La Belle Provence, Provence on foot, is a 6-night tour and includes visits to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as five of the communities that boast the superlative official designation of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (the most beautiful villages of France). Those traveling in spring and summer are in for an extra treat, as it is black truffle season.
LA BELLE PROVENCE
TOUR DATES AND PRICES
Minimum of 6 participants, maximum of 14, with a maximum guide-to-guest ratio of 1 to 8
DATES (7 days)
For more info, dates and availability please contact us.
Per person in double occupancy from $3,390
(tour price will vary and contingent upon availability of 4-star hotels, chateaux, chambres & tables d’hôtes.)
Single Supplement: $590
In addition, we pledge to donate more than 1% of your trip price to food literacy and environmental non profit organizations
- Discover the three UNESCO sites of Arles, Pont du Gard and Avignon and two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves: Natural Park of Luberon and Gorge de la Nesque
- Tastings of regional foods and visits to local wine and olive oil makers
- Savor the local traditional cuisine featuring fresh and seasonal ingredients and learn more about local recipes
- Enjoy some of the best wines of Provence such as Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mourvedre and more!
- Relax in unique, elegant 4-star hotels, and maisons & tables d’hôtes
- Delve into history, traditions and culture in this unique area of south of France
- Reinvigorating walks in some of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France and national regional parks
This itinerary has been meticulously designed based on Food.Stories.Travel.’s unforgettable past experiences and favorite flavors. Every single establishment you will visit has been personally vetted, tested and enjoyed.
In some cases we’ll take you to places you could not find by yourself or in a guidebook.
Fly into Paris, Lyon or Nice Airport and catch a high-speed train to Avignon TGV train station. Then catch a 30-mins taxi to reach your accommodation for the next nights in Saint Remy de Provence. The tour begins with an introductory meeting this early afternoon.
Later, let’s “meet” Saint-Rémy through a visit to town curated by a local guide who will show us, among other things, where Van Gogh liked to paint. We celebrate the start of our travels over dinner in town.
This morning after a delicious Provençal breakfast, we set out on a day trip to take in the first two (of three) UNESCO Heritage Sites featured on our journey.
The Pont du Gard is an unquestionable feat of architecture and artistry. This Roman aqueduct stands on three levels at more than 160 feet (15 stories) tall. Built shortly before the dawn of Christianity, by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, son-in-law of Augustus, it is a testament to the might and engineering prowess of the Roman Empire. It has endured, relatively undamaged, for over two millennia.
We continue on to Avignon to for a stroll through town followed by lunch on your own. Situated on the left bank of the Rhône River, Avignon was a treasured and lively Roman town before becoming the seat of the Popes of Avignon in the fourteenth century. Its long papal history (it did not join France until 1791) is best evidenced by the extraordinary Palais des Papes (Popes’ Palace, our second UNESCO site) in the city center. A guided visit introduces us to the Palais before we return to Saint-Rémy for dinner.
We set out this morning to explore two more of the area’s gems, following the Rhône River south into the beloved Camargue National Park to reach Aigues-Mortes, along the sea coast, with its salt pans and museum. Mild winters, warm summers, and calm seawaters make the Aigues-Mortes Salt Marsh a precious wetland and a cradle of extraordinary biodiversity. The Camargue salt pans are world famous. Salts cultivated here are fragranced and then shipped all over the world.
Bending back through the park, we come to the city of Arles (our third and final UNESCO site) for an amble in town and lunch in a local restaurant. Famous for inspiring Van Gogh, Arles was the provincial capital in Rome times. Its most prominent landmark is the Arles Amphitheatre, which today hosts plays, concerts and bullfights. Be sure not to miss the arena and theater here, and enjoy a walk in this romantic town.
Tonight’s dinner is on your own. As you prefer, choose to linger in Saint-Rémy, this being our last evening here, or we are happy to provide a transfer to the nearby clifftop village of Les Baux, one of the Plus Beaux Villages, where we can enjoy a visit and a tasting at an olive oil and wine producer.
