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Autumn colors in the four corners of Provence

2 spots left

October 10 – 18, 2024
8 nights / 9 days

Limited to 7 guests
4,300€ EUROS
1,100€ EUROS single room supplement
*Prices converted to USD three months prior to tour date

Plunge into the beauty of the countryside during the autumn glimmer. Stroll the markets abundant with fall produce and artisan craftsmanship. Taste the exquisite flavors of Provençal cuisine. Discover the Luberon region where hilltop villages & vineyards create an array of textures. The Alpilles & Camargue region, also Saint-Remy & Les Baux-de-Provence are a part of the journey. The last part of the week will be in the vibrant city of Aix-en Provence and along the blue of the Mediterranean. The contrasts in nature from these areas in Provence offer a unique Provençal experience.

fall tree colors in in Provence

Tour Notes

This Tour is a nice mix of culture, alluring atmospheres, history, relaxing time (spa options) and time to shop in the cities and at markets. 

Should you enjoy relaxing at the spa, the hotel the last four nights is one of the best intimate spas in the region. The hotel is located next to Cezanne’s mountain, Sainte Victoire…a truly inspirational backdrop to our breakfast, dinners and relaxing time.

To enhance your travel experience, arrive in Avignon a day or two before.  Pick-up for group tour can be at your hotel in Avignon.  

Itinerary

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

Day 1 (Thursday, October 10)
Pont du Gard Roman bridge on Provencal tour of Roman roads

Pick-up at Avignon TGV train station around 10:30 am (time to be confirmed once all arrival times are gathered). You may choose to arrive in Provence the day before and be picked up at your Avignon hotel. 

We’ll start our group tour in the center of Avignon for a historic walking tour. UNESCO sites Pont d’Avignon and Popes Palace and some off-the-beaten-path spots in the center (does not include the inside of the Popes Palace). We then make our way to the Pont du Gard for lunch with a view of this incredible Roman masterpiece and of course get the story behind it.  Arrival at our B&B in Saint Remy around 4:30 pm with time to settle in and relax (or walk into the town for some exploring on your own). Dinner arrangements for the group in Saint Remy.

Lunch & dinner included

Day 2 (Friday, October 11)
Lourmarin village guided tour

Today is market day in Lourmarin. You’ll have free time to roam the market and also be guided on a short historical tour of the village. Picnic lunch together with your market goodies near a Romanesque chapel (should the weather not be good we’ll have a bistro lunch). Return to Saint Remy area for exploring the world of Van Gogh at Saint Paul de Mausole where Van Gogh stayed for a year after his time in Arles. Relaxing time back at the B&B and then dinner arrangements together in Saint Remy.

Lunch (a sharing of our market goodies) & dinner included

Day 3 (Saturday, October 12)
Camargue Ranch

In the morning we’ll drive south to the Camargue region (classified as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO) to connect with nature and wildlife. The fresh water from the Rhone and the saline waters from the Mediterranean Sea create a mosaic of ecosystems unique to the area. Flamingoes, herons, white Camargue horses & bulls along our off-the-beaten-path routes. Autumn is a unique time in the Camargue with the flora turning to its winter colors and the arrival of many birds for spending winter or resting on their route further south. We have a private ranch tour at Manade Laurent. Lunch at La Telline to taste the specialties of Camargue and then we plunge into the Roman world in Arles as well as the footsteps of Van Gogh who lived here from 1888 to 1889. Dinner arrangements for the group in Saint Remy.

Lunch & dinner included

Day 4 (Sunday, October 13)
Oppede

Today we venture into the Luberon region.  First stop is at L’Isle sur la Sorgue where you will have free time to browse the antiques at the flea market.  Next stop is in Gordes, rated recently as one of the most beautiful villages in the world.  After a lunch to remember near Gordes, we’ll make our way to a particular village perched on the side of the Luberon Mountain chain: Oppede-le-Vieux.  Here we’ll have a digestive walk up through the abandoned part of the village to the castle ruins at the top.  Arrival back at B&B around 5 pm with relaxing time and dinner at your leisure.

