Best Adventures in Provence Tour Itinerary - 6 Days/5 Nights
3 Spectacular Walks, Gourmet Meals, French Wines & Cheeses, Cooking Class & Cultural Discovery in the Heart of Provence!
(with daily options for both walkers and non-walkers alike)
Book a 2013 Provence Tour BEFORE June 1, 2013 and SAVE a TOTAL of $400 per person off the Price!
Valid for all tour bookings received before June 1, 2013
"Where did you learn to exceed expectations? It just keeps getting better and better every day!"
...question commented by guests Dennis and Pat Gelner during 1 of the 2 tours they enjoyed with us, September 2012!
Tour Summary • Provence
Dates & Prices
Award winning France Off the Beaten Path Tours Voted BEST Active, Gourmet Tours in France for Discerning Travelers by Conde Nast, National Geographic, Forbes Traveler, CNN Traveller, USA Today, The New York Times, eHow.com, Gourmet Get-a-Ways, Travel & Leisure and many more!
Our small group Provence trips are designed for and cater to both walkers and non-walkers alike, and feature a lot of flexibility, options and freedom daily to choose what you would like to do each day and how active you would like to be each day. Participate in every activity and walk or pick and choose to participate in only those activities of interest to you.
Off the Beaten Path Small Group, 2013 Provence, France Tours Feature:
- Professional Off the Beaten Path, LLC Tour Guides - history, culinary and wine specialists
- 5 Nights, HOME BASED, superior hotel accommodations at Le Mas des Carassins - Ranked No. 1 hotel in historic St. Remy de Provence (NEVER any Hotel Hopping)
- ALL MEALS (14 Meals): 5 buffet breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners - meals include a mix of Michelin-star, gourmet and French bistrot style meals.
- Classified regional wines and non-alcoholic beverages included at all group meals.
- 3 guided walks (optional and designed for interested guests) --walk details in itinerary and at bottom of page.
- Support van provided for 3 walks.
- Day along the Mediterranean coast in Cassis wine producing village - discover the village, market, beach and beautiful Calanques (fjords).
- 45 minute calanques (fjords) viewing cruise along the Mediterranean coast.
- Private winery tour and VIP wine tasting at Provence's leading organic wine producer.
- A hosted cocktail hour learning to play pétanque, a favorite French pastime (French "boules")
- Cultural discovery of colorful, Luberon perched villages Gordes and Roussillon and Alpilles perched village Les Baux de Provence.
- Guided Tour and Shopping at the most prestigious art, artisan, crafts and regional products market in Provence.
- Artisan cheese tasting throughout the trip.
- 1 fun, hands-on culinary (cooking) class with our friend, a master celebrity Chef, at her Provençal farmhouse followed by cocktails & gourmet lunch with regional wines.
- Leisure time to pursue independent interests.
- All ground transportation throughout the tour by comfortable, spacious, air-conditioned Mercedes Sprinters.
- Roundtrip transfers between Avignon TGV rail station and the hotel on tour start and conclusion day at designated transfer times.
- Lots of options available daily for ALL guests (Walkers and non-Walkers alike).
- This exclusive, small group Provence Tour is limited to 16 guests per tour date.
- Comfort Zone - Designed for the interests of and to appeal to both the Active and Occasional Walker.
- EMAIL or CALL 1-877-846-2831 to speak with a tour specialist.
Day-by-Day Itinerary for Off the Beaten Path, LLC's Provence Tour
We allocate time to stop for guests to take photos of beautiful flower fields and other spectacular sites and scenes of Provence throughout our 6-day small group tour.
DAY 1: Guests Meet Guides at Avignon TGV Station - Transfer to Hotel for Check-in, Welcome Cocktail Hour and Gourmet Dinner Together - D
Meet and Greet by your Provence Tour guides at AVIGNON TGV Rail Station at scheduled group pick-up time and location inside the TGV station. The group meeting time for transfer is at 4:00 PM. Transfer, as a group, to your deluxe boutique hotel in the heart of the historical Gallo-Roman town of St. Remy-de-Provence. Check-in at the hotel and introductory briefing with guide upon check-in.
Click the following link to view photos we have taken of some of our rooms, gardens, dining area and decor at our Provence Tour hotel Mas des Carassins - we always reserve the BEST and largest rooms for our guests - Photos of some of our rooms at Mas des Carassins
DINNER - Welcome dinner - our first evening of Provence cuisine together prepared by one of our favorite local Chefs.
