France City Breaks

Paris is one one of the most visited destinations in the world but there are many other great cities in France’s hexagon that begged to be discovered too. With the high speed TGV train you are never too far to explore the capitals of twenty two beautiful French regions. Each has it own unique character, traditions and culture. Explore the unique heritage of each of these cities’ by strolling their streets, visiting their museums, sampling their cuisine and enjoying their special traditions. We invite you to sample wines in Bordeaux, soak up the Provence’s art de vivre in Marseille, savor the gastronomy of Lyon, discover the heart of Brittany in Rennes, the carefree youthfulness of Montpellier or Toulouse and the quaint charm of Normandy in Rouen. Here is a selection of 2 or 3 night packages to these cities (prices on request).

Bordeaux
Lyon
Marseille
Montpellier
Reims
Rennes
Rouen
Strasbourg
Toulouse

 

Bordeaux Escapade

Renowned for its wine, Bordeaux the capital of Aquitaine is a delight to discover for its magnificent historical heritage and its gastronomic pleasures. Located on the banks of the Garonne River, close to the Gironde estuary, Bordeaux is experiencing a “renaissance” thanks to its recent major urban improvement including renovated river embankment, restored facades of 18th century buildings; pedestrian avenues and new tramway lines. The city laid-back atmosphere makes for a wonderful city break and a good base to visit the region’s famous vineyards. Trains from Paris easily reach Bordeaux in three hours.

Not to be Missed: Grand 18th century classical architecture; UNESCO World Heritage sites; renovated river promenade, Grand Theatre Opera house; world class museums; delightful gastronomy, fine wines, superb shopping and more.

Package:

  • 3 nights in 3 or 4 star city center hotel
  • Breakfast daily
  • One dinner in a Bordeaux bistro
  • A private guided tour of Bordeaux historic center
  • Wine tasting class of Bordeaux AOC
  • Privately guided excursion to the Medoc or St. Emilon
  • Round trip TGV train tickets  TOP

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Lyon Discovery

The capital of the Rhone-Alps region and France’s second city, Lyon is at the confluence of two great rivers-the Saône and the Rhône. Since Gallo Roman times, Lyon has been a major trading center and its long history is everywhere to be discovered from the top of Fourviere hills to the heart of the old historic center where Renaissance mansions line the streets. Lyon is reached by high-speed train in only 2 hours from the center of Paris and is in proximity to the Beaujolais wine region and the lakes and mountains of the Alps.

Not to be Missed: Gallo-Roman ruins; Fourviere Basilica; a historic center classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site; silk-weavers workshop; boat trips along the Rhône and the Saône; vineyards of nearby Beaujolais and Côte du Rhône; designer boutiques; major museums and world famous gastronomy.

Package:

  • 3 nights in 3 or 4 star city center hotel
  • Breakfast daily
  • One dinner in a typical Lyon Bistro
  • A guided tour of Lyon historic center
  • A Lyon city card giving access to 19 museums
  • Round trip TGV train tickets  TOP

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Marseille

The oldest and the second largest city in France, Marseille is a cosmopolitan, exotic and lively city offering a symphony of sounds, flavors and colorful sites. You will be enchanted by its old historic center and picturesque fishing harbor where you can take a boat to explore little creeks, inlets and outlying islands on the Mediterranean Sea. Here you can sample a varied cuisine where the traditional Bouillabaisse cohabits nicely with North African Couscous.

Marseille is located only 3 hour train ride from Paris and is a great starting point for an exploration of Provence and the French Riviera.

Not to be Missed: The old harbor and its colorful fish market; the historic Panier district where you can wander its maze of winding alleys and stairs; the 19th century Cannebiere boulevard lined with handsome Haussmanian-style buildings, shops and lively sidewalk cafes; Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica and the Corniche Kennedy with its superb views over the blue Mediterranean sea; the pretty fjord-like Calanques; Chateau d’If fortress and the the Frioul Archipelago rich in fauna and flora.

Package:

  • 3 nights in 3 or 4 star city center hotel
  • Breakfast daily
  • One dinner
  • A private guided tour of the historic center
  • Round trip TGV train tickets  TOP

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Montpellier Discovery

The capital of the sun-drenched wine-growing region of Languedoc-Roussillon, Montpellier is a vibrant university town rich in history, art and culture and with a robust gastronomic tradition. Only three-hour train ride from Paris, Montpellier makes for a great weekend destination or a starting point for an exploration of this southern region.

Not to be Missed: the historic center with its maze of alleys lined with fine example of medieval and renaissance architecture; the Jewish Mikve, testimony to its medieval Jewish heritage; the newly renovated Fabre Museum with an exquisite collection of French and European paintings and sculptures from the 16th century to the present; the Botanical Garden; its wide pedestrian avenues lined with boutiques and inviting sidewalk cafes; its opera house and the unique Antigone district designed by award winning architect Ricardo Boffill.

Package:

  • 3 nights in 3 or 4 star city center hotel
  • Breakfast daily
  • One dinner
  • A private guided tour of historic Montpellier
  • A wine tasting session of regional AOC
  • Round trip TGV train tickets
  • Optional: a cooking class  TOP

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Reims

Reims has a prominent place in French history since the baptism of Clovis in 496 and the subsequent coronations of almost all the kings of France. Located northeast of Paris and only one our hour from the French Capital, Reims offers a wealth of cultural and gastronomical gems –notably its masterpiece gothic cathedral and its many champagne wine cellars.

