Auvergne by Rail

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • Travel Editions

More Info

PASSPORTS
Valid passport required by all, except:

(a) EU nationals holding valid national identification cards;

(b) Holders of national identification cards issued to nationals of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland.

VISAS
Are not required by EU citizens. All other nationalities should enquire at the French consulate (PO Box 57, 6A Cromwell Place, London SW7 2EW

Tel: (020) 7838 2000/1. Information Service: Tel: (0891) 887 733. Fax: (020) 7838 2046. Opening hours: 0900-1130 (and 1600-1630 for visa collection only) Monday to Friday (except French and British national holidays).

TRAIN

As with most trains, passengers are responsible for carrying baggage onto and off the train. Baggage can be stored on overhead shelves or at the entrance to the carriages. Trollies are available at St Pancras and Lille, but bags do need to be carried on to the platform.  Porters are sometimes but not always available at St Pancras.  The Eurostar and French trains are very long (18 carriages in the case of Eurostar and nearly 400 metres long) so there can be quite lengthy walks from the station entrance to your seat.  On all legs of the journey you have reserved seat and carriage numbers which are shown clearly on your ticket.

LUGGAGE TO YOUR HOTEL
Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890

HEALTH & INSURANCE – EHIC CARD
Please note that EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) only allows access to the same state-provided healthcare as a resident of the EU country they are temporarily visiting. It is NOT an alternative to travel insurance and will not provide the same level of cover as a travel insurance policy. The EHIC will not cover any private medical healthcare or the cost of things such as repatriation to the UK or lost or stolen property. It is also important to note that each country’s healthcare system is slightly different, so the EHIC might not cover everything that would be generally free on the NHS. On the EHIC application website,  there is a section called Access to Healthcare Abroad which clarifies all the conditions and inclusions. We strongly recommend that you take out an appropriate travel insurance policy when you travel abroad.

Places of Interest

Clermont Ferrand
Clermont Ferrand is an attractive, bustiling commercial centre with thriving restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. It was originally two distinct cities: Clermont and Montferrand, which were united in 1630. In the Clermont section of the city sights include the Place St Pierre with its daily food market, Fontaine d’Amboise, which leads via the pedestrianised Rue du Port to the Romanesque church of Notre Dame-du-Port and the Gothic Cathedral dating from the 13th Century. The Montferrand part is typified by ancient Rue Kleber, lined with fine houses, known as “hotels particuliers” built by prosperous merchants from the 13th to 17th Centuries.

Orcival, St Nectaire and Besse-en-Chandesse
The tiny town of Orcival is dominated by its superb basilica, dating from the beginning of the 12th Century, which many say is the best Romanesque church in the region. Another village noted for its Romanesque church, St Nectaire is one of the most beautiful with soaring, elegant proportions and vividly carved stonework. Internally, the treasury includes a gold bust of St Baudime and a wooden Notre-Damede- Mont-Cornadore, both marvels of 12th Century workmanship. With its old houses and fortifications, Besse is a picturesque and charming small town set in beautiful surroundings. Sights here include the 12th Century church, quaint Rue de la Boucherie, lined with black houses made of lava stone including the 15th Century Queen Margot’s House that now houses a small ski museum and 16th Century town gate.

Puy-en-Velay, Brioude and Issoire
Located in the bowl of a volcanic cone, the extraordinary town of Puy-en-Velay teeters on a series of rock outcrops and giant basalt pillars. The town appears to have three peaks, each topped with a landmark church or statue. Seen from a distance, the ensemble is one of the most dramatic sights in France. Le Puy became a pilgrimage centre after its Bishop returned from a pilgrimage to Santiago in 962 and built the perilously positioned Chapelle St-Michel d’Aiguilhe. Pilgrims assembled at the Notre Dame Cathedral, famed for its black Madonna and “fever stone” before heading for Santiago. Other highlights include the colossal red statue of Notre Dame de France, built on the pinnacle of the Rocher Corneille in 1860 and cast from 213 cannons captured at Sebastopol during the Crimean War, and the Crozatier lace museum. A small bustling town situated on a terrace overlooking the lush Allier plain, Brioude is famed for its church, the Basilique St-Julien, the largest Romanesque church in the Auvergne, dating from 1060. An important aeronautical centre and a mecca for glider pilots thanks to strong local air currents, the town of Issoire also boasts an outstanding 12th Century abbey church, St-Austremoine, notable for the Bosch-like fresco of “The Last Judgement” with sinners being cast into the mouth of a dragon. 

