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Culture and Wine Holiday in France

Relax and take some time to discover this unique region on this slow travel France Provence package that includes easy-paced sightseeing excursions out of Aix-en-Provence to carefully selected locations that make for a perfect introduction to the region. The tours can be customized exactly to your wishes and if you would like a private tour in another language, don't hesitate to send an inquiry to Ophorus Excursion & Tours in France and they will let you know if your language is available.

Highlights

  • 3 commented wine tastings
  • English speaking guides, Provence experts
  • Tour can be customized to suit your interests
  • 3-course dinner in a traditional restaurant to taste local produce
  • Breathtaking views of the surrounding Provence Countryside
  • Visit Luberon villages and vineyards around Aix-en-Provence
  • 4 nights accommodation with breakfast
  • Discover the magic of Avignon

Styles


5 days with instruction
Group size: 2-8 participants
Airport transfer included: Marseille Provence Airport
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Accommodation

Founded in 1970, the Hotel du Globe offers 45 renovated rooms in a warm and relaxed atmosphere. The Hôtel du Globe enjoys a dream location near the thermal baths and a few steps from the old Aix-en-Provence district. You can easily explore the town's markets, its fountains, its cathedral and its authentic town hall square. Only a few minutes separate this hotel from the famous Fontaine de la Rotonde, Cours Mirabeau and the Mazarin district.

Everything has been thought out to make your stay at the Hotel du Globe pleasant and comfortable. They offer many services and remain at your disposal to accompany you for the duration of your visit. Their terrace will offer you the privilege of being able to relax while admiring the splendid view of the rooftops of Aix-en-Provence, the Saint-Sauveur cathedral and the Sainte Victoire.

Program

Day 1: Arrival in Aix en Provence - private hotel transfer

Pick up at Aix en Provence train station or Marseille Provence airport and private transfer to your hotel in Aix en Provence. Enjoy some free time for personal discovery depending on time of arrival. Evening is at leisure in Aix en Provence.

Day 2: Arles, St Remy and Les Baux de Provence villages

Meet your English speaking local guide

In the morning, your guide will come and pick you up at your centrally located accommodation in Aix en Provence. They can also pick up from a centrally located meeting point if you are staying in rental accommodation. Meet your English-speaking driver/guide who will go over the itinerary and program of the day with you. Then board your premium A/C vehicle and begin your private tour led by a local guide.

Arles town visit

Upon arrival in Arles, it is possible to choose from different types of walking tours in this charming small town. Discover the historic city of Arles, a fortified town listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Participate in a walking tour of the historic center to visit the most emblematic monuments of the town including the Amphitheater, the Antique Theater of Saint Trophime church.

The Roman city and sites

If history and culture are of interest, then this option is the one you should choose. Arles underwent an urban revolution following the foundation of the Roman Colony of Arelate in 46 BP. Most of the Roman monuments that can be visited in Arles date back to the 1st century. The Roman Amphitheater was built at the end of the 1st Century to the North of the town.

It is part of a general extension of Arles and was built in the same period of time as the baths. It is larger than the one located in Nîmes and could welcome up to 25.000 spectators. Antique Games will be held within until the fall of the Roman Empire.

The building of the Antique Theatre was requested by Emperor Auguste. It could welcome up to 10.000 spectators at a time. Only part of the Theater remains but it is still one of the most well preserved in France.

Used as a theater until the beginning of the 5th century, it was then used as a quarry for the construction of the paleo-Christian church of Saint Stephen. In the 17th century, the famous Venus of Arles was discovered during early archeological digs.

The Roman Forum

Located at the intersection of the Cardo (north-south axis) and the Decumanus (east-west axis), the Roman Forum of Arles is made up of a great square of which only two fragments still exist. What is interesting about the Forum in Arles are the foundations as it is built on a cryptoporticus, which is a covered corridor or passageway.

The cryptoporticus were known to be used as storage areas in other towns but the one in Arles is, however, too damp for prolonged storage and may have served as a barracks for public slaves.

On the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh

If you are attracted to painting and wish to learn a bit more about the life of Van Gogh in Arles, then this option is perfect. During his stay in Arles between February 1888 and May 1889, Vincent Van Gogh executed about 300 paintings and drawings. The places in the city where the artist set up his easel are marked with panels representing his paintings.

