Les Petit Trains de France

Les Petit Trains de France overview

Holiday facts

Prices from: £2,655.00
Single supplement from: £575.00
Duration: 15 days
First available departure: 22 Jun 2018
Last available departure: 22 Jun 2018
Find out more about this holiday
Les Petit Trains de France

Journey through the Somme and Burgundy, sampling the railway delights en route. Our destination is southern France, known for its spectacular mountain scenery and famous little railways. We ride on the 'Little Yellow Train', the 'Train of Marvels' and the Vivarais system. This is a wonderful way for rail enthusiasts to explore France.

Baie de Somme Railway - © Alba Bayes
Chemin de Fer de La Vallee de L'Ouche - © Jean-Claude Laboureau
Vivarais Railway - © Bob Cable

ITINERARY

Day 1 – London to Abbeville

Depart St. Pancras on a lunchtime Eurostar to Calais and then onwards to Abbeville for a 3-night stay.

Day 2 – Baie de Somme Railway

Private transfer this morning to St. Valery for a full day on the Baie de Somme Railway. This charming railway serves both sides of the Somme Estuary, with its profusion of wetland birds and plants. We ride the train to Noyelles and on to Le Crotoy for some leisure time before the return journey.

Day 3 – Froissy Dompierre Railway

Morning visit by private coach to the 1916 Museum in Albert. We continue on to Froissy for an afternoon on WW1 line ‘petit train de la Haute-Somme’. This line is the last remaining section of the extensive military railway network built for use during the war. Froissy station also houses an excellent narrow-gauge railway museum, the largest of its type in the world, and we have plenty of time to explore it.

Day 4 – On to Beaune

Leave Abbeville after breakfast by rail to Beaune for a 2-night stay.

Day 5 – Chemin de Fer de La Vallee de l’Ouche

A full day spent at the Chemin de Fer de La Vallée de l’Ouche running out of Bligny-sur-Ouche. We are able to ‘run the railway’ all day long and enjoy a French-style lunch break (included). We take several trips over the 60cm gauge line with steam and diesel engines, hauling passenger and goods trains.

Day 6 – Alès via Nimes

Leave Beaune on a morning train to Lyon Part Dieu, changing for Nîmes and then on to Alès for a 2-night stay.

Day 7 – Train á Vapeurs des Cévennes

Bus to St. Jean du Gard to travel the length of this standard gauge preserved line to Anduze and return. This afternoon, we visit the superb Roman aqueduct at Pont du Gard for an insight into the impact the Romans had on Southern Gaul.

Day 8 – Alès to Perpignan

Morning departure from Alès to Perpignan for an afternoon at leisure and a 2-night stay. Our hotel is close to the railway station and there are regular buses running into the city centre.

Day 9 – The Pyrenees Circular

An early morning start along the standard gauge to Villefranche where we connect with ‘Le Petit Train Jaune’, a metre gauge line in the Pyrenees boasting some fine viaducts and a suspension bridge. Journey's end is at La Tour de Carol which is one of the few places served by railways with 3 different gauges. We return via Toulouse, Carcassonne and Narbonne completing our circuit (or there is the option to retrace your steps if you prefer).

Day 10 – French Riviera by Rail

Departing Perpignan by train, we change at Montpellier and Marseille, before travelling onwards along the renowned French Riviera coastal line to Nice where we have a 2-night stay.

Day 11 – Monte Carlo & Train des Merveilles

Rail to Monte Carlo this morning, returning to Nice for lunch. In the afternoon, we ride the “Train of Marvels” along the Italian border to Tende, travelling through a breathtakingly beautiful railway panorama. On the return journey, we disembark at Breil-sur-Roya to visit the petite railway museum.

Day 12 – Chemin de Fer de Provence

Leave Nice after breakfast on the Chemin de Fer de Provence to Digne-les-Bains. Continuing onwards by coach, we travel through the Alpes-Maritimes and make our way towards Valence. We stop off in Soyons, the home of ‘le Jardin des Trains Ardéchois’. This realistic representation of “Le Mastrou” and other features of the Ardéche region is a wonderful introduction to the Vivarais network. Late afternoon we drive to Tournon for a 3-night stay.

Day 13 – Velay Express

A day spent on a remaining but no longer connected part of the Vivarais system. We board the Velay Express and steam our way from Racoules to Saint-Agrève. The line runs for 27km around some tight curves, up steady gradients and through the meadows and forests at the foothills of the Massif Central.

Day 14 – Final Day on the Vivarais

The trip from Tournon St. Jean to the city of Lamastre has long been known as “Le Mastrou”. Our journey takes us through the Gorges of the Doux, a tributary of the Rhône, before it ascends into the Ardèche hills through chestnut groves to Lamastre. We have 3 hours here to explore the city before our return journey back to Tournon.

Day 15 – Homeward Bound

We leave Tournon by coach for Valence TGV station where we take a direct train to Lille Europe and connect with the Eurostar, arriving London late afternoon.

Price Includes

  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 10-Day Global InterRail Pass for use in France on days, 1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 15 (European residents only)
  • Non European residents use an 8-day French Eurail Pass
  • All rail travel as stated in standard class
  • All transfers as stated
  • All excursions as stated
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour