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Provincia Nostra

Under the Roman sun in the south of France
 
Discover a wealth of history, including some of the world’s finest Roman monuments, on our self-guided journey by rail from Narbonne to Arles via Nîmes, the epicentre of Roman Gaul. Our specially devised walking tours and in-depth cultural notes bring the past vividly to life.
 

Holiday information

 

A touring holiday in southern France

Some of the world’s finest Roman monuments, it is often said, are not in Italy but in France. Indeed, such is the beauty of their preservation that it is easy to be transported back in time – to imagine armies rumbling along ancient Roman roads, to sense a gladiatorial spirit in the air, and to feel yourself a spectator in the theatres of antiquity.
This southern part of the country seems as full of ancient Rome as Rome itself, and to appreciate its rich history, all you really need is a vivid imagination. The rest – stays in three enthralling and easily-explored cities, detailed walking and cultural notes, and a few short train journeys – can be left to us…
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

    The lavender blooms in late June/early July.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 10 12 15 18 22 26 30 29 25 20 14 11
    mm 60 64 55 53 52 38 22 47 71 114 67 62
  • Arrival in Narbonne
    Night 1: at Hotel La Résidence (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of exploration.
  • Explore Narbonne
    ‘Narbo’, as it was colloquially known (it was established in 118BC as Colonia Narbo Marius), was originally a strategically located Roman seaport, although centuries of silting of the Aude river has now left it 15 kilometres inland! It once formed an important link between the Via Domitia, the first Roman road in Gaul, which ran right across the south of modern-day France, and the Via Aquitania, extending to the winelands of Bordeaux via Toulouse. Nowadays, it’s a compact, lively and vibrant city, ideal for discovery on foot and a fitting place to begin your journey through Roman Gaul.

    Our self-guided walking tour takes in the most impressive sights, including the magnificent Gothic cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace. Styled on Avignon’s Palais des Papes, the latter houses the Town Hall, the Fine Arts Museum and the Archaeological Museum. For an excellent view, it’s worth climbing the 162 steps to the top of the 13th-century keep adjoining the Palace.

    We also suggest a visit to the lively and colourful Les Halles (indoor market), where local rugby union legend Gilles Belzons entertains customers and visitors alike at his bistrot by theatrically catching orders of meat from neighbouring butchers’ stalls as if he were still manning the line-out!
     
    Then, for a museum with a difference, and the perfect way to cool off on a hot day, head to the Horreum Romain, a former underground warehouse dating back to the 1st century BC where grain, wine, oil and weapons were once stored. The atmosphere is further enhanced by a sound-and-light installation aiming to send you back in time to a market-day over 2,000 years ago. Before leaving Narbonne, be sure to admire the section of the Via Domitia that can be seen in Narbonne’s main square.
    Cathedral of St Just, Narbonne
    Les Halles indoor market
  • Narbonne to Nîmes: 1.5hrs by rail
    An absorbing hour-and-a-half’s train journey packs in some wonderfully varied scenery. First you head inland towards Béziers before curving back towards the coast at Agde. From here, there are sea views as you pass the Bagnes Nature reserve, home to a multitude of birdlife, and then the narrow strip of windswept beach between the Étang de Thau (a large inland lagoon, known for its oysters and mussels) and the Mediterranean. Beyond Sète, you pass further lagoons and another nature reserve – L’Etang d’Estagnol – before heading inland to Montpellier. From here, the train crosses the Canal du Midi en route to Nîmes.
     
    You have the rest of the day to explore this compelling city – heralded as ‘the Rome of France’. It boasts some of Europe’s best-preserved Roman buildings, including a magnificent 1st-century amphitheatre and the Maison Carrée – a gleaming temple. You stay for two nights at the Hotel Marquis de la Baume.
  • Explore Nîmes
    Continue your discovery of Nîmes, using our self-guided walking tour. A highlight is the Jardin de la Fontaine – France’s first public garden with its Temple of Diana and Tour Magne, an ancient stone watchtower offering splendid views. You should also pay a visit to the Museum of Old Nîmes, where there’s a room dedicated to blue jeans and denim (which took its name from the city).
     
    Each year in early May, Nîmes celebrates its Roman heritage with ‘Les Grands Jeux Romains’ (the Great Roman Games), one of the largest historical re-enactments in Europe, with events taking place within the arena and throughout the city. Then, at the end of May, it hosts the traditional – and very popular – Féria de Pentecôte, when the city comes alive with a programme of concerts, bullfights and bodegas (temporary bars) which pop up throughout the city centre. The Féria attracts nearly one million visitors each year. A secondary, slightly smaller (and more family-friendly) festival takes place on the third weekend of September – the Féria des Vendanges, which is Nîmes’ own Harvest Festival.
     
    Day trips from Nîmes – easily reached by public transport (pay locally)
    1) By bus to the Pont du Gard (0h45)
    Although most people have seen pictures of this spectacular monument – the Roman aqueduct built to bring water to the Roman city of Nîmes – it can really only be fully appreciated up close. It’s impossible not to be awed by the sheer scale of it, and by the incredible engineering feat that its construction represented some 2,000 years ago.

