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France by rail: 10 of one of the best summer season journeys | Travel

If you’re contemplating a holiday in France by prepare this summer season, now’s the time to ebook. French rail company SNCF launched its summer season fares on Thursday (29 March) for journeys from 29 June till three September. Unlike Eurostar, which places its tickets on sale six months upfront, SNCF releases tickets solely three to 4 months forward of the journey time, which means travellers have needed to wait till right this moment to ebook summer season 2018 journeys. However, tickets promote out quick, particularly on standard routes and at peak instances. “There is a huge difference in price based on demand,” mentioned Kate Andrews, co-founder of on-line rail reserving website Loco2. “The cheapest tickets are available now. Tickets could quadruple in price nearer the time [of departure].” The costs given under (supplied by Loco2) embrace Eurostar from London, and had been accessible on the time of writing.

London to Montpellier, through Paris Gare de Lyon

Photograph: P Eoche/Getty Images

Journey time: 7 hours 5 minutes
If you needed to identify a French metropolis that has all of it, Montpellier would absolutely be it. Bathed in Mediterranean sunshine and simply 10 minutes from the seaside, it additionally has a superb artwork museum, a younger, student-y vibe and nice eating places. First take a wander by means of the sumptuous Place de la Comédie and on into the outdated city to admire the hôtels particuliers, former wine retailers’ mansions with stunning courtyards. From 12-17 June a lot of them will probably be internet hosting trendy artwork installations as a part of the Festival des Architetures Vives. The metropolis’s very good Musée Fabre incorporates considered one of France’s richest collections of European artwork.
• Stay on the Grand Hotel du Midi (doubles from €109); montpellier-france.com; prepare travel £120 return

London to Troyes, through Paris Est

Timber-frame houses in Troyes.

Timber-frame homes in Troyes. Photograph: Alamy

Journey time: four hours 20 minutes
Visitors to Champagne normally make a beeline for Reims however Troyes, additional south, is a delight. Its engaging medieval centre, with timber-framed buildings, is surrounded by canals within the form of a champagne cork and it’s the proper place to wander, stopping to admire church buildings, squares and sip champagne in pavement cafes. To discover the vineyards within the surrounding countryside, take a look at the vacationer workplace’s biking itineraries, which cowl family-run vineyards, lakes and fairly villages; enterprise additional and take a wine tour with Wine Liaisons (costs fluctuate, relying on numbers).
• Stay at La Maison M, doubles from €120 B&B; tourisme-troyes.com; prepare travel from £90 return

London to Nantes, through Paris Montparnasse

Mechanical elephant, Le Voyage à Nantes.

Mechanical elephant, Le Voyage à Nantes. Photograph: Andia/UIG through Getty Images

Journey time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Nantes makes for a enjoyable vacation spot no matter your age. Its essential points of interest are found on the Île de Loire, an island within the river Loire the place a 12-metre robotic elephant (Le Voyage à Nantes) stomps across the concourse carrying 49 folks on its again. Elsewhere, the three-storey carousel, impressed by Nantes native Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, affords a trip on the again of a steampunk sea creature. The metropolis is stuffed with different whimsical road artwork installations, linked along with a inexperienced line painted on the pavements.
• Stay at Welcome Home flats (€140 an evening for as much as six folks); levoyageanantes.fr; prepare travel from £110 return

London to Beaune, through Lyon

View of the vineyards in the wine-making region of Burgundy, France

Vineyards close to Puligny-Montrachet. Photograph: kodachrome25/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Journey time: 6 hours 39 minutes
With its rustic delicacies and world-class wines, Burgundy is culinary heaven and Beaune is on the coronary heart of it. Once you’ve explored the Hôtel Dieu and the Hospices de Beaune, with its colourfully tiled roof and medieval hospital, and indulged in a number of the city’s unbelievable eating places, work off the energy by hiring a motorcycle and exploring the encircling vineyards and wine villages, equivalent to Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault and Pommard. This space could also be home to a number of the world’s most costly wines however to gaze upon the light slopes of vineyards, criss-crossed with historic stone partitions is free.
• Stay at Maison du Colombier’s flats (from €155 an evening for 2); beaune-tourisme.fr; prepare travel from £90 return

London to Strasbourg, through Gare de l’Est

Half-timbered houses in La Petite France, Strasbourg

Half-timbered homes in La Petite France. Photograph: Harry Laub/Image Broker/Rex

Journey time: 5 hours 12 minutes
As capital of France’s Alsace area, Strasbourg has a singular mix of Germanic and Gallic allure. Its tradition and structure, most clearly in its timber-clad buildings, reveal a historical past of German and French affect that continues to at the present time. Crane your neck for a take a look at the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame – as soon as the tallest constructing within the world – earlier than strolling round La Petite France, Strasbourg’s Unesco-listed outdated city. Be certain to find time for a tarte flambée (or flammkuchen relying who you’re speaking to). A stroll across the European district may very well be significantly poignant within the 12 months earlier than the UK leaves the EU. The metropolis often is the self-proclaimed capital of Christmas however summer season is the time to enterprise into Germany to go to the Black Forest for a day or exploit Strasbourg’s place because the northern gateway to the Alsace wine area with a tour of considered one of its many vineyards.
• Stay on the Graffalgar Hotel, the place the 38 rooms have every been adorned by a special artist (doubles from €100 per night time room-only); prepare travel from £100 return

London to Nîmes, through Lille

Inside historical Nimes arena. Some tourists walking around.