Vichy and Thiers
Most famous as the head of the French state during Nazi occupation in WWII, Vichy was chosen thanks to its 500 hotels which could be requisitioned for government offices - the current Aletti Palace Hotel, for example, housed the War Ministry. These were in existence thanks to its reputation as a spa resort and its superb turn of the century spa buildings and parks are now protected as an integral part of France’s architectural heritage. Highlights include the Parc des Sources, Grand Casino, Covered Arcades, several grand hotels, the elaborate chalets and villas of the Avenue Etats-Unisand the Parcs d’Allier. Famed as a centre for the manufacture of cutlery, the well-preserved medieval town of Thiers is dramatically sited on a ravine over a sharp bend in the river Durolle. 

Travel Info

Please hover over the departure dates in the panel on the left of this page for train departure points and timings.

Accommodation

Le Pariou Hotel, Issoire
The three-star Le Pariou Hotel based in the charming town of Issoire offers air-conditioned, comfortable bedrooms with private bath/shower, TV, telephone, minibar and hairdryer. The hotel also has a restaurant "Le Jardin", bar, lounge area, sun terrace, garden and outdoor swimming pool (seasonally heated).

Le Pariou Hotel Website

OUR VIEW ON THE HOTEL
Friendly, family-run hotel which prides itself on its cuisine using locally-sourced ingredients. Issoire is only a short walk away, perfect for a leisurely stroll and pre-dinner aperitif and the ideal base for the sites visited on this tour. 

Pre-tour accommodation is available at the Premier Inn, London Kings Cross St Pancras, about 5 minutes walk from St Pancras International, at an approximate rate of £120 per room. Bookings can be made direct with the hotel on 0871 527 8672 or visit their website

Destinations
  • Dordogne
  • The Dordogne
  • Paris
  • Europe
  • Issoire
  • France
Tour Types
  • Seniors
  • Rail Tours
  • 50 plus
Departure Points
  • St Pancras

For more information about the places of interest please click here or on the tab above 

Day 1: Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Paris and onwards to Clermont-Ferrand by SNCF fast train. On arrival, transfer by coach to Issoire (approx. 30 mins) and the Le Pariou Hotel.

Day 2: Full day tour to Montpeyroux, Puy-de-Dome and Clermont-Ferrand. One of “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France”, the small village of Montpeyroux perches on a hilltop overlooking the surrounding picturesque valleys. Stroll the old streets and visit the 12th century St Pierre’s church. The summit of Puy-de-Dome gives the most wonderful views of the surrounding region. Take the recently opened Panoramique des Dômes rack railway up to the top, follow the path, formerly a Roman road, and the whole of the Auvergne will open up before you. Clermont-Ferrand, the regional capital, sits in the midst of wooded volcanoes. Once a solely industrial city, today Clermont-Ferrand is a vibrant city with a big café culture and plenty of boutiques and galleries.

Day 3: Full day to relax and explore Issoire at your leisure. A small, tranquil and attractive town Issoire’s turbulent history stretches back to Roman times. Boasting an outstanding 12th century abbey church - St-Aistremoine, with excellent frescoes, today you can also visit the lively market in the town’s medieval core where you’ll find lots of delicious local produce and plenty of ideas for lunch!

Day 4: Full day tour to Le Puy-en-Velay and Brioude. Le Puy-en-Velay is one of the most extraordinary towns in France. Set in a broad valley surrounded by ancient volcanoes, the terracotta roofs of the town are watched over by three religious landmarks perched on top of natural volcanic pillars – the Romanesque cathedral, Saint Michel d’Aiguilhe Chapel and a state of the Virgin Mary. The starting point of the Way of Saint James pilgrimage, Le Puy is also known for its lace and lentils. A small bustling town situated on a terrace overlooking the lush Allier plain, Brioude is famed for its church, the Basilique St-Julien, the largest Romanesque church in the Auvergne, dating from 1060.

Day 5: Full day tour to Orcival, Saint-Nectaire, Besse-en-Chandesse and Le Mont-Dore. The pretty town of Orcival is dominated by its early 12th century Basilica, said to be one of the best in the region. Also noted for its Romanesque church, as well as its cheese, is Saint-Nectaire. Within the church you will find some wonderful examples of 12th century workmanship - a gold bust of St Baudime and a wooden Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Cornadore. The laidback mountain village of Besse-en-Chandesse is made up of quaint cobbled lanes and lava-stone brick cottages and therefore the perfect place for an afternoon stroll. The former spa town of Le Mont-Dore sits close to the source of the Dordogne River at the foot of the region’s highest mountain. The thermal springs here were known to the Romans but were particularly busy in the 19th century.

