Spend a memorable festive holiday in glorious Avignon, the historic City of the Popes. Enjoy all the amenities of an ultra-modern four-star hotel in the heart of the city and discover this French medieval jewel. A visit to the astonishing Roman Pont du Gard aqueduct and delightful optional excursions complete a marvellous Christmas break.
Let the train take the strain, as you travel to to Paris by Eurostar and then onward by regional train to Avignon, and, upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. Settle into your surroundings and enjoy a first dinner in this wonderfully picturesque city, set on the bank of the River Rhone and famed for its monumental Palace of the Popes.
Join this morning's visit to the spectacular Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard. Granted UNESCO world heritage status in 1985, the stone aqueduct straddles the river Gard, has three levels and is regarded as a masterpiece of Roman engineering.
Day Two (Christmas Eve)
Return to Avignon, where, in addition to the monumental Palace of the Popes, sights include the celebrated half-bridge of the Pont'd'Avignon, and the ancient Rhone crossing point of the famous French folk song.
You'll return to the hotel and begin your celebrations with dinner this evening.
Join us on a morning stroll through the city's wonderful historic centre with your Tour Manager, before returning to the hotel, where Christmas lunch with wine will be served. After a relaxing afternoon, a light dinner brings a special day to a close.
Day Three (Christmas Day)
Rest and relax after the festivities or join today's optional excursion to the great city of Arles. Once the capital of Roman Gaul, Arles boasts superbly preserved remains in the form of baths, a chariot racetrack and the famed Les Arenes arena. The great cathedral of St-Trophime and several fascinating museums add to the attraction of a place that drew and inspired the likes of Van Gogh and Gauguin - the former's presence in the city widely celebrated.
Day Four (Boxing Day)
A last optional excursion takes in two of the great cities of southwest France: Roman Nimes and stylish university seat Montpellier. Nimes, famed for its two-tiered Roman amphitheatre and spectacular preserved temples, including the stunning Maison Carree, also boasts an elegant old town of tree-lined boulevards and a beautiful central park. Montpellier, for centuries a place of trade as well as learning, boasts a wonderful pedestrianised heart, centred on a vast open space known as l'Oeuf. Its greatest treasure is the world-famous Musee Fabre, which houses one of France's greatest art collections.
Return to the hotel to enjoy a final dinner.
Bid farewell to your Provencal hosts and transfer back to the railway station and to your waiting north-bound train.