Roma Randles, Lingua Musica Founder & Cultural Advisor
Deborah Tresise, Tour Leader & Manager
Discover the magic of France
- Enjoy a choice of two mini breaks, each rich in French history and culture.
- Indulge in the richness of French art, history and culture, from Parisian elegance to the breathtaking beauty of the Haute Garonne, steeped in fascinating history, to the glamorous resort towns of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea.
- Visit the Printemps de Septembre and Jacobin Piano Festivals.
Per person, twin-share: About AUD$4,800
Single Supplement: About AUD$950
- 8 nights accommodation in 3/4* hotels including all breakfasts.
- All transportations (private a/c buses, high speed rail journeys).
- Lunches or dinners as per the Itinerary.
- All guided excursions mentioned in Itinerary.
- 4 x classical music performances.
- Qualified and experienced local guides in all locations.
- Services of Lingua Musica throughout tour.
What is not included:
- International air fares
- Transfer from the international airport to the Hotel Le Regent at the commencement of the tour
- Expenses of a personal nature, including room service and mini bar charges
- Porterage charges, apart from one bag per person porterage where arranged
Short Break Tour
We start our beautiful French tour in Paris, France's capital and major European city, global centre for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture. Paris is often referred to as the city of love and romance, with its 19th-century cityscape criss-crossed by beautiful tree-lined wide boulevards and its many bridges spanning the River Seine.
Our boutique Hotel Le Regent is an historical French residence of charm and comfort right in the middle of the lively Latin Quartier, within an easy walk to the many of the most important attractions, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Musée du Louvre, Musée des Artes Décoratifs, Musée de Cluny, Eglise Saint-Sulpice and of course the River Seine, with its vibrant Parisian markets and street artists situated along its banks and its historic islands with their myriad of tiny streets and traditional Parisian stores, the Ile de La Cité and the smaller Ile Saint-Louis.
Day 1: Paris
We meet in the late afternoon for our Welcome Briefing. Our local guide will then take us on an interesting stroll through the bustling narrow streets of this fascinating quartier, with its multitude of cafes, bookstores, boutiques, antiques and flowers. This quartier is also home to the famous Ecole des Beaux Arts. Our first Parisian experience will conclude with our Welcome Dinner at the famous Le Procope, the oldest restaurant in Paris.
Day 2: After breakfast we will set out for a guided walk, including via the famed Paris Metro, to the Musée Rodin. Following a talk about the life and works of Rodin there will be ample time to admire the works of Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917), forever the supreme master of sculpture, and to wander through this so beautiful and interesting small chateau with its delightful gardens. We will lunch in the charming Restaurant Rodin, situated in the gardens.
Our afternoon will be spent at one of the most interesting of the Parisian Museums, La Musée National du Moyen Age, located in the famous Boulevard St Michel.
We will make our way back to our hotel via an easy stroll along the Boulevard St Germain and including a visit to the wonderful medieval Eglise St Germain and an interlude for a coffee or aperitif at the Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots or another of the very famous cafes frequented by Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and their renowned associates. Their animated discourse of yesteryear readily spring to mind. These cafes were the centre of the Existentialism movement. The Boulevard St Germain remains today to be the top intellectual and cultural site for Parisian life.
This evening, departing at about 10:00pm, we will take the overnight sleeper train from Paris, arriving Toulouse at about 6:30am the following morning.
Day 3: Toulouse
We will spend three days in this beautiful capital of the Haute Garonne region, staying at the Hotel des Artes, situated a short walk from the magnificent opera house, Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse. During our time here, we will look forward to attending an opera performance in this magnificent building.
Toulouse is often referred to as The Pink City due to the pinkish stone of so many of the city's buildings, which glows in the evening sun or certain lights. Toulouse is also noted as one of France's largest university cities.
Toulouse is also host to the very popular festivals, held in September each year, the Printemps de Septembre and the Jacobin Piano. The Jacobin Piano Festival recitals are held in the most beautiful churches and courtyards of the region and attract pre-eminent artists, such as Martha Agerich, Alfred Brendel and Murray Perahia. Details of the program and performing musicians are released in about June of each year. We will enjoy two recitals during out time in Toulouse.
On arrival and after leaving our bags at our hotel, we will take breakfast, before meeting our expert local guide for a drive/walk tour of discovery of this beautiful city.
This evening, dinner in our glamorous hotel will bring our first day here to a close, unless an evening performance has been scheduled.
