Phone us  01392 441245  |  E-news sign up
Honeymoons
& weddings
  
Honeymoons and weddings abroad are tailor-made by Expressions Holidays. Contact us for a range of honeymoon and wedding destinations around the world and an amazing choice of honeymoons from island-hopping to visiting cultural sites.
Authentic
Experiences
  

With Authentic Experiences from Expressions Holidays you enter a world of genuine holiday and travel experiences within the framework of one of our tailor-made holidays, be its significance culture, gastronomy, wine appreciation, wildlife, sports or special occasions.
Spa
holidays
  

Expressions Spas opens a world of tailor-made spa holidays that allows you to choose according to region, type of treatment desired, product type and recommends for your party type, whether it be for couples, singles or perhaps mothers and daughters travelling together.
Family
holidays
  

Expressions Families affords you an amazing choice of sophisticated resorts ideally suited to families in selected destinations worldwide. You can also choose according to required facilities in resort and we suggest holidays for families with grandparents and single parent families too.
Rail
holidays
  

Expressions Holidays offers you tailor-made rail holidays and journeys by train, including luxury trains, scenic journeys and classic rail tours.
Worldwide
journeys
  

Tailor-made journeys and tours for individuals and small groups to selected destinations around the world from Burma to Italy, from Vietnam to India.
  • Train to Carcassonne and Perpignan then tour by hire car

    Hotel de Cite

    Relais des Chartreuses

    Carcassonne

    Train to Carcassonne and Perpignan then tour by hire car

    8 nights and 9 days
    Journey first by train to Carcassonne, then Perpignan and enjoy the freedom to explore that is granted by renting a hire car. Make the most of the warmer weather, changing landscapes and mingling cultural influences from both French and Spanish sides of the border. Staying at only two hotels in between, this is a relaxed and leisurely tour that matches the pace of life of these warmer regions of France.

    Click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested French touring holidays.

    Depart London just before 7am for the Eurostar journey to Lille Europe, where you change to the TGV departing for Narbonne to arrive just after 5pm. From here, connect to a local train, taking just 30 minutes, to Carcassonne, where the Hôtel de la Cité enjoys a privileged position within the mediaeval citadel walls. Here you’ll spend a few days discovering the delights of this popular city and the surrounding region of Languedoc-Roussillon, perhaps taking the train to the pink city of Toulouse, so named for the rose-tinted hue of its palatial public buildings. The second part of your southwestern itinerary takes you to the Relais des Chartreuses, located deep into the heart of French Catalonia just a stone’s throw from the Franco-Spanish frontier. Take the train back to Narbonne and change for Perpignan (alternatively, there is a direct train late-afternoon).On arrival, you’ll pick up your hire car and drive the 30-minute journey to your hotel, situated in the foothills of the Pyrenees, overlooking the Vallespir Valley. From here, you’re within striking distance of Picasso’s beloved Céret, at the heart of the Tech Valley, beautiful Collioure, and the coastal villages along the Côte Vermeille. Return to Perpignan, where your lunchtime TGV whisks you up to Lille, arriving just before 8pm (earlier trains are available but involve a change). Your homebound Eurostar arrives in London just after 9pm. 

    PRICES
    Prices for this touring holiday from £1890 per person

    What's included:
    - Three nights’ bed and breakfast at the Hôtel de la Cité in Carcassonne
    - Five nights’ bed and breakfast at the Relais des Chartreuses in Le Boulou, near Perpignan
    - Eurostar 2nd class London to Lille return, then TGV Lille to Narbonne/local train to Carcassonne and TGV Perpignan to Lille, 2nd class and a group A hire-car for 5 days

    Click the tabs above to view our suggested day-by-day touring itinerary and to find out more about the hotels featured.
    Click here to find out more about how our self-drive touring holidays work or click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested French touring holidays.

    Train to Carcassonne and Perpignan then tour by hire car

    Day-by-Day Itinerary

    DAYS ONE TO THREE:
    Travel to Carcassonne from London and stay for three nights

