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Aix-en-Provence, the home of Paul Cézanne is a lively city known for its thermal hot springs, art schools and universities. The centre of Aix is the old town (vieille ville), ringed by a circle of boulevards and squares. It is a small-enough area to explore on foot, and there is lots to see. Medieval Aix was protected by a wall with 39 towers. Today only the 14th century “Tourreluquo” tower remains, at the northwest corner of the town. The old town of Aix is packed with shops, markets, museums and religious, architectural and historical sites. The terrace cafés on the Place des Précheurs (by the flower market) attract many of the younger locals, with lower prices than those on the Cours Mirabeau.
4 night / 5 day holiday by First Class rail staying in a twin / double room at the Grand Hotel Roi Rene (4 star) from £895 per person or staying in a twin / double room at the Renaissance Aix-en-Provence Hotel (5 star) from £945 per person (based on 2 people travelling together in low season).
Today you start your journey to Lille by making your way through the fabulously restored London St. Pancras International station. Admire the arched cast iron and glass roof, repainted in its former glorious Victorian sky blue colour, before you enter the Eurostar check-in and board the Eurostar service to Lille Europe. Recline in the comfort of your Standard Premier Class seat and enjoy the complimentary light meal and drinks served at your seat.
On arrival at Lille Europe walk to the French TGV platforms and continue your journey by TGV through the French countryside to Aix-en-Provence. On arrival make your own way by taxi or public transport (payable locally) to your hotel for the next 4 nights, the comfortable, highly-rated Grand Hotel Roi Rene, a 4 star hotel perfectly located in the centre of Aix.
You have three full days to explore the pretty town of Aix-en-Provence. Take time to discover the Quartier Mazarin, the area south of the Cours Mirabeau, an area of 17th-century town houses (“hôtels particuliers”) which was built in 1646-51 by the Archbishop Mazarin.
You may wish to visit The Granet Museum, the Paul Arbaud Museum and the 13th-century St-Jean-de-Malte church which are all in the Quartier Mazarin. Alternatively you may prefer to simply relax in the hotel gardens and enjoy the Provençal sunshine.
You might also like to venture further afield into the charming Provençal countryside, perhaps with a visit to Avignon (pictured), Arles, Nîmes or Les Baux de Provence. For a different cultural feel why not head for Marseille, the cosmopolitan, bustling port with its strong links to North Africa? From the station head down the Canebière to the pretty Vieux Port or make your way to Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica for wonderful views of the city and the Mediterranean. You could head east towards Cassis and the pretty Calanques which are like mini Fjords glistening with seawater or west towards the unspoiled nature reserve of the Camargue.
This morning after a leisurely breakfast it is time to bid farewell to Aix-en-Provence as you make your way back to the station. Relax as your high-speed train whisks you north through France to Lille Europe, where you join the connecting Eurostar service for the last past of your journey through France and into England.
Your at seat meal and drinks are an ideal accompaniment to an afternoon of watching the countryside fly-by before you return into London St. Pancras International for the final stage of your trip home.
Situated only 350 metres from the main shopping street the Grand Hôtel Roi René (4 star) is perfectly located in the heart of Aix, and offers easy access to the city’s main attractions. This historic hotel bears the same name as the 15th century king who set up his court in Aix-en-Provence. A poet, patron of the arts, artist and gourmet, King René promoted culture, literature and the art of living throughout the region. Today this stylish hotel pays fitting homage, with Provençal specialties at the La Table du Roi restaurant, and an outdoor heated pool complete with terrace among other amenities. Many celebrated guests have stayed at the hotel, including Sir Winston Churchill who penned some of his memoirs during his visit. The beautifully appointed rooms are air conditioned and come with a minibar, tea and coffee making facilities and free internet access.
The Renaissance Aix-en-Provence Hotel (5 star) is in the city centre close to the Grand Theater of Provence, Cours Mirabeau, and Saint-Sauveur Cathedral. It and offers a wellness area with a heated indoor swimming pool, a steam room, a fitness room, and a spa with 2 treatment cabins. All of the rooms include a flat-screen TV with cable channels, free Wi-Fi and iPod docking stations.
Throughout the year and tailor-made to suit your holiday needs
For information and booking Tel: 01347 825292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org