During this tour, your guide will take you through the town of Arles in the footsteps of Van Gogh to show you the setting of where some of the most famous paintings of the artist were done. To enhance this tour, it is also possible to purchase the tickets to the Arles Van Gogh Foundation during the booking process.

Saint-Rémy de Provence

Along the way, before reaching the small village of St Remy, enjoy a photo stop on the Plateau des Antiques to admire the Roman triumphal arch and Mausoleum. Visit Saint-Paul de Mausole where Van Gogh stayed a year. This lunatic asylum is where the artist voluntarily admitted himself after his breakdown in December 1888 that resulted in the self-mutilation of his left ear. It is during his stay here that he will achieve some of his most famous paintings including the starry night.

Arrive in Saint Remy de Provence, one of the prettiest villages in the area. The village is known to be a summer hot spot for chic Parisians, yet it is still possible to find some quiet areas within the village, as there are many small squares scattered all over. After the visit, free time for personal discovery and lunch. For your information, there is a beautiful Provence Market on Wednesdays.

Les Baux de Provence

Drive to the Alpilles mountain region which is famous for its vineyards and olive trees. Reach the medieval hilltop village of les Baux-de-Provence built on a rocky spur and from where you will have a breathtaking view of the surrounding Provence Countryside. Enjoy some free time to stroll and explore the narrow streets, art galleries, and the remains of a 10th-century fortress.

Visit the Carrières de Lumières, a unique light and sound show in Europe located in an ancient limestone quarry where the natural 14-meter-high limestone walls act like giant screens.

In the historic site of Les Baux de Provence in the heart of the Alpilles, the former quarries dug out by the hands of man since the Roman era today offer the visitor a magical world of entrancing images and music.

From these quarries was extracted the white limestone used to build Les Baux and its citadel. In the 19th century, industrial development increased the demand for building stone and Les Baux exploited a large number of quarries, including the Grands Fonds, today the Carrières de Lumières.

After the visit of Les Baux de Provence village, you will return to Aix en Provence and that will be the end of today's services.

Day 3: Avignon visit and the Luberon Villages

Reach the town of Avignon

Leaving Aix en Provence on this full-day tour, drive along the Rhône river and enter Avignon, the majestic city of the Popes. Upon arrival, visit Avignon with your guide to discover all the famous landmarks that this town has to offer on a walking tour.

Climbing up to the top of the fortified medieval city walls, discover Avignon stretching in all its beauty along the Rhône river. Discover the rich historical past of Avignon where the papacy established itself in the early 14th century.

Visit the Pope's Palace

Begin your day tour from Aix with Avignon and the visit to the Palace and Gardens of the Popes. The City of Avignon and Avignon Tourism board now invite visitors to experience a unique discovery of the largest Gothic Palace in the world.

Your entrance ticket includes the brand new Histopad that uses augmented reality and 3-D technology that will enhance your experience. Visit and discover 9 of the major rooms of the monument in their original splendor of the 14th century thanks to the Histopad. Original floors, ceilings, and furnishings are all revealed as you take a leap back in time.

Of course, all the detailed explanations can be done in your chosen language and the most important artistic features are commented on with detailed explanations, especially in the Chamber of the Stag and Saint Martial and Saint John Chapels. The Histopad is also ideal if you are traveling with children as families are invited on a Treasure Hunt that takes place throughout the visit.

Saint-Bénezet Bridge

Visit Saint-Benezét bridge, famous for the children’s song “Sur le Pont d'Avignon''. Built during the 12th century over the Rhône River, it was destroyed by the River several times before being rebuilt and later abandoned in the 17th century.

The bridge was of importance especially during the middle ages as it linked the Avignon with its outskirts where most of the Cardinals had built their residences. The town of Avignon at the time had the reputation of being filthy and it was described by the Poet Petrarch as being one of the "stinkiest cities on earth" thus chasing the Cardinals out of town.

Your tour guide will certainly take some time to evoke the Papal history of this stunning provencal town. After the visit, enjoy some free time for personal discovery. It will be possible to have lunch in the town of Avignon or you can also ask your guide to get away from it all and have lunch in a local hilltop village such as Gordes.

