South of France Holidays

SOUTH OF FRANCE HOLIDAYS

Couple at food market
SOUTH OF FRANCEfrom£45*BOOK YOUR TRAIN*SEE TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  • Kick back and relax with 85cm of legroom
  • Two-bag allowance and no weight restrictions
  • Save time and money with no airport transfers

Lyon and the South of France

Eurostar trains now travel direct from the centre of London to the South of France in about the same time it would take you to get to the airport, go through security, fly to the nearest airport and pick up your bags on the other side.

Watch the plains of Normandy transform into the rolling hills of Burgundy as you head for Lyon, the French capital of gastronomy, a foodie heaven. You'll be travelling through some of the best wine country in the world and, in just over four and a half hours, you can be sitting in traditional Lyonnais "bouchon" restaurant sampling the local specialities.

Save Lyon for another adventure and continue on to the beautiful walled city of Avignon, brimming with art, history and culture. Rent a car and explore the surrounding countryside, perfect for hiking, biking and kayaking, or spend a day wine tasting in the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

The last stop on your trip to the Mediterranean is Marseille, gateway to the Riviera. Have lunch in the old port, then travel along the coast and explore the breath-taking calanques, rocky inlets with sheer cliffs, bright turquoise water and tiny, beautiful beaches.

Read on for more information to help you plan the perfect holiday.

LYON - La capitale gastonomique and much, much more

Lyon is a vibrant city ideally located in the heart of France and nestled between the Rhône and the Saône rivers. With more than 2,000 years of historical heritage, world famous food and a fascinating culture it is very easy to fall in love.

Some history

The city of Lyon combines historic districts with booming modern areas. If you are a history lover visit the Roman theatre and the impressive archaeologic park in Fourvière district or take a stroll through the streets of the Vieux-Lyon district and discover the Traboules (passageways) from the Renaissance. The new district of Confluence offers completely different scenery, with contemporary architecture. The area is the symbol of Lyon's modernity and urban dynamism. Culture vultures won't be disappointed as Lyon hosts many museums, but is also an open-air museum as the city has hundreds of mural paintings and trompe-l'oeil artwork on building facades.

For the food lovers

For many foodies Lyon is considered as the world's gastronomic capital. There are plenty of places to choose from as the city offers more than 2,000 restaurants, including 14 starred restaurants in the 2015 Michelin guide. The starred chef Paul Bocuse is an emblematic figure of Lyonnaise cuisine and the bustling Halles markets carry his name, the Halles are the perfect spot to find the best regional products or to stop for an improvised lunch in one of the specialty restaurants. Your holiday to Lyon is also the perfect opportunity to enjoy a meal in a "Bouchon". Bouchon is the name given to the typical restaurants that offer conviviality and traditional cuisine in a warm atmosphere. Once you're well-fed you can go for a shopping afternoon, Lyon offers a large range of stores from the luxury boutique to vintage shops and French high street fashion.

A bit of culture:

Many events contribute to the cultural influence of Lyon such as the Biennale de la Danse (dance Festival) and its famous parade, Les Nuits Sonores (music festival) and Les Nuits de Fourvière (cultural festival hosted in the Roman theatre). The "Fête des Lumières" (Festival of Lights) takes place every December; it is a Lyonnais tradition when locals place lights and candles at their windows to celebrate Mary. For 15 years, this custom has become a splendid light show all over the city attracting millions of visitors every year.

BOOK YOUR TRAIN TO LYON

Content and video credits: Lyon Tourism and Conventions/ http://www.lyon-france.com/en

AVIGNON - A lifestyle destination in provence

Just 5 hours and 49 minutes from London by direct Eurostar and 2 hours 40 from Paris by the high speed train, Avignon will charm you with its outstanding heritage, its sunny climate and its large choice of cultural entertainments, all year long. Architecture, allure, culture and gastronomy – visiting Avignon means discovering the lifestyle of Provence.

Do not miss:

A visit at the UNESCO World Heritage

Avignon is home to an outstanding historical and cultural heritage. A city of art, Avignon was the capital of Christianity in the 14th century, when the Popes lived here, and hosts chapels, churches, ramparts and of course the Palace of the Popes,a magnificent Gothic monument. The old bridge – le Pont d'Avignon – has been made famous the world over by the beloved song.