Not to be Missed: Three UNESCO World Heritage sites -- Notre Dame Cathedral, Romanesque Saint Remi Basilica and the Palais de Tau. Sample Champagne, the “king of wines” in the cellars of famous makers like Mumm, Taittinger, Pommery to name a few. Reims is also a starting point to explore the vineyards of Champagne and the history laden northeast regions of Picardy, Lorraine, Alsace and Burgundy.

Package:

  • 2 nights in 3 or 4 star city center hotel
  • Daily breakfasts
  • One dinner
  • A guided visit of the historic center
  • A visit of Champagne wine cellar with tasting
  • Round trip TGV train tickets
  • Optional: Guided tour of Epernay and the surrounding Champagne vineyards.  TOP

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Rennes

Rennes, the capital of Brittany has a rich artistic and cultural heritage, which merits a detour. Easily reached by train from Paris in two and half hours, this ancient town is a good starting point for a discovery of the Breton seascape and its unique traditions.

Not to be Missed: the historic center and its well preserved timber-framed medieval houses; the 17th century Breton Parliament and the Town Hall; handsome royal squares like Place des Lices and its Saturday market; Breton crepes, apple cider and superb seafood.

Package:

  • 2 nights in 3 or 4 star city center hotel
  • Daily breakfasts
  • One dinner
  • A private guided tour of the historic center
  • Round trip TGV train tickets
  • Optional: Excursion to the Mont Saint Michel  TOP

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Rouen

Only about one hour by train from Paris, you will be enchanted by Rouen’s vitality and charm. Located in Normandy, on a wide meander of the Seine River, Rouen’s history dates back to the Vikings. In 911 Viking King Wrolf made Rouen his capital and it is where William the Conqueror died, where Richard the Lionheart and his brother John were crowned kings of England and where Joan of Arc was burned to the stake. For artistic anecdotes, Claude Monet painted in a series of studies Rouen’s cathedral and it is in this city that Flaubert’s fictional Madame Bovary lived. Rouen is a good starting point for a tour of the Normandy region to include Mont St. Michel, Honfleur and D-Day Landing sites.

Not to be Missed: Gothic Cathedral Notre Dame whose façade was made famous by the impressionist painter Monet; Church St. Maclou; well-preserved historic center with quaint medieval streets lined with half-timbered houses some dating from the Renaissance period; Palais de Justice (former law courts); Place du vieux Marché–site of Joan of Arc’s execution in 1431 and the Gros Horloge astronomic clock dating from the 14th century. Notable museums also worth a visit include Musée des Beaux Arts (fine arts museum); Musee de la Céramique (Ceramic museum) and Musée le Secq des Tournelles (Wrought Iron Museum).

Package:

  • 2 nights in 3 or 4 star city center hotel
  • Daily breakfasts
  • One dinner
  • A guided visit of the historic center
  • Round trip TGV train tickets
  • Optional: A tour to Honfleur, Caen or the D-Day Landing sites  TOP

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Strasbourg

The capital of Alsace and the seat of the European Parliament, Strasbourg is worth a visit for the wealth of its cultural heritage and gastronomy that blends French and German characteristics. Thanks to the TGV high-speed train you can get to Strasbourg in just three hours. Explore its picturesque town center, which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site and its centerpiece the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Strasbourg is great to visit anytime of the year but especially during the joyful Christmas season where the traditional markets selling crafts and all kind and local delicacies are held all over town.

Not to be Missed: Notre Dame Cathedral and its astronomical clock; the picturesque canal district of “La Petite France” lined with half-timbered houses; the covered bridges and the panoramic terrace of the Barrage Vauban; the Palais Rohan museum of Fine Art; The European Parliament; the inviting Orangerie Park; the breweries and winstubs, typical little Alsace restaurants where you can savor choucroute and drink good Alsatian beer and fine wines. Strasbourg makes a good base to explore the picturesque countryside dotted with pretty geranium filled villages, vineyards, Romanesque abbeys and perched castles. .

Package:

  • 3 nights in 3 or 4 star city center hotel
  • Breakfasts
  • One dinner in a typical Winstub
  • A guided visit of the historic center
  • Round trip TGV train tickets
  • Optional: Take a guided tour of the Alsatian vineyards or Colmar  TOP

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Toulouse Discovery

Toulouse, the great capital of the Southwest set along the Garonne River is a joy to discover. The “pink city” as it is nicknamed, offers a rich cultural heritage and a unique art de vivre. Toulouse can be reached from Paris by high speed train in 5 hours.

Not to be missed: Place du Capitole; St. Sernin Basilica; Church of the Jacobins; picturesque historic center with Renaissance architecture; the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO World Heritage site; art museums such the Fondation Bemberg with an important collection of Matisse, Bonnard and Toulouse Lautrec; lovely river banks promenade; Space Center and Airbus factory; and rich gastronomic specialties where Cassoulet and fois gras dominate.

Package:

  • 3 nights in the city center in 3 or 4 star hotels
  • Breakfast daily
  • One dinner
  • A guided walking tour of historic Toulouse
  • A cruise along the Canal du Midi and the Garonne
  • Excursion to Carcassonne or Albi
  • Round trip TGV train tickets  TOP

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