From the English countryside to the French campagne, the route to Lyon takes you past some of France's most breath-taking scenery 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 amazing calanques, rocky inlets with sheer cliffs, bright turquoise water and tiny, beautiful beaches.
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.
At Just 4hrs 41mins from London on the direct Eurostar from St Pancras, Lyon is ideal for a cultural city break, a foodie getaway or a family holiday.
Whether you want to explore the vineyards of the northern Rhone, meander through the UNESCO World Heritage site in the city centre or cycle along the river banks with a picnic, Lyon will surprise and entrance you.
Leave London in the morning on the direct Eurostar train, and arrive in Avignon in time for a late lunch and a glass of chilled Rosé in the sun.
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, character, culture and gastronomy – visiting Avignon means discovering the lifestyle of Provence.
Set off from London in the morning and enjoy the changing scenery as you speed through France on your way to the Mediterranean.
Marseille is a city that is changing fast, but has still retained that bit of edge that makes it stand out from the rest of the towns along the French Riviera. It's also a great base for exploring the azure blue calanques that dot the coast, so why not go on a city break and make a holiday of it?
The direct train will get you to Marseille, then Aix is just 30kms away by car or by local bus.
Once there, find yourself a seat on a terrace and watch the world go by over a coffee or a pastis. Take some time to visit Cezanne's studio and, if that leaves you feeling inspired, why not head out of town and do a bit of sketching yourself.
If painting isn't for you, explore the area, indulge in a some wine-tasting or join the locals in a game of boules. You're on holidays, you have all the time in the world.
Image credits: © Eurostar; © Eurostar; © Eurostar; © Shutterstock; © Eurostar; © R. Cintas-Flores/Bouches-du-Rhône Tourisme