Lunch included

Day 5 (Monday, October 14)
Marseille soap

We’ll be changing regions today.  En route we first make a stop at an olive oil mill in the Baux region.  If you didn’t get enough breakfast, this ample tasting should fill you til lunch.  Close by is the Carrières de Lumières sound & light show in a former rock quarry near.  Every year the production changes and is today one of the top must-do-activities in the region.  Next, a stroll through the village Les Baux-de-Provence and a casual bistro lunch. Mid-way to Aix (our lodging) we stop at one of the original soap making factories to learn the story of Marseille soap and traditional fabrication process. Around 4:30 pm, arrival at our luxury hotel Les Lodges Saints Victoire. Time to settle in and perhaps you’ll even enjoy some spa time. Dinner at the fabulous hotel restaurant (Michelin).

Lunch & dinner included

Day 6 (Tuesday, October 15)
top ten places to visit in provence

Time to explore Aix markets (flower market, Provencal market, fruit & Vegetable market, flea market). Emily will explain where the markets are, give you maps, you can explore at your leisure. At 12 pm we meet for lunch at an 18th century mansion tea salon. Following lunch is a guided tour to learn about the life of Cezanne (includes a visit at the Granet museum to see a few of his paintings).  Return to our hotel to relax (spa time can be scheduled). Group dinner at countryside bastide.

Lunch & dinner included

Day 7 (Wednesday, October 16)
top ten places to visit in provence

We escape to the sea today. Peaceful strolls with the sounds of seagulls and and boat flags swooshing in the breeze. The fishing village Cassis along with the limestone inlets, known as Calanques, always capture the heart. The Cassis tour includes the Wednesday market, a boat tour and lunch on the port. Dinner outing in the heart of Aix.

Lunch & dinner included

Day 8 (Thursday, October 17)
French cooking lessons on custom tour of Aix

Cooking lesson & winery tour near Aix-en-Provence; Chef Gilles will guide us through the produce market and then to a winery to pick up our wine. At his house we will learn the art and simplicity of Provencal cuisine. The feast usually doesn’t end til mid-afternoon and the rest of the day will be enjoyed at the foot of Saint Victoire (spa time or countryside walk at the base of the mountain). Free evening for dinner at the hotel You may not feel like dinner this evening (we finish full and late). There is the hotel bar restaurant for snacks and drinks should you like (not included in package price).

Cooking lesson lunch

Day 9 (Friday, October 18)

After breakfast, transfer to Marseille airport or Aix TGV for you return trip home.

Activities & Sites Included

  • Country walks, sometimes a little off-the-beaten-path to get up close to the fauna and flora 
  • Olive oil mill tour/tasting 
  • Cooking lesson 
  • Provencal markets (Lourmarin, Cassis, Aix) 
  • Flea market Isle sur la Sorgue 
  • Boat tour in Cassis 
  • Marseille soap factory tour 
  • Carrières de Lumière sound & light show 
  • Guided tours – learn the historical & cultural anecdotes that shaped the sites, towns, villages, and region as a whole

Places Visited

  • Avignon 
  • Pont-du-Gard 
  • Arles 
  • Camargue region 
  • Lourmarin 
  • Saint Remy 
  • Les Baux de Provence 
  • Isle sur la Sorgue 
  • Gordes 
  • Oppede-le-Vieux
  • Aix 
  • Cassis

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

Vincent Van Gogh

(Photo: Fall view from mountain top by Emily Durand.)

Includes

  • All breakfasts (8) 
  • All lunches (8) 
  • 6 Dinners (two dinners not included; one in St Remy and last night at Saint Victoire/Aix hotel) 

Does Not Include

  • Transportation to/from Provence, Avignon 
  • Before and/or after dinner drinks (wine is included during the meals)
five star review
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