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Avignon and The Ardèche

7 Days from £1,695per
person
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(Tour code: ASB19)

Soak up the atmosphere of your 12th century hotel

This small group tour provides many experiences our larger group tours to this area simply cannot. Soak up the atmosphere of your 12th century hotel, taste wine made from grapevines whose predecessors date all the way back to the first Elizabethan era, and journey through a genuine area of undiscovered France aboard the memorable Train des Gorges.

Highlights
  • Avignon
  • Journey aboard the Train des Gorges
  • Pont du Gard
  • Wine tasting in Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Lavender Museum
  • Ardèche Gorge
What’s Included
  • First Class Rail
    Eurostar Standard Premier
    Eurostar Meals
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
    1 Lunch
  • 4-Star Château de Rochegude

Avignon and The Ardèche 2019Tour Details

Print Itinerary
Day 1 Chateau de Rochegude
Chateau de Rochegude

Journey to Avignon

Our tour begins at St Pancras International, where we meet at Great Rail Journeys' dedicated Departure Office. From here our Tour Manager will escort us to the Eurostar service bound directly for Avignon. On the way a light meal and drinks will be served to our Standard Premier Class seats. On arrival in France we transfer by coach to the Drôme Valley, where our 12th century castle hotel, Château de Rochegude, awaits. On arrival we settle into our rooms ahead of a gastronomic welcome dinner consisting of four courses all served up in the hotel's impressive dining room.

Includes:
  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 Train des Gorges
Train des Gorges

The Train des Gorges

Enjoy a leisurely morning familiarising yourself with your new, regal surroundings. After breakfast perhaps take a walk through the extensive grounds or relax in your room. This afternoon we make our way by coach to Tournon-Saint- Jeans where we join the heritage Train des Gorges for a steam-hauled journey through the forest-laden scenery of the Ardèche. The line has been running since 1891and travels through the inaccessible Gorges du Doux, a stretch of countryside comprised of the Ardèche mountains, fairytale woodland, gentle babbling waters and plentiful fruit orchards, scenes which have only ever been witnessed by people travelling along this exact rail route. Following our return trip, we return to Château de Rochegude by coach.

Includes:
  • Breakfast
Days 3-4 Pont Du Gard
Pont Du Gard

The Pont du Gard and Châteauneuf-du-Pape

One of France's most recognisable landmarks, the impressive Pont du Gard stands 161 feet above the Gardon River, and spans 902 feet across it. This mighty aqueduct was built in about 50 AD, using solid blocks hewn from the nearby rock - with no mortar to hold them together. Originally the Pont du Gard was part of a 30-mile waterway, used to transport 4.4 million gallons of water from the River Eure to Nîmes every day. The mineral deposits on the aqueduct indicate that it was still being used in the 9th century, long after the fall of the Roman Empire.

Today we visit this famous landmark, where we have a guided tour as well as time to explore the site and its adjoining museum at leisure, before transferring to the town of Uzes for a three-course lunch. After lining our stomachs it's time for a visit to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a medieval village built on a hillside and overlooked by the ruins of an ancient château. The village is perhaps the most famous red wine producing village in the world and is surrounded almost completely by vineyards, with the River Rhône winding across the landscape.

We have the chance to taste the local tipple with a private tour and wine tasting at Château la Nerthe, a winery that dates back to 1560. Day 4 is at leisure for you to explore Château de Rochegude and the surrounding area further.

Includes:
  • Day 3 - Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 4 - Breakfast
Day 5 Avignon
Avignon

Avignon

This morning we enjoy a guided walking tour of charming Avignon. The city is well known for the Pont St Bénezet, its famous broken bridge. All but four of its arches were washed away in a devastating flood in 1668 - and today the surviving arches have become an iconic symbol of the city, and the feature of a famous song. The city is also famous for the Palais des Papes - Palace of the Popes - which was the seat of the Papacy for six successive Popes during the 14th century after Pope Clement V escaped the violent chaos and corruption of Rome and moved to Avignon. We enjoy entrance to the palace during our tour as well as Rocher des Doms, a lush hilltop garden set on a rocky bluff overlooking the city. From here you get a glorious panorama of the old town's terracotta roofs. In the afternoon you have some free time to look around. Why not head to Les Halles, the city's vibrant market to savour the sights, smells and tastes of fresh Provençal produce? From there, art-lovers can happily while away a few hours in the wonderful Angladon Museum, home to Van Gogh's Railway Carriages which hangs alongside pieces by Picasso, Manet and Cézanne.

Includes:
  • Breakfast
Day 6 Ardeche Gorge
Ardeche Gorge

Lavender and the Ardèche Gorge

Our first excursion today takes us by coach to the town of Saint-Remèze, home to a lavender museum that gives us an in-depth portrait of the history, cultivation and distilling process involved in making all the lavender products available in the gift shop and café - we recommend tasting the lavender ice cream and lemonade. We also take a stroll through the aromatic gardens, where it's purple almost as far as the eye can see, during our guided tour. Next we visit the Ardèche Gorge, which is affectionately known as the grand Canyon of Europe to locals. It may not be on quite the same scale as it's American counterpart, but it's no less impressive for that; stretching for 30 kilometres from Vallon-Pontd'Arc to Saint-Martin-d'Ardèche. We take the scenic route to Saint-Martind'Ardèche itself, with stops along the way to admire the extraordinary views. Back at the hotel this evening we sit down to a final, farewell meal together.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 Eurostar
Eurostar

Return to London

Driving back to Avignon, we catch the Eurostar back to London St Pancras International, where our tour comes to an end.

Includes:
  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal
What’s included

An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

  • The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
  • Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
  • First Class rail travel throughout (Standard Premier Class on Eurostar journeys with a light meal and drinks)
  • All coach transfers

Characterful accommodation in your destination

  • 6 nights' hotel accommodation at the 4-Star Château de Rochegude

Delicious meals included

  • 9 meals including 6 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners, including a welcome dinner at Château de Rochegude

Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • Journey aboard the Train des Gorges
  • Visit the Pont du Gard
  • Wine tasting in Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • City tour and free time in Avignon
  • Excursion to the Lavender Museum and the Ardèche Gorge

Not Included

  • Cancellation & Travel Insurance is not included in the price of the tour but can be arranged.

This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.

Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Julie Pacalon
Julie
Helen Laverack
Helen
Kathryn Cambridge
Kathryn
Avignon and The Ardèche

Soak up the atmosphere of your 12th century hotel

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