DAY 2: Morning : It's Market Day in Prestigious St. Remy de Provence - Shopping at the Artisan, Art and Crafts Market, Lunch at a Celebrity Hide-a-Way Bistrot, Afternoon: CHOOSE YOUR OPTION : Option No. 1 - Walkers : Guided Provence "Alpilles Valley Winery to Village" Walk with Private Winery Tour & VIP Wine Tasting OR Option No. 2 - Non-Walkers : Shuttle To/From the Winery Tour & VIP Wine Tasting, Leisure Time After for Exploring museums & sites & Pursuing Independent Interests, Dinner Together - B, L, D
MORNING - St. Remy-de-Provence Market. Morning perusing and shopping at the weekly market in the town that inspired some of Van Gogh’s most famous art work. Noble names of our time include Princess Diana who once had a home here and Princess Caroline of Monaco. Situated in the heart of the Alpilles, surrounded by lush valleys of olive trees and Baux de Provence vineyards, the sounds of cicadas chirping, the visual delight of plane trees and flowers and its Gallo-Roman architecture, St. Remy reflects the heart and soul of Provence. Market day in town is a must for any stay in Provence.
LUNCH - Group meets back at hotel after the market to depart for Lunch at our favorite, celebrity hide-a-way bistrot, a "foodie's" heaven.
AFTERNOON - Winery Tour & Tasting at our Favorite Organic Wine Producer.
CHOOSE YOUR OPTION - All guests shuttle to the Winery and from there choose one of the options below.
Option No. 1. Walkers : Guided, "Alpilles Valley Winery to Village" walk - (optional - designed for interested guests). This afternoon walkers depart for a spectacular walk in one of Provence's most beautiful walking areas : Les Alpilles valley area full of olive orchards, rolling vineyards and flower fields. Our walk offers fabulous photographic opportunities of traditional Provencal scenery. We begin our walk with private winery tour and VIP wine tasting at an organic wine producer and conclude with options for you to visit historic sites in our destination village.
Option No. 2. Non-Walkers :
1. Shuttle to/from our private winery tour and VIP wine tasting.
2. Explore and shop in St. Remy.
3. Visit the archeological site of Glanum and/or explore the sites painted by Van Gogh.
4. Borrow a bike and take a ride around St. Remy de Provence.
Afternoon and early evening at leisure on our return to the Hotel.
DINNER - Another gourmet experience of Provençal cuisine together.
DAY 3: Morning: Cooking Class - Fun, Hands-On Cooking Class with Our Friend, a Favorite Celebrity Master Chef of the Region Nito Carpita, Cocktails & Gourmet Lunch of Recipes Prepared in Cooking Class, Afternoon: Les Baux de Provence Village, CHOOSE YOUR OPTION : Option No. 1 - Walkers : "Les Baux de Provence Village to Village" Walk - Option No. 2 - Non-Walkers : Shuttle to/from Les Baux de Provence Village, Guided Tour & Leisure Time to Explore, Dinner Together - B, L, D
MORNING - Depart to our Chef Nito's farmhouse in the countryside of St. Remy de Provence to embark on a culinary adventure participating in a fun, hands-on cooking class. Group shuttles to cooking class. Nito is the owner and principal instructor of the Seasons of Provence Cooking School at Mas de Cornud in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.
A Certified Culinary Professional (CCP) under the auspices of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), Nito has trained in France at the Lenotre and Alain Ducasse professional schools. She has also participated in culinary workshops and study tours in Australia, Canada, Italy, Holland, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland and several regions of the United States.
Nito is a friend, and has worked with some of France's most famous Michelin-star Chefs, including Alain Ducasse, Jacques Pépin and Jean-André Charial. The class is pure fun and designed for all interest levels and abilities from the beginner to the more experienced. NO experience necessary! The focus of this class is to have fun while learning to prepare traditional Provençal cuisine in a relaxing environment! It's always lots of fun, and an authentic French experience spending time with our Chef and her husband!
Following class, enjoy cocktails with our Chef and her husband.
LUNCH - Dine as VIP guests at our Chef's table to enjoy a lunch of the recipes prepared together in cooking class with wine pairings from our Chef's private cellar.
AFTERNOON - Departure to Les Baux de Provence Village for a guided tour and leisure time. CHOOSE YOUR OPTION - All guests shuttle to Les Baux de Provence village and from there choose one of the options below.
Option No. 1. Walkers : "Les Baux de Provence Village to Village" Walk. Guided walk of the southern Alpilles area of Provence. This spectacular walk begins in Les Baux de Provence village taking guests on a scenic trail from the village through the southern Alpilles most prominent olive orchards and vineyards, and through Les Alpilles forest.
Option No. 2. NON-Walkers : Shuttle to/From Les Baux de Provence Village by comfortable minivan for a guided tour and leisure time in this beautiful village. Castle ruins, shopping, wine tasting, art galleries, cafés and restaurants are available in the village.
DINNER - A gourmet Provençal dinner experience together.
