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12 Day Treasures of Provence (Discovery Tour)

12 days with Gate 1 Travel   Rating: First Class

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  • Save $500 per couple off this trip. Expires September 23. Click here for eligible departures.

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Itinerary
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DAY 1, Thursday - Depart for France
Depart on your flight to Paris, France.

DAY 2, Friday - Arrive in Paris
Bienvenue! Arrive in magical Paris with its exquisite architecture, endless treasures and stylish boutiques. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Your tour begins at 6:00 PM when you join your Tour Manager for an orientation meeting on the wonderful journey that awaits you in France. We recommend that you select flights which arrive at Paris no later than 4:00 PM on Day 2 of the itinerary, or earlier if possible . Enjoy a Welcome Dinner at a popular restaurant - your first taste of superb French cuisine! (Dinner)

DAY 3, Saturday - Captivating Paris, Louvre Museum, Montmartre
Drive along the fashionable Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, Concorde Square, and the iconic Eiffel Tower, the symbol of Paris. Continue to the vivacious Left Bank, where artists, philosophers, and writers in a long-gone era flourished in the artistic community of Montparnasse. View the imposing Cathedral of Notre-Dame before a guided visit to the remarkable Louvre Museum, one of the most famous in Paris. Of the many exhibitions found therein, view the medieval fortress, modern pyramid, and the museum's most celebrated masterpiece, Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Afterward, travel to Montmartre for spectacular views of the city from the steps of the Basilica Sacre Coeur. Time to walk along the winding lanes to mingle with street artists selling their wares at Place du Tertre. (Breakfast)

DAY 4, Sunday - Pont du Gard, Avignon’s Palace of the Popes
This morning, board an express train that whisks you to Avignon, one of France’s loveliest cities. On arrival visit one of the true masterpieces of Roman architecture – the extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage listed Pont du Gard, graced with 52 precision-built arches. This ancient aqueduct, built during the first century AD, was used to transport water from Uzes to Nimes and is considered one of the finest remaining Roman aqueducts in the world. Return to Avignon, a medieval city dramatically surrounded by battlements and towers. The site of the papacy during the 14th century, seven Popes once resided at the soaring World Heritage site known as the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes). On the walking tour to the colorful central square, view the impressive legacy of ecclesiastical architecture. Afterward, enjoy dinner together at your hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 5, Monday - Van Gogh’s Arles, Camargue Region, Ranch Visit with Lunch
In stunning Provence, begin the day in Van Gogh’s charming town of Arles. A walking tour along the narrow honey-colored streets in the Old Town is highlighted by sites that inspired his most famous paintings, including Starry Night and Sunflowers. Visit the enormous Roman Amphitheater before enjoying some time on your own to explore this charming city. Then, enter the vast delta of the Rhone River known as the Camargue, a harsh landscape that is home to over 400 species of birds including pink flamingos. White horses and black long-horned bulls roam freely over much of the 570 square mile area. At a local ranch, share a hearty lunch with the Guardians (cowboys) that make the Camargue region their home. Later, return to Avignon with remainder of the day at leisure. (Breakfast, Lunch)

DAY 6, Tuesday - Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Picnic Lunch in Mouries, Aix-en-Provence
In lovely Saint-Rémy-de-Provence where the impressionist movement thrived, visit the beautiful Saint-Paul de Mausole, the monastery where Van Gogh spent his final years. Part of the "Circuit Van Gogh," at the entrance, view the field of olive trees painted by the artist. Traveling along scenic roads, arrive in Mouries, a small, picturesque village at the foot of the Alpilles. At a hilltop spot, enjoy a typical picnic lunch accompanied by local wines and fresh olive oil from a nearby 18th-century oil mill. This area, rooted in its tradition of olive oil production is France’s premier oil-producing municipality with over 80,000 olive trees! Take a late afternoon walk in the hilltop village of Les Baux and visit the Cathedral d'Images before arriving in Aix-en-Provence for overnight. (Breakfast, Lunch)

