Côte d'Azur - The Via Julia

Arles amphitheatre
Arles amphitheatre
Villa Kerylos
Villa Kerylos
Church tympanum, Arles, Bouche-du-Rhône, France
Church tympanum, Arles, Bouche-du-Rhône, France
Nice Harbour
Nice Harbour
View the Marseille harbour from the old citadel
View the Marseille harbour from the old citadel
Trophy of Augustus in La Turbie, south of France
Trophy of Augustus in La Turbie, south of France
Aqueduc Romain de Barbegal. Fontvieille, Provence-Alpes-Cote d`Azur, France
Aqueduc Romain de Barbegal. Fontvieille, Provence-Alpes-Cote d`Azur, France

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

Themes

  • Romans
  • Prehistory
  • Medieval
  • Historic Churches
  • Ancient Greek

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2017

Day 1

We arrive in Marseille and transfer to our hotel in Arles.

Day 2

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.

Day 3

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.

Day 4

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.

Day 5

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.

Day 6

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.

Day 7

After lunch we see finds from the site at the Museo Civico, before free time this afternoon.

Day 8

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.

Itinerary 2018

Day 1

We arrive in Marseille and transfer to our hotel in Arles.

Day 2

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.

Day 3

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.

Day 4

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.

Day 5

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.

Day 6

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.

Day 7

After lunch we see finds from the site at the Museo Civico, before free time this afternoon.

Day 8

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.

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels
  8. Flights

Hotel Info

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

Useful Information

For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

Book now

2018 Tour Details

Sat 24th March - Fri 30th March

Available

£2,295

ex. flights: £2,095

sgl supp: £325

VJA18A

Led By: John Shepherd

Guide Lecturer

Tour Manager

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