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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
  • 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 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"
  • May 2018 4-day private tour

    ""After an amazing experience as a solo traveler on Your Private Provence’s Group Lavender Tour, ten months later I booked a private tour for my husband and me to see the poppies.  Emily is warm, knowledgeable and flexible.  We always felt safe and comfortable.  Her recommendations for accommodations and restaurants were perfect.  The itinerary on this second trip was completely different than the first trip…markets, hikes, wineries, picnics in fields of wildflowers, everything we asked for an..."
  • September 2023 – 10-day private tour

    "Emily was our guide and driver for 10 days during our private tour of Provence. There were 7 of us, all friends and we have traveled all over the world for the past 50 years. Our 10 days with Emily traveling all over Provence was perhaps the finest travel experience any of us have ever had. She completely embodies all of the qualities needed to take complete strangers and make them feel as if they are part of her family. She was so professional, knowledgeable, kind, caring and flexible as wel..."
  • High Provence Lavender Tour – July 2022

    ""Finally third time was a charm! I found Emily while looking for trips to Provence to see the beautiful fields of lavender. I sent my deposit for 2020 and Covid happened so transferred it to 2021 and things were still crazy but finally 2022. There were 5 of us in our group, my daughter decided to join me and then my grand daughter joined in, and finally the lovely Carroll’s Jill and Greg. We had so much fun, so much wine and so many laughs. We showed the French how to party before midnight th..."
  • September 2016 Day Tour in the Luberon

    ""For my first time in Provence I decided to hire a guide. It’s not something I normally do but I didn’t want to be bothered with driving and trying to find my way on my own. I didn’t want to waste precious time because I had so little there.We had several conversations via email in advance of my visit about what my interests are and what I wanted to get out of my time with her. Emily showed me some wonderful places for photos and a little off the beaten path Abbey that was a lovely way to..."
  • May private tour 2016

    ""When I look back I do not necessarily think of the specific towns we visited as much as the special experiences and moments we had during truffle hunting, making chocolates, taking pictures in the middle of that beautiful flower field, and our hikes, walks and conversations. Thank you for arranging all this for us because they are certainly the experiences that made our trip so special.Most importantly, what I cherish is that you never made us feel like we are with a private tour guide. ..."
  • June 2018 3-day custom tour

    ""We had a great trip with Emily and highly recommend her. Before we arrived, she had designed a lovely tour of Provence villages just for us. Attentive to our interests and needs, she crafted an adventure that was a highlight of a trip to France and Italy.In several days, she introduced us to the history of these hill towns, the beauty of the rural landscape, and the feel of markets, twisty streets, churches, and Van Gogh’s world. Though we saw a good deal, she also made time for little m..."
  • September 2016 Rhone Wine Tour

    ""You are the sweetest and we enjoyed getting to know you. You are also a trooper – spending a week with a rowdy group like ours must not have been an easy task:). You did it, girl!"Tatiana"In addition to the email from Tatiana, I want to thank you for your kindness and sweetness and patience in making our honeymoon so very special.  You are a sheer delight."Miles"Tireless, warm, funny, delightful, lovely….I will run out of juice on my iPhone before I run out of adjecti..."
  • 2-Day Tour June, 2019

    ""Nick and I had a wonderful two days touring Provence with Emily! She is just EXCEPTIONAL!!! Such a darling personality, a definite understanding of the history and culture of this region and such a nice way about her—she seems more a friend than a tour guide! We plan to stay in touch with Emily because we liked her so much!   Emily asked us about our preferences and interests so she could design an itinerary which was customized just for us. We spent the day together touring different villag..."