DAY 7, Wednesday - Aix-en-Provence, Cézanne’s Art Studio, Wine Tasting
Aix-en-Provence, the quintessential Provencal town, was the home of post-impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. Stroll along the tree-lined Cours Mirabeau in this bohemian town and view centuries-old private mansions. Continuing onward, discover the lively markets, town squares of the Old Town (Le Vieil Aix), magnificent fountains and regal St. Sauveur Cathedral. Visit Cézanne’s sunbaked art studio nestled on Lauves hill where he created masterpieces now preserved in the great museums of the world. At this studio, surrounded by olive and fig trees, view his dearest familiar objects and original furniture. On to Sainte-Victoire Mountain, immortalized in many of Cézanne’s paintings, for a delectable Provencal lunch. In this picturesque setting of stone villages and river valleys meet with traditional local vintners and enjoy tastings of some of the finest vintages and varieties of the region’s wines. The rest of the day is at leisure in the town of Aix-en-Provence. (Breakfast, Lunch)

DAY 8, Thursday - The Heart of Provence 
journey takes you into the Luberon – the very heart of Provence. Dotted with tiny clifftop villages and sprawling windswept vineyards, this magnificent region exemplifies rural France at its finest! The nearby medieval hilltop village of Gordes is known as one of the most beautiful villages in France due to its privileged position and typical architecture. When lavender is blooming in June and July, the pretty Senanque Abbey is totally surrounded by the fragrant flowers. After a quick photostop, continue to colorful Roussillon, with its distinctive orange-hued cliffs; walk on the famed Ochre's Path and then explore the town center and its lively market packed with stalls selling olive oil, honey, and lavender. End the day in quaint Lourmarin. Walk the narrow streets lined with Mediterranean architecture and marvel at Lourmarin Castle, the first Renaissance castle to be built in Provence. Return to Aix-en-Provence for dinner together – share memories and photos of this extraordinary day. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 9, Friday - Port City of Marseille, Cassis Cruise, Boules Game & Cooking Lesson
Arrive in Marseilles, France’s oldest city, founded in 600 BC by the Greeks. At its heart is the vibrant Vieux Port where fishmongers sell their catch along the boat-lined quay. From atop striking Notre-Dame de la Garde you’ll be awed by the sweeping views of Marseille, the sparkling sea, and Chateau d’If, the island fortress featured in The Count of Monte Cristo. View the storied Abbey of St. Victor before a traditional lunch in the Le Panier neighborhood, where Bouillabaisse (fish stew) was born! A scenic drive then takes you to Cassis where you can stroll around the harbor before embarking on a cruise to view the region’s famous calanques (limestone rock formations). In the evening, enjoy a very special boules game with locals where you will learn the art of this traditional French pastime, similar to lawn bowling and bocce. Then, a culinary lesson led by a skilled chef. Follow step-by-step the preparation of your dinner and savor the delectable results together. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 10, Saturday - The French Riviera, Rothschild Villa & Gardens with Afternoon Tea
A day bursting with glorious highlights of the sun-drenched French Riviera. Start in Nice, the unofficial capital of the Cote d’Azur, an amazing seaside city with old world opulence. Walk through the atmospheric Old Town and visit Massena Square and Cours Saleya with its gorgeous flower market. Take time to browse through the market and have lunch on your own. Then drive to Beaulieu-sur-Mer at the beginning of Cap Ferrat, a wooded peninsula laden with millionaires’ villas and home to the small village of St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. The charm of this forested peninsula has always attracted the rich and famous, while remaining remarkably unspoiled. On to the Rothschild Villa and Gardens, an Italian-style pink palazzo with nine exquisite gardens. This lavish residence with its priceless treasures was bequeathed to France as a fine art museum. Enjoy afternoon tea in the charming Tea Room and then take the time to wander on your own. Return to Nice for an evening at leisure. (Breakfast)