    2) By rail to Avignon (0h35)
    The historic and charming city of Avignon is surrounded by ramparts and is dominated by the high bluff of Rocher des Doms, at the base of which stand the Cathedral and the Palais des Papes, both UNESCO-listed sites. There’s also the famous ruined bridge, of course, but above all it’s just a very pleasant and eminently walkable city.

    c) By rail to Aigues Mortes (0h45)
    We also recommend a visit to the striking, medieval walled town of Aigues-Mortes (often descibed as a ‘mini Carcassonne’), which sits on the flat marshes of the Camargue, about 40km south-west of Nîmes. Notwithstanding the tourist shops, it looks pretty much today like it did in the Middle Ages, and the remarkable saltpans and red-hued lagoons nearby are an added attraction.
    Jardin de la Fontaine, Nîmes
    Enjoy a trip to the Pont du Gard
  • Nîmes to Arles: 0.5hrs by rail
    Another half-hour journey by rail brings you to Arles, where you spend your last two nights at the Hotel du Musée. This ‘Little Rome of Gaul’ is a delightful place to wander around, and our walking tour captures its quirkiness and beauty, as well as its multi-layered historical context.
  • Explore Arles
    Continue to explore Arles, whose Roman remains are a justly popular draw: Julius Caesar established a colony here in 46BC, and there’s a wonderfully preserved Roman amphitheatre. In fact, there are fascinating buildings and museums to admire covering periods from the Roman conquest right through to the Renaissance; and there are also various galleries devoted to the life and works of Vincent van Gogh, who spent 15 of his most productive months here, capturing city scenes on canvas.  
     
    Day trip to Orange
    For those hungry for yet more antiquity, the Provençal town of Orange is just another half-hour train ride away, with its Roman Theatre and Triumphal Arch – both UNESCO World Monuments.  
    The city of Arles
    Pause for a drink while exploring
 

Accommodation

These are medium-sized hotels occupying historic buildings in central locations convenient for sightseeing.
 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter.
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  • 6 nights: 01 April 2020 - 31 July 2020 & 01 September 2020 - 31 October 2020

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 Apr 2020 £630 £390
    1 - 31 May 2020 £670 £410
    1 Jun - 25 Jul 2020 £695 £445
    1 - 28 Sep 2020 £670 £410
    29 Sep - 25 Oct 2020 £630 £390
    3rd & 4th person discount £0
    Single traveller supplement £0

    Includes accommodation, meals, travel between hotels and any other services integral to the holiday as described, plus a detailed information pack, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Included travel: Narbonne–Nîmes–Arles by rail

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

    6 nights: 01 April 2020 - 31 July 2020 & 01 September 2020 - 31 October 2020

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 Apr 2020 £925 £390
    1 - 31 May 2020 £970 £410
    1 Jun - 25 Jul 2020 £995 £445
    1 - 28 Sep 2020 £970 £410
    29 Sep - 25 Oct 2020 £925 £390
    3rd & 4th person discount £0
    Single traveller supplement £0

    Includes all elements in the 'journey price', plus standard-class travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras or Ebbsfleet International to Lille or Paris, with onward travel as described below.

    Included travel from the UK: Out UK–Paris (Eurostar), Paris–Narbonne (TGV), approx. duration 8h20. Home Arles–Paris/Lille (TGV/regional rail), Paris/Lille–UK (Eurostar) approx. duration 11h30.
    Pay locally for taxis between stations and hotels (0h10 out/0h05 home).

    Other included travel: Narbonne–Nîmes–Arles by rail

    If you book your holiday less than 6 months in advance of your travel date, seats may no longer be available at the tariffs on which our prices are based, but we may be able to offer you seats on the same services at a supplement.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel La Résidence, Narbonne
    Superior: 01 Apr - 31 May 2020 £10
    Superior: 01 Jun - 31 Jul 2020 £16
    Superior: 01 Sep - 30 Sep 2020 £16
    Superior: 01 Oct - 31 Oct 2020 £10
    Hotel Marquis de la Baume, Nîmes
    Superior: 01 Apr - 31 Jul 2020 £12
    Superior: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £12
    Hotel du Musée, Arles
    Superior: 01 Apr - 31 Jul 2020 £10
    Superior: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £10

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Hotel La Résidence, Narbonne (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 31 May 2020 £76 £138
    01 Jun - 31 Jul 2020 £86 £156
    01 Sep - 30 Sep 2020 £86 £156
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2020 £76 £138
    Hotel Marquis de la Baume, Nîmes (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 30 May 2020 £68 £134
    31 May - 31 Jul 2020 £80 £158
    01 Sep - 30 Sep 2020 £68 £134
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2020 £58 £114
    Hotel du Musée, Arles (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 31 Jul 2020 £68 £108
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £68 £108
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Béziers, Carcassonne, Montpellier, Perpignan, Toulouse for outward flight; Béziers, Marseille, Montpellier, Nîmes for homeward flight

