Trains of Eastern France

Chemin de Fer de La Vallee de L'Ouche - © Jean-Claude Laboureau
Vivarais Railway - © Bob Cable
Lyon - © Simon Buckley
Mulhouse - © Nastya Arsentyeva/shutterstock
Steam train connecting Tournon and Lamastre - © Paddo47/shutterstock
Old steam train at Volgelsheim - © E. Snopova/shutterstock

Holiday Highlights

  • Private train on Velay Express
  • Run our own railway on the Chemin de Fer de La Vallée de l’Ouche
  • Excursions on Le Mastrou on the Vivarais, Train Thur Doller and Volgelsheim
  • Cite du Train Museum
  • Leisure time in Lyon, Mulhouse and Beaune
  • Jardin du Train Garden Railway
  • 13 Days from £2,188pp
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Tour Dates:
Wednesday 1 September to Monday 13 September 2021

This trip to France concentrates on the Eastern half of the country, venturing down to Valence and Tournon with the Vivarais railways. We then travel to Beaune and Mulhouse, visiting the Chemin de Fer de Vallee de L’Ouche where we have the opportunity to “run our own railway”.


Day 1 – London to Lyon

We take a mid-morning Eurostar from London St. Pancras to Lille where we change for an onwards connection to Lyon for a 2-night stay. An evening meal is included upon arrival.

Day 2 – Lyon at Leisure

A free day to explore Lyon – discover the funicular railway and the Resistance Museum to Miniworld, Lyons answer to Hamburg’s Miniatur Wunderland. Founded in 43BC for Roman refugees, Lugdunum as it was known then, was passed between various Kingdoms until finally placed into French control in the 14th Century. The tour leader will be on hand today to assist and suggest individual itineraries whilst leading an optional excursion.

Day 3 – Onwards to Jardin du Train and Tournon

Morning TER train south to Valence where we transfer by coach to Soyons to visit the Jardin du Train. This 2800m₂ model railway has been established over 25 years, featuring tunnels, rivers and over 900 bonsai trees plus over 1000 figurines. After a guided tour of the garden railway, our coach transfers us north to Tournon for a 3-night stay.

Day 4 – Private Charter on the Velay Express

We have a coach transfer to Racoules where we make a return journey on the Velay Express in our own private train, including the opportunity for some photo run pasts. This metre gauge line used to form part of the Vivarais network, but now just operates the 27km from Racoules to Saint Agreve. Travel around some tight curves, up steady gradients and through the meadows and forests of the Massif Central.

Day 5 – Le Mastrou 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 6 – North to Beaune

After a coach transfer to Valence we travel north by train to Beaune for a 3-night stay. With the moat and around half of the battlements and ramparts in good condition, Beaune is an ancient walled city.

Day 7 – 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, taking several trips over the 60cm gauge line with steam and diesel engines, hauling passenger and goods trains.

Day 8 – Beaune at Leisure

Free time to explore the “Capital of Burgundy Wines”. While the town is surrounded by vineyards many cellars are located in the historic town centre, many dating back to Roman times. Today’s programme is free for you to decide how you would like to spend your day. The tour leader will be on hand to give suggestions or help with planning your day.

Day 9 – Onward to Mulhouse

Travelling via Dijon we head north east to Mulhouse for a 4-night stay. Mulhouse is located between the Vosges and Jura mountains on the Ill River and on the Rhône au Rhine Canal. Dating back to the 9th Century the town grew to prosperity through its textile industry.

Day 10 – Cite du Train

We transfer by tram to the Cite du Train Museum, one of the 10 largest railway museums in the world. Our English speaking guide will escort us round the museum after which you are free to further explore the exhibits or enjoy Mulhouse at your own pace.

Day 11 – Volgelsheim

After a free morning we take a coach transfer to Volgelsheim, where we find a lovingly restored station with a steam train simmering at the platform. Our journey takes us through the Alsatian Ried where upon arrival at the Sans-Soucis Pier, we board a sightseeing cruise on the river Rhine before re-boarding our steam train which returns us to Volgesheim and transfer back to Mulhouse.

Day 12 – Train Thur Doller

Full day excursion to the Train Thur Doller Alsace. This standard gauge line runs just over 13km from Cernay Saint Andre to Sentheim. The line from Cernay to Sentheim was inaugurated in 1869 and, with the exception of the war years, carried passengers until 1967. The CFTVD association re-established the line in 1976 and became one of the first tourist railways in France. We make a return journey on this steam line before returning to Mulhouse.

Day 13 – Au Revoir

Travelling via Paris we return home, arriving late afternoon.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Campanile Lyon Centre, Lyon

Hotel Azalees , Tournon

Hotel Paix, Beaune

Mercure Mulhouse Centre, Mulhouse

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Standard class travel throughout
  • Excursions as listed
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £2,188
Single room supplement: £475
Deposit for this holiday: £100

Booking form

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