Provence Fills The Senses
SPLENDORS OF EUROPE offers this one week luxury escorted tour to Provence France. This is a small group tour of Provence that includes walking tours and excursions which highlight art, history, architecture and museum visits. This tour has a regional focus and provides wonderful in-depth cultural experiences in Provence. Two professional escorts ensure that everyone in our small group of 12 or less has a rewarding personal experience. Travel to Provence is by first class high speed train where you’ll enjoy in-depth cultural and grand gourmet culinary experiences. The tour includes escorted visits to Avignon, and the beautiful medieval villages of Gordes, Roussillon, Cassis and Les Baux de Provence. You’ll also tour Roman Provence with the Pont du Gard, Arles, and Orange. Travel to Provence France with SPLENDORS OF EUROPE and fill your senses. You'll have the best vacation trip ever. Visit the hotel, restaurant, and tour photo galleries at the end of this page.
Provence in the sunny south of France is a region that benefits from a mild climate, an outstanding landscape, and a long prosperous history. Man and Mother Nature have conspired to create sensational scenery and captivating settings. You’ll explore fascinating Roman constructions and medieval stone villages, each a jewel waiting to be discovered. On this tour you’ll discover the region described in Peter Mails book "A year in PROVENCE", and also featured in the book "The Most Beautiful Villages of PROVENCE". You’ll see dramatic rocky cliffs, colorful lavender fields, and scenic groves of silver olive trees.
The climate, the azure sea, and the beautiful landscape have attracted man to this region for thousands of years. Numerous artists and writers have been attracted to Provence for centuries. Renoir, Picasso, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Chagall and many others were inspired by the region’s beauty and produced many of their best works here. Quiet walks through these Provencal villages and towns provide opportunities to interact with local artisans that continue to practice their old world crafts.
You’ll experience terrace dining in exceptional settings while enjoying the delicious regional cuisine of the areas finest restaurants. The flavors of the cuisine, the scent of thyme and lavender in the air, and the sounds of Romanesque church bells, will all fill your senses in Provence.
9 Day Itinerary
SATURDAY International flight to Paris Charles De Gaulle airport
SUNDAY - Arrive at Charles De Gaulle airport near Paris.
Your escorts greet you at the airport and after a brief taxi ride, check you in our Parisian hotel. Relax before lunch at a local restaurant. Get acquainted over lunch with your hosts and fellow travelers.
We enjoy a quiet afternoon relaxing in Luxembourg Garden. The garden is attractively located in front of the magnificent Palais du Luxembourg, now the home of the French Senate. It’s one of the most beautiful parks in Paris and popular with Parisians.
This evening we enjoy welcome cocktails at our hotel before we savor dinner at an intimate nearby restaurant. Tonight, you’ll enjoy the romantic lights of Paris while cruising on the Seine.L+D
MONDAY - Train to Provence and the Town of Avignon
This morning we travel to Avignon enjoying the French countryside from the comfort of our first class high speed 200 mph TGV train service.
Arriving in Avignon we enjoy a fine lunch at our lovely hotel.
This afternoon we visit this famous medieval walled city. We tour the huge Papal Palace and the Cathedral.WHS
Dinner is enjoyed this evening in town. B+L+D
TUESDAY - Discover the beautiful villages of Provence with Fountain de Vaucluse, Gordes and Roussillon
Today we explore the Vaucluse region of Provence, famous for its beautiful villages. First we visit Fontaine–de-Vaucluse. Here the Sorgue River gushes out of its underground source more than 1000 feet deep before tumbling down a gorge through the charming town.
Next we visit the marvelous hill town of Gordes. Here we enjoy lunch in one of our favorite restaurants located on a magnificent edifice with commanding views of the Lubéron. The twelfth century towers and arcades provide beautiful surroundings to the lovely terraces which beckon you to relax and contemplate your fortunate situation.
After lunch we further explore the cobbled streets and visit the Renaissance chateau with its incredible stone fireplace from 1541. Enjoy a quiet walk around the picturesque village this afternoon. Built of a honey colored stone which changes hue with the elevation of the sun. Its narrow and crooked cobbled streets provide commanding views and pleasant surprises around every corner.
