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.
Enjoy 5-Star deluxe accommodation in the heart of Carcassonne
Take guided tours of Carcassonne and Toulouse
Explore ancient Cathar castles and visit Caunes-Minervois
Sit down to dinner and a wine tasting at Château de Pennautier
We meet at our exclusive Departure Office at St Pancras
International in London, where we board the Eurostar for Paris. We
continue to Narbonne, where we take a coach to Carcassonne,
checking into our hotel, the 5-Star DoubleTree by Hilton.
Day 2 - Exploring Carcassonne
We explore the incredible Cité of Carcassone on a guided tour
today. Carcassonne is renowned for its impenetrable city walls,
which still encircle the citadel entirely. Defensive towers and
drawbridges - all original features, have led to the city being
awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Accessed by an ancient bridge
which crosses the former moat, the Cité is the archetypal icon of
romantic medieval France.
Our tour today covers the key sights, attractions and monuments
of the Cité and includes entrance to the impressive Château Comtal,
an incredibly wellpreserved fortress which dominates the Cité.
Dating back to the 12th century, inside is housed a fascinating
museum dedicated to the siege of Carcassonne from religious
crusaders. The rest of your day is at leisure. You can remain in
the Cité and discover the network of cobbled lanes and sloping
pathways adorning the citadel, or take in one of the museums or art
Across the water, Bastide St Louis, which despite its status as
the 'New Town' was actually established in the fourteenth century
and also boasts many hidden charms. This town is essentially where
the people of Carcassonne live and represents an excellent
opportunity to watch the pace of French life in this region,
perhaps you'd like to settle down in a quaint café and indulge in a
spot of people watching. Another option is the towering Basilica of
St Nazaire, modelled after St Denis cathedral in Paris as a symbol
of the Crown's victory over the south. The Basilica as we see it
today was completed in 1330, although certain elements of the
cathedral predate the fourteenth century.
Day 3 - Toulouse
This morning we travel by coach to the handsome city of
Toulouse. Known as the 'Ville Rose', or 'Pink City' due to its
red-brick buildings, which seem to subtly change color throughout
the day. Toulouse was once a city that inspired medieval poets;
today it has become a pioneering center of technology and aerospace
development. Toulouse is now home to Aérospatiale, the national
Space Center, the European shuttle program, a selection of
leading aeronautical schools, and a ground-breaking electronics
industry. Despite its many faces however, Toulouse hangs on to a
resolutely old-fashioned French soul, with its markets, regional
cuisine and cafés interspersed between secondhand book stalls and
antique shops, making it a pleasure to explore.
We do so on a guided walking tour of the medieval city, taking
us along the winding, narrow streets of the elegant Old Town,
seeing the Capitole (Town Hall) building in the vast, open Place du
Capitole one of France's finest squares. We also see the Basilica
St-Sernin, an 11th century church regarded as a Romanesque
masterpiece, as well as the extraordinary architecture of the
Jacobins Convent and the Renaissance Bernuy private mansion.
Your afternoon is free, and there are many options open to you.
Perhaps you'd like to visit the excellent Musee de Augustins de
Toulouse. This fine arts museum houses a collection of sculptures
and paintings from the medieval period through to the early 20th
century. The convent was eventually secularised in 1793 and
subsequently opened to the public in 1795, making it one of the
oldest museums in France. Another suggestion would be the
interesting Muséum de Toulouse, a museum of natural history that
contains over 2.5 million items. Opened to the public in 1825 this
museum was the first in the world to open a gallery of
The museum is also home to the Henri Gaussen Botanical Garden,
the garden spans 7 hectares containing thousands of different
varieties of plants. Tonight, back in Carcassone, we enjoy a
traditional cassoulet dinner. This celebrated dish is traditionally
made with pork and duck then cooked with haricots beans.
Day 4 - Cathar Castles
Traveling by coach, our first visit today is one of Languedoc's
most famous sites, the historic Châteaux de Lastours area. Set in
the heart of the Cathar countryside, this is a region famous for
its web of sun-drenched fields, vineyards, and rugged hills dotted
with tranquil villages - crowned by a wealth of scattered Roman
ruins, medieval castles and fortified strongholds. It is also home
to a collection of 4 former Cathar fortresses, magnificent chateaux
that seem impossibly perched atop, and built into, the surrounding
hills. These were once a significant place of refuge for the
Cathars during the religious crusades of the 13th-century. We then
travel to Belvedere viewpoint where we have some time at leisure.
We continue to Villeneuve-Minervois for a relaxed 4-course lunch,
accompanied by local wine.
Days 5-6 - Mirepoix Market and Château de Pennautier
This morning we travel by coach to Mirepoix for the town's
weekly market. Located in the Old Town's medieval square, here you
can sample and purchase fresh, local produce as well as home-made
crafts and wine.
On Day 6 you are at leisure until our
farewell meal tonight, which is taken at a restaurant in the
grounds of Château de Pennautier. The delicious menu is accompanied
by wines produced in the castle's own vineyards.
Day 5 - Breakfast
Day 6 - Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Homeward bound
Checking out after breakfast this morning, we transfer to the
station for the train to Narbonne. Here we change for the
high-speed service to Paris, boarding the Eurostar service for our
return journey back to London.
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
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.
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.
The vacation was excellent, but although the time allowed for crossing Paris on the way back seemed adequate, it was rush hour and we missed the Eurostar we were booked on. For the sake of those who were not staying over night in London we accepted standard class on the next train, but of course this meant we had to pay for our (not too brilliant) food and drink. Also we were scattered all over the train, though at least some of us were able to sit with our partners, due to the kindness of strangers who were willing to swap. Gare du Nord was chaotic. They belatedly tried to give precedence to those on earlier trains, but by then it was too late. Our failure to cross Paris in good time was in spite of the authorities restricting traffic due to the immense heat. I know that one does not want to spend longer than necessary at Gare du Nord, but the stress caused by the shortage of time coupled with the fact that we missed the train was much worse.
Mr H Knowles
Submitted Jul 12, 2019
The tour manager was very good particularly when we encounted major problems at the Gare du Nord on the return journey. The trip down the Canal du Midi was boring but all the other organised trips were good. The hotel at Carcassonne was of a good standard
Submitted Oct 25, 2018
A thoroughly enjoyable vacation - well organised, beautiful location and a stunning hotel
Mr L Mead
Submitted Oct 14, 2018
Excellent itinerary, fantastic hotel, first rate tour manager and great weather!
Submitted Oct 12, 2018
Everything from the weather, hotel, location and travel was 5 star from start to finish.