    The approach to Carcassonne is as formidable and imposing as it is breath-taking. The Gallo-Roman medieval upper town, known as La Cité, has become synonymous with French history, particularly in this area. The Hôtel de la Cité is perched on one of La Cité’s enormous outer walls, a position that affords it some of the best views in Carcassonne across the rolling green countryside of Languedoc. 53 watchtowers also line the walls, which can be explored on foot, as can the 12th century Château Comtal, and its inner ramparts and archaeological exhibits. The amphitheatre, the Théâtre Jean Deschamps, just inside the walls of La Cité and therefore with the high stone walls and turrets as the stage’s backdrop, is not to be missed and is still used for performances today. The cavernous Basilique Saint-Nazaire and Saint-Celse rises above the city walls, with its captivating and unusual shape and circular stained-glass window. Down in the newer, lower part of the city, the sleepy atmosphere typical of rural French villages is retained. The Place Carnot hosts a weekly food market, which is the ideal place to pick up some samples of the local specialities, while quaint individual shops can be found dotted around the other city streets. For a more military insight into the legacy of the fortress, perhaps visit La Musée de la Torture de Carcassonne, or, for something a little more cheery, the Museum of Chivalry, Arms, and Archery, or the Museum of the Middle Ages, all popular spots for history enthusiasts. For a different viewpoint on the city, perhaps take a canal boat ride along the Canal du Midi, lasting either half a day or a whole day, or simply wander along its banks. If transportation can be arranged, it is worth venturing out into the Minervois and Corbières vineyards, situated north and south of Carcassonne respectively, to try the somewhat experimental fruity reds and muscat wines that the area is known for. However, some vineyards closer to the city walls can be accessed on foot or by bicycle.

    DAYS FOUR TO EIGHT:
    Travel south to Le Boulou and stay for five nights

    Leave medieval France for French Catalonia. Your next stop on this touring holiday is the Relais des Chartreuses in Le Boulou. Of entirely different proportions to Carcassonne, Le Boulou’s quaint but beautiful historic charm comes in the form of its 832kg iron bell, dating back to 1436, the Saint Anthony’s Chapel, and the Quadrangular Tower. Explore these monuments and the origins of the town in Le Cellera, the oldest part of Le Boulou, or embark on the 10km trial that takes you through the history and geography of the Battle of Le Boulou. Having received the title of ‘Source de Bien-être,’ Le Boulou is known for its thermal mineral water, the benefits of which can be reaped at the Chaîne Thermale du Soleil. Nearby Collioure offers the golden sandy beaches and clear blue water typical of the Mediterranean coast, as well as the narrow alleyways and winding streets of old French towns, and the Château Royal de Collioure, which remains consistently popular with passing artists. Thanks to the favour of Matisse and Derain, Collioure quickly gained the name of ‘Birthplace of Fauvism’ in the 20th century, though the likes of Picasso and Dufy have also stayed here. To see the Catalan artistic attraction continued, visit Céret, and its Museum of Modern Arts, which pays homage to Picasso, Braque, Gris, and Matisse, among others, who have stayed in the town. The renowned Palace of the Kings of Majorca in Perpignan only scratches the surface of the historical and architectural delights available in the town. Do not neglect the Palais de Députation, the Castillet, or the exotic arched windows of the Catalan houses if you venture this way during your stay. Across the Spanish border sits the Dali Museum in Figueres, a remarkable building before you even enter the front doors. Use your final few days in Le Boulou to explore the rebellious legacy of the Cathar Country, from which Le Boulou is only a short distance. The Château de Peyrepertuse is the most dramatic of the Cathar Castles, built on the varying platforms of a jagged mountain top, and thus often struck by lightning during summer storms. But before you reach the crowning glory of the Cathar legacy, spend a few hours in the other castles, such as the Château de Quéribus, Château de Puivert, and Château d’Aguilar, all built into the rock faces of the Pre-Pyrenees Mountains. To really finish off your experience of French Catalonia, be sure to try the local delicacies: meatballs, dried sausages, sauces for fish and chicken, and Collioure anchovies. Famous wines include Muscat, Rivesaltes, Banyuls, and Maury, and can be tried alongside the Catalan cuisine in the local restaurants and bars.

    DAY NINE:
    Return to Perpignan for your return journey to London

    Leave Le Boulou after spending one last relaxing night in the Relais des Chartreuses. Return your hire car before catching your return train from Perpignan to Lille, and then on to London.

    Train to Carcassonne and Perpignan v2

    Hotel Information

    Below is some information regarding each of the hotels featured in this touring itinerary. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations - please contact us for full details.

    Hôtel de la Cité
    Carcassonne
    The Hôtel de la Cité occupies a privileged position on the site of a former episcopal palace within the mediaeval walled city of Carcassonne. The building’s original features such as beamed ceilings, wooden panelling and floral tapestries have been preserved and enhanced by fine fabrics and hand crafted furniture from local workshops. The emphasis is on traditional style matched by contemporary comfort. All bedrooms have private bathrooms, sound proofing, air conditioning, telephone, television and video. The Hôtel de la Cité has an excellent gourmet restaurant with a Michelin star, La Barbacane, located in the heart of the hotel, with high Gothic ceilings. There is also a library bar for relaxation with live piano music in the evenings on occasion. Outside is a heated swimming pool and gardens of lawn and flower beds. Unique and luxurious, elegant and traditional, the Hôtel de la Cité is well worth a visit.
    Find out more here.

