A SLICE of French history can now be accessed directly from Southampton airport, the Daily Echo can reveal.

Eastern Airways, is launching flights from Southampton Airport to Rodez in the south of France, following a successful trial earlier this year.

Rodez is the capital of the capital of the Aveyron department in the South West of France and is regarded as one of France’s best kept picturesque secrets.

The UK regional airline, which entered into a new partnership with long-standing Southampton Airport operator, Flybe, will launch a twice weekly service on June 4 for the summer.

Flights will take 85 minutes and will depart Southampton at 10.15am on Fridays and 2.55pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Rodez which is situated between the Millau Viaduct and the mediaeval village of Conques, its 2,000-year-old history offers a diversity of culture with museums and sites to visit.

The town is also a strong candidacy for UNESCO World Heritage candidacy as well as the natural beauty of the Aveyron department contributes to a positive and dynamic tourism destination from around France, the UK and Europe.

Mathew Herzberg, Eastern Airways’ head of commercial, said: "Due to the successful summer programme we ran this year to Rodez, we have decided to reintroduce the Southampton service for summer 2018.

"Our service will suit leisure travellers and those with holiday homes taking weekend or week-long summer breaks in the south west of France, while Southampton is the gateway for inbound tourists visiting the south coast of England and also London."

Dave Lees, managing director of Southampton Airport, added: “It’s great that we will see Rodez back on our route map for 2018 offering a great choice of French regional routes for their holidays.

"Rodez is a fantastic destination for those looking to visit the South of France but also ideal for people with second homes and holiday homes in this beautiful region."

Alongside this, the airline also operates flights to Leeds Bradford and Aberdeen.

Flights start from £54.99 one way, including taxes and charges and can be booked at Flybe.com.