City breaks in Paris, Nice & Bordeaux
This itinerary in pictures
History & culture | Short break
Our three suggested itineraries offer the chance to visit three very different parts of France: romantic Paris, the sunny Côte d'Azur and the wine-growing heartland of Bordeaux. With no luggage restrictions you're free to bring back as many souvenirs as you like, while a hassle-free 30-minute check-in is another benefit of taking the green option and travelling by train rather than flying.
During the journey you'll have chance to admire the beautiful, ever-changing scenery, or to catch up on work if you're combining business and pleasure. There are three classes - standard, premier and business premier - and dedicated quiet coaches should you want to sit back and relax without any unnecessary distractions. Throughout the train there's plenty of space, comfortable reclining seats and complimentary magazines, although business premier's menus, created by celebrated chef Raymond Blanc, make it well worth spending that little extra and travelling in the top class.
Recommended rail tours
The French capital has more familiar landmarks than almost any other city in the world, making it one of the great travel destinations. But even if you've seen the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre before, return to Paris and you'll soon realise that there's much more to discover. How about a wine tasting or French cooking class with a Parisian expert, or a guided tour in a Citroën 2CV, to get a little further under the skin of the city? Or you might decide to combine a few old haunts with a daytrip from Paris to Monet's gardens at Giverny or the historic Palace of Versailles. Whatever you choose, the Pont Royal Hotel is an ideal base, with its enviable location close to the Seine in artistic and literary Saint-Germain.
Prices from: £395 to £610 per person incl. return Eurostar & 3 nights bed & breakfast accommodation at the Pont Royal Hotel
The South of France is one of the most popular regions of the country for holidays, with its celebrity hangouts and glorious Mediterranean weather. By hiring a car for a few days in Nice you'll be able to explore the coastal city, as well nearby Monaco and other highlights of the Côte d'Azur such as Cannes, at your leisure. Travelling from London to Nice by train takes 9 hours, so it's well worth breaking up the journey with a night at the L'Hermitage Gantois in Lille, before continuing on to the Chateau Eze, halfway between Nice and Monaco.
Prices from: £865 to £1,025 per person incl. return rail travel from London to Nice, 1 night bed & breakfast at L'Hermitage Gantois in Lille, 3 nights bed & breakfast at Chateau Eza between Nice and Monaco and 4 days car hire.
Heaven for wine lovers - the region has as many vineyards as Germany and South Africa combined - and with plenty for non-drinkers too, Bordeaux makes a perfect short break destination. Staying at the Grand Hotel de Bordeaux and Spa makes for an extra special gastronomic getaway, with Michelin-starred head chef Pascal Nibaudeau creating fabulous French cuisine to accompany the local wines, and the opportunity for tailor-made wine tours. By train, it's a six-and-a-half-hour journey from London to Bordeaux, passing through the heart of the French countryside along the way.
Prices from: £635 to £770 per person incl. return rail travel & 3 nights bed & breakfast at Grand Hotel Bordeaux & Spa
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