Côte d'Azur - The Via Julia
Over six days, we explore the Roman sites and cities along the great road called the Via Julia Augusta. The road began in Arles, one of the foremost Roman provincial cities in the region, then ran south across France and into Italy. Our journey includes mighty works of Roman engineering, and the sites of earlier Iron Age tribes and Greek settlers. One of our highest-rated tours in 2014, it offers a panoramic exploration of Roman and Gallic life in the South of France. John Shepherd explores the Roman origins of the sparkling Côte d’Azur. Much more than a playground for the rich, the area is profuse with archaeology. April is an excellent time to explore the South of France, with very pleasant temperatures and spring in the air, but well before the peak tourist season.
- Follow the route forged by the Romans from their newly acquired territory in southern Gaul, along the French coast towards Italy
- Mighty Roman monuments, extraordinarily well-preserved, as well as the history of the Gauls who preceded and lived alongside them
- Glorious scenery of the Côte d’Azur - sun, sea and the Romans
- Historic Churches
- Ancient Greek
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We arrive in Marseille and transfer to our hotel in Arles.
We spend today in golden Arles, a city on the Rhône and one of the major power centres of Roman France. It became the capital of all Gaul in the 4th and 5th centuries AD and was the western terminus of the Via Julia Augusta. We visit well-preserved Roman monuments including the amphitheatre, theatre and an underground portico that once supported the forum.
We begin our day at Barbegal a water-powered Roman mill with sixteen waterwheels fed by an aqueduct. We continue to the St Chamas Bridge which carried the Via Julia Augusta over the River Touloubre. After lunch, we step back into the Iron Age at the town of Entremont. This important pre-Roman settlement once held a shrine to the grisly Celtic cult of the severed head.
Today we explore Marseille, the ancient city of Massilia and the premier Greek colony of Gaul. We visit the site of the ancient harbour, before moving across the waterfront to the Roman Docks Museum. After lunch, enjoy free time at leisure in Marseille.
This morning we enjoy a lovely drive east along the coast to the pretty town of Fréjus. Formerly Forum Julii, this small town was one of Caesar’s colonies. Agricola, the Roman general responsible for much of the conquest of northern England, was born here.
We have a talk by local specialists who take us to see many excellent Roman remains here, from Roman cisterns to fish tanks.
We travel to the elegant city of Nice, where we explore the extensive archaeological zone, with its arena, amphitheatre and bath complex. We continue to Beaulieu-sur-Mer and the recreated Greek Villa Kerylos beautifully set overlooking the sea. We ascend to the Trophée des Alpes, the highest point on the Via Julia Augusta, marked by Augustus’ monument celebrating the conquest of the mountain tribes, to view this extraordinary monument overlooking Monaco.
We cross to Ventimiglia, in Italy where we have arranged special access to the Roman site of Albintimilium, introduced by local archaeologists.
After lunch we see finds from the site at the Museo Civico, before free time this afternoon.
Before we depart for Nice airport, we take advantage of our proximity to the rock shelters of Balzi Rossi, a site with some very early evidence of man’s occupation in the region. We fly home today.
- Flights - Scheduled flights London to Marseille; Nice to London
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included - dinners with wine
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
- Hotels - 2 nights in an elegant, traditional hotel in historic downtown Arles, just a short walk from the amphitheatre, 2 nights in a luxury 4* hotel in Marseille, just across the road from the historic Old Port, 3 nights in a 4* hotel in Menton, overlooking the bay
2 nights in an elegant, traditional hotel in historic downtown Arles, just a short walk from the amphitheatre
2 nights in a luxury 4* hotel in Marseille, just across the road from the historic Old Port
3 nights in a 4* hotel in Menton, overlooking the bay
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Over 140 Journeys into the Ancient World
At Andante, we are driven by a passion for the past. Founded and run by archaeologists over 30 years ago, Andante remains unique among travel companies... putting archaeology at the heart of everything we do.
However far-flung or close to home the destination, our ethos remains the same: a real holiday, led by an expert guide, where every day is spent in good company, amid beautiful landscapes, immersed in the stuff of past lives...