This afternoon we visit the much photographed Abbey de Senanque nearby. This beautiful Cistercian Abbey with its cloister and church was founded in 1148, and is still inhabited by monks.
Abbey Photo credit, John Egan
Before returning to Avignon this afternoon we visit the medieval village of Roussillon. Here the houses are painted in the warm colors of ochre and sienna which come from natural pigments mined from a local geological curiosity. We visit the town and its ochre clay quarry that has eroded into dramatic spires and crevasses that has yielded the name of Colorado of France.
Dinner is enjoyed tonight at one of the best restaurants Avignon. B+L+D
WEDNESDAY - Les Baux de Provence and St-Rémy-de Provence.
This morning we head for Alpilles, a limestone mountain range colored by numerous silvery olive trees and groves of almond trees. Here we’ll explore the well preserved medieval hill town of les Baux de Provence. Cobbled streets lead past charming stone houses from the 12th century. Many have become attractive shops, cafés and galleries.
Atop a craggy and picturesque mountain sits the ruins of the town’s 11th century fortress. A visit to the ruins of provides commanding views worthy of paintings by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne and other great masters.
After Les Baux we make the short trip to St Rémy-de-Provence. On the way we stop at Les Antiques, and see two of the best preserved roman monuments anywhere. The Roman Mausoleum dates from 30 BC and the Triumphal Arch from 20 AD. Arriving in St-Rémy we enjoy a delightful lunch at one of the many fine restaurants. St-Rémy is a wonderful small market town, that’s a delight to explore. The town has retained many of its Provencal traditions and has an abundant supply of food boutiques, herb shops, art galleries and of course good restaurants. Here we also visit the Eglise St-Martin with its exceptional organ. Nearby we visit the 15 century Hotel de Sade containing treasures recovered from the ruins of Glanum.
Tonight dinner is at your leisure in Avignon. B+L
THURSDAY – Chateauneuf-du-Pape
After breakfast we head for Chateauneuf-du-Pape, where the best wines of the Cotes-du-Rhone come from. From the shadows of the Chateau des Papes, now mostly in ruins we see the vineyards where the 13 varieties of grapes grow with Avignon visible in the distance. Some 35 domains produce wine with the world famous Chateauneuf-du-Pape label.
We begin with a visit to a wine museum where we learn about the areas wine making history and methods. We visit several wine makers and learn about their ancient craft and what makes Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine so special. We visit several wine caves and enjoy tasting many of the areas better vintages. Lunch is enjoyed in one of the areas best restaurants.
Dinner tonight is at your leisure with many fine choices to select from.B+L
FRIDAY- Roman Provence with the Pont du Gard, Arles, and Orange.
This morning we visit the Pont du Gard. This massive 2000 year old aqueduct is the highest bridge ever built by the Romans.WHS
Next this morning, we take a walk through the Roman Provencal town of Arles. Arles boasts an outstanding array of Roman vestiges, medieval architectural sites, stone facades, and museums joined by graceful streets and squares. We’ll marvel at the Roman Arena and Amphitheater as well as the Cloister and church of St. Trophine.WHS
Our last stop is in Orange where we visit the colossal Roman Theater, still in use today.WHS
Dinner is enjoyed this evening at our hotel.B+L+D
SATURDAY- Avignon to Chantilly forest and Château de ChantillyAfter breakfast we leave Provence on the high speed TGV train to Paris. We arrive at our own Château in the Chantilly forest where we have a splendid lunch. This afternoon we make a visit to the magnificent French Renaissance Château de Chantilly and its palatial gardens.
Chantilly is considered one of the most beautiful in all Europe. Here we visit the exquisite Château and the Conde Museum. We see the private collection of the prince containing beautiful furnishings and great works by van Dyck, Botticelli, Raphael, Rubens and many other great masters.
After our visit of Château de Chantilly we return to our Château. Here the lovely setting offers splendid forest views and quiet walks around the grounds.
Tonight we begin with cocktails and enjoy an elegant farewell dinner while we regale about your wonderful holiday in Provence.B+L+D
SUNDAY - Airport transfer to CDG airport at your convenience and your return flight home, or extend your stay in France. B