Spring Poppy Madness Tour
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.
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).
NOTE: This is a working itinerary; the final itinerary will be posted and provided to guests closer to the tour date.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
- Avignon (from across the river at the abbey)
- Le Mont Ventoux
- Isle sur la Sorgue
- 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.
- 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)