gorges, splendid halftimbered towns and all the remarkable cities along the banks of this grand old river.

Over the course of four different countries, discover some of the finest experiences these nations have to offer including a German heritage rail journey, a French city tour and Dutch steam trains, along with daytime cruising on some of the finest stretches of the Rhine.

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8 days from £1,195 pp

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Discovering the best of France with Great Rail Journeys

At Great Rail Journeys we offer our guests a variety of escorted rail tours in France covering everything from a romantic Seine cruise to a short break in the rustic Dordogne region or a longer relaxing stay on the shores of Lake Annecy. Whichever you choose, you can be sure that our French rail breaks offer excellent value. The price of your trip covers travel to, from and within France, accommodation of a high standard, an itinerary of excursions designed to highlight the best aspects of each French destination and a selection of meals.

You'll stay in hotels that we've personally selected for their quality and value to ensure that you enjoy the best comfort, service and facilities. Where possible you'll stay in family-run hotels which we find are more relaxed and give our guests a more personal service.



You'll be escorted throughout your French train holiday by our friendly and professional Tour Manager who is on-hand whenever needed to provide assistance, answer questions and offer information and advice about the places you'll visit.

France's History and Culture

France's modern history is a story of invasions and conflicts for control. The region of Europe originally known as Gaul was ruled by Celtic tribes until the Roman Empire, under Julius Caesar, took control in 58BC. When Rome fell, Gaul was ruled by a heathen tribe - the 'Franks', who gave the country its name and its first king: Charlemagne. The monarchy continued despite an attempted invasion by the English during the 'Hundred Years War' between 1337 and 1453. They were defeated thanks to the army-rallying efforts of a young French peasant called Joan of Arc. By the seventeenth-century, ruled by King Louis XIV France had become a European superpower but a subsequent financial crisis and disillusionment with the monarchy sparked the French Revolution in 1789. The monarchy was abolished and France became the republic that it remains today.




France's Climate

France's climate varies with location, but is generally mild and temperate throughout the year. The north and west of the country are the coolest and experience most rainfall, whilst the Mediterranean coast enjoys the driest, warmest and sunniest weather. Spring and summer are the best times to visit anywhere in the country unless you're a snow sports enthusiast, whilst autumn is typically the wettest season.

French Cuisine

Great Rail Journeys' tours allow you to enjoy French cuisine which is renowned for its culinary artistry, flair and flavour. Should Escargots de Bourgogne (snails in garlic butter) or cuisses de grenouille (frogs legs) not be to your taste there are countless other French classic dishes and specialities to enjoy such as baked Camembert cheese, Moules Marinières; mussels cooked in a white wine broth; Soupe à L'oignon; an onion soup traditionally served with a unique crust; Cassoulet; a popular stew of duck and beans and Bouillabaisse; a colourful stew of fish and shellfish flavoured with saffron.

Lynne Broadley
Julie Pacalon
Helen Laverack
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