Set between the beautiful countryside and verdant vineyards of Languedoc-Roussillon and the iconic lavender fields of Provence is the charming town of Nimes. Famed for its gastronomy, festivals, good climate and quality of life, Nimes exudes history and Mediterranean charm and is a fantastic base from which to explore the highlights of this spectacular region. Its roots in the Roman Empire can still be seen in the spectacular Roman amphitheatre in Les Arènes, which plays host to the Languedoc bullfighting traditions and inspired Ernest Hemingway’s frequent visits to the city. Explore the Provençal gems of Avignon and Orange on included excursions, with the option of a wine tasting at the renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape and a visit to the famous 13th century fortress port of Aigues-Mortes which rests on the stunning flat salt pans of the Camargue.
7 nights in hotel (accommodation as specified or similar)
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow Airport and a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Marseille. On arrival, we transfer to the Hotel Imperator (4T) or Novotel Nimes Centre Atria (4T) in central Nimes where we enjoy a welcome drink and a talk about the hotel’s history. Dinner is included this evening.
There is a half-day guided walking tour of Nimes today, with included entrance to the well preserved Les Arènes (Roman amphitheatre) and 2,000 year old Maison Carrée (Roman temple). Les Arènes still hosts many events, including bullfights, which remain a part of Nimes contemporary culture and give the town its strong Spanish feel.
There is the option of joining a half-day morning excursion to Uzès, a beautiful medieval French market town well known for its antiques shops and home to the Pisa-like medieval tower - Tour Fenestrelle. This afternoon an optional tour is available to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a beautiful medieval village which takes its name from the summer palace of the Avignon popes. It is famed for a ruined 14th century château and the vineyards which surround the village; and this optional visit includes a wine tasting of the various ‘terroirs’ of Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation, along with a guided visit of a ‘jardin du terroirs’ and the wine cellars of a wine merchant in the centre of the village.
Enjoy a full-day included excursion to Avignon, the capital of the Catholic Church during the early Middle Ages, the seat of nine popes in the 14th century, and, for centuries, home to one of the richest courts in Europe, making it one of the major artistic centres of France. This excursion includes entrance to the Palais des Papes and Pont St Benezet, and a guided tour. There is some free time for your own exploration - you might like to visit Les Halles food market. We also visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Pont du Gard today. The impressive Roman aqueduct (built 1st century AD) has three tiers of arches spanning 275 metres; and you can still see markings made by the original Roman builders. Dinner is included tonight, back at the hotel.
There is a half-day optional excursion this morning to Aigues-Mortes in the Camargue. Aigues-Mortes (‘dead waters’) was built as a fortress port by Louis IX in the 13th century for his departure on the Seventh Crusade, and its walls and towers are still almost entirely intact. This excursion includes entrance to La Tour de Constance and the Ramparts. Surrounding the town are the other-worldly flat saltpans of the Camargue.
This morning’s half-day included tour is of Orange - a small Provençal town dominated by the spectacular Theatre Antique, said to be the world’s best-preserved Roman theatre and the only one with the stage wall still standing. Entrance to the theatre is included. You will also have the chance to visit Orange market - a typical Provençal market selling food, soaps, and fabrics. The rest of the day is at leisure to wander through the pretty streets and visit one of Nimes’ archaeological museums or relax in the park of the Jardins de la Fontaine. Enjoy an included dinner at the hotel.
You may choose to join a half-day optional excursion to Les Baux de Provence, a striking fortified hilltop village, a ‘Ville Morte’ which was left uninhabited for centuries, now has a population of around 400 and attracts over 1.5 million tourists a year. The main sight is the huge 11th century castle ruins, cut into the rock plateau, which forms part of its foundations. You may wish to extend the excursion to include entrance to the Chateau and the Carrière des Lumières, a gallery in a former bauxite quarry with images projected onto the walls, floor and ceiling of the caves. Dinner is included tonight.
Day 8 Nimes - Marseille - London
Today we transfer to Marseille Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to London Heathrow. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.
A charming hotel right in the heart of the ancient city of Nimes, within walking distance of famous sights such as the Maison Carrée, the Carré d’Art and the Roman Amphitheatre. The hotels 60 traditional rooms and suites, with their beautiful Art Déco designs, are thoughtfully furnished with every comfort. The elegant gourmet restaurant serves exceptional traditional French cuisine, and, after dinner, guests can relax in the Hemingway bar, with its warm ambience and delicious cocktails.