Head south with Eurostar this summer
Head south this summer with Eurostar and discover the alluring cities of Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Lyon, Marseille and Montpellier.

  • Avignon

    5 hrs 55 mins from St Pancras Int’l, with no need to change during the summer.

    Perfect for Sun seekers, wine lovers and architecture buffs.

    With its rich heritage, friendly atmosphere and balmy summer evenings, Avignon's hard to beat if you're in need of a change of pace and some fresh perspective.

    For such a small city, Avignon boasts some impressive architecture, thanks to its role as the papal seat in the 14th century. The imposing Palais des Papes, perched above the city, is the largest Gothic palace in Europe and the 20 or so rooms now open to the public are a must-see, with their elaborate frescoes and stunning views.

    A stroll a little further uphill will bring you to Rocher des Doms via Notre Dame des Doms, Avignon's 12th-century cathedral. At the top you'll find a pretty park with duck ponds, fountains and caves to explore, and spectacular views of the city below.

    From this vantage point you'll spot the Pont Saint Bénezet, made famous by the children's song. Just be careful if you do decide to have a dance sur le pont d'Avignon, as only four of the original 22 arches are still standing, thanks to the power of the Rhône in flood.

    During spring and summer, the city comes alive with festivals, the highlight of which is the Avignon Festival in July. Ballet, music and theatre performances take over almost every public space, while the Avignon Off festival which runs alongside the main event offers jazz, folk and avant-garde alternatives.

    When all the walking, dancing and culture gets too much, settle into a bistro in the Place de l'Horloge or on Rue des Teinturiers with a glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape to watch the world go by and the sun go down.

    Avignon city breaks - Book now
  • Lyon

    5 hrs from St Pancras Int’l, with a simple change in Lille or Paris.

    Perfect for Bon viveurs and history buffs.

    Lyon's status as the gastronomic capital of the South of France makes it the pilgrimage of a lifetime for any foodie, while there's plenty to keep even the most devoted culture vulture happy between meals.

    Once the capital of Celtic Gaul, the city has a rich history of art and performance, from its beautifully-preserved Roman amphitheatre to the striking Opéra Nouvel with its modern vaulted glass roof. So it's hardly surprising that two of Lyon's most famous sons were the Lumière brothers, inventors of the motion picture.

    With a packed festival schedule, Lyon is brought to life throughout the year with music, dance, opera, drama, cinema and light shows at some of its most famous landmarks. The highlight is without doubt Nuits de la Fourvière, which for two months each summer sees the ancient theatres on Fourvière hill provide an atmospheric backdrop to performers from around the world.

    Later in the year, the Contemporary Art and Dance Biennales offer nearly four months of exhibitions and performances from September to January, while the Fête des Lumieres brightens up four dark winter nights in December with cheery lights and candles in every window.

    Now back to les gourmands… When you've worked up an appetite head to a traditional local restaurant or bouchon Lyonnais and tuck into meaty dumplings, a rosette of delicious sliced sausage and a glass of smooth, succulent Côtes du Rhône.

    Lyon city breaks - Book now
  • Marseille

    6 hrs 23 mins from St Pancras Int’l, with a simple change in Lille.

    Perfect for Sun seekers and seafood lovers.

    When it's time to unwind, head south for a fix of Mediterranean warmth and cosmopolitan charm in Marseille.

    Historically an industrial port city, Marseille has enjoyed something of a facelift since being named European Capital of Culture 2013, with new museums, galleries and concert halls springing up to reclaim derelict buildings or fill empty spaces.

    Elsewhere, older landmarks including Notre-Dame de la Garde and the city's fortresses provide a reminder of the city's more distant past. The basilica is well worth a look if you don't mind a bit of a climb, and the views out over the city are stunning.

    On a clear day, see if you can spot Château d'If perched on its rocky island in the bay. The former prison provided the setting for Alexandre Dumas's Count of Monte Cristo – if you like your own chances of escape, hop on one of the boat trips from the mainland and explore for yourself.

    Of course no visit would be complete without sampling the local delicacy, bouillabaisse, or some of the freshest seafood you're ever likely to taste. Settle in for the evening at one of the city's seafront restaurants and watch the world go by over a refreshing pastis.

    Marseille city breaks - Book now

Eurostar Breaks

Skip the airport hassle and book your Eurostar break with lastminute.com. Go straight from Central London and arrive in the heart of Paris in under three hours. We offer cheap Eurostar tickets from London to Paris and other destinations in Europe. If you're looking for a short weekend break at a fabulous price, then browse our 3, 4, and 5 star offers to Paris, Brussels and Lille. We put the best Eurostar and hotel packages together for you so you don’t need to book each separately.

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