Nîmes’ Roman amphitheatre. Photograph: no_limit_pictures/Getty Images

Journey time: 7 hours 35 minutes
As if Nîmes placing two-tier Roman amphitheatre wasn’t sufficient of a draw, this June sees the opening of Le Musée de la Romanité, which can showcase 25,000 objects in a placing constructing reverse the amphitheatre. The 2,000-year-old Maison Carré is equally spectacular: it’s the world’s most full Roman Temple. Going through Lille, the journey to Nîmes could also be lengthy however it cuts by means of a few of central France’s most spectacular surroundings.
• Stay at Hotel de l’Amphitheatre (doubles from €90); ot-nimes.fr; prepare travel £120 return

London to Bordeaux, through Paris Montparnasse

Bike-share bicylcles outside Bordeaux’s Grand Bar Castan.

Bike-share bicycle outdoors Bordeaux’s Grand Bar Castan. Photograph: Danita Delimont/Getty Images/Gallo Images

Journey time: 5 hrs 50 minutes
Last 12 months, the opening of the TGV Oceane high-speed prepare line from Paris to Bordeaux introduced this thrilling metropolis 75 minutes nearer. It’s the place to admire the Unesco-listed structure, with the elegant Place de la Bourse proving the spotlight. It’s an excellent metropolis for exploring by bike: the VCub bike-share scheme is available. Pedal alongside the river Garonne to the Chartrons district, a neighbourhood of bric-a-brac and classic shops and funky eating places. Nearby, the Cité du Vin, a global wine museum, is a wonderland of tastes and knowledge. This June sees the return of the bi-annual Fête du Vin.
• Stay at Mama Shelter (doubles from €79); bordeaux-tourism.co.uk; prepare travel £110 return

London to La Rochelle, through Paris Montparnasse

France, Poitou-Charentes, La Rochelle, Vieux Port, towers,

Vieux Port, La Rochelle. Photograph: Tibor Bognar/Getty Images

Journey time: 6 hours 21 minutes
The new TGV Oceane line has additionally introduced the harbour city of La Rochelle nearer, by 40 minutes. The coronary heart of the city is the Vieux Port neglected by the 2 well-known stone towers that mark a gateway to the Atlantic Ocean. La Rochelle is that this coast’s largest yachting centre, so take to the excessive seas with one of many many constitution or boat journey corporations. If you’d moderately keep on dry land, get a bus to the Île de Ré. A well-liked holiday spot with stylish Parisians, its flat panorama is nice for biking, so take a day to discover the white-washed villages, its salt pans, vineyards and seashores.
• Stay at Résidence de France (doubles from €100); extra data at: larochelle-tourisme.com; prepare travel £110 return

London to Annecy, through Paris or Lyon

Annecy’s ancient prison (now a museum) in its old town area.

Annecy’s historic jail (now a museum) in its outdated city space. Photograph: Alamy

Journey time: 7 hours 5 minutes through Paris, 7 hours 49 minutes through Lyon
Next to a lake underneath the gaze of snow-capped mountains, Annecy is a pleasure to discover. Its charming outdated city is lined with canals, alpine properties with geranium-filled window packing containers and eating places providing the native Savoyard delicacies (assume fondue and tartiflette). When you’ve visited its Palais de l’Ile (a former jail, courthouse and mint relationship from the 12th century), its chateau, taken a pedalo out on the lake or cycled round it, take the bus to the Aravis mountains and stroll the paths across the ski resorts of La Clusaz or Le Grand-Bornand.
• Stay at Hotel les Terrasses (doubles from €78); lac-annecy.com; prepare travel £110 return

London to Bayeux, through Paris

Scenic view in Bayeux, Normandy, France.

Photograph: Alamy

Journey time: 5 hours 48 minutes
See the world’s most well-known tapestry in situ earlier than it involves the UK en vacances. The millennium-old embroidery tells the story of William the Conqueror’s conquest of England and the museum’s audio information and exhibitions give fascinating perception into the story of 1066. Bayeux is near the D-day seashores and cemeteries, so take a tour with a neighborhood information (ebook through the vacationer workplace) and study extra in regards to the Battle of Normandy on the Musée Mémorial Bataille de Normandie. The superbly curated Musée d’Art et d’Histoire Baron Gérard covers every part from Gallo-Roman archaeology to 20th-century artwork. The city’s cathedral is dominated by its 13th-century cathedral.
• Stay at Hôtel Tardif (doubles from €110): normandie-tourisme.fr; prepare travel £78 return


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