A stroll in the city:

The outstanding range of monuments gives the city the feel of a living theatre set. Architecture from the Middle Ages gives way to graceful 18th century city mansions with Baroque and Italian influences. Many have taken on new lives, housing restaurants, hotels, boutiques and museums where one can discover art from the Middle Ages, decorative arts, the Impressionists and contemporary art.

Simply wandering the city streets allows you to shop on old streets where you'll find both haute couture and young designers. Browse in the antique shops and the art galleries. Taste the market's fresh food offerings, discover the crafts of Provence and enjoy cultural events all year long.

Try the gastronomy of Provence:

Avignon is also a beacon of Provençal gastronomy; restaurants full of charm and character, are home to chefs who work with regional specialties, combining tradition and creative modern flair. Avignon also celebrates the Côtes du Rhône wines and serves as their capital. From the wine lists in the restaurants to the traditional celebrations and the many cellars – you will have countless opportunities to discover them.

Enjoy a world famous theatre festival:

The "Festival d'Avignon" is one of the oldest and most famous theatre festivals in the world. In fact there are two festivals. The fringe festival Avignon Off turns the city of Avignon into a huge stage from July 4th to 26th and allows you to discover the biggest theatre scene in the world with its 1000 companies and over 1200 plays a day of every kind of live performances.

Founded by Jean Vilar in 1947, the official "Festival d'Avignon" presents contemporary creations from July 4th to 26th. lt is the place for artists and audiences to come together, and the scene of many contrasting aesthetics, origins and generations.

Seeing the Palace of the Popes in all its majesty, standing proud in the historical heart of Avignon, people often wonder: but what were popes doing here in Provence? Why did they leave the Roman hillsides to come to the banks of the Rhône?

The monumental video projection, comprising music and story-telling, reveals the history of the building, the city and the region like never before. At the meeting of Europe's great rivers, in the centre of old Avignon, come and experience an extraordinary 360° journey in time and space. An unforgettable evening, on a unique and exceptional site: the cour d'Honneur of the Palais des Papes.

BOOK YOUR TRAIN TO AVIGNON

Content credit: Avignon Tourism/ www.avignon-tourisme.com
Video credit: 12 hrs/ http://www.12hrs.net/

MARSEILLE - Escape to the city that boasts 300 days of sunshine a year

France's second metropolis, Marseille is a cosmopolitan city that is full of contrasts. Marseille combines 57 kilometres of coastline, one of the world's most beautiful harbours, 300 days of sunshine a year, Mediterranean gastronomy and 2,600 years of historic heritage.

Rebirth:

The city has undergone an amazing transformation in the last few years thanks to ambitious urbanism projects and the work of world-famous architects. Designated the European Capital of Culture year in 2013, Marseille is catching attention and the city was voted "The second city to go in 2013" by the New York Times.

A perfect mix

From the bustling city centre, the charming old quarters, the clamour of the Velodrome Stadium to the sandy beaches, Marseille is full of gems. Your holiday is the perfect opportunity, stroll in the Old City, discover Marseille street art, scuba dive in the Calanques National Park or why not take a bouillabaisse-making class and learn to cook the local fish stew?

If you fancy some culture

What city can boast having opened nearly 10 cultural venues in one year? And having put on over 550 events? The Festival de Marseille is held every summer (mid- June to mid-July) and features, wide range of performances such as contemporary dance, music, theatre as well as art workshops. If you are in Marseille for Bastille Day events (14th July) Marseille's extravagant celebration is a must-see; from the parade and a grand ball to the firework display in the Vieux Port.

Marseille has been elected European Capital of Sport in 2017 so no doubt Marseille still has many more surprises in store!

BOOK YOUR TRAIN TO MARSEILLE

Content credit: Marseille Tourism/ www.marseille-tourisme.com
Video credit: 12 hrs/ http://www.12hrs.net/

They've done it, hear what they have to say

* Fare is based on a return journey. For journeys to the UK, customers will need to leave the train at Lille Europe for security and immigration checks. Tickets at this fare are subject to availability and there may be limited availability for travel on specific days and trains. This fare is available at any Eurostar point of sale including eurostar.com. Book early to take advantage of this fare. A £3 fee applies to all credit card bookings.

On the way to the UK, simply board your train in Lyon Part Dieu. You won't need to check in or arrive 30 minutes before departure because we'll be doing check-in, security and immigration checks later in the journey at our hub station in Lille. This is because the station in Lyon don't have the facilities to do all the necessary checks. When you arrive in Lille, our on board and station teams will guide you every step of the way..