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Experience the Provençal Christmas cheer & cuisine

December 7 – 17, 2024
10 nights / 11 days

Limited to 5 guests
5,650€ EUROS per person SINGLE occupancy
800€ discount for double occupancy
*Prices converted to USD three months prior to tour date

Join a Christmas in Provence tour to explore southern France during the festive time of Noël. There’s no better time to feel the spirit of community, experience the folklore traditions, and savor the flavors of local specialties. This tour combines Provençal & Santon markets, a mix of city, small town and village atmosphere, as well as many opportunities to actively engage in the art de vivre during the Christmas period. Enjoy group activities as well as time to explore (shop) at your leisure. This tour starts in Nice and ends in Avignon.

Provence village shop decorated for Christmas festivities on winter Provence tour

Tour Notes

This tour starts in Nice and ends in Avignon. It usually works out best to get your airfare for arrival at the Nice airport and departure at either Marseille airport or Paris airport (most take the train up to Paris after the tour). 

Physical ability should allow you to walk at least 2 hours without difficulty (multiple tours that are two hours in length). We walk to all the evening restaurants as well.

While December remains quite mild in the south of France (averaging 45° – 55°), mornings and evenings can be chilly.  The Mistral wind may decide to blow some days so a hat & scarf will be your friend.  

Itinerary

NOTE: This is a working itinerary; the final itinerary will be posted and provided to guests closer to the tour date.

Day 1 (Saturday, December 7)
Joyeuses Fetes or Happy Holidays

Today is arrival day…Nice airport. Transfers from airport to Nice center hotel (multiple arrival times are possible). This evening we meet as a group to enjoy our first dinner together. With the long journey to France, we’ll make it an earlier dinner.

Dinner included

Day 2 (Sunday, December 8)
French shop Christmas display

Breakfast at your leisure (included in tour package) and then off we go to beautiful Saint Paul de Vence for a Sunday stroll and lunch. Upon arrival back in Nice, you have the option of visiting the Marc Chagall museum…or choose to roam around Nice at your leisure. Dinner reservations this evening as a group.

Breakfast, lunch & dinner included

Day 3 (Monday, December 9)
Christmas in Provenc

This morning we’ll be greeted by a Nice local with her food & wine tour company. She’ll be guiding us on a foodie and historical tour of the Old Nice. With our tummies now satisfied with Southern France delights, we make are way to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild to be entertained and amazed at such an endeavor that was undertaken. Time back at the B&B to freshen up before our special dinner outing (legendary Negresco hotel)…just a 10 minute walk from our hotel.

Breakfast, light lunch with foodie tour & dinner included

Day 4 (Tuesday, December 10)
fountain in Aix

We say goodbye to Nice and journey to Aix. It’s about a 2 hour drive and once we arrive we’ll drop off our luggage and then walk to an 18th century mansion for a tea time lunch. At 2 pm we meet our Aix city guide who will reveal the secrets and hidden treasures of this enchanting city. Enjoy free time after the guided tour for shopping or a maybe a museum visit. Group dinner outing in the city center.

Breakfast, lunch & dinner included

Day 5 (Wednesday, December 11)
Marseille tours

Today’s adventure takes us to Marseille for the oldest Santon fair. After marveling at these figurines and the detailed artisan work, we embark on a Tuk Tuk tour. This is a unique way to see Marseille and reach the limestone creeks and turquoise waters. The last two years we’ve had good weather and enjoyed a gourmet sandwiches in one of the Calanques . Should the weather be bad we’ll substitute with the Cosquer Museum (prehistoric cave discovery near Marseille). Departure from Marseille around 3pm for our drive to chef Gille’s house for a Provencal cooking class.  

