Our big-little-rail-adventure follows in the footsteps of Michael Portillo’s Great Rail Journeys as we enjoy a sumptuous dinner at the famous Le Train Blue Restaurant in Paris before heading south to the glamour of the French Riviera and Monaco.
Paris & Le Train Blue To add to the glamour of the weekend we follow in the foot-steps of Michael Portilo and take the Eurostar from St. Pancras to Paris where we overnight with dinner at The Train Bleu, situated in the Gare de Lyon Station, the outside evokes the Belle Epoque era fairly discreetly. However, it is inside that the best-preserved and most stunning examples of 1900 style are to be found. The restaurant has immense rooms, crammed with sculptures, gilt and vast paintings and it is the paintings that capture everyone’s attention right from the start.
The next morning we depart Paris and head south through the ever changing scenery to the Mediterranean. The train then takes us on a mesmerizing trip through famous resorts such as La Ciotat, San Rafael and Cannes before arriving into the capital of the region Nice. We transfer the short distance to Beaulieu, where we arrive late afternoon.
Beaulieu Sur Mer Beaulieu Sur Mer is a chic coastal resort in a beautiful setting and within very easy distance from the stunning resorts of Villefranche, Cap Ferrat, Monaco as well as the magnificent Villa and gardens of the Villa Ephrussi – once home to the Rothschild dynasty. The lower part of town has shops, shady tree-lined walkways and a Casino, as well as beaches and a yacht marina. The main part of town is more inland and on the lower slopes of the cliffs that tower over the resort sheltering the town from the north. This is a bustling place, with the scent of flowers in the air in the springtime and delightfully warm and soft in the autumn – a place to relax and absorb the sheer beauty of the location. There’s serious yachting here as well as a tiny fishing port where there are usually a few local fishermen selling fresh fish.
Monaco Monaco is a true culture haven; this tiny Principality is permanent entertainment in itself! Constantly simmering in artistic excitement, the place lives in continual motion and is always at the top of the bill for exotic events! Spring, summer, autumn, winter - all seasons are beautiful in Monaco. The place is a packed little bubble of extravagance, luxury and policemen. But it’s also a show, an intriguing spectacle unique in Europe. The principality would fit more than 200 times into Rutland – yet it has three princesses and a prince. Monaco takes itself seriously with many extraordinarily rich people who like to flaunt their wealth with super-cars and yachts which barely venture out of the harbour. Here you can stroll on parts of this never-never-land set and experience the drama of the setting.
Day 1: Depart St Pancras (Ebbsfleet on request) in the early afternoon to Paris. On arrival we transfer to our overnight hotel and check-in. During the evening we will have dinner at the famous Train Bleu restaurant. Return to the hotel for our overnight stay.
Day 2: Depart Paris Lyon station during the morning for the journey south to Nice on the TGV train. In Nice we take the local train to Beaulieu Sur Mer and walk the short distance to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure in Beaulieu Sur Mer.
Day 3: After breakfast you are free to experience the location or visit some of the near-by resorts such as Menton, Eze or Villefranche, travel is easy as they can all be reached in a few minutes by local train (payable locally).Your Tour Manager will be on-hand to advise and assist with your travel arrangements for the day.
Day 4: Today we visit Monaco by train, here you will be able to explore the Palace, gardens and even take a look at the Casino in Monte Carlo. After a walking familiarisation tour to all the well-known landmarks you will be free to explore on your own and return to the hotel at leisure.
Day 5: After breakfast we return to Nice and take a late morning train to Paris. We transfer to the Gare du Nord station to join Eurostar to St. Pancras or Ebbsfleet where we arrive mid/late evening.
Ibis Styles Hotel – Beaulieu Sur Mer At this stylish colourful hotel you can discover the spirit of the Cote d’Azur where breakfast and WIFI are included. The hotel is situated right in the heart of the town, opposite the train station and a short stroll from the beaches and numerous restaurants.
Standard bedrooms have one double bed with duvet and relaxation pillows, 26-inch LCD flat screen TV with all connectors (PC, iPod, MP3, video games consoles), TV package with all the main channels, air conditioning and hairdryer. All are en-suite.
Breakfast includes freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit, ham, Emmental cheese, jam, multi-grain bread, pastries, cereal, hot drinks and much more.
Paris: 2-3 Star Hotel
Eurostar – London to Lille & Paris
From London St Pancras, Eurostar takes as little as 1 hour 40 minutes to Lille and around 2 hours 15 minutes to Paris. On board, you will have a reserved, semi-reclining aircraft-style seat. You’ll also find a buffer car serving tea, coffee, hot chocolate, beer, wine, spirits, sandwiches, crisps and a few hot snacks. Sterling, Euros and cards accepted. You can eat and drink in the bar area (standing space only, there are no seats) or take your purchases back to your seat. You can also take your own food and drink on board.
TGV – Lille & Paris to Nice
Taking the train is easily the most civilised and stress-free way to travel through France. For Nice, on the French Riviera, we hop on the 186mph TGV at Lille Europe station, or Paris Gare de Lyon station. Sit back, relax and let scenic France pass by the train windows. The journey is around 5 to 6 hours. The train has a buffet car which sells drinks and snacks, but there’s nothing to stop you taking your own food and drink (including wine & beer) to enjoy at leisure.
Departures from London are always after midday, but check-in can be mid-to-late morning depending on the exact train departure time, confirmed to us 8 weeks before travel. Please bear this in mind when planning your journey to St Pancras. An overnight stay at a nearby hotel prior to travel may be worth considering – call for information.
Travel & Luggage
There are no actual luggage weight restrictions imposed by the rail companies. However, for your comfort and convenience we recommend you limit your luggage to the following: ONE main suitcase⁄holdall with built in wheels weighing no more than 15 to 20kgs per person – Plus ONE small shoulder bag⁄holdall per person. Restricting the bulk of your luggage to manageable sizes will make the journey more enjoyable. You will need to move all your own bags on and off trains and between platforms and transfer vehicles. Our tour manager will be unable to provide physical assistance with luggage. On TGV trains, you may be allocated seats on the the upper floor, which means you would have to carry your bags upstairs. Many train stations and platforms are big and long, sometimes with stairs or escalators. Some stations have lifts, but using them can involve a longer walk, so be prepared for this when walking with your luggage.
Train travel is a relaxing and enjoyable feature of our holidays
However, at times it can be physically demanding as you will be required to walk and move your luggage on and off trains and between platforms and transfer vehicles. Many train stations and platforms are big and long, sometimes with stairs or escalators, so please be prepared for this when walking with your luggage. The Tour Manager⁄Escort will not be able to provide you and⁄or your luggage with physical assistance at anytime. Where overnight or main hotels are less than 150 metres (approx) from the station, no transportation or luggage assistance will be provided.
Please Help us to Help You
In our experience, clients who discuss with us their concerns over mobility limitations and⁄or health issues (including visibility, hearing etc) when booking, are far more satisfied with the level of service we provide and enjoy a more relaxed and fun holiday, compared to those who attempt to cope without the benefit of our expert advice.
We must stress that these holidays are not suitable for users of mobility scooters, wheelchairs or walking aids (frames, sticks, etc).
Included: • Escorted throughout • Return rail travel from London St. Pancras or Ebbsfleet on request • 1 night B&B at a Paris Hotel • Dinner at the Train Bleu in Paris • 3 nights B&B at The Ibis Styles Hotel, Beaulieu Sur Mer • Return rail tickets from Beaulieu Sur Mer to Monaco • Transfers in Paris
Hotel Options: • Single room supplement - £80