Lyon to Marseille

Holiday Highlights

  • Fast efficient TGV services
  • Scenic coastal rail route
  • Sightseeing in Lyon, Avignon and Arles
  • French cuisine and culture
  • Optional excursions such as Camargue Delta Tour can be arranged
  • 10 days from £1,750pp

Series 3, Episode 6, Great Continental Railway Journeys. In this final episode Michael Portillo travels to France and begins his rail journey in Lyon, the capital of cuisine, and travels south to the vast Mediterranean port at Marseille.


Day 1

Lunchtime Eurostar from London St Pancras to Lille, then onwards by TGV to Lyon. Stay 3 nights in city centre at the 4* Novotel Part Dieu.

Days 2 and 3

Free days based in Lyon. The city was famous for its trade in silk, velvet and ribbon but today is renowned for its cuisine. It is the main commercial centre after Paris and the main part of the city is situated on the Presqu'ile peninsula bounded by the rivers Rhone and Saone.

Day 4

Continue south by TGV train to Avignon. This route was host to the first generation of TGV trains as they travelled between Paris and Marseille. Stay 2 nights at the 3* Hotel Bristol. Free afternoon in the city.

Day 5

Free day based in Avignon. Situated on the river Rhone the city's most famous landmarks are the 14th Century Palais des Papes and the Pont d'Avignon. The bridge was originally constructed with 22 arches but now there are just 4 remaining due to erosion leaving it spanning only part of the river.

Day 6

A short journey continuing south will take you to Arles. Stay 2 nights at the 3* Atrium hotel. The town has many Roman remains including a magnificent amphitheatre and was a favourite haunt for artists due to the wonderful light produced by Le Mistral wind.

Day 7

Free day based in Arles with the option of an excursion out on to the Camargue Delta with its wild ponies and pink flamingos.

Day 8

The "Blue Train Line" hugs the coast and affords wonderful views of the Mediterranean as you travel from Arles to Marseille. The line was originally built for freight but now offers visitors the chance to leave the high speed line behind and travel at a much more leisurely pace. There are 23 tunnels and 18 viaducts and is testament to the skill of the engineers when the line was built in 1915. Stay 2 nights at the 4* Mercure Hotel.

Day 9

Free day based in Marseille, the second largest port in Europe after Rotterdam. The present day commercial port has been relocated along the coast leaving the Old Port as a marina and starting point for local tourist trips by boat. Marseille was European City of Culture in 2013.

Day 10

Morning TGV service direct to Lille, making a connection with Eurostar to London St Pancras.

Selected Hotels

Novotel Lyon Centre Part Dieu, Lyon

Hotel Bristol, Avignon

Best Western Atrium Arles, Arles

Mercure Marseille Centre Vieux Port, Marseille

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Standard class travel as shown
  • Accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis

Price per person

From £1,750 sharing

Optional Camargue Delta Tour - please ask for a quotation

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


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