Breakfast, lunch & cooking lesson dinner included

Day 6 (Thursday, December 12)
freshly dug truffles

It’s market day in Aix and you have free time to explore the Christmas market, textile market, flea market and flower market! Lunch is at your leisure. 1:30 we depart for our truffle hunt in the countryside of Aix. After a little work with the dogs, we treat our tastebuds to the amazing aromas of truffles savored in different ways…with all you want champagne to make it even more indulgent. Return to Aix and the rest of the evening at your leisure.

Breakfast, Gourmet Truffle tastings included

Day 7 (Friday, December 13)
Christmas decor on French building

Time to say goodbye to the city and see more of the countryside of Provence. Our next lodging (for the last 4 nights) is in the charming small town of Saint Remy de Provence. Before arriving at our boutique hotel, we stop at a traditional soap making factory to learn the history behind the Marseille Soap as well as the methods of making it the traditional way. You even get a chance to stamp your own soap to take home. Next we go to Arles for not only seeing a few Roman monuments but also to see an amazing Provencal creche. The details in this exhibition never cease to amaze the young and older. A little rest time at your boutique hotel in Saint Remy and then dinner together.

Breakfast, lunch & dinner included

Day 8 (Saturday, December 14)
Christmas in Provencal village

Emily takes you to her hometown today to see a Christmas folklore tradition. The ladies and gentlemen will be in their best attire and the Provencal flute and drums will be playing their tunes. Dancing, flag throwing, a Christmas market. On to Avignon to check out their Christmas market and a little historical tour taking you back to Medieval times. This evening Saint Remy has its Christmas market going on.  After a full day of Provencal Christmas cheer we’ll toast to the day over a gourmet dinner together in town.  

Breakfast, lunch & dinner included

Day 9 (Sunday, December 15)
Luberon

A Sunday countryside drive and village strolls in the Luberon region at Gordes, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse.  Lunch near Gordes at cozy farmhouse restaurant (the fireplace will be going).  Mid-afternoon you’ll put your glass blowing talents to the test…each of you will go home with your Christmas ball.  Free evening in Saint Remy.  

Breakfast & lunch included

Day 10 (Monday, December 16)
santons

It’s our last day to enjoy the gifts of Provence. We’ll explore Van Gogh’s world near Saint Remy where he stayed for a year. Then we cross over the Alpilles Mountains to Les Baux de Provence. The popular multi-media show in the former rock quarry (Carrières de Lumières) is up next and then time in the village for a bite to eat. Last but not least on the Provencal Christmas tour is your chance to be Santon maker. We have a santon atelier to learn the art of making these little figurines that you have seen for the last 10 days.

Breakfast, lunch & dinner included

Day 11 (Tuesday, December 17)

Breakfast and then transfer to Avignon TGV for your next adventure.

Activities & Sites Included

  • Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild near Nice 
  • Guided historic and food tour in Nice 
  • Guided historic tour of Aix 
  • Cooking class in Aix 
  • Tuk Tuk tour in Marseille 
  • Truffle hunt 
  • Carrières de Lumières sound & light show 
  • Saint Paul de Mausole (Van Gogh Asylum) 
  • Olive oil and wine tasting 
  • Craft workshop (santons) 
  • Soap factory tour

Places Visited

  • Nice
  • Saint Paul de Vence
  • Aix
  • Marseille
  • Saint Remy
  • Arles
  • Cavaillon
  • Avignon
  • Gordes
  • Fontaine-de-Vaucluse
  • Roussillon
  • Les Baux

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.

Vincent Van Gogh

(Photo: Fontaine de Vaucluse in winter by Emily Durand.)

