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Avignon, the Rhône & Provence

7 Days from $1,735per
A first trip with Great Rail and hopefully it won't be our last,
Mrs B Bent
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You are viewing the 2020 itinerary

Itineraries and pricing may vary by departure year

(Tour code: AVB20)

A French vacation including a cruise along the Rhône

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.

  • Guided walking tour of Avignon
  • Cruise on the River Rhone to Arles
  • Free time in Avignon
  • Full-day excursion to L’Isle sur-la-Sorgue, Gordes and Roussillon
  • Visit to the Pont du Gard
  • Wine tasting Chateauneuf-du-Pape
What’s Included
  • 1st & Standard Class Rail
    Eurostar Standard Premier
    Eurostar Meals
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
  • Selected Departures Guaranteed

Avignon, the Rhône & Provence 2020Tour Details

Print Itinerary
Day 1 Meet your tour manager
Meet your tour manager

London to Avignon by Eurostar

We meet early this morning at our Departure Office at London St Pancras. We travel by Eurostar for our journey through the Channel Tunnel and across France to Avignon*. During the journey we enjoy breakfast on board, followed by a light meal and drinks later in the day. After arriving in France, we travel across Paris and continue through the heart of the country, passing by the beautiful countryside of the Champagne and Burgundy wine regions. On arrival in Avignon we transfer to our base for the next 6 nights, the centrally located 4-Star Hotel de l'Horloge, 4-Star Novotel Avignon Center or 4-Star Hotel Cloitre Saint Louis before dinner at a local restaurant.

*Some departures will travel via Lille

Please Note: For departures AVB2001 and AVB2002 you will travel via Paris.

  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 Arles

A lunch cruise along the Rhône

Today we take a relaxing cruise on the River Rhône, enjoying lunch as we sail through picturesque scenery to Arles, once home to Vincent van Gogh. Boasting a beautifully preserved historic center, the city of Arles boasts one of Europe's best collections of Roman ruins - which are UNESCO listed. Initially a Celtic city, Arles became Roman after Julius Caesar distributed the land among some of his most faithful soldiers in 46 BC. This was the city's first golden age, and came to be known as 'Little Rome in Gaul'.

As we arrive in this delightful city, it is easy to see how Arles inspired van Gogh to produce over 300 paintings and drawings during his time here. Among the many highlights of Arles' rich history is the mighty Roman Arena, which would have seated about 20,000 people. It was partly converted into a castle in the Middle Ages, but is still remarkably intact. We return to Avignon by rail.

  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3 Avignon Papal Palace
Avignon Papal Palace

A guided walking tour of 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 admire both of these striking landmarks - which now form the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage site - as we pass them during our guided sightseeing tour. The afternoon is free for you to explore Avignon at leisure. Stoll through the city's broad,tree-lined avenues and explore the intriguing network of alleyways and passages that connect beautiful open squares and pretty churches.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 Provence

The Villages of Provence

Today we enjoy a coach excursion into the Luberon, a picturesque region of Provence, known for its olive groves, vineyards and fascinating hilltop villages. We visit L'Isle sur-la-Sorgue, known as the 'Venice of Provence' for the canals which criss cross the town. Here you can relax in one of the delightful waterside cafés and see the attractive waterwheels located throughout the town, are all in working order. This afternoon, we visit Gordes, a beautiful old village built on and around an outcrop of rocky cliffs.

The buildings are packed tightly together, including the 12th century castle, with narrow alleyways and stone staircases acting as the village streets. The views of the surrounding fields and forests are spectacular from any vantage point in Gordes, which is listed as one of "Les Plus Beaux Villages de France" - "the Most Beautiful Villages in France". Another village in that prestigious list is Roussillon, located only a short distance away. Set on the ridge of a steep red cliff, the village is surrounded by a pine forest, its superb setting outdone only by the impeccable beauty of the village itself. The small center is filled with colorful old buildings and a spiralling network of medieval streets. After enjoying time to explore both villages, we return to Avignon.

  • Breakfast
Day 5 Avignon

At leisure in Avignon

Today you are free to continue exploring Avignon at leisure. For wonderful views over the city's sights, including the Palais des Papes, the rooftops of Old Avignon and the Pont St-Bénézet, take a walk up to the Rock of Domes, where a beautiful hilltop garden is set on a bluff above the city. The gardens are also home to a collection of rocky grottoes which are referred to as 'the cradle of Avignon', where some of the first known inhabitants of the area settled and lived. You could travel further afield by rail, with exciting options available including the fascinating port city of Marseille, one of the jewels of France's Mediterranean coastline.

  • Breakfast
Day 6 Avignon Pont Du Gard
Avignon Pont Du Gard

Pont du Gard & Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Today we travel by coach to the stunning Pont du Gard, the world famous threelevel stone aqueduct, which crosses the Gardon River Valley. Built by the Romans in 19BC, the incredible engineering feat was designed to bring water to the settlement at Nimes, for use in public baths, fountains and private residences. The gradient of the slope as it crosses the river is just 1 in 3,000 - a drop of just 2.5cm - which shows the incredible precision of the Roman engineers who designed and built the aqueduct with the simple technology available to them over 2,000 years ago.

The Pont du Gard enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status, as one of the greatest remaining iconic glories of the Roman Empire. Our excursion continues 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.

You have time to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, explore the village and indulge yourself with an included wine tasting, giving us the chance to sample some of the region's most celebrated drinks before we return to Avignon. Here a farewell dinner is served at a local restaurant.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 Eurostar

Avignon to London

After a leisurely morning, we leave Avignon mid afternoon and join the direct Eurostar service to London*, with a light meal and drinks on board. We arrive late this evening, when your tour concludes.

*Some departures will travel via Lille

  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal
Airport waiting room

Recommended airports

For this tour, we recommend arriving to, and departing from, London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport (LGW or LHR). London Gatwick is approximately 30 miles from your start and end point, and London Heathrow is approximately 19 miles from your start and end point.

Visa Requirements

It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.

Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

What’s included

An escorted experience and travel during your tour

  • The services of a professional 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)

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

  • 6 nights' hotel accommodation at either the 4-Star Hotel de l'Horloge, the 4-Star Novotel Avignon Center or the 4-Star Hotel Cloitre Saint Louis in Avignon

Delicious meals included

  • 10 meals including 6 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 3 dinners, including a farewell meal in Avignon

Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • Guided walking tour of Avignon
  • A cruise on the River Rhône to Arles
  • Full-day excursion to L'Isle sur-la-Sorgue, Gordes and Roussillon
  • Free time in Avignon
  • Visit to the Pont du Gard
  • Wine tasting in Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Not Included

  • Flights and Airport transfers


What our customers think

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Tour Rating

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Yung-Mei Choi
Vaugnel Fletcher
Dimitri Zgonis
Avignon, the Rhône & Provence

A French vacation including a cruise along the Rhône


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