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Discover France, the Great Rail way

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

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Rail Tours in France

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

France is effortlessly chic, bursting with romantic cities, pavement cafés perfect for people watching, world-famous food and wine, and a southern coastline which epitomises Mediterranean glamour.

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.

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.

Highlights

  • Exclusive Small Group Tour
    Relish an intimate look around one of the region's most historically significant castles and sample wines from a rising star of the French vintnery scene.
    Chateaux of the Loire Valley
  • Pont du Gard & Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    Visit the Pont du Gard, a spectacular ancient Roman aqueduct and one of France's most recognisable landmarks.
    Avignon, the Rhone & Provence

We’ve found 31 tours for you matching: France

An Impression of the Seine (Fly & Cruise)

Cruising the scenic Seine on board the MS Renoir, explore the world of the Impressionist artists, from Monet's famous garden at Giverny to the city galleries of Paris and Rouen. With flexible shore excursions available, you can choose what you want to do whilst enjoying the romantic scenery of what is arguably France's best-loved waterway. Experience the very best of Northern France, from the world-changing D-Day landings to the enchanting cities and towns which inspired the artists of the Impressionist movement.

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2020MayJunSep

7 days from £1,495 pp

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An Impression of the Seine (Rail & Cruise)

Cruising the scenic Seine on board the MS Renoir, explore the world of the Impressionist artists, from Monet's famous garden at Giverny to the city galleries of Paris and Rouen. With flexible shore excursions available, you can choose what you want to do whilst enjoying the romantic scenery of what is arguably France's best-loved waterway. Experience the very best of Northern France, from the world-changing D-Day landings to the enchanting cities and towns which inspired the artists of the Impressionist movement.

… see more
2020MayJunSep

7 days from £1,495 pp

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Beautiful Bordeaux & The Dordogne Cruise (Fly & Cruise)

Experience a part of France renowned for its beautiful landscape and explore it in the most leisurely way possible, on a river cruise sailing through the picturesque Gironde Estuary.

Good food and great wine are in abundance on this hugely inclusive cruise exploring the Bordeaux region. Enjoy complimentary wine with each dinner and an exclusive wine tasting on board.

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2020MaySep

7 days from £1,295 pp

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Lake Maggiore, The Centovalli Railway & Rhine Cruise

Delight in two great European countries, Italy and Germany, on this 16-day holiday which blends fantastic rail excursions with relaxing river cruising. Unwind beside the Great Italian lakes of Maggiore and Orta, enjoying included wine tastings and garden tours, before an immersive Rhine cruise through some of Germany's most scenic towns and landscapes.

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2020MayJun

16 days from £3,695 pp

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Provence and The Elegant Rhône (Fly & Cruise)

Discover the timeless elegance of France's beautiful Rhône on a memorable cruise which takes you to ancient monuments, enchanting cities, natural wonders and more.

Visit quaint Lyon, holy Avignon and charming Beaune, as well as the magnificent Ardèche Gorge as you drift down this peaceful river on a specially designed Five-Star ship. Enjoy excellent food and good company on this superb French adventure.

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2020JunAug

8 days from £1,645 pp

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Provence and The Elegant Rhône (Rail & Cruise)

Discover the timeless elegance of France's beautiful Rhône on board the MS Amadeus Provence. Experience a memorable cruise, enchanting cities, natural wonders and more.

Visit quaint Lyon, holy Avignon and charming Beaune, and admire the magnificent Ardèche Gorge as you drift down this peaceful river.

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2020JunAug

8 days from £1,695 pp

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The Majestic Rhine (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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2020JunJulAugSepOct

8 days from £1,295 pp

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The Majestic Rhine (Rail & Cruise)

From Switzerland to the Netherlands, this spectacular cruise reveals the majesty of the Rhine River in all its fairytale glory. We uncover beautiful valley gorges, splendid halftimbered towns and many of the remarkable cities that line the banks of this grand old river. Sailing through four countries, we uncover unique experiences including German heritage rail journeys, French city tours and Dutch steam trains.

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2020JunJulAugSepOct

8 days from £1,395 pp

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Carcassonne & Cathar Castles of France

From timeless vineyards and sun-drenched 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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2020MayJunJulSepOct

7 days from £1,595 pp

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Beautiful Bordeaux & The Dordogne Cruise (Rail & Cruise)

Experience a part of France renowned for its beautiful landscape and explore it in the most leisurely way possible, on a river cruise sailing through the picturesque Gironde Estuary.

Good food and great wine are in abundance on this hugely inclusive cruise exploring the Bordeaux region. Enjoy complimentary wine with each dinner and an exclusive wine tasting on board.

… see more
2020MaySep

7 days from £1,395 pp

View tour details >

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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2020MayJunAugSepOct

7 days from £1,245 pp

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French Riviera & Rhône Cruise

Discover the enchanting allure of Nice and the French Riviera on this dazzling tour, before continuing to Lyon for an exquisite 7-night cruise on board the MS Amadeus Provence.

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2020JunAug

11 days from £2,275 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.

Helen Laverack
Helen
Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Luke Simpson
Luke
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