Cote D’Azur Grand Tour
Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord station, either in standard or Standard Premier class. On arrival in Paris, transfer to Paris Gare de Lyon and board the onward train to Nice Ville station, travelling in either 1st or standard class. On arrival in Nice and check in for the 1st night of your stay.
DAY 2 & 3
Nice lies at the heart of the French Riviera in the Alpes-Maritimes region of France. The Greeks, Romans and leading figures of 19th Century society were all captivated by its climate, fresh seafood, wine, pebbled beaches and turquoise sea, laying many of its cultural foundations.
The city has a great tradition of attracting great artists, with museums dedicated to the classic painters Matisse and Chagall, as well as being a centre for modern art at the Villa Arson and Museum of Contemporary Art. Away from the long sun-drenched beaches of the Promenade Des Anglais are beautiful squares such as the Cours Saleya and Place Rosetti, perfect to soak up the city’s atmosphere at any time of day.
Board an early morning train at Nice Riquier station for a day’s sightseeing at your leisure in Monaco, returning later that day.
Check out of your hotel and board an early morning train to Toulon. On arrival in Toulon, transfer to your hotel for the 1st night of your stay, with the rest of the day at your leisure.
Another picturesque square is the Place Massena with its green space, and lines of fountains cooling off playing children and scenic views toward the hills, and from here you can easily access the maze of bustling streets of the charming Old Town leading to the harbour. Nice is also a great place to use as a base for exploring other parts of the French Riviera, with easy bus and train connections to Cannes, famous for its annual film festival and Monaco, haven for the super-rich.
Board an early morning train at Nice Augustin station for a day’s sightseeing at your leisure in Cannes, returning later that day.
The port city of Toulon is the most important naval base in France and serves as a ferry gateway to the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. There are regular boat tours available that take in the current naval base, the 16th century Tour Royale fortress and the nearby beaches of Le Mourillon.
The old historic centre of Toulon lies between the Boulevard de Strasbourg, the port and the Cours Lafayette with its daily Provençal market selling local produce. Wander through its narrow streets and small squares and you will find Toulon Cathedral and many ornate and renovated fountains before making your way to the harbour. Watch the world go by and relax in one of its many cafes and restaurants, sampling locally caught fish against a backdrop of yachts and brightly coloured fishing boats.
Away from the harbour, find time in your stay to visit Mont Faron. Here the red cable cars of the Téléphérique du Faron take you to a summit 600 metres above sea level for breathtaking views of Toulon below and out over the Mediterranean. As well as easily walkable hikes, Mont Faron is also the home to the Musée Mémorial du Débarquement, a World War II fortress that pays tribute to the liberation of the Province region by the Allies.
Check out of your hotel and board an early morning train to Marseille St Charles. On arrival in Marseille, transfer to your hotel for the 1st night of your stay.
DAY 9 & 10
Marseille is the oldest city in France, founded around 600 BC, and with its direct opening to the Gulf of Lion has been important both as an important trading centre and for its cosmopolitan nature, drawing in many influences from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The centre of Marseille is based around the area of La Vieux Port or Old Port.
Surrounded on all sides by restaurants, cafes and shops, the basin is now home to a large marina and you can take to the water here on one of the many boat trips available to experience the sights of Marseille’s port area and views of the Mediterranean coast from the sea, including at its highest point, the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde with its golden statue of the Virgin Mary overlooking the port. Marseille also has its own shopping avenue, La Canebière which starts here after you return from your boat trip.
Historic buildings and museums are never far from sight, with the 17th century Fort Saint Jean built by King Louis XVI standing at the entrance to the Old Port with its own botanical gardens and stunning views over the sea and port, and the Mucem Museum of the Mediterranean is very close by showcasing the history and culture of the Mediterranean. An aerial walkway also connects Fort Saint Jean to the 12th century Eglise Saint Laurent, and from here you can easily access the Old Port, or the imposing 18th century Cathedrale de Mayor, with its opulent neo-Byzantine marble interior which overlooks the port from the north.
A short walk will take you into the Le Quartier du Panier, the oldest quarter of Marseille town, with an intriguing network of narrow streets and steep alleys hugging the hillside on which it’s built. Stroll leisurely through its alleyways and you’ll find an eclectic mixture of creative studios run by local artisans, antique shops and small traditional bistros where you can sit and relax with a bowl of moules marinieres and a glass of Pastis.
Check out of your hotel and transfer to Marseille St Charles station for your return journey to Paris Gare De Lyon. On arrival in Paris, transfer to Paris Gare du Nord station for your return Eurostar train to St Pancras International.