DAY 4: Full Day Along the Mediterranean Coast in the Coastal Wine Producing Village of CASSIS -- Introduction to Cassis Village & 45 minute Cruise on the Mediterranean Sea to View the historical Calanques (Fjords), Explore and Shop at the Cassis Weekly Market, Lunch in Cassis, Evening cocktail hour Learnign to Play Pétanque, Dinner Together - B, L, D
MORNING - Departure for a full day in the picturesque Mediterranean coastal, wine producing village of Cassis, France which dates back to 500 BC, is surrounded by vineyards, and bordered by the Mediterranean sea, colorful cliffs and beach. Stroll through this art deco style village's pedestrian streets for photo-ops of the cobblestone streets, colorful port and beautiful vineyard covered coastline. Shop and try a local café at the port. It's market day also in Cassis and the coastal markets offer a completely different experience to that of inland Provence. Peruse the stands, taste artisan products, and photograph the colorful stands and products on offer.
On arrival in Cassis guests enjoy an introduction to the village, then have the opportunity to shop at the morning market and village shops. At noon enjoy a fabulous Mediterranean lunch at the port overlooking the sea. After lunch choose to embark on a scenic 45 minute boat tour of the historical, Mediterranean calanques. Afterwards, enjoy a home-made ice-cream. Discover typical Mediterranean decor and quaint cafés while exploring the historic streets -- take time to enjoy a glass of locally produced Cassis wine and people watch while seated at a café or brasserie along the colorful port. Some guests may also wish to go for a swim in the Mediterranean Sea or sunbath at the beautiful beach -- changing facilities are available at the beach -- your guides will direct you where to go.
LUNCH - Gourmet Michelin-Star lunch together overlooking the Mediterannean Sea at one of Cassis’ best kept secrets.
AFTERNOON - Return to St. Remy de Provence for leisure time to explore the town.
Early Evening - Come join your guides for an evening cocktail hour and learn to play pétanque, the favorite French pastime of "boules".
DINNER - A gourmet Provençal dinner experience together.
DAY 5: A Full Day in the LUBERON: CHOOSE YOUR OPTION : Option No. 1 - Walkers : Participate in a Spectacular "Luberon Valley Village to Village" walk or Option No. 2 - Non-walkers: Visits & Free Time in the "Golden Stone Village" of Gordes and the Artist Village of Roussillon - Explore the Ochre Park, Farewell Cocktails & Dinner Together - B, L, D
MORNING - CHOOSE YOUR OPTION - All guests shuttle to Gordes village and from there choose one of the options available for today.
Option No. 1. Walkers : "Luberon Village to Village" Walk - (optional - designed for interested guests) - Participate in a Spectacular, guided, "Luberon Village to Village" walk. The Luberon countryside is absolutely beautiful with incredible, often unexpected variety and offers the perfect setting for a golden walking experience unlike any other. Comprised of very unique experiences, our Luberon walk begins in a beautiful golden village that is home to an imposing noble 11th century castle and takes us onward to a famous artist village whose history evolved around the tale of a red-headed damsel and her troubadour lover. We'll pass through farms, vineyards, orchards and woods, past beautifully restored homes and simple farm dwellings. The area surrounding the Luberon is a designated natural park. The countryside is rich with bits of history and evidence of life from other times, and on foot you'll discover special places that aren't in the tourist guidebooks. We pass prehistoric caves, ancient bories, a Roman oppidium, old mills, 700-year old chapels, and abandoned villages. Also famous for its vineyard and lavender covered countryside, walking in the Luberon offers photo opportunities of spectacular colors of lavender, poppies and sunflowers, and scenery that will completely contrast your experience in the Alpilles and along the Mediterranean coast.
LUNCH - Gourmet Michelin-Star Lunch together overlooking the Lubéron valley following our walk.
Option No. 2. Non-walkers :
Shuttle from village to village for guided tours of and free time to explore 2 of the most beautiful, perched villages in the picturesque "Luberon" area of Provence made famous by Peter Mayle's books A Year in Provence and A Good Year - Gordes and Roussillon villages.
Our first visit takes us to Gordes, one of the most stunning of the perched villages of Provence. The village appears like an Atlantis surrounded by fields instead of ocean. To one side looms the massif of Mount Ventoux, the Olympus of Provence, to the other, the pastoral whale-back of Mount Luberon.The breadth and height of this region balance in utter serenity in Gordes. The viewpoint of our initial stop perches us dizzyingly at a canyon's edge across from which the village could be mistaken for a masonery version of an anthill. The village's private houses, chateau and imposing church form a kind of medieval cliff-dwelling community. Arriving to the village center, we are afforded a stroll of the cobbled lanes where dry stone walls serrate the magical vistas of the sunny land at our feet. After a leisurely visit in the village, the day's casual pilgrimage again must faithfully conclude.
