South of France

A family trip to the South of France, easy by train.

If you’ve set your sights on seeing some of Southern France this summer, then taking the train to Lyon is a good start.  The fastest trains from London to Lyon take under five hours and with fares starting at just 51 euros, it’s both competitive and convenient.

L'assomption fut dure…

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With attractions to suit all ages and interests, Lyon’s a great choice if you’re looking for somewhere to take all the family.  Kids of all ages will be thrilled with the ziplines, rope bridges and more at France Aventures.  Tête d’Or Park crams a lot into its 290 acre site: a boating lake, small zoo, mini golf and even a miniature train.  Those with children over 12 can take a Segway tour of the city, with lots of routes to choose from.

L'heure du déjeuner ☺️🐕 . #parcdecourzieu #parcdesloups #courzieu #loups #wolf

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Animal lovers will also be spoilt for choice.  Not only is there an excellent zoo halfway between Mâcon and Lyon, but also Courzieu Park, nestled in a forest not far from the west of the city.  There, you’ll find falconry displays, an opportunity to feed the resident wolves and even a chance to learn more about the French obsession with snails.

But if you’re itching to see the surrounding countryside, where can you go from Lyon by train?  From its well-connected station, routes fan out across some of the country’s most beautiful scenery and historic towns.

Within easy reach of the city, the city of Annecy is one of the most popular destinations for days out.  Sited on the shores of Lake Annecy, the city is famous for its delightful old town.  The narrow-cobbled streets and charming canals make this a place to lose yourself.  While wandering aimlessly is a pleasure, make sure you don’t miss the 12th Century Palais de l’Isle which has over the years been used as everything from a mint to a prison.  The lovingly restored castle which overlooks the city is now an interesting museum.

Can I get any closer ! #camargue #pinkflamingo

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If you’ve set your sights on Provence, lured by the scent of lavender fields and the promise of wild countryside, then aim for Arles, a couple of hours further on.  Van Gogh was a big fan, and it remains as popular with visitors today.  The Saturday market is well known across the region and this ancient city also boasts a Roman amphitheatre, sure to please history buffs.  Nearby, it’s easy to get to the idyllic hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence.  You’re also a stone’s throw from the Camargue where herds of white horses and flocks of flamingos make this a nature lover’s paradise.

Jump off a Marseilles-bound train at Montélimar and you’ll soon be in what’s surely one of France’s most dramatic river landscapes.  Outdoorsy types will love the spectacular scenery of the Ardèche Gorges, nicknamed the Grand Canyon of Europe.  Don’t miss the famous Pont d’Arc near Vallon.  Glide at a leisurely pace down the river in your rented canoe, gazing up at the vertiginous and impossibly steep cliffs.

#france #provance #2016 – the #riverflowsinyou

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Alternatively, bicycles can be carried on the train, making this the perfect place to explore on two wheels.  Why not ride to some of France’s prettiest little villages, among them Montclus and Aiguèze?

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