DAY 11, Sunday - Hilltop Eze and perfumery, Principality of Monaco, Monte Carlo, Farewell Dinner
Visit the famous Fragonard Perfume factory in Eze before exploring this tiny hilltop village, overlooking the Riviera coast, known for its perfumery, winding cobblestone streets, and traditional stone houses. Cross the border into the Principality of Monaco; visit the Old Town with its stately Royal Palace and see the changing of the guard (schedule permitting). On a walking tour, pass Saint Nicholas Cathedral where Princess Grace and Prince Rainer are buried, and view the Oceanographic Museum dramatically perched on the edge of a cliff. In glamorous Monte Carlo, the crown jewel of the Riviera, stop at the opulent marble and gold casino, a lavish example of belle époque architecture. View the harbor with rows of extravagant mega-yachts before departing this glittering town. Tonight, bid au revoir to France. Share wonderful memories of a beautiful journey through France with your fellow travelers at the Farewell Dinner in Nice. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 12, Monday - Depart France
Your vacation ends today after breakfast. (Breakfast)

Map
All This Included
  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • 10 nights First Class accommodations
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • High Speed TGV train from Paris to Avignon
  • 20 meals: 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches & 6 dinners with wine (including welcome & farewell dinners)
  • Coffee and tea with all meals
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Services of local English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features
Highlights
  • Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
  • Discover magical Paris with its exquisite architecture and endless treasures
  • Enjoy a guided visit to the treasure-filled Louvre, one of the world's largest museums
  • Visit the soaring World Heritage site of the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) in Avignon
  • Stand before the extraordinary UNESCO listed three-tiered ancient Pont du Gard aqueduct
  • Walking tour along the honey-colored streets in Arles that inspired many Van Gogh paintings
  • Enter the vast Camargue, a harsh landscape home to white horses, black bulls and flamingos
  • Share lunch with Guardians (cowboys) at a local ranch in the Camargue region
  • In Saint-Rémy visit the beautiful old monastery complex where Van Gogh spent his last years
  • Typical picnic lunch in Mouries with local wines and fresh olive oil from a nearby oil mill
  • Explore the quintessential Provencal town of Aix-en-Provence, home of painter Paul Cézanne
  • Visit Cézanne’s art studio, nestled on Lauves hill where many of his masterpieces were created
  • At Sainte-Victoire Mountain, savor a delectable Provencal lunch and tastings of regional wines
  • Journey into the very heart of Provence with its tiny clifftop villages and sprawling vineyards
  • In Marseilles, visit the Vieux Port where fishmongers sell their catch along the boat lined quay
  • A cruise in Cassis to view the region’s famous calanques (limestone rock formations)
  • A boules game with locals followed by a culinary lesson and dinner in the village of Velaux
  • Travel from Nice along the sun-drenched French Riviera, stopping in Eze and Cap Ferrat
  • Visit the stunning Rothschild Villa and Gardens, a pink palazzo in magnificent St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
  • Cross the border into the storied Principality of Monaco with its opulent Royal Palace
  • In glamorous Monte Carlo, crown jewel of the Riviera, view the lavish marble and gold Casino
Accommodations
Paris: Millennium Paris Opera Hotel, Melia Paris Tour Eiffel or Melia Paris Champs-Elysees
Avignon: Cloitre Saint - Louis Avignon Hotel
Aix-en-Provence: Renaissance Aix-en-Provence Hotel
Nice: AC Hotel Nice or Hotel Nice Beau Rivage
Notes
  • Land only prices do not include arrival/departure transfers.
  • Oct 10 & 17 departures will be accommodated at the Millennium Paris Opera Hotel in Paris.
  • This is a moderately active trip. Our small group covers a lot of ground each day, and we spend two to three hours on our feet during tours. The pace is moderate. Some of our tours require walking over cobblestone streets and uneven surfaces. This tour is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking. The longest day spent on the bus is between Aix-en-Provence and Nice with about 2 hours total on the bus. This tour includes a train ride from Paris to Avignon that is approximately 4 hours in length, food & drink is available on board at an additional cost. This is a Small Group program.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Gate 1 Travel terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.