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Magic red and spring revival

May 12-20, 2024

8 nights / 9 days

Limited to 7 guests
4,600€ 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 12)
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 ambience.

Picnic Lunch & Dinner included

Day 2 (Monday, May 13)
village of Brantes facing Mont Ventoux

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. Later afternoon we climb to the top of Mont Ventoux (in the van!). En route we stop at the aroma plant distillery to see how the oils are extracted from the plants. A full day of adventure calls for a simple alfresco & local wine dinner at the B&B.

Cooking lesson lunch & Alfresco Dinner included

Day 3 (Tuesday, May 14)

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. This afternoon we tour a artisan company making Provencal fibre mats with 19th & early 20th century equipment. Back to the B&B for some rest time before our dinner outing at one of Emily’s favorite restaurants in all of Provence.

Lunch & dinner included

Day 4 (Wednesday, May 15)
Sorgue River in France

We change regions today. Before arriving at our Luberon region B&B, we’ll make a stop in what is sometimes known as the Provencal Venice due to the water canals meandering their way through the town (Isle sur la Sorgue is also known for its antique shops). Emily will take you on a historical and gourmet tour of this charming town. Should the weather be pleasant, picnic lunch next to the Sorgue River. Time to settle into our B&B near Gordes before our stroll through the village. A special dinner catered to us at the B&B.

Lunch & Dinner included

Day 5 (Thursday, May 16)
Provence Gardens

Before spending time in one of the world’s best rose gardens, we’ll explore one of the world’s best medieval villages. Simiane-la-Rotonde sits up high overlooking the woods and lavender fields. You won’t see lavender in bloom but you will be marveling over the flowers and roses laying a colorful backdrop to the18th century doors and cobblestone lanes. The garden visit 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. Last visit is at Provence’s ochre village, Roussillon… historically rich and a gem to photograph. Dinner at another one of Emily’s favorite restaurants.

Lunch & Dinner included

Day 6 (Friday, May 17)
Provence Spring Tour

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. Emily will also guide you on a historical tour of the village. With the food we pick up at the market, we’ll make our way to a secret picnic spot next to a Romanesque chapel. This south side of the Luberon is also a place where poppy madness photography will take place. Relaxing time back at the B&B before going to a local chef’s house for dinner.

Lunch & Dinner included

Day 7 (Saturday, May 18)
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 to Les Baux de Provence for a multi-media show known as Carrières de Lumière in a former rock quarry. Free time in Saint Remy for some boutique shopping before returning to our B&B.  Dinner together in Gordes.  

Lunch included

Day 8 (Sunday, May 19)
vintage car near French village fountain

A little adventure today while continuing our poppy madness hunt. More Luberon hilltop villages but this time with a new sensation. Either by classic 2CV car ride or by electric bike (to be determined based on overall physical level of the group…accommodations can always be made to fit your style of touring). Time to soak up the dreamy atmosphere at our B&B before our sommelier comes to lead us in an olive oil workshop. Dinner to follow catered at the B&B.

Lunch & dinner included

Day 9 (Monday, May 20)

After breakfast, transfers to the Avignon TGV.

Activities & Sites Included

  • Abbey Saint André – tour of abbey and garden 
  • Factory visit (last « Scourtinerie » factory in France) making mats from coconut fibers (before used to press olive oil) 
  • Painting workshop 
  • 2CV ride or electric bike ride in the Luberon (optioned confirmed later) 
  • Foraging around a mountain village followed by cooking class 
  • Aroma plant distillery 
  • Valsaintes Garden tour (with « acoustic » surprise in chapel) followed by lunch on the site 
  • Provencal market in Lourmarin & Vaison-la-Romaine 
  • Van Gogh asylum in Saint Remy 

Places Visited

  • Avignon (from across the river at the abbey) 
  • Vaison-la-Romaine 
  • Le Mont Ventoux 
  • Nyons 
  • Sault 
  • Brantes 
  • Simiane-la-Rotonde 
  • Gordes 
  • Isle sur la Sorgue 
  • Lourmarin 
  • Bonnieux 
  • Luberon hilltop villages (Roussillon, Lacoste, 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
  • A Week in Provence – October 2017

    ""As we contemplated our first visit to Provence to identify a village that we might return to for an extended stay, we wanted to slow travel through several small villages with nearby vineyards.Prior to our trip, Emily created a customized itinerary to best meet our interests and needs.  To start our week together, Emily met us at the train station and then proceeded to comfortably drive us through the 2-lane backroads of Provence helping us to discover the magical villages of Provence, t..."
  • 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..."
  • 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. ..."
  • Lavender Tour July 2018

    ""We recently returned from France and wish to leave a few comments on our experience.At the top of my bucket list is a visit to Provence France. My husband and I are not world travelers and were somewhat hesitant about this trip, we were anxious about almost everything, the language, the travel and the fact that we were in a foreign country. Despite all these concerns we bite the bullet and decided to go for it. We booked a package with My Private Provence.Much to our surprise and del..."
  • 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..."
  • April Artist Tour 2022

    ""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..."
  • June 2018 3-day private tour

    ""The beautiful, relaxed culture of Provence makes it an ideal vacation spot for first-time guests and return visitors alike.As a return visitor, I reached out to Emily to see some of the hidden treasures I was on unable to see during my first visit. She asked me what I enjoyed, what I wanted to see most, and how I’d like to spend my time. From there, she tailored an itinerary specific to me.She was able to encompass all I requested and made excellent suggestions! I had an incredible t..."
  • 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..."
  • March 2023 – A Few Days in Provence

    ""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..."
  • July Lavender Tour 2021

    ""A traveler is always faced with this secret dilemma…..once you have experienced the perfect tour, in the perfect place, arranged  by the perfect host, do you tell the world or do you try and keep it a secret just a while longer?Such is my dilemma having just returned from that 'perfect' week in Provence. I have decided to be magnanimous and share.  After all, the world needs as much 'perfect' as it can find right now.Emily’s Private Provence could just as easily be named Emily’s Perf..."