Gordes and Senanque Abbey

After lunch, it will be time to head out to the village of Gordes, classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Facing the Luberon mountain range, the village is composed of small paved streets, known as calades, which it feels so nice to get lost in.

To mostly appreciate this unique village, magic operates in spring and autumn as summer is very crowded by a number of visitors. After some time in the village, your Provence day excursion will take you to the Cistercian abbey of Sénanque for a photo stop. In July, the Abbey is surrounded by magnificent Lavender fields.

Roussillon and The Ochre Trail

Your tour from Aix en Provence continues with the villages of Lourmarin and Roussillon which are next to your program. Roussillon is a typical hilltop village located just above a rock formation called the “Provencal Colorado“. There, you will have some time for personal discovery that will allow you to stroll down the village or walk along the “ochre path", a 3- minute walk.

The Ochre Trail

Discover one of the main highlights of the village of Roussillon, the Ochre Trail, an easy walking trail that takes place in what used to be an Ochre Quarry. Extracted during the 18th century the mining has now stopped but the location is quite stunning. The natural Ochre pigments mixed with the sand of the cliffs constitute a mineral landscape made up of Iron Oxide that creates colors ranging from bright yellow to violet.

Lourmarin Village

Lourmarin village is yet another famous Provence village and is known to be an artist’s village. Located in a gorgeous setting that is surrounded by olive and almond trees, the village has attracted numerous artists and writers such as Henri Bosco and Albert Camus.

Again, enjoy some time in the village where options include a visit to its ancient castle. The village was the source of inspiration for Peter Mayle's book “A year in Provence”.

In the evening: Dinner in Aix en Provence

This evening includes a 3-course dinner in one of the restaurants to discover the local specialties of Provence.

Day 4: Provence wine tour

Choose your wine style

Private tours from Aix en Provence can take you to a number of wine appellations located in the Provence region. Guided by your local expert wine guide, learn about the characteristics of the terroir and the wine-making process as you stroll through the aging cellars. Participate in private visits and tours to discover and sample a large selection of wines. Get in contact with your travel adviser to confirm the appellation you would like to discover:

  • Coteaux d'Aix en Provence
  • Côtes de Provence Sainte Victoire
  • Bandol & Cassis
  • Châteauneuf du Pape

Day 5: Departure transfer from Aix en Provence

Breakfast at your hotel and return transfer from your hotel in Aix en Provence to TGV train station or Marseille airport. End of the tour services.

Location

Located in the Southern part of France, the Provence region is one of the most sought-after destinations by French and international travelers alike. The region is famous for its beautiful landscapes and scenery a highlight being when the Lavender fields are in bloom. Other attractions include small villages classified as 'Most Beautiful of France', Provence Markets that take place every day in the villages or in Aix en Provence where visitors can taste local delicacies.

Provence wines are also very popular, especially the Rosé wines produced there that are considered to be the best. Provence is also the Mediterranean Coast with its lovely fishing ports and regional Capital of Marseille. The Provence region of France is also famous for the number of attractions, sites and monuments that are dotted all over the area such as Pont du Gard, the Pope's Palace in Avignon, the Roman Monuments in Arles and so much more.

Food

Daily breakfast at the hotel is included in the price. During the tour, you will also have a traditional dinner in a local restaurant on Day 3 and three commented wine tastings.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • 4 nights accommodation in 3* hotel (double room sharing)
  • Breakfast from day 2 to 5
  • City taxes
  • Expert English-speaking driver/guide throughout the tour
  • Travel in spacious Mercedes minivans
  • Guided walking tour in Avignon, Arles
  • Visit of Les Baux de Provence, Gordes, Roussillon
  • 3 commented wine tastings
  • Entrance fees to Popes Palace and Carrières des Lumières
  • 3-course dinner in a traditional restaurant (drinks not included)
  • Bottled water in the minivan

What's not included

  • Meals, drinks
  • Personal insurance and expenses
  • Entrance fees, wine tasting fees unless mentioned
  • Gratuities for the guide

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Airport: Marseille Provence Airport Airport transfer included: Marseille Provence Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
5 days / 4 nights
from --
Availability

This vacation is available until October 31, 2022 with daily arrivals. Please select your arrival date below. 

Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 2 participants

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