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Magic red and spring revival

2025 One spot left

May 11-19, 2025

8 nights / 9 days

Limited to 7 guests
4,800€ EUROS per person
No single room supplement
*Prices converted to USD three months prior to tour date

The red carpet of poppies is a sight not to miss. Little by little, poppies start popping up coloring the young vegetation in the vineyards and valleys. This Provence spring tour is designed to connect you to nature and the Provencal way of life. Throughout the week you will be immersed into the savoir-faire of local artisans, farm-to-table meals, and historical anecdotes. Four distinct areas in Provence are incorporated so you can explore the diversity in Provence and the different vibes in each place.

spring Poppies glow red in a flower field on tour of Provence

Tour Notes

The tour takes place during the season when poppies are in bloom. Poppies are not a harvested crop. They grow in fields that are not planted with a crop. Every year, the spectacular red carpet fields change locations. Join me on the hunt to find the best ones (Luberon area tends to be the best location for the poppies).

Itinerary

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

Day 1 (Sunday, May 11)
Avignon table setting in sunshine

Pick-up around 10:30 at the Avignon TGV train station (or at your Avignon hotel should you arrive the day before). We kick off the week of slow travel and inspiration with a garden tour at the Abbey Saint André across the Rhone River from Avignon. After our picnic lunch we make our way to the Ventoux region (near the legendary Mont Ventoux mountain) and settle into our charming countryside B&B. Dinner this evening at a favorite restaurant for its Provencal cuisine and stunning view of the Mont Ventoux.

Picnic Lunch & Dinner included

Day 2 (Monday, May 12)
aroma plants

A beautiful 1-hour drive will take us to Brantes, a small village nestled into the slopes facing the Mont Ventoux.  Here, we’ll be guided on a foraging walk to gather our herbs and flowers for our farm-to-table lunch.  Odile’s house will welcome us for the cooking adventure and sharing of food in a setting you’ll never forget.  Lunch finishes leisurely (and usually late) so the rest of the day is just to meander a little more in the village Brantes and then make our way back to the B&B for some R&R.  This evening we’ll have pizza, fruit tarts and wine at the B&B for a casual dinner.

Cooking lesson lunch & Alfresco Dinner included

Day 3 (Tuesday, May 13)

It’s market day in Vaison-la-Romaine.  This market has been rated in France as one of the most authentic markets.  You have the morning to browse, shop, and explore the town at your leisure.  We’ll meet back up for a bistro tapas lunch in town before going to Nyons to visit the Scourtinerie: a local company who braved a crisis (1956 frost killing the olive trees).  Their creativity saved the family business and still to this day, they produce coconut fiber mats (that were once used for pressing olives)   Return to the B&B later afternoon and then our dinner outing at one of Emily’s favorite restaurants. 

Lunch & dinner included

Day 4 (Wednesday, May 14)
Spring Poppies

We change regions today.  Before arriving at our Luberon region B&B, we’ll make a stop in what is sometimes referred to as the Provencal Venice due to the water canals meandering their way through the town.  Emily will guide you on a historical tour of this charming town before we share a casual lunch with local cheese, charcuterie and homemade spreads at little « Epicerie ».  Gordes is not far away…a stop at the spectacular view point and then on to our B&B to settle in.  A special dinner by chef Antoine catered to us at the B&B awaits us this evening. 

Lunch & Dinner included

Day 5 (Thursday, May 15)
Simiane la Rotonde

This morning we have a beautiful drive to a hilltop village called Simiane-la-Rotonde… sitting up high overlooking the lavender valley.  While the lavender won’t be in bloom, you will be marveling over the flowers and roses laying a colorful backdrop to the18th century doors and cobblestone lanes.  The garden visit (next to the village) is on a site considered sacred since prehistoric times.  Our guide will reveal its mysteries and the 500 varieties of roses.  Lunch will be enjoyed on their terraced restaurant, but not before an acoustic surprise for you in the 17th abbey church.   Dinner at another one of Emily’s favorite restaurants in an old farm house. 

Lunch & Dinner included

Day 6 (Friday, May 16)
Roussillon

This morning you have free time in the charming village Lourmarin to pick up those Provencal treasures you might not have found at Tuesday’s market in Vaison.   With the food we pick up at the market, we’ll make our way to a secret picnic spot next to a Romanesque chapel.  On our way back over the Luberon mountain chain, we’ll make a couple of scenic spots to capture the Luberon valley.  Relaxing time back at the B&B before our dinner outing in Roussillon – the best time to see this ochre village (after the daytime crowds have left). 

Dinner included

Day 7 (Saturday, May 17)
Saint Paul Provence tour

After yesterday’s poppy madness inspiration, today we take our artistic eye to to paper with a painting workshop.  We’ll tour the area near Saint Remy where Van Gogh stayed for one year and then be guided by a local artist to paint what we see (no painting experience necessary).  Catered picnic nearby before going into the town center of Saint Remy for a stroll/boutique browsing.  This evening we walk into the village Gordes for dinner.

