Direct Eurostar services to Avignon go on sale from 10 January 2007

8 Jan 2007

--Weekly direct Saturday services from London and Ashford run 7 July to 8 September 2007--Direct service fares from £99 return
For the sixth successive year, Eurostar, the high speed passenger train service linking the UK with France and Belgium, is to operate direct weekly summer services from London and Ashford to Avignon in the heart of the popular Provence region of Southern France.
Tickets for the 2007 direct service, which will run weekly every Saturday from 7 July to 8 September, are to go on sale from Wednesday 10 January.
The train delivers travellers within a short walk from the ancient city's walls in just over six hours from London's Waterloo International station. The attractive fares start from just £99 in standard class or £249 in Leisure Select – offering roomier seats with meals and wine served at your seat.
Situated on the banks of the idyllic River Rhône and basking in sunshine for 300 days of the year, Avignon is a traveller's gateway to the rural hideaways, chateaux, lavender fields, vineyards and mountains of Provence.
Dominated by the awesome Palais des Papes (Popes' Palace) – just one of the city's buildings with UNESCO heritage status – the immaculately preserved medieval town offers boutique shopping or sightseeing among sumptuous mansions, churches and palaces.
Eurostar's weekly Saturday direct service starts during the city's annual cultural highlight, the world-famous Avignon Theatre Festival.
Visitors and residents alike go culture-mad each summer as the best contemporary drama, music and dance from across Europe is showcased in every nook and cranny, from 18th-Century mansions to old convent buildings and secret gardens.
As with the Edinburgh Festival, alongside the 'official' productions in Avignon are the alternative, somewhat chaotic fringe performances of le Festival Off, which sees nearly 500 young theatre companies from across France and beyond vie for audiences' attention on the city's pavements and squares.
Live performance is only the start to attractions for culture vultures in Avignon. Year-round, grand townhouses play host to museums of fine art, from the archaeological collections of the Musée Calvet, to the Impressionist exhibits – featuring masters like Van Gogh and Picasso – at the Musée Angladon.
Or if delectable food and drink is your thing, celebrated Provençal fare is on offer at the many gastronomic restaurants around the city or in the leafy shade of the brasseries and bars clustered around Place de l'Horloge, with views across to the grand town hall.
www.eurostar.com provides a one-stop shop for travel, accommodation and insurance for Avignon, as well as all other Eurostar destinations, meaning it has never been easier to plan a dream escape to Provence.
Simon Montague, Director of Communications, Eurostar said: "A wealth of cultural gems and beautiful sights await visitors to Avignon – all within reach in just over six hours direct from London.
"It is a spectacular train journey through the heart of France and a much more environmentally friendly form of travelling than flying, so travellers can sit back and relax on the greener way to go short-haul to Provence."
Travel to Avignon is available all year round with Eurostar Connections, combining services to Paris or Lille with an onward journey by French TGV. Fares start from £109 return.
Timetable:Outbound: departing Waterloo International 07.09; Ashford International 08.02 – arriving Avignon Centre 14.12Inbound: departing Avignon Centre 16.30 – arriving Ashford International 20.34; Waterloo International 21.30
Check-in:The recommended check-in time for the direct Eurostar service to Avignon is 60 minutes prior to departure.
Avignon Train Stations:Avignon Centre Station is the city station and is distinct from Avignon TGV, which is on the TGV Med high-speed line. A shuttle bus operates between the two stations, which runs about every 20 minutes and takes approximately 10 minutes.
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Editor's Notes:
Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking London, Ashford, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Avignon, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris and the French Alps.
2. On 14 November 2007, Eurostar's London terminal will switch from Waterloo International to St. Pancras International. Journey times will reduce, with London-Paris down to 2h 15m, London-Brussels in 1h 51m and London-Lille in just 1h20m. Eurostar will also launch services from Ebbsfleet International, a new UK station near junction 2 of the M25 motorway, to Paris and Brussels.
3. Eurostar has won the title of "World's Leading Rail Service" for the last nine years at the World Travel Awards.
4. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are two entirely different companies with two different management teams. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's largest customer.
5. To book tickets for Eurostar, or to find out more information, go to www.eurostar.com , call 08705 186 186 or contact your travel agent.
6. Details for the 2007 Festival d'Avignon programme are available from March by visiting www.festival-avignon.com. Further information on le Festival Off can be found at www.avignon-off.org.
For more information:
Eurostar Press Office+44 (0)20 7922 4494press.office@eurostar.co.uk