Your holiday summary

Holiday type Escorted tours
Country France
Travel type Train
Price range From £1045
Travel partner Travel Editions
Duration 7 nights
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0330 333 6761

Christmas in Southern Provence

Escape to the Mediterranean this Christmas to follow in the footsteps of artists, writers and royalty through the dramatic hill towns, chic cities, glamorous resorts and fantastic scenery of southern Provence. Based in the laidback seaside town of Sanary-sur- Mer, enjoy the region’s rich artistic heritage with an easy going touring itinerary that includes Saint-Tropez, Aix-en- Provence, Grimaud, Marseille and the Calanques.


  • Return Eurostar and TGV trains from London St Pancras to Marseille via Lille
  • Seven nights accommodation on bed and breakfast basis at the four-star Soleil et Jardin hotel in Sanary-sur-Mer, based on shared occupancy of twin room
  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festive dinners at local restaurants
  • Transfers and full touring itinerary conducted by tour manager
  • Tour manager throughout
Not included

  • Single room supplement
  • Holiday insurance
  • First class upgrade on Eurostar/TGV. On the Eurostar this constitutes upgraded seating and light meal with complimentary drink with upgraded seating only on French railway leg.
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls.
  • Porterage and gratuities.

Day one

Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras to Lille and onwards to Marseille by TGV. On arrival transfer by coach to Sanary-sur-Mer (approximately one hour) and the Soleil et Jardin hotel to check-in for a seven-night stay on bed and breakfast basis.

Day two

Full day tour to Saint-Tropez and Grimaud. Saint-Tropez has long been the glamorous playground for the rich and famous, having started out as a Bohemian hangout in the early 20th century for artists such as Matisse, Dufy, Signac and Bonnard – you can see some of their art in the Musée de l‘Annonciade. Despite its popularity with tourists, Saint-Tropez has managed to maintain its Mediterranean charms. The hill village of Grimaud is a legacy of the ubiquitous Grimaldi family and is dominated by its 12th century castle ruins. Offering coastal views, its position made it an ideal place for the Knights Templar to watch for invasions.

Day three

Full day tour to Toulon and Hyères. Toulon is France’s second-largest naval port thanks to its fine natural harbour. The daily produce market on Cours Lafayette is lovely for a browse and the Quai Cronstadt is a great place to watch the world go by. The oldest resort on the French Riviera, the town of Hyères is gathered around the Castle of Saint Bernard which sits on a hilltop four kilometres from the sea. The palm-tree-and-Belle-Époque-buildinglined streets once hosted luminaires such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Edith Wharton and Queen Victoria.

Day four

Full day tour to Bandol, Cassis and the Calanques before Christmas Eve dinner at a local restaurant. The Mediterranean resort of Bandol is best known for its red wine, which has been produced here since 600BC. Unusually, it is often served cold. Cassis has managed to retain its small fishing village charms and has remained largely unaltered since it attracted painters such as Signac and Derain in the early 20th century. Along the coastline between Marseille and Cassis, the turquoise sea has pummelled the limestone cliffs into a series of deep, dramatic inlets – the Calanques. The best way to view this area is from the sea and there are plenty of boat trip options if you would like to.

Day five

Free day to relax and enjoy Sanary at your leisure, with Christmas Day festive dinner at a local restaurant.

Day six

Full day tour to Aix-en-Provence. The elegant city of Aix-en-Provence with its medieval centre a knot of grand architecture and atmospheric lanes, peppered with fountained squares. Home to artist Paul Cézanne, you will find his studio preserved exactly as he left it on his death in 1906. There are many cafes to sit in and watch the world go by along the Cours Mirabeau.

Day seven

Full day tour to Marseille. The cosmopolitan city of Marseille has gone through a renaissance in recent years to the point that it was European City of Culture in 2013. The best way to enjoy the city is to wander along streets of terracotta-roofed houses and see the vibrant fusion of cultures. Sights here include the renowned fish market, the old harbour, Chateau d’If, setting for Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, 11th century Abbey of St Victor, Cathédrale de la Major and several museums including the Musée des Beaux Arts and Archaeology Museum.

Day eight

Travel by TGV from Marseille to Lille and onwards by Eurostar to St Pancras.

NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 49 passengers.

Please note there is no Ebbsfleet option on this tour, an alternative option is to use the High Speed train service between Ebbsfleet and St Pancras.
Soleil et Jardin hotel, Sanary-sur-Mer

This tour is based in the town of Sanary, at the modern and well-appointed three-star Soleil et Jardin hotel. Located about five minutes walk from the town and harbour lined with restaurants, the hotel's facilities include indoor pool, bar and comfortable, air-conditioned bedrooms with private bath/shower, TV, telephone, and hairdryer. The hotel also offers upgrades to Suites (supplement applies) which are much larger with a sofa, sitting area and balcony.
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