Fans of the Eurostar—the high-speed train linking London and mainland Europe—will be thrilled to learn about a direct route launching in the spring. Eurostar has announced that it will be expanding its service from London to Provence with stops in Lyon, Avignon, and Aix-en-Provence. This weekly spring service will be offered for a trial period in May and June 2013, and tickets are already on sale. (Eurostar already offers existing weekly summer services to Avignon.)
The details: From May 4 and June 29, 2013, passengers can hop on a train from London St Pancras or Ashford International for a pleasant, hassle-free journey through the French countryside. (As Conde Nast Traveller points out, “the benefits of train over air travel are clear.”) Total journey time? Less than six hours. On the return to London, passengers will disembark in Lille Europe to go through passport checks required for transit through the Channel Tunnel, before reboarding a Eurostar to the UK. Return fares for 2013 Lyon and Provence services start from £99 for Lyon and £109 for Avignon and Aix-en-Provence in Standard class and £199 and £249 in Standard Premier.
Spring is a magical time to visit Provence- for picnics at Alain Ducasse’s country inns, a divine lunch and luxurious overnight at the Villa Gallici, and an incredible program of events for Marseille-Provence 2013, as the region will be European Capital of Culture next year.