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The finest French rail journeys for a car-free holiday – with tickets from £14

For an island escape

Start in Lyon and travel to Nice (by train, of course), before catching the six-hour ferry to Bastia in Corsica, where a seven-day travel card allows unlimited use of Europe’s spectacular railways. island. Drive through the mountains to visit the former capital of Corté, home to Corsica’s only university, as well as Calvi on the north coast, and Napoleon’s birthplace, Ajaccio, where there are tours of the historic peninsula of ” the island within the island” Cap Corse.

How to do: Ffestiniog Travel (01766 512400; ffestiniogtravel.com) offers the 13-night Splendor of Corsica tour from £2,475 pp including travel, B&B hotel accommodation. Departing September 6, 2022.

For flowers and fruits

Start in Nice, where The Flower Parade takes to the streets as part of the city’s exuberant carnival every February – the only parade of its kind in the world, which sees 20 floats move along the seafront enveloped in spectacular gladioli, mimosas , gerberas, lilies, daisies, roses and carnations.

Next, head to the Mediterranean resort town of Menton – founded by an Anglican clergyman in the 1850s, but put firmly on the map in 1934, when the town’s annual carnival was renamed in honor of the main culture of the region, lemons, and renamed Fête du Citron. It has since become the second biggest winter event on the French Riviera, after the Nice Carnival, and this guided tour by Eurostar and TGV includes both.

How to do: Arena Travel (01858 435646; arenatravel.com) offers the 6-day Nice Carnival and Menton Lemon Festival package from £995 per person, half-board. Leaving on February 19, 2023.