Ligne des Causses & the Vivarais

Arch Bridge &Cathedral Saint-Nazaire at Beziers - © Alex Tihonovs/shutterstock
Garabit Viaduct - © Leonid Andronov/shutterstock
Steam train connecting Tournon and Lamastre - © Paddo47/shutterstock
Bridge over the Rhone at Tournon
Vivarais Railway - © Bob Cable
Vivarais Railway - © Bob Cable
Vivarais Railway - © Bob Cable

Holiday Highlights

  • Ride the Ligne des Causses from Clermont Ferrand to Béziers
  • Steam on the old Vivarais network
  • Free time in Béziers
  • Journey by rail through stunning scenery
  • 7 Days from £1,495pp
BOOK NOWTailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Tuesday 15 September to Monday 21 September 2020

Journey on the remarkable ‘Ligne des Causses’, France’s longest single track line to the South of France and enjoy steam on the country’s famous Vivarais Railway that runs between the Rhone and the Loire rivers.


Day 1 – London to Lille

Leaving London St Pancras early afternoon we take the Eurostar to Lille for a 1-night stay. We arrive into Lille mid-afternoon and the rest of the afternoon and evening is at leisure to explore this city.

Day 2 – Lille to Clermont Ferrand

Today we continue southwards on a mid-morning TGV to Lyon where we connect with our onward train to Clermont Ferrand arriving late afternoon for a 1-night stay.

Day 3 – Ligne des Causses

Ride the spectacular Ligne des Causses. Starting from Clermont Ferrand we head to the town of Béziers in Southern France, passing en route the Massif Central, gorges, valleys, vineyards, tunnels and viaducts. Highlights include the ‘Viaduc de Garabit’ built by Gustave Eiffel, which spans the gorge of the river Truyère and is now a national monument, and the descent into the deep valley of the Tarn. There is only one direct train a day on this line that winds its way south at a leisurely pace. We arrive into Béziers in the evening for a 1-night stay.

Day 4 – Béziers to Tournon

A morning at leisure in Béziers. The St Nazaire Cathedral lies upon a hill and aside from its own impressive features, offers great views over the surrounding area. We take an early afternoon train to Valence where we will continue our journey to Tournon by coach arriving late afternoon. We have a 3-night stay in Tournon.

Days 5 & 6 – Steam on the Vivarais

Spend 2 full days riding the Vivarais line. We plan to offer travel on both the Rhône (Tournon, St Jean de Muzols to Lamastre) section, and the Loire-side lines operated as the ‘Voies Ferrées du Velay’. Past experience suggests there will be options for journeys with steam locomotives (both sections have Mallets), railcars, and locotracteurs. There is also the possibility of descending ‘Les Etroits’ by vélorail (cycle railcar). It is a rare opportunity to ride most of the remaining lines of the old Vivarais network and promises to be a spectacular 2 days.

Day 7 – Homeward Bound

By morning coach to Valence to begin our rail journey back to London via Lille. We arrive into St Pancras late afternoon.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Hotel Lille Europe, Lille

Mercure Clermont Ferrand Centre Jaude, Clermont Ferrand

Mercure Béziers, Béziers

Hotel Azalées, Tournon

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • All rail travel as stated in standard class
  • All coach transfers as stated
  • 2-days on the Vivarais network
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £1,495
Single room supplement: £236
Deposit for this holiday: £100

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


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