The rolling countryside of Provence
Discover atmospheric hilltop villages, cities rich in history and seasonal lavender fields as far as the eye can see. Stay in beautiful river-side Avignon and visit the university town of Aix, Arles - the city that inspired many of Van Gogh's finest works - the small coastal town of Cassis and the wildlife-rich wetlands of Camargue, on this great-value seven-day escorted tour.
Journey by Eurostar train to Avignon, and upon arrival transfer to the hotel. Meet your tour manager, settle into your surroundings, and enjoy your first evening.
Our half-day guided introduction to historic Avignon will bring to life the fabled 'City of the Popes', dominated by the monumental 'Palais', with its battlements and crenellations. Avignon is an engaging, bustling city, centred on the place d'Horloge, with its market stalls and cafes - the perfect spot from which to watch the world go by. The tour, which will also include the celebrated Pont'd'Avignon, celebrated in the French folk song known to children everywhere, is followed by the chance to soak up the atmosphere of the historic city.
Today's included excursion travels first to Aix-en-Provence, one of the great jewels of Southern France, with one of Europe's most stunningly beautiful town centres crowned by the famous cours Mirabeau, the city's 'grand boulevard', shaded by plane trees, and with its Old Town of narrow lanes. After the chance to explore, this afternoon is spent in idyllic seaside resort Cassis, on the shores of the blue Mediterranean, before you return to Avignon for the evening.
Rest and relax in the hotel and its surroundings, or join today's wonderful optional excursion to two of the great cities of southwest France, Roman Nimes and stylish university seat Montpellier, the former famed for its two-tiered Roman amphitheatre, its preserved temples and elegant old town of tree-lined boulevards, and the latter boasting a wonderful pedestrianised heart, centred on a vast open space known as 'l'Oeuf'.
The final included excursion is to Arles, one-time capital of Roman Gaul, whose superbly preserved remains - baths, a chariot racetrack and the famed Les Arenes arena - bear witness to its former importance. The afternoon is spent discovering the untamed landscape of the fabled Camargue, the marshland of lagoons and tiny islands where wild, white horses, black bulls and flocks of flamingos are watched over by traditional herdsmen or gardians.
A last day is free to make the most of Avignon, or join the final optional excursion to the Luberon, a region described in the best-selling 'Year in Provence' book by author Peter Mayle. A relaxed day will introduce the area, with the opportunity to sample local produce along the way, before you return to Avignon for a last evening.
Bid "Au revoir" to your hosts, and transfer to the railway station for the return journey to the UK, after a wonderful Provencal holiday.
The transfer time from Avignon train station to your hotel is approximately 15 minutes.
Hotel transfer times
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.
Changes to your hotels
This holiday is also available by air to Marseille or Nice. The transfer time from Marseille airport to the hotel is approximately one hour 30 minutes, and from Nice airport to the hotel approximately two hours 45 minutes.
Air travel packages