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Let us take you on a journey to France...

 
The Loire Valley is only an hour beyond Paris, while the great wine city of Bordeaux is two. Journeys to Provence, the Dordogne and other parts of southern France naturally take longer – although not as long as you might think – but reward you with views of subtly changing landscapes. 
 
Provence & the Alpes Maritimes
On selected dates it is possible to take a direct Eurostar to Avignon or Marseille, although most people travel via Paris. From Paris Gare de Lyon you board one of the sleek TGV Duplex trains. This high-speed line crosses Burgundy then goes down the scenic Rhône Valley, repeatedly crossing the river on spectacular viaducts (including an impressive one just north of Avignon, from which you can glimpse the famous papal palace) to reach the Mediterranean at Marseille. Whether you are travelling onwards from Marseille to the heart of Provence or to the Alpes Maritimes, the most captivating scenery is saved until last – either a ride through the Luberon Hills revealing quintessential Provençale landscapes, or a journey past the chic coastal resorts of the Côte d’Azur to Nice, followed by a trip on the Train des Merveilles into the mountains. This ‘train of marvels’ is well worth taking in daylight so, if you like, we can arrange an overnight stay in Nice so you can fully appreciate the scenery the following day.
The Cévennes, Canal du Midi, & Côte Vermeille
To get you to these south western corners nestling between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean, we usually book trains via Paris taking the same route as our Provencal holidays departing from the Gare de Lyon

For the Cévennes, you continue beyond Avignon as far as Nîmes, where we can book overnight accommodation for you if you would like the opportunity to visit the city’s remarkable Roman Arena. Otherwise, you change trains and head northwards on the scenic Cévenol railway through mellow, increasingly undulating landscapes to Génolhac.

For the Canal du Midi, you take a TGV from Paris to Narbonne where you change to a local train to medieval Carcassonne.

For our Collioure to Cadaquès holiday on the Côte Vermeille, you continue all the way to Perpignan passing through distinctly southern-feeling hills coated in wild herbs, at times just a few kilometres from the Mediterranean, which you might glimpse in the distance. At Perpignan you change to a local train for a short ride to Collioure.
Western Loire, Bordeaux Vineyards & Basque Pyrenees
After boarding the TGV Atlantique at Paris Montparnasse, you arrive in St-Pierre-des-Corps in the heart of the Loire about an hour later.

If you are not holidaying amid the châteaux of the Vallée des Rois, then you continue south-westwards to Poitiers and onwards, across fertile countryside planted with sunflowers, wheat and vines, to Bordeaux. The journey time between Paris and the famous wine city is just 2 hours.

Of course, to reach the Basque Pyrenees, you must continue across beguiling Aquitaine countryside to Bayonne, just north of Biarritz. This is a direct service from Paris taking 4 and a half hours.
Brittany
The modern TGV Atlantique also serves Brittany, heading westwards from Paris Montparnasse to Rennes, where the line divides and the train slows from 186mph to 125mph as it traverses the northern and southern part of this distinctly Celtic-feeling region.
Alsace
For holidays in Alsace, you change in Paris. The TGV line which serves eastern France from the aptly named Gare de l’Est is the fastest in France – the comfortable, stylish trains travel at a top speed of 198mph, whisking you through Champagne and into increasingly undulating scenery as you approach Strasbourg and the German border.
The Auvergne
To reach the rounded, volcanic peaks of the Auvergne, you often have to take a train from Paris even if you are flying. As a result, if you live in the south-east of the UK, it is well worth considering undertaking the whole journey by rail because, taking airport transfer times into account, Eurostar is the quickest way of getting from central London to central Paris. At Paris Gare de Bercy Bourgogne, you board a long-distance Intercité which follows the Loire Valley southwards towards Clermont-Ferrand, where you change trains for the scenic journey deep into the mountains.
The Tarn & Averyon
For holidays in the Tarn and Aveyron, take the TGV Atlantique from Paris Montparnasse direct to Montauban, alighting just 4 hours later in deepest France.
Key journey times
London to Paris = 2hrs 25mins
Paris to Avignon = 2hrs 40 mins
Paris to St Pierre des Corps (Tours) = 1hr
Paris to Bordeaux = 2hrs
Paris to Montauban = 3 hrs 55 mins
The Dordogne
As in the case of the Auvergne, reaching the Dordogne by rail from London is sometimes quicker than flying via Toulouse – transferring from the Gare du Nord to the Gare d’Austerlitz is easy, and from there it is a direct service to Brive or Souillac, crossing the Loire Valley, passing through Limoges and continuing southwards through the very picturesque Vézère Valley.
 

Let us take you on a journey to...

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