Lunch & Dinner included

Day 8 (Sunday, May 18)
Olive oil workshop

Last day! A day to relax and enjoy the flavors and savors of Provence… Charlotte, professional in the olive oil growing and tasting business will lead us in a workshop to make our own olive oil…to our style!    Then we’ll proceed to a wine tasting, vinaigrette making workshop and then to a beautiful vineyard terrace to enjoy the flavors of Provence. Our afternoon village discovery is nearby, at Oppede-le-Vieux…one of the quieter villages with many fascinating anecdotes.  Dinner this evening will be casual  at the B&B with fresh vegetables and savory tartes.

Lunch & dinner included

Day 9 (Monday, May 19)

After breakfast, transfers to the Avignon TGV.

Activities & Sites Included

  • Abbey Saint André 
  • Factory visit (last « Scourtinerie » factory in France) making mats from coconut fibers (before used to press olive oil) 
  • Painting workshop 
  • Foraging around a mountain village followed by cooking class 
  • Valsaintes Garden tour (with « acoustic » surprise in chapel) 
  • Provencal market in Lourmarin & Vaison-la-Romaine 
  • Van Gogh asylum in Saint Remy 
  • Carrières de Lumière multi-media show

Places Visited

  • Avignon (from across the river at the abbey) 
  • Vaison-la-Romaine 
  • Nyons 
  • Brantes 
  • Simiane-la-Rotonde 
  • Gordes 
  • Isle sur la Sorgue 
  • Lourmarin 
  • Bonnieux 
  • Luberon hilltop villages (Roussillon & Oppede-le-Vieux) 
  • Carrières de Lumière in Les Baux de Provence
  • Saint Remy

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

Vincent Van Gogh

(Photo: Spring poppies in Provence by Emily Durand)

Includes

  • All transportation in Emily’s comfortable Mercedes van – pick-up & drop-off at Avignon TGV train station 
  • 3 nights lodging at charming countryside B&B near the Mont Ventoux and 5 nights at luxury B&B near Gordes. 
  • All breakfasts 
  • 7 lunches 
  • 8 dinners (a variety from fine dining, local cuisine, private chefs, and unique atmospheres)

Does Not Include

  • Transportation to/from Avignon 
  • Before and/or after dinner drinks (wine is included during the meals)
five star review
""Thank you so much for all you did to make our trip to Provence EXTRA special!  Rosamond, the Babbs, the Murfees, and the Youngs all had a grand time and loved our whirlwind tour of the Provence area.  It was a special treat to have a guide who knew the area so well, as well as someone we could understand!  We felt like we were with an old friend!""Emily, Thank you for driving and guiding my friends and me around Provence.  You are charming, knowledgeable and punctual and we all enjoyed o..."
""We thoroughly loved your tour! Every day was packed with fun things to see and do and we were also given free time to explore on our own or just relax a little. You did a fantastic job of driving  us everywhere, especially through tiny villages and narrow streets. Some of the highlights for us were getting to meet locales, a wonderful boat tour in Cassis, wonderful restaurants, and unique hotels. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience! Choose Emily as your guide and you won’t be sorr..."
""We had the trip of a lifetime with Emily! She was friendly, fun, very knowledgeable, bilingual and a very safe driver. She took us to some of the most picturesque places in Provence and even accompanied me to the doctor’s office for an emergency, AND was my translator with the doctor! She went above and beyond! Her kindness and expertise were 5 stars. We did not want to rent a car because we didn’t know the roads and having her in the driver’s seat in her beautiful van made the journey stres..."
""Emily was our favorite guide during our 2 weeks in France. She was so personable, taking us to favorite places and making Provence come alive. We loved our vineyard picnic, our tour in Arles, wine tastings, lunch at La Madison de la Truffe, and visits to local villages and markets.Wonderful memories for my daughter and I thanks to her special care!"Marcia & Terri Hannig, Colorado"
""Dear Emily, Words cannot express our gratitude for everything that you did for us. Thank you so much for going above and beyond not just for our tour, but also our elopement! We’re touched and grateful for your attention to detail, flexibility and patience. The tour was hands down, one of the best experiences ever and we’re so thrilled we got do do it with you. Last but not least, thank you for being our officiant and “marrying” us. The entire trip is something we’ll cherish forever. "Li..."
""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..."
"I can’t say enough about our fabulous friend’s trip with Emily for 8 nights in Provence. Visiting the 3 regions was especially interesting to see their differences - from Mount Ventoux to the Luberon area and finally Les Apilles! Each was picturesque in their own way. The unique experiences Emily created for us were amazing from garden tours, cooking class, painting workshop, face cream making, galleries, private chef and walking tours. Her driving was so good from pick up at Avignon TGV to d..."
""What wonderful memories were made with four high school friends in Provence, thanks to our guide extraordinaire, Emily!She planned and executed every detail, taking into consideration our personal requests, with flexibility that is impossible with a large tour group.  Our last night, while we were touring the Calanques in Cassis, Emily even prepared an alfresco poolside dinner for us.   Many thanks and high recommendations to Emily, OUR Private Provence!Emily, you allowed us to have..."
""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..."
""Emily worked  with me to create a personalized one-week itinerary that went beyond our expectations. She handled all aspects of our trip with a professional , low-key manner.  The hotels were outstanding and dining was authentic.  The luxury vehicle was very comfortable to travel in as well. Knowing we were a group of artist, she  allowed time to see artistic points of interest.  We plan on returning and will work with Emily again."Maria Caprio-Sunta"Emily was an amazing guide an..."