Includes

  • All transportation – pick-up at Nice airport & drop-off at Avignon TGV train station 
  • 10 nights lodging (3 nights at Villa Victoria in Nice, 3 nights at Boutique Hotel Cezanne in Aix, and 4 nights at Le Petit Hotel in Saint Remy). All rooms are in superior category. 
  • All breakfasts 
  • 8 lunches and 8 dinners 
  • Emily as your private chauffeur & guide for the full tour 
  • Transportation in comfortable Mercedes van

Does Not Include

  • Meals mentioned in itinerary as not included (1 lunch & 2 dinners) 
  • Before and/or after dinner drinks (wine is included during the meals)
five star review
  • September 2017 Day Wine Tour

    ""From the moment we met, Emily made us feel at home in Provence! Her careful selection of wine tastings and restaurants were exactly what we were looking for.  Thank you, Emily, for making our 10-year anniversary trip exactly what we wanted it to be."Michael & Lauren, San Diego, CA"
  • Wine Tour, September 2021

    ""What a beautiful day with Emily and Your Private Provence wine tour. Having been to the region before, two friends and I were interested in a deeper dive into what made this region so well suited for wine. She really listened to our interests and designed a really fun, insightful and rich day. We honestly expected a driver to just drop us off at several wineries and got so much more. Loved the cultural and geological history, the insights of a local to life in Provence, and a diverse samplin..."
  • June 2013 Private Custom Tour

    ""This summer my wife and I had the pleasure of being introduced to Provence by Emily Durand. It was truly amazing. Emily’s attentiveness and insights to the history and culture made Provence our favorite portion of a four-week eight-country trip. We had the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation taking in the ruggedly beautiful terrain and sampling the best food I have ever had.Thank you Emily we look forward to our next trip to Southern France with Your Private Provence."Peter &..."
  • 2019 Lavender Tour

    ""If you want the best tour of Provence, choose Emily as your guide.  My husband and I enjoyed this years Lavender and Cultural Tour so much that the day before it ended I signed up to bring my 2 daughters next year!  As a local Emily knows the history of the towns we visited as well as the best places to explore, eat and shop. She has a nice group of friends – chef Giuseppina cooked a delicious lunch and Raina took beautiful photos of my husband and I in the lavender fields. There were so man..."
  • May 2017 Week-long Tour in Provence

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  • June 2018 2-day custom tour

    ""It was our pleasure having you as our tour guide to discover part of Provence we haven’t been before. I definitely will recommend you to my friends who are interested in traveling to Provence.We wish you have a successful business and happy wonderful life in Provence."Wanvimon, Thailand"
  • Two-Day September Tour 2017

    ""Thank you so much, Emily, for two wonderful days exploring the Luberon region and Cassis.  You were a wealth of information, and we learned so much from you. Our picnic outside of Gordes was delightful!  We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect guide.  We highly recommend you to anyone seeking an authentic cultural experience when in Provence."Jayne & Steve Pettler, Prince George, Virginia"
  • Lavender,Travel Photography & Provencal Lifestyle Tour 2023

    "Emily's Lavender and Photography Tour is, as stated, a private, and I would say INTIMATE, experience in Provence.  From the first evening in L'Isle sur la Sorgue everything about the tour is carefully crafted to create a sense that one has become "at home" in Provence.  The accommodations at the converted stone farmhouse are comfortable and well appointed, creating an intimacy that speaks of "part of the family."  In addition to breathtaking venues for photography, each day provided a creativ..."
  • Provence Over 10 Days – April 2019

    ""We had found Emily Durand on the web and had a wonderful time corresponding with her while preparing a detailed itinerary based upon our interests and requirements. She was very prompt and very precise in her responses which we liked very much.She was even more pleasant in person and we throughly enjoyed spending ten days with her in Provence. She knew the area very well including hotels/B and Bs, restaurants ( my wife is vegetarian but that was no problem for Emily!), parking and gettin..."
  • Truffle, Cuisine & Wine tour – 2024

    "Truffle, Cuisine & Wine Tour - 2024Yes, this is a food-focused week, which means excellent chevre, olive oil, truffles and plenty of good wine. But it's so much more. We checked out beautiful vistas, accompanied a farmer as he and his dog dug up some of the season's last truffles, visited a farmer's market, baked and cooked at the direction of talented chefs, and learned about Cezanne's testy relationship with his hometown of Aix. In between, we got to know Emily, who's knowledgeable ..."