    Relais des Chartreuses
    Le Boulou
    The Relais des Chartreuses near Le Boulou is an unexpected hidden gem nestled deep in the foothills of the Albères, perfectly situated for exploring the many delights of Catalonia, north and south of the France-Spain border. Overlooking the surrounding hills of the Vallespir Valley, the hotel is set in 5,000 square metres of tranquil parkland, complete with outdoor swimming pool. The Relais des Chartreuses is within striking distance of Perpignan and the artist haunts of Céret, Collioure and Figueres, beloved by Picasso, Matisse and Dalí respectively. This 17th-century Catalan farmhouse has been lovingly renovated and refurbished to offer stylish and contemporary accommodation of three-star standard. The 14 rooms are decorated in a subtle, neutral colour palette and are accentuated by fine regional and Louis XV and XVI furnishings, whilst the former dovecote in the garden has been converted into a beautiful suite. Dinner is an intimate and tasty affair, with a simple yet appealing seasonal menu offering Mediterranean-inspired cuisine using the freshest local produce and accompanied by some of the finest Languedocian vintages. There is also a wellness centre within the grounds of the Relais des Chartreuses, offering beauty treatments and massages. A short drive from the French coastal resorts of Collioure, Banyuls-sur-Mer, Argèles-sur-Mer and Port-Vendres and close enough for a day’s excursion to the Spanish seaside villages of Cadaqués, Roses and Empuriabrava or the fascinating towns of Figueres and Girona, the Relais des Chartreuses near Le Boulou offers a convenient and most attractive base for exploring the region.
    Find out more here.

    • BOOK NOW

      Complete a simple booking form and e-mail it to us.

    • CALL US 01392 441245

      We are open Mon-Fri 9-17.30 Sat 9.30-16.00.

    • WE'LL CALL YOU

      Let us know a convenient time to call you back to discuss your holiday.

  • REQUEST BROCHURE

  • France

    Find out more about France

    France FAST FACTS

    Capital

    Paris
    Airport
    Main airports are in Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon, with scheduled and low cost airlines flying into the country from all over the UK.
    Currency
    Euro (£1 = Euro 1.24)
    Size
    Roughly 600 miles wide and 700 miles long
    Population
    66 million
    Average temperature
    Varies dramatically, from about 8 degrees in winter in Brittany to 26 degrees in summer in Corsica, with snow on the Alps and Pyrenees year-round

  • OUR HOLIDAYS

    • Rail holidays

      Rail holidays and train journeys, tailor-made.

    • Garden holidays

      Italian garden holidays and tours for individuals and small groups

    • Family holidays

      Visit our selection of tailor-made family holidays to selected hotels and resorts around the world.

    • Cookery holidays

      Tailor-made cookery holidays in Italy

    • Spa holidays

      Rejuvenating, relaxing, refreshing, good for the body and the soul; spa and well-being worldwide

    • Authentic experiences

      Our selection of authentic experience and special interest holidays.

    • Worldwide journeys

      Luxury tours for individuals around the world

LATEST NEWS

  • Living Retreats at Blue Waters brand-new wellness programme

    In partnership with Living Retreats, Blue Waters in Antigua is launching a brand-new wellness programme that focuses on retreating, rebalancing, and recharging.

    Find out more Read more

  • New infinity pool at Villa le Barone in Tuscany

    The Villa le Barone introduces its new Travertine marble infinity pool.

    Find out more Read more

  • 2017 Summer Festivals near Crillon le Brave

    The meadows, towns, and villages of Provence will be brought to life this summer with opera, dance, parades, and classical and contemporary music.

    Find out more Read more

  • 101 Things to do at Nisbet Plantation

    Enjoy adventurous exploration, indulgent relaxation, intriguing culture and history, authentic Creole food, and thrilling sports, all as part of a stay at Nisbet Plantation.

    Find out more Read more

  • New Teens House at Sani Resort

    The Sani Resort in Greece has just announced the opening of the Ozone Teens House.

    Find out more Read more

  • Flowers in Paradise at the Sandpiper, Barbados

    Between the 21st and the 25th June 2017, Barbados is hosting the 12th World Flower Show, entitled ‘Flowers in Paradise.’

    Find out more Read more

  • Garden Tour Updates

    New gardens and villas added to our Italian Garden Tour Holidays.

    Find out more Read more

  • New Swiss Rail Tours

    Exciting developments to our Swiss programme have lead to many more personalised rail holiday options.

    Find out more Read more