vintage southern france and the pyrenees

all prices & options are per person

2024 - tour - pricing

Year - 2024

Departure Date - jun 6

Return Date - jun 17

This Tour Is Open - sure go

Tour Type - railfan/tourist tour

$2,895 - Double Room Occupancy

$445 - Single Room Supplement

$1,000 - Deposit To Hold Space

none - Early Bird Discount

Final Payment Due By - mar 6, 2024

2024 - tour - Details

about this tour

This tour includes many scenic highlights: the mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees, the Mediterranean coast of France, the hills of Provence and the Cevennes; as well as many places of historical interest including the Roman amphitheatre in the beautiful city of Nimes.

The railway highlights include a number of routes listed as some finest in Europe such as the Mediterranean coast east of Marseille towards the Italian border and the lines heading inland from Nice to Digne-les-Bains and Tende. The tour also includes two steam rides on some lovely heritage railways, but the highlight is the famous Little Yellow Train that takes us high up into the Pyrenees.

2024 - tour - Itinerary

day by day - Itinerary

Day 1 - thur jun 6

Indivdual arrivals in Marseille, France and hotel check-in.

🍽 none

Day 2 - fri jun 7

After a leisurely breakfast we board the TGV for the fast ride to Nice. Hotel check-in and rest of the day at your own leisure to enjoy Nice, walking through the narrow streets and alleyways of the Old City – described as a “Baroque Experience” – then strolling along the Promenade des Anglais seafront.

🍽 breakfast

Day 3 - sat jun 8

Today we will ride a slow train on the SNCF which is called the “Train des Merveilles”, from Nice to Tende following the Roya Valley and crossing the Alps into Italy. There are many viaducts and even more tunnels with wild mountain-and-valley scenery. This is an exceptional route and of interest to any railway enthusiast; it includes three spirals. We alight at Tende, a charming Alpine town nestled in the deep valley. After time to explore it and have lunch, we travel back down the line as far as Breil-sur-Roya to visit this excellent railway museum. Return to Nice by train at the end of the afternoon. Tonight, we have our Welcome Dinner in a restaurant near the hotel.

🍽 breakfast, dinner

Day 4 - sun jun 9

We have a ride on the long non-electrified meter gauge CF Provence line from Nice to Digne, a distance of 151 km in a new 2-car DMU with large windows on a very scenic line, on the “Train des Pignes”. We alight at Puget-Theniers to join the steam train hauled by an ex-CP (Portugal) 2-4-6-0T mallet along the same line to Annot. Annot is a fascinating little town in the mountains, and if you venture behind the main square, it seems you have stepped back in time to the 1500s, with old, but well-kept, buildings and narrow streets. We return to Nice by coach in time for dinner.

🍽 breakfast

Day 5 - mon jun 10

This morning we travel by train from Nice to Nimes. In the afternoon, we will be joined by a local guide for a guided walk through the historic center of Nimes. During the walk, we will see some of the Roman buildings still standing such as the Amphitheatre considered to be “the best preserved in the whole of the Roman Empire” and the Maison Carée, a remarkably well-preserved square temple. The amphitheatre may be being prepared for Bastille Day celebrations, but if it is possible to visit it, we will.

🍽 breakfast

Day 6 - tue jun 11

We have a very scenic train trip through the Cévennes from Nimes to La Bastide-St. Laurent. We return to Alés where our coach will be waiting to transfer us to Saint Jean-du-Gard, and the “Train a Vapeur des Cévennes” whose ex-SNCF 2-8-0 steam locomotive was only recommissioned in 2011. This is a lovely 13 km train journey along the Gardons valley, and we do a return trip with a visit to the workshops. There are some fantastic views of the river valley and the Cévennes scenery. After our visit, we return to Nimes by coach.

🍽 breakfast

Day 7 - wed jun 12

Today we will travel to Avignon (a walled city next to the River Rhone) and Pont du Gard, an impressive Roman aqueduct built in the 1st century AD. Beginning in Avignon, we have a guided tour around the Papal Palace (the biggest Gothic palace ever built, anywhere), followed by free time for lunch and your own exploration. With around 650,000 visitors each year it is regularly among the top ten attractions in France. With its size, architecture and historical significance the Palace regularly serves as an exhibition center. During your free time, we suggest you visit the famous medieval bridge, the Pont d’Avignon on which one dances as the 15th century song “Sur le Pont d’Avignon” says. After lunch we go to Ponte du Gard and another guided tour, with the chance to visit the excellent museum. The Pont du Gard is the highest of all Roman aqueducts and is the best preserved along with the aqueduct of Segovia. Because of its historic importance it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. Today it is one of France’s five top tourist attractions with around 1.4 million visitors each year

🍽 breakfast

Day 8 - thur jun 13

The highlight today is a trip on the very scenic Le Train Rouge, as we transfer to Perpignan for one night. We begin the day with a train journey from Nimes to Carcassonne, and, if it is running with a suitable timetable, the branch south to Quillan. There our coach will meet us and take us to Axat, the upper terminus of Le Train Rouge. After time for lunch we head to Axat station. If the weather is dry, the first part of the journey through mountains and gorges will be on open wagons. Half way down we change to a historic railcar to complete the journey to Rivesaltes. Our coach will be waiting to take us to the hotel in Perpignan.

🍽 breakfast

Day 9 - fri jun 14

We will travel from Perpignan to Villefranche-Vernet where we pick up our Little Yellow Train, one of the great railway journeys of the world – a historic meter-gauge electric railway in the French Pyrenees, opened in 1909, and still going strong. The line rises through dramatic scenery from an altitude of 427 meters at its lower terminus at Villefranche de Conflent, to a summit at Bolquère Eyne, France’s highest railway station, lying at an altitude of 1592 meters (5226 ft) above sea level. It then drops down to a high Pyrenean valley, and its terminus at Latour de Carol. On arriving at Latour de Carol, we immediately join our standard gauge train direct to Toulouse, arriving late afternoon. Overnight in Toulouse.

🍽 breakfast

Day 10 - sat jun 15

In the morning we visit the 500-mm narrow gauge Chemin de Fer Touristique du Tarn. Due to a weak bridge awaiting repair, they run a diesel train over part of the line, and we will have a charter on this, followed by a visit to the depot and workshops. Return to Toulouse for a free afternoon to explore this attractive city, known as the “pink city” due to the unique architecture made of pinkish terracotta bricks. Transport highlights include a tram line and a driverless metro.

🍽 breakfast

Day 11 - sun jun 16

Our coach will take us to the medieval walled city of Carcassonne where you will have free time to explore the narrow streets and the castle. The walled city is one of France’s “must see” attractions, yet in the 19th century, the government wanted to demolish it. Fortunately, it won a reprieve, and is still here today. This afternoon we will have a cruise on the UNESCO World Heritage Canal du Midi. At the end of the afternoon, we return to Toulouse by coach, and meet up for our Farewell Dinner in a restaurant near the hotel.

🍽 breakfast, dinner

Day 12 - mon jun 17

After breakfast hotel check out and end of the tour.

NOTE: This is a moderately active tour, and there will be some walking, such as from railway stations to cruise piers or funiculars.

🍽 breakfast


Tour Pricing:

All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. Those people that use a credit card for payments a 3% conveyance fee (The 3% fee has been suspended until further notice) will be added to the tour price. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.