Back in time in 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.
WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?
Day One: Fly to Carcassonne or Toulouse
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 Two: Included guided tour of Carcassonne
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 Three: Optional Collioure and Narbonne excursion
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.
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.
Day Four: Included Pont du Gard and Avignon excursion
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.
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.
Day Five: Day at leisure
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 Six: Included Canal du Midi cruise
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 Seven: Included tours of Albi and Castres
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.
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.
Day Eight: Fly back to the UK
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.
Cerise Residence Carcassonne ★★★
Ibis Carcassonne Est ★★★
Hotel transfer times
The transfer time from Toulouse Airport to your hotel is approximately 90 minutes. From Carcassonne Airport, it is approximately 15 minutes.
Combining hotel transfers
We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
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.
Canal du Midi cruise
Your cruise may take place in the morning or afternoon of Day Six (or occasionally earlier during your holiday) depending on local conditions.
Foreign Office Travel Advice
Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.
Airport development fees
An Airport Development Fee has been introduced at a few UK Airports. You will be required to pay this charge at the following airports prior to checking in for your flight: Blackpool, Durham Tees Valley, Newquay and Norwich. The amount varies from airport to airport, but it is generally between £5 and £10 per person. Please visit the airport's website for further information.