Day 4: This morning will be free for personal wandering. In the afternoon, our guided walk will take in the older part of the city with its beautiful churches and monuments, as well as along the banks of the beautiful River Garonne, along which the city is based. Perhaps there will be time for us to enjoy a short cruise.
Day 5: Carcassonne
Today will see a very interesting excursion to Carcassonne, stopping en route for coffee in a tiny village. This remarkable elevated walled town, accessed by a winding path (and bus route), round and round, leading to its entrance, is one of the most visited in France. We will enjoy a guided walk of discovery of the remarkable ancient fortress, including lunch in a typical restaurant, returning to our hotel in Toulouse for some free time prior to evening plans.
Day 6: Aix-en-Provence
An early start this morning, including breakfast on the train will see us travelling from Toulouse to Aix-en-Provence, arguably one of the most culturally rich university cities in France. Aix-en-Provence is centre of great art and great music, as well as architectural richness. Here, Cezanne's atelier is a big drawcard and the cafes are lively and interesting. Our local guide will being this place alive for you and you will enjoy a delicious lunch in one of the most renowned restaurants along the Cours Mirabeau .... (though our favourite, Les Deux Garcons was destroyed by fire recently). As always, some free time for wandering is essential. Hopefully there will be a performance during our time in this beautiful city.
Our hotel in Aix-en-Provence is likely to be the Hotel Saint Christophe ... but at this early stage there are others to consider.
Day 7: Avignon
Today's full day excursion will take in many very special Provencial places of interest, en route to the beautiful and so important city of Avignon. Certain to be included are St Remy, birthplace of Nostradamus in the 16th century, Les Baux, with its Monastery Saint Paul de Mausole where Vincent van Gogh was treated duting his period of mental illness. Les Baux, with its fortified chateau commending glorious views and UNESCO listed heritage, has been named as one of the most beautiful villages in France.
Chateauneuf de Pape's main claim to fame is its powerful full-bodied red wine .... so be sure to purchase a bottle or two! Avignon, our principal destination today is noted for its Palais des Papes. It was for a brief period in the Middle Ages, the centre of papal power. Encircled by its 800 year old stone ramparts, it is the principal attraction of Avignon, though the banks of the beautiful River Phone are also a delight. One remembers the popular French ditty, "Sur le Ponte d'Avignon". Food and wine are of particular interest in Avignon and there are many restaurants tucked away in its winding streets ... as you will discover.
We will return to Aix-en-Provence in good time for dinner and a performance should there be one scheduled for this evening. (Performance dates and details are rarely given more than three months ahead.)
Day 8: Nice
Departing after breakfast, today we set off in our private minivan for the Nice, a sparkling resort town situated on the Mediterranean Sea. Our delightful route will take in exquisite locations, such as St Paul de Vence, Juan les Pains, Cannes and Antibes and along Le Promenade des Anglais, Nice, running along le Baie des Anges. This is not a direct route, but one which takes in the best possible locations for your enjoyment on the west side of Nice. Lunch will be included in a beachside restaurant at Juan les Pins.
Our hotel for our two night's stay in Nice will be the delightful boutique Hotel Aria, an easy stroll from the Mediterranean Sea. On arrival we will dine at Restaurant L'Antiqua, situated bext door.
Day 9: A free morning and afternoon for your own enjoyment of Nice. Plan this day well ahead. The beach is probably the main attraction but one needs to remember that Nice is a large and important university city, with many museums, the greatest being Musée Matisse and Musée Marc Chagall, wonderful shopping, a wealth of restaurants and cafes, as well as the great attraction of Old Nice and its main street, Cours Salayer. In the mornings, there are wonderful flower markets along this narrow winding course, as well as so many specialty shops (even chocolate), as well as the Nice Opera House, also designed by Garnier, of the renowned Parisian Opera House fame. You will find that the public transport in Nice is excellent, as well as so many small conducted bus tours that you may arrange at our hotel reception as you wish.
This evening we will travel along the stunning Basse Corniche which overlooks so many glamorous resorts and tiny bays, to Monte Carlo. For our farewell Dinner we will relax over a Kir Royal in a bar situated opposite the famous Monte Carlo Casino, perfect for taking in the ambiance of these superlative environs, before dining in a nearby restaurant. Our return trip to Nice will be via the higher Moyenne Corniche, which winds along dramatic views, superb properties, and the contrasts of extreme glamour interpsersed with utter simplicity.
Day 10: Our delightful short break discovery tour will conclude after breakfast. A group transfer will be provided from the Hotel Aria to Nice International Airport from where you will have made your own travel arrangements.