Today sees us out of Saint-Rémy, headed west into the Vaucluse. On our way, let’s stretch our legs in the villages of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, notable for its waterwheels, and Fontaine de Vaucluse, briefly the home of the fourteenth-century poet Petrarch. A museum here celebrates his life.
Inside the beloved National Park of Luberon, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, we reach the area of Gordes, another of the Plus Beaux Villages, and our base for the next three nights. We stay in a maison et table d’hôtes (traditional inn) where we enjoy a cooking demo before dinner.
Today, we rise in the beautiful surroundings of Luberon and set out for Nesque Canyon, another UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. On our way, we stop in the village of Venasque, our third Plus Beaux Villages for a stretch and stroll. Perched on a rocky outcrop over the Nesque Valley, it affords views north to Mount Ventoux. Venasque is one of the oldest villages in the Comtat (the papal name for this parcel of Provence) and is attentively preserved.
Les Gorges de la Nesque are arguably the most spectacular in Provence with their wild and dramatic canyons and magnificent rock formations. We drive the spectacular canyon road to reach a lookout offering breathtaking views across the landscape. A walk on one of the nearby trails is also possible.
Our lunch today is at a ferme (the old French for “farm”) that grows lavender. After an afternoon we drive back to our hotel, and enjoy some leisure time before dinner on our own and a visit to the town of Gordes.
Today we discover two more of the Plus Beaux Villages: Rouissillion and Menerbes.
From the hilltop town of Roussillon, we may wish to walk the Ochre Trail, a cultivated footpath through a former ochre mine, in order to see this striking earthern color in its natural element. In Menerbes, we savor lunch and a postprandial stroll through the town.
Later, a local château (manor or noble country house) offers us a chance to taste the Luberon wines with a local sommelier. The château also features a botanical garden and museum of the corkscrew, which boasts a charming collection of devices new and old, from France and beyond. By late afternoon, we return to our hotel for some downtime before our celebratory final dinner together.
In the morning, after breakfast, catch our one-hour group transfer to the Avignon TGV train station or, if you have more time, consider to extend your stay in the area. Au revoir à bientôt! (Goodbye and see you soon!)
- 6 nights of accommodation in 4-star hotels, and maisons and tables d’hôtes (traditional inns)
- 6 breakfasts and 2 lunches
- 4 dinners with a 3-course menu (for summer departures at least one including black truffles)
- Exploration of Saint-Remy de Provence, Fontaine de Vaucluse, and other quaint Provençal towns
- Discover five of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France: Les Baux, Roussillon, Gordes, Venasque and Menerbes
- 1 visit and tasting to a winery and olive oil producer near St. Remy
- Informative visits in the must-see places of Provence including three UNESCO sites of Arles, Pont du Gard and Avignon and two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves: Natural Park of Luberon and Gorge de la Nesque
- 1 cooking demo in a maison et table d’hôtes
- 1 visit to a lavender farm and 1 guided visit to Van Gogh’s famous painting locations
- 1 visit to a salt museum and 1 visit to the Popes’ Palace in Avignon
- Daily walking opportunities in quaint towns and in natural parks
- 1 wine tasting and visit to a local winemaker in Luberon area and 1 visit to a corskscrew museum
- Comfortable transportation and assistance by 9-seat van for all travel on tour as cited in the itinerary
- Bilingual, professional Tour Leaders
- Group transfer to Avignon TGV train station on last day
- Local taxes and gratuities for luggage porters and restaurant servers during tour
- 4 lunches and 2 dinners on your own
- Alcoholic beverages at group dinners (including wine and spirits)
- Round-trip airfare and expenses to/from the tour
- Transfer to first hotel at the beginning of the tour
- Trip cancellation, baggage loss or travel delay insurance (this optional coverage is highly recommended and is not provided by Food.Stories.Travel.)
- Gratuities for your Tour Leader