Travelling by train to the south of France makes for a relaxing way to travel, avoiding the stress and often inconvenient timings associated with flying. The scenery on the way is attractive and it is possible to either break the train journey in both directions in Paris or Lille or to complete the journey in one day. In this sample rail itinerary you travel out in one day via Lille and back via Paris where you spend a night. Once on the French Riviera, this rail holiday includes five nights in Nice at the luxurious Hotel La Perouse. This is a great base to explore this area with its beautiful climate and sandy beaches – home of the rich and famous.Click here to download a pdf with full details of some of our rail holidays to France.DAY BY DAY ITINERARY Day one Begin your rail holiday by departing on a morning Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris, before changing station for your high-speed train journey to Nice. Enjoy the beautiful scenery outside your window as the TGV heads south through the regions of Burgundy and the Rhone-Alpes all the way to Provence and the Cote d’Azur. The train passes through Avignon and arrives in Nice at about 8.30pm. From the station, you take a taxi to your hotel where you stay five nights - Hotel La Perouse which is just a few minutes from the station.Days two to fiveYou have the next few days at leisure on the French Riviera. There are many sights to see and places to visit on the Cote d'Azur, including Monte Carlo, Monaco and Cannes, as well as places further inland such as Grasse and St Paul de Vence. Nice is blessed rail and bus links, or we can arrange a hire car for all or part of your stay if you would like the freedom to fully explore the region.OPTION 1: RETURN VIA PARIS Day sixThe most time-efficient way to return back to the UK from Nice is to retrace your steps. You can leave Nice at around 10am and arrive in Paris just over five and a half hours later. We suggest here that you spend the rest of the afternoon and one night in Paris, staying at the Hotel Royal in the Champs-Elysées district.Day sevenYou end your rail holiday by travelling by Eurostar from Paris back to London St Pancras, leaving after breakfast at 11am and arriving back in the UK around midday. Alternatively, you can choose to delay your journey home, leaving on an evening Eurostar and having most of the day to explore Paris.OPTION 2: RETURN VIA BORDEAUXDay sixAn alternative option is to travel west from Nice to the city of Bordeaux, where you break the journey for one night. You leave Nice after breakfast on the Intercity train at 10am and follow the southern coast of France through Marseille before striking inland through Tolouse to Bordeaux. This is a beautiful journey and allows you to return home without having to use the same route twice. Stay overnight in Le Saint James, in the village of Bouliac on the outskirts of Bordeaux.Day sevenYou leave Bordeaux the following morning, or we can add extra days in, at around 11am and catch the high-speed train north. From Bordeaux you pass through Poitiers and central France on your way to Paris. You arrive in Montparnasse station and change to Paris Nord where you board the Eurostar service back to London, arriving at around 6pm. PRICESFrom £1,250 per person for first class rail travel.From £1,160 per person for second class rail travel. Prices based on two sharing a double or twin room.What’s included?First or second class travel on all trains (as above) including EurostarAt the hotels: 5 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at Hotel La Perouse in Nice1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at Hotel Royal in ParisWhat’s not included?Meals other than breakfast at the hotelsTransfers in Paris and NiceAny services not mentioned aboveSupplements for alternate routesDatesThis rail holiday can be arranged throughout the year. Timings can vary depending on the month and day of the week.For more information regarding rail services to and within France, view our train guide.
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.La Perouse – Nice – 4 starLa Perouse, far from being your standard city hotels, is an oasis of peace and tranquillity with its own private beach in Nice, a few minutes walk from the heart of town. It exudes a relaxed and cheerful atmosphere, whilst offering all the comforts and style of a top quality hotel. The 56 rooms are all decorated in a fresh, Mediterranean style and each one has its own balcony. In addition to an outdoor heated swimming pool, guests also have access to a spa, fitness centre and solarium. Guests can enjoy lunch and dinner at Le Patio restaurant, or there are many more options just a short walk away in Nice centre. See more detail on La Perouse.Royal Hotel – Paris – 4 star The Royal Hotel is housed inside a typical 19th century Parisian building designed in Hausmann style and offers guests a choice of 58 stylishly decorated rooms. This hotel is ideally located near the Arc de Triomphe at the high end of the Champs Elysées, and is within walking distance of great restaurants. The Royal Hotel offers great value for a comfortable stopover in the Parisian capital.OPTION: Le Saint James – Bouliac – 4 starLe Saint-James is a charming property housed in converted farmhouse buildings on the outskirts of a sleepy village just six miles from Bordeaux. The hotel’s unusual architecture was designed by Jean Nouvel to resemble the tobacco-drying barns of the region, surrounding the 18th century farmhouse buildings. This special property only has 10 rooms and 3 suites so booking early is strongly recommended. The hotel’s restaurant offers a stunning backdrop through floor-to-ceiling windows, whilst guests enjoy fine cuisine from Michelin-starred chef Nicolas Magie. Le Saint-James is the perfect rural getaway just a stone’s throw from Bordeaux town.See more detail on Le Saint James.
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Find out more about France
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
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