Aix-en-Provence by First Class Rail
Prices from £575 per person
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Aix-en-Provence, the home of Paul Cézanne is a lively city known for its thermal hot springs, art schools and universities. The centre of Aix is the old town (vieille ville), ringed by a circle of boulevards and squares. It is a small-enough area to explore on foot, and there is lots to see. Medieval Aix was protected by a wall with 39 towers. Today only the 14th century “Tourreluquo” tower remains, at the northwest corner of the town. The old town of Aix is packed with shops, markets, museums and religious, architectural and historical sites. The terrace cafés on the Place des Précheurs (by the flower market) attract many of the younger locals, with lower prices than those on the Cours Mirabeau.
4 night / 5 day holiday by First Class rail staying in a twin / double room at the Grand Hotel Roi Rene (4 star) from £575 per person or staying in a twin / double room at the Renaissance Aix-en-Provence Hotel (5 star) from £625 per person (based on 2 people travelling together).
Day 1 – London to Lille and onward to Aix-en-Provence
Today you start your journey to Lille by making your way through the fabulously restored London St. Pancras International station. Admire the arched cast iron and glass roof, repainted in its former glorious Victorian sky blue colour, before you enter the Eurostar check-in and board the Eurostar service to Lille Europe. Recline in the comfort of your Standard Premier Class seat and enjoy the complimentary light meal and drinks served at your seat. On arrival at Lille Europe walk to the French TGV platforms and continue your journey by TGV through the French countryside to Aix-en-Provence. On arrival make your own way by taxi or public transport (payable locally) to your hotel for the next 4 nights, the comfortable, highly-rated Grand Hotel Roi Rene, a 4 star hotel perfectly located in the centre of Aix.
Day 2, 3 and 4 – Aix-en-Provence and the surrounding area
You have three full days to explore the pretty town of Aix-en-Provence. Take time to discover the Quartier Mazarin, the area south of the Cours Mirabeau, an area of 17th-century town houses (“hôtels particuliers”) which was built in 1646-51 by the Archbishop Mazarin. You may wish to visit The Granet Museum, the Paul Arbaud Museum and the 13th-century St-Jean-de-Malte church which are all in the Quartier Mazarin. Alternatively you may prefer to simply relax in the hotel gardens and enjoy the Provençal sunshine.
You might also like to venture further afield into the charming Provençal countryside, perhaps with a visit to Avignon (pictured), Arles, Nîmes or Les Baux de Provence. For a different cultural feel why not head for Marseille, the cosmopolitan, bustling port with its strong links to North Africa? From the station head down the Canebière to the pretty Vieux Port or make your way to Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica for wonderful views of the city and the Mediterranean. You could head east towards Cassis and the pretty Calanques which are like mini Fjords glistening with seawater or west towards the unspoiled nature reserve of the Camargue.
Day 5 – Aix-en-Provence to London – Homeward bound
This morning after a leisurely breakfast it is time to bid farewell to Aix-en-Provence as you make your way back to the station. Relax as your high-speed train whisks you north through France to Lille Europe, where you join the connecting Eurostar service for the last past of your journey through France and into England. Your at seat meal and drinks are an ideal accompaniment to an afternoon of watching the countryside fly-by before you return into London St. Pancras International for the final stage of your trip home.