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed here. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Toulouse (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Belfast City - Toulouse (with touchdown in Birmingham) Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Montpellier (via Paris) Air France 
    Birmingham - Perpignan Flybe,  Ryanair 
    Birmingham - Toulouse Flybe 
    Birmingham - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Return route Airline
    Marseille - Birmingham (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Béziers Ryanair 
    Bristol - Toulouse easyJet,  Flybe 
    Return route Airline
    Marseille - Bristol easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Durham Tees Valley - Toulouse (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Nottingham East Midlands - Carcassonne Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Béziers Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Carcassonne Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Montpellier (via Amsterdam) Air France 
    Edinburgh - Montpellier (via Paris CDG) Air France 
    Edinburgh - Perpignan Flybe 
    Edinburgh - Toulouse Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Toulouse (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Edinburgh - Toulouse (via Amsterdam) Air France 
    Edinburgh - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Return route Airline
    Marseille - Edinburgh Ryanair 
    Marseille - Edinburgh (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Marseille - Edinburgh (via Amsterdam) Air France 
    Marseille - Edinburgh (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Toulouse easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Montpellier easyJet 
    Gatwick - Toulouse easyJet 
    Return route Airline
    Marseille - Gatwick easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Montpellier (via Paris) Air France 
    Heathrow - Toulouse British Airways 
    Heathrow - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Return route Airline
    Marseille - Heathrow British Airways 
    Marseille - Heathrow (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Béziers Ryanair 
    Luton - Montpellier easyJet 
    Luton - Toulouse easyJet 
    Return route Airline
    Nîmes - Luton Ryanair 
    Marseille - Luton easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    London Southend - Perpignan Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Béziers Ryanair 
    Stansted - Carcassonne Ryanair 
    Stansted - Perpignan Ryanair 
    Stansted - Toulouse Ryanair 
    Return route Airline
    Nîmes - Stansted Ryanair 
    Marseille - Stansted Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Béziers Ryanair 
    Manchester - Carcassonne Ryanair 
    Manchester - Montpellier(via Paris) Air France 
    Manchester - Toulouse Flybe 
    Manchester - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Return route Airline
    Marseille - Manchester easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Marseille - Manchester (via Amsterdam) Air France 
    Marseille - Manchester (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Montpellier (via Paris) Air France 
    Newcastle - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Return route Airline
    Marseille - Newcastle (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Southampton - Béziers Flybe 
    Southampton - Montpellier (via Paris CDG) Air France 
    Southampton - Perpignan Flybe 
    Southampton - Toulouse Flybe 
    Southampton - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Return route Airline
    Marseille - Southampton (via Paris) Air France 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed here. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service (£60 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Béziers

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Béziers airport to hotel (1h) £60 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    walk (0h15) or own taxi (0h05, pay locally) hotel to Arles station, rail Arles to Agde (2h), shuttle bus or taxi Agde to Béziers airport (0h15, pay locally) £33 1400

    Connecting travel options - flying via Carcassonne

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Carcassonne station to Narbonne (0h30), own taxi (0h05, pay locally) or walk (0h10) to hotel £14 1730
    taxi Carcassonne airport to hotel £66 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    Carcassonne not recommended for homeward travel

    Connecting travel options - flying via Marseille

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    Marseille not recommended for outward travel
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    walk (0h15) or own taxi (0h05, pay locally) hotel to Arles station, rail Arles to Marseille airport (0h40) £15 1200

    Connecting travel options - flying via Montpellier

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Montpellier station to Narbonne (1h), own taxi (0h05, pay locally) or walk (0h10) to hotel £22 1800
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Montpellier airport (1h) £98 flexible

    Connecting travel options - flying via Perpignan

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Perpignan station to Narbonne (0h45), own taxi (0h05, pay locally) or walk (0h10) to hotel £15 1730
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    Perpignan not recommended for homeward travel

    Connecting travel options - flying via Nîmes

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    Nîmes not recommended for outward travel
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Nîmes airport (0h50) £40 flexible

    Connecting travel options - flying via Toulouse

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Toulouse-Matabiau to Narbonne (1h10-1h45), own taxi (0h05, pay locally) or walk (0h10) to hotel £24 1500
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    Toulouse not recommended for homeward travel
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 6 breakfasts
  • city maps and notes for walking tours
  • detailed cultural information
  • rail travel Narbonne-Nîmes-Arles
 
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FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help.
  • The information that we send to you 2-3 weeks before your holiday includes practical information about each stage of your journey so that you can travel confidently from one hotel to another, recommendations for places to visit and eat out in each place, plus cultural information about the area. Where applicable, we also provide notes for a self-guided walking tour of most cities, and some large towns. Sample travel pack >
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £35 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £60 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to France, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The official language is French. The currency is the Euro. French time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 12/8/2019 7:20:23 AM