Next we head to visit and shop in the artist village of Roussillon, the canto of color in It is a mythical story of a lover, a murder and the suicide of the faithful bereft that describes how the name of the village honors a redhead. The romance colors the very ground and reddish walls of the buildings that lines its winding streets. Known as the village of ochre, this unique mineral creates a substance formerly used as a dying agent. A meandering walk of the preserved ochre quarry reveals the handiwork of nature amidst the collapsing excavations of man. The residents of Roussillon are predominately artists and artisans. This has led to many shops being authentic and individual in character. Explore the village and colorful Ochre Park at leisure.
AFTERNOON - Return to St. Remy-de-Provence.
DINNER - Farewell cocktail hour followed by a gourmet Provençal dinner prepared by our favorite Provence Chef to celebrate a fabulous week in Provence!
DAY 6: Tour Conclusion - B
Breakfast. Trip concludes today with 11:30 AM arrival to Avignon TGV Rail Station. Earlier and later departures can be organized. Please contact us for details.
Click the following link to download the detailed PROVENCE TOUR BROCHURE (Adobe pdf).
EMAIL or CALL 1-877-846-2831 to speak with a tour specialist.
Provence Tour Guest Testimonials
"My husband and I had the pleasure of joining the Provence tour last June and I can tell you that it was the most wonderful part of our trip to France. Our tour leaders were highly professional and warm and truly gave us a wonderful Provencial experience. Our tour consisted of 12 people and our two leaders. We made life long friends as we explored the region. There was a nice balance of walking through out the beautiful countryside, experiencing Provence markets, wine tasting, cooking and eating at incredible restaurants. We had an amazing time and would highly recommend this tour if you like a very personal yet classy experience! My husband and I were just reminiscing this morning and he was looking at our pictures on his iPad on his way home from a business trip yesterday. We were just talking about booking another "Off the Beaten Path" trip to another region of France.." –Anastacia and Robert Scott, Carlsbad, CA – (Best Adventures in Provence Tour)
"Loved, Loved, Loved Marc's cooking class! Great variety of restaurant selections! Loved all of the walks, the St. Remy market and town and the hotel rooms were VERY NICE! Thank you so much for making this week special. We loved it!" Rick and Kelley Kirchner, Milford, MI (Best Adventures in Provence Tour)
"Just a short note to thank you for guiding us on our first visit to Provence; one we hope to repeat again! You were absolutely outstanding! Your obvious professionalism, knowledge and experience and language and cultural skills helped make our time in Provence so interesting and enjoyable! Thank you again for making our time here so productive and enjoyable! Best wishes for continuing a wonderful life in France. Thank you for a great time!" –David and Penny Gibson, Hope Island, Australia (Best Adventures in Provence Tour)
Information and ratings for our Provence Walks - all are optional, designed for interested guests.
- Walk No.1 - For Walkers: The Guided walk "Alpilles Winery Vineyard to Village" Walk is rated easy to moderate (optional: designed for interested guests). Sturdy walking shoes recommended. Walking on vineyard and country trails. Ideal for those who walk for a morning or afternoon on a regular basis. Walk distance is 4.5 miles - approximately 1.5-2 hrs. of walking depending on photo-op stops. For non-walkers: shuttle by comfortable minivan to/from the winery or enjoy leisure time in St. Remy to visit museums, shop or simply pursue independent interests. Borrow a bike.
- Walk No.2 - For Walkers: The Guided "Les Baux de Provence Village to Village" Walk is rated moderate (optional: designed for interested guests). Sturdy walking shoes recommended. Walking on vineyard and country trails with occasional ascents and uneven terrain. The trail offers spectacular views of Les Baux Valley and the castle, and on a clear day, one can see all the way to the Mont Ventoux - The walk is rated moderate-Ideal for those who walk more seriously on a regular basis. Walk distance is 5 miles - approximately 2 hrs. of walking depending on photo-op stops. For non-walkers: shuttle by comfortable minivan to Les Baux de Provence village for a guided tour and leisure time to discover the village. Shopping, wine tasting, art galleries and cafés and restaurants are available in the village.
- Walk No.3 - For Walkers: The Guided walk - "Luberon Village to Village" walk in the Luberon region of Provence is rated easy to moderate (optional: designed for interested guests). Walking on vineyard and country trails through picturesque lansdcapes and French country architecture, lavender and sunflower fields with a variety of beautiful villages in the background. Ideal for those who walk for a morning or afternoon on a regular basis. Walk distance is 6 miles - approximately 2-2.5 hrs. depending on photo-op stops. For non-walkers: shuttle by comfortable minivan to each village for guided tours and leisure time to discover these beautiful villages in the Luberon. Shopping, wine tasting, art galleries and cafés and restaurants are available in each village.
- Non-walkers are shuttled to/from all activities and visits.