With a few tweaks to the itinerary we are pleased to repeat this superb tour, which will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of distinguished travel writer Anthony Peregrine. For those who have travelled with Anthony before, you will of course be aware of the unique and memorable itineraries that Anthony prepares and, from his 'home' resort of Montpellier he once again features some fascinating visits.
Anthony reveals - 'Without any doubt, Montpellier is the most desirable city in the French south - perhaps even in France overall. Opinion polls of French people always place the sunny city either first or second in the league table of places they'd most like to live. It combines the elegance of a distinguished past with the colour and liveliness of contemporary energy. It boasts France's most extensive and sinuous historical centre, it's most noble central square - la Comedie - and its most daring modern quarter. The Antigone district is a vast neo-classical development of a sort unseen since the Mediterranean peoples - Greeks and Romans - ran the world.It’s stunning. The city overflows with culture and sporting excellence, you name it, the place has it all! There's no finer base for a French holiday.”
Join us on what will be another unforgettable holiday!
CURRENCY - Currency required for this tour will be the Euro.
PASSPORT REQUIRED - We require full christian names, date of birth & passport country of issue. Please have these details ready when booking.
The 3 star Mercure Reims Parc Des Expositions is located on the outskirts of Reims. All bedrooms are en-suite with TV, telephone and Wi-Fi. There is a restaurant, lounge bar and outdoor swimming pool. There is a lift.
The 3 star Mercure Montpellier Antigone is located in the centre of Montpellier, ideal for an evening stroll into the city. All bedrooms are en suite with air conditioning, TV, mini-bar and Wi-Fi. There is a restaurant, bar and leisure facilities, including a fitness centre and jacuzzi. There is a lift.
Early morning departure to Dover for the afternoon crossing to Calais. We continue to Reims for overnight half-board accommodation at the Mercure Parc Expositions Hotel.
We travel south through France via the main roads and motorways to Montpellier and the Mercure Antigone Hotel, for 6 nights half-board accommodation. Our tour will be accompanied by distinguished travel writer Anthony Peregrine who will join us in Montpellier for the duration of our stay.
This morning we take a short trip to the coast near Montpellier. First stop, the Mediterranean’s biggest salt pans - 26000 acres of them. They've been worked since Roman times and are emblematic of this bit of the coast, near the Camargue, alive with bird and plant life, also fascinating in themselves. They are vast, flat and haunting, and the story is a good one. The trip is by little train. Our next visit is to the walled town of Aigues-Mortes, one of the jewels of the Languedoc Region. It is extraordinarily well-preserved and hugely atmospheric. You will have time to take lunch and wander around the town and the ramparts before we return to Montpellier along the coast, including a short visit to La Grande Motte, a rather unique seaside town. On our return to Montpellier we join a little tourist train, offering the best chance to view parts of the city without much walking.
We spend the day in Sete one of the most fascinating towns/ports on the French Med coast, both a commercial port (France's 2nd biggest on the Med, after Marseille) and fishing port and holiday resort and teeming with Mediterranean life. We begin with a boat trip (with a local guide) out onto the lagoon to visit the oyster beds and learn all about oyster farming. Then a tasting of local fortified wines - they're absolutely the speciality round this little neck of the woods – then we enjoy an included lunch. Later we visit Sète itself in the coach with the local guide, travelling up the hill upon which it is built, which is great and affords splendid views.
One of Montpellier's (many) claims to fame is that it is handy for both the seaside and the mountains. Today, we head not so much for the hills as for the foothills which precede the Cévennes Mountains. Our first visit is to a working wine farm - a real, rustic family outfit. First, we'll see the farmer working the vines with his shire horse. (This is as unusual in France as ploughing with a horse would be in GB.) Then we shall visit the winery, hear a bit about wine - and have a full tasting of all the farm's wines. Then we'll have a country lunch on the farm - laid on especially for us. Ten minutes further on is the lovely town of Anduze - the place they call the 'gateway to the Cevennes'. Here we go to the station and, at 3pm, board the preserved steam train for a 40-minute trip right into the Cévennes. The landscape is good, and we include an open carriage, to get the benefit of (what should be) a lovely sunny trip through quite dramatic surroundings.
We begin the day with a visit to an olive oil co-operative - with explanations, visiting the installations, a film and tasting of different olive oils (surprisingly engrossing). From here, we drive on to Carcassonne - the fabled medieval walled city - so wonderfully preserved that it looks as though it has just landed on its hill direct from some Disney fairy-tale film. It’s brilliant, one of the emblematic sites (and sights) in France, certainly in the Top 5 of the country’s most visited tourist attractions. And rightfully so! After a brief talk about the town you will be issued with a map and the rest of the day is free for you to explore.
A leisurely day today as we take a short drive to the Bouzigues, a little oyster and mussel farming village on the great Thau lagoon, very atmospheric, and a good place for coffee (and mid-morning wine & oysters, should anyone fancy them). From here we travel to Valmagne Abbey, a great cistercian monastery, one of the most famous in France, in the middle of its own vineyards. We visit the abbey, then a tasting of some wine before we include a light lunch at the abbey's auberge - which is lovely, and prides itself on using only its own-grown veg and locally reared meat. Our return route to Montpellier takes us via Saint Adrien Gardens. These are surprising, in a region which is essentially very dry, almost arid, here are water gardens - in a disused stone quarry workings. They carry a fascinating story and were crowned 'The Nation's Favourite Garden' in 2013. The owner will show us round, and offer us a drink at the end.
We bid farewell to Anthony and travel north via the main roads and motorways, returning to the Mercure Reims Parc Expositions Hotel for overnight half-board accommodation.
We depart after breakfast and travel to Calais for the return ferry crossing to Dover. Arrive home mid-evening.
8 nights dinner, bed & breakfast plus 3 lunches, Luxury coach travel with on-board toilet & facilities, Ferry Travel, Services of experienced tour driver, Services of excellent guide/travel writer in Montpellier.
Excursions - includes 3 train journeys, a boat cruise, wine tasting, entry to a working wine farm (inc wine tasting), a visit to an olive oil co-operative, entrance to Valmagne Abbey (including wine tasting) and entry to Saint Adrien Gardens.
DEPOSIT: £80.00 per person
Single supplement: £225.00