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Tour the Timeless Landscapes of the Ancient Languedoc
Discover the stunning walled fortress-city of Carcassonne, see the medieval papal enclave of Avignon and the spectacular Pont du Gard, and cruise along the tree-lined Canal du Midi on this wonderful, eight-day holiday to the South of France. Visit the Cathar city of Albi, birthplace of Toulouse-Lautrec, and riverside Castres, and perhaps join an optional excursion to coastal Collioure and Narbonne's Chateau de l'Hospitalet to enjoy a regional-wine tasting.
Carcassonne is one of the most striking walled settlements in the whole of Europe, the double-walled fortress of its Cite crowned with fairy-tale turrets. Wander the narrow (and sometimes steep) medieval streets past colourful cafes, restaurants and craft shops, or head across the River Aude to the livelier but still lovely Ville Basse - or lower town.
Your Base: Hotels in Carcassone
Carcassonne, Avignon And Provence Tour Itinerary
Fly to France, meet your Tour Manager and transfer to your welcoming hotel in Carcassonne. Relax after checking in, and later take the opportunity to dine out and sample the famous local cuisine during your stay.
Day One: Fly to Carcassonne or Toulouse
Today's guided tour of Carcassonne will bring this fascinating medieval city to life. One of the most striking walled settlements in the whole of Europe, Carcassonne is a remarkable place. Don't miss your chance to explore the double-walled Cite at it's heart. Restored in the mid-19th Century, the bastion includes the inner Chateau Comtal, the beautiful Church of St-Nazaire and many shops and restaurants.
Day Two: Included guided tour of Carcassonne
Continue your exploration of Carcassonne, today, or join our full-day excursion to Collioure. Discover the curved bay, and the palm-fringed promenade that runs along it beneath the protective gaze of the Chateau Royal, of this pretty port that was once home to Matisse before we continue to Narbonne.
Day Three: Optional Collioure and Narbonne excursion
The skyline of this former Roman capital of southern Gaul, is dominated by an imposing 13th-century cathedral. See its central canal, and the section of the ancient Via Domitia (the Roman road that once ran from Briancon on the Italian border to La Jonquera in Spain) in the main square, before we climb to the Chateau de l'Hospitalet to enjoy a wine tasting and take in the spectacular Mediterranean views.
Our first stop on today's included excursion is the astonishing UNESCO-listed Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard. Straddling the River Gardon, its three tiers of arches are among the most striking masterpieces of Roman engineering in the world.
Day Four: Included Pont du Gard and Avignon excursion
Leaving the Pont du Gard, we'll head to Avignon. This historic city is dominated by the vast Palais des Papes, the 14th-century home of popes and cardinals. See the remains of the Pont Saint-Benezet, the "Pont d'Avignon" of the famous French folk song, which once spanned the entire river but kept being swept away by floods, and perhaps stop for a drink in one of the cafes on the Place de l'Horloge.
Today you're free to rest, relax and explore as you see fit. Why not return to Carcassonne's beguiling Cite for a long lunch and a lazy stroll?
Day Five: Day at leisure
Today we'll enjoy an included cruise along a section of the tree-lined Canal du Midi, part of the 240-kilometre-long waterway constructed in the 17th Century to link the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
Day Six: Included Canal du Midi cruise
Your final day's included excursion takes you into the Haut Languedoc and to the historic Cathar city of Albi. Nestled beside the River Tarn beneath its red-brick cathedral, Albi was the birthplace of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and the city's Palais de la Berbie castle houses over 1000 of the painter's works.
Day Seven: Included tours of Albi and Castres
We'll return to Carcassonne via Castres, stopping to explore its quiet paved streets and see the tightly clustered houses overhanging the banks of the River Agout.
Say "au revoir" to Carcassonne, transfer to the airport and check in for your flight home at the end of a wonderful tour of the South of France.
Day Eight: Fly back to the UK