Discover the stunning walled fortress-city of Carcassonne, see the medieval papal enclave of Avignon and the spectacular Pont du Gard, and cruise along the tree-lined Canal du Midi on this wonderful, eight-day holiday to the South of France. Visit the Cathar city of Albi, birthplace of Toulouse-Lautrec, and riverside Castres, and perhaps join an optional excursion to coastal Collioure and Narbonne's Chateau de l'Hospitalet to enjoy a regional-wine tasting.
Carcassonne is one of the most striking walled settlements in the whole of Europe, the double-walled fortress of its Cite crowned with fairy-tale turrets. Wander the narrow (and sometimes steep) medieval streets past colourful cafes, restaurants and craft shops, or head across the River Aude to the livelier but still lovely Ville Basse - or lower town.
A guided walking tour of the medieval fortress of Carcassonne
Avignon's majestic UNESCO-listed sights
Pont du Gard, Europe's most stunning Roman aqueduct
A cruise along the Canal du Midi, Europe's oldest and largest, man-made waterway
A day exploring the charming cities of Albi and Castres
Fly to France, meet your Tour Manager and transfer to your welcoming hotel in Carcassonne. Relax after checking in, and later take the opportunity to dine out and sample the famous local cuisine during your stay.
Today's guided tour of Carcassonne will bring this fascinating medieval city to life. One of the most striking walled settlements in the whole of Europe, Carcassonne is a remarkable place. Don't miss your chance to explore the double-walled Cite at it's heart. Restored in the mid-19th Century, the bastion includes the inner Chateau Comtal, the beautiful Church of St-Nazaire and many shops and restaurants.
Continue your exploration of Carcassonne, today, or join our full-day excursion to Collioure. Discover the curved bay, and the palm-fringed promenade that runs along it beneath the protective gaze of the Chateau Royal, of this pretty port that was once home to Matisse before we continue to Narbonne.
The skyline of this former Roman capital of southern Gaul, is dominated by an imposing 13th-century cathedral. See its central canal, and the section of the ancient Via Domitia (the Roman road that once ran from Briancon on the Italian border to La Jonquera in Spain) in the main square, before we climb to the Chateau de l'Hospitalet to enjoy a wine tasting and take in the spectacular Mediterranean views.
Our first stop on today's included excursion is the astonishing UNESCO-listed Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard. Straddling the River Gardon, its three tiers of arches are among the most striking masterpieces of Roman engineering in the world.
Leaving the Pont du Gard, we'll head to Avignon. This historic city is dominated by the vast Palais des Papes, the 14th-century home of popes and cardinals. See the remains of the Pont Saint-Benezet, the "Pont d'Avignon" of the famous French folk song, which once spanned the entire river but kept being swept away by floods, and perhaps stop for a drink in one of the cafes on the Place de l'Horloge.
Today you're free to rest, relax and explore as you see fit. Why not return to Carcassonne's beguiling Cite for a long lunch and a lazy stroll?
Today we'll enjoy an included cruise along a section of the tree-lined Canal du Midi, part of the 240-kilometre-long waterway constructed in the 17th Century to link the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
Your final day's included excursion takes you into the Haut Languedoc and to the historic Cathar city of Albi. Nestled beside the River Tarn beneath its red-brick cathedral, Albi was the birthplace of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and the city's Palais de la Berbie castle houses over 1000 of the painter's works.
We'll return to Carcassonne via Castres, stopping to explore its quiet paved streets and see the tightly clustered houses overhanging the banks of the River Agout.
Say "au revoir" to Carcassonne, transfer to the airport and check in for your flight home at the end of a wonderful tour of the South of France.
Seven nights' bed and breakfast accommodation at the Ibis Carcassonne Est (upgrade hotels available for a supplement)
Return flights from your local airport to Carcassonne or Toulouse
A tour of Carcassonne
A trip to the Pont du Gard
A visit to the citadel of Avignon and it's UNESCO-listed Episcopal Ensemble
A visit to the celebrated Languedoc towns of Castres and Albi - with it's UNESCO-listed Episcopal City of St Cecile
A Canal du Midi cruise
Comfortable, air-conditioned coach transfers and travel throughout
One piece of hold luggage per person
The services of a friendly, experienced Tour Manager
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
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With more than 35 years’ tour-operating experience, Newmarket Holidays can provide escorted tours, river cruises, cruise holidays and resort-based stays that combine superb value for money and the highest standards of customer care. Having won Best Escorted Tours Holiday Company six years running at the British Travels Awards, the company has become one of the largest and most respected independently owned tour operators in the UK.
Newmarket Holidays offers a huge array of escorted tours, short breaks, long explorations and holiday experiences for just about every interest and activity level, with transfers, excursions, carefully chosen accommodation and many entrances included in the price. All holidays also include a friendly and knowledgeable tour manager to help you make the most of your trip and to ensure your holiday operates as smoothly as possible. And although much of your escorted tour is prearranged, you’ll still have plenty of free time to relax and the flexibility to do your own thing.
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When you choose an air holiday, you can either tour as many attractions and cultures as you can fit in or base yourself at a quiet resort and take your pick from a collection of excursions and day trips. This means that your holiday can be as adventurous or as relaxing as you wish. If a cruise is your ideal group tour, Newmarket Holidays has departures from nearly every major port in the UK and can take you to places in and around Europe, the Canary Islands, the Baltic Cities, Greenland, the Far East, Australia and Africa. You can also choose from a wide range of European and worldwide river cruises or select a Christmas and New Year river cruise along the Danube, the Rhine or the Seine River.
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Please note: After many years of operation, Newmarket Holidays has decided to discontinue the UK and European coach breaks and tours departing from local pick-ups in the UK (as of 2019) to concentrate on its range of UK, European and Worldwide air holidays, ocean cruises and river cruises.
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