What Francophile hasn’t longed to visit the iconic Provence, land of vineyards, olive trees and stone built villages? France Today Travels will share hidden corners of this marvellous region, which is especially colorful during the wine harvest season. Starting in the Hautes Provence, you will be immersed in the relaxed rhythm of village life for a few days, before heading to buzzy Aix en Provence and the sights of the Mediterranean sea. After a week spent discovering hidden gems with France Today Travels, as we take you off the beaten tourist path, you will come to agree this region truly is a land of contrasts.
Arrivals and transfer to our home base for the next 3 nights, the stylish Le Couvent des Minimes hotel. Enjoy a glass of pastis with your new travelling companions, followed by dinner on the terrace. Game of boules also on option!
We start local with a visit to the Eco-Musee of the Olive Tree and olive oil, a picnic lunch and a workshop making traditional “navette” cookies at the Biscuiterie de Forcalquier. Dinner tonight is at a favorite village spot.
A day out to Peter Mayle’s country, the Luberon, famous for its hilltop villages and pastoral countryside. Our highlight is the village of Rustrel with its unusual red clay landscape known as the Colorado Provencal, where craftspeople have made pigments for centuries. Relaxed dinner on your own at the hotel bistro or transfers to the local village restaurants.
This morning is reserved for relaxation, the spa or, for the more active, a morning on E-bikes. At midday, we enjoy an outdoor lunch with views stretching to the snow peaked Southern Alps. In the afternoon, a visit to the privately owned Château de Sauvan, known as “Le Petit Trianon de Provence” with its remarkable garden. End the day with a spectacular dinner at the hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant Le Cloitre (“the cloister”).
Bid farewell to the Hautes Provence and head south to Aix en Provence. On the way, we make a secret stop at a truffle farm to taste and learn about one of the most world’s most expensive ingredients. Arrival at our hotel, Les Lodges de Sainte Victoire with a welcome drink on the terrace overlooking this classic countryside. Short walking tour of regal Aix and then your choice of dining spot in this foodie city.
A morning spent visiting local wineries in Cezanne’s countryside, appreciating the quintessential local rosé wine, produced since Roman times. In the late afternoon, we continue the theme on a special outing to the stunning port village of Cassis and their annual food and wine festival, Les Vendanges Etoilées.
The unmissable Aix en Provence Saturday market takes place in a 700 year old market square. Our charming French chef will escort us to the best stalls with tastings, we’ll buy our ingredients for a seasonal lunch, and prepare them at her local cooking school. Enjoy the city’s myriad boutiques in the afternoon or head back for rest and relaxation. Tonight, toast the end of our amazing trip at the hotel’s Michelin starred Saint-Estève restaurant.
Au revoir to the Mediterranean sunshine and our new “amis”. Transfers back to Marseille airport or the TGV train station.
* Final itinerary to be confirmed 2 months prior to departure.
Top image: © Vins de Provence / Fotolia
In addition to our years of experience as journalists and residents uncovering the best France has to offer, our sense of fun, our local contacts, our passion for authentic dining spots, delicious wines, the best and most colorful farmers markets in the region, outstanding scenic stops, chances to chat with French friends, off the beaten path experiences, and plenty of relaxation at highly comfortable hotels, you can quantify it as follows:
Seven nights double room hotel accommodation in two carefully selected hotels
All breakfasts, 5 lunches (inc 1 picnic & 1 cooking school), 4 dinners (inc 2 Michelin starred restaurants)
Local wines included at group dinners
Services of an on-site and full-time experienced Tour Director
Services of all accompanying local guides, where applicable
All private tours and outings, including entrance fees and tastings, where applicable
Optional activities, where specified
Comfortable group transportation throughout the trip
Arrival and Departure transfers to/from the airport and train stations specified below, to the meeting point on Day 1 and from our last location on Day 8
All gratuities for baggage, porters and hotel service
What’s not included:
Air travel to/from France, and any transportation required to get to and from the Arrival/Departure points on our trip itinerary.
Travel or International Health Insurance
Individual meals or drinks taken on your own, when not dining as a group
And of course, there is no hassle with France Today Travels!
We will make arrangements to collect you and return you to one of the following points: Marseille Airport or Aix en Provence TGV station (high speed train from Paris). Do chat with us to ensure you have the best option to tie in with any of your pre and post tour travel plans.
Top image: © Vin de Provence