Day 6: Full day tour to Vichy and Thiers. The town of Vichy was a well-known spa and resort centre before it became the head of the French state during the Nazi occupation of World War II. The town’s turn of the century spa buildings and parks are now protected as part of France’s architectural heritage. Thiers sits on a steep hillside of the Durolle river valley, splitting it into a high and low town and has a wealth of wonderfully preserved half-timbered houses in the old quarter of the high town. The town is famed as a centre for the manufacture of cutlery.

Day 7: Transfer back to Clermont-Ferrand station to catch the return SNCF fast train to Paris. At Paris, board the return Eurostar service to Ebbsfleet and St Pancras.

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion. 

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 49 passengers.

INCLUDED

  • Return Eurostar and SNCF from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Clermont Ferrand via Paris including transfer in Paris
  • Six nights’ accommodation on dinner, bed and breakfast basis at Le Pariou Hotel, Issoire 
  • Transfers and full touring itinerary conducted by tour manager
  • Tour manager throughout

NOT INCLUDED

  • Holiday insurance
  • Single room supplement
  • Standard Premier/1st Class upgrade on Eurostar/TGV. On the Eurostar this constitutes upgraded seating and light meal with complimentary drink with upgraded seating only on the French railway leg
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Porterage and gratuities

PLEASE NOTE: As with most trains, passengers are responsible for carrying baggage onto and off the train. Baggage can be stored on overhead shelves or at the entrance to the carriages.Trollies are available at St Pancras and Paris, but bags do need to be carried on to the platform.

Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

Dates Price Single Availability
17-Jun-2021 for 6 Nights Visit Website
16-Sep-2021 for 6 Nights Visit Website

Touring with Travel Editions

Offering a wide range of extended tours and cultural short breaks for the discerning traveller, Travel Editions was established in 1994 and is now one of the leading specialist independent escorted tour operators in the UK. The company started with the idea of creating itineraries that were not readily available on the high street, and the team still remains focused on offering escorted tours that appeal to travellers rather than tourists.

Over the years, Travel Editions has developed and diversified its range of escorted tours to include rail tours, air tours, history tours, Christmas tours and even specialist interest tours that have specific appeal for walkers, foodies, art lovers, music addicts and flower enthusiasts. From enjoying wonderful walks and tasty local cuisine in Crete to visiting the art nouveau buildings of Milan and exploring the architectural gems of the Netherlands, Travel Editions creates amazing tours to suit every budget and interest.

As rail transport is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel, the company has carefully developed nearly 30 exciting escorted rail tours that include trips to France, Spain, Brussels, Arnhem, Luxembourg and the Italian Riviera. Travel Editions believes that the journey becomes part of the holiday, and is why this specialist tour operator also offers a range of tours by air, such as Delphi and Mount Pelion in Greece, the beautiful Italian city of Florence, and Paphos, Nicosia and the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus. Whatever the escorted tour or the destination, Travel Editions provides holidays that are packed full of cultural and historic treasures, as well as plenty of free time to relax and soak up the local atmosphere and the regional food and wine.

One of the best things about Travel Editions is that the team can tailor-make all tours to your group’s budget and specification, be it shopping till you drop in New York or tasting the most delicious gastronomic delights of Sicily. Not only can the activities be tailored to meet your requirements but so can the travel options, hotel selection (three, four or five-star hotel) and the whole itinerary. Alternatively, you can simply pick one of the many carefully curated escorted tours listed on the Travel Editions website.

In almost all cases, daily excursions are included in the price of a trip, and all excursions are taken by private coach. The size of the group varies depending on the escorted tour, and Travel Editions limits some holidays to lower numbers to suit the nature of the specific holiday. Walking, culinary and special interest tours are limited to approximately 20-30 passengers, and the Europe by Rail and Europe by Air holidays are limited to a maximum of 35 passengers. Then there’s the UK British Heritage Tours with a maximum capacity of 49, however, some are much less than this. No matter which tours you choose, you will never feel as though you are in a big group.

Travel Editions is passionate about delivering a personal service every step of the way, and its team of experts will arrange your holiday with minimum fuss and maximum effort. Customer service and attention to detail are at the heart of everything they do, plus you will always be treated as an individual and get the benefit of affordable prices by travelling as a group. Another bonus is that Travel Editions is ABTA and ATOL protected, which means your money and your holiday will be protected from the moment you book.

In addition to offering extended tours and cultural short breaks, Travel Editions offers a large range of special events in the UK that bring the culture and history of the United Kingdom to life. These events can be found in the Art & History Abroad programme and include expert speakers, entertaining concerts and impressive dinners in historic locations.

 

 

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tour details

This tour is operated by Travel Editions

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