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Honey bee on lavender
                in Provence FranceProvencal bumble bee on Lavender

Bienvenue! Welcome!

Provence day by day


We will be pleased to pick up our guests at the Avignon TGV train station at 4:30 P.M.  Otherwise, guests who have their own transportation may check in after 5:30 P.M. Upon arrival, settle in, unpack, take a tour of the beautiful grounds, enjoy the view and, above all, relax.


Meet your travel companions and enjoy your first evening in Provence!  Due to late arrival of some guests, we often have our champagne reception on Sunday.

Market day In Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, A painter's dream in Roussillon


This morning’s visit of the colorful and famous food and antiques markets of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is the perfect introduction to the culture and history of Provence.  It's easy to fall in love with this small town, the "Venice” of the region - so called because the green waters of the river Sorgue divide into five branches that form a series of islands.  Strolling along the river banks lined with Plane trees and several ancient water-wheels, you’ll enjoy touring the market where all Provence’s bounty is displayed:  fruits and vegetables, olives and breads, cheeses and sausages, herbs, flowers, fabrics, soaps, pottery, baskets and more...  This is where you can buy a gourmet specialties and local produce to take home.  Along the way take a few minutes to visit the17th-century church Notre-Dame-des-Anges which rich decorations and paintings present the finest example of baroque art in Provence.  

L’Isle’s market for antiques is internationally known and is the second best in Europe after Paris.  Over one hundred antique dealers offer furniture, paintings, fine art, glass, and other rare objects.  Enjoy browsing the antiques displayed in the open-air flea market then visit some of the antiques galleries where you may discover the object of your dreams!

LUNCH: We invite you for champagne and lunch prepared by Anne-Marie at our house, in the Luberon countryside.

After  lunch, we’ll head up to the hilltop village of Roussillon (from roux, red), nicknamed the "Colorado of the Luberon" from the stunning seventeen hues of ocher coloring the facades of the houses.  Over the Val des Fées (fairy valley) you’ll have a breathtaking view of the deep red and golden yellow quarries, red rust cliffs set among green pine trees and the rich blue sky.  Roussillon is a magic place and you’ll enjoy a lovely stroll through the colorful streets, small gardens and squares.  Several shops display unique potteries made from local ocher clays and blends of mineral oxides.  Many artists display their work in this  village.

EVENING: After this enlightening introduction to Provence, we'll drive back to Gordes and point out some of the restaurants where you can have dinner on your own.  Or, you may prefer using your private kitchen and dine on the terrace of your “home” and enjoy  your market day specialties.


The Palace of the Pope & Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vinyards


En route to Avignon for a visit of the Palais des Papes , we'll enter the city through one of the fortified gates built  along the ramparts that encircle the town. One of the largest buildings of its time (2.6 acres), the Palace is a veritable fortress where nine popes ruled the Roman Catholic World from 1309 to 1403. The princely residence is a maze of corridors, chambers and chapels richly decorated with frescoes and tapestries.

Afterward you might like visiting the Petit Palais, now a museum with exceptional Medieval and Renaissance sculptures and paintings. A few steps from the museum stand the 12th century Notre-Dame-des-Doms and the famous St.Bénézet bridge (le Pont d’Avignon) that crosses halfway above the Rhône river.
Or, you can catch the small train and tour the town before lunch.

LUNCH: Stroll through the nearby Place de l'Horloge where you'll find several fine small restaurants.  Or, stop at one the very tempting baker-shops and delicatessens.

After lunch we'll head on to the famous vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape to taste one of the greatest wines of France.  We’ll then drive up to the top of Châteauneuf and walk through what’s left of the Popes' summer castle.  This where you can enjoy a fantastic view over the Rhône valley and vineyards. Then, for chocolate lovers, we'll stop at the best Chocolaterie in Provence!

DINNER: Delight in prestigious vintages of Provence such as Gigondas, Beaumes-de-Venise, Hermitage, Vacqueyras and Tavel, at our special Wine Tasting and dine on regional specialties cooked by Anne-Marie at our house.


Journey to Gordes & Sénanque


This morning we’ll take time to visit the beautiful village of Gordes and take part in the lively weekday market.  You'll find Provençal fabric to decorate a room, table cloth and napkins to dress up a table, wood carvings, lavender products, and much more.  There are several art galleries, craft shops,  jewelery stores with semiprecious stones and fossils, as well as regular village stores. You’ll enjoy your time there shopping or just looking!  You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the chateau with its magnificent fireplaces and doors, and the 18th century church built above a Roman building.  All the small streets of the village lead to beautiful views of the Luberon valley below.  It’s a good time to take memorable photos!

LUNCH:   There are la lot of nice restaurants in the village.  You might also enjoy having a nice picnic with goodies from the market.

This afternoon, we'll drive up to the Mont de Vaucluse known for its Lavender fields and stop by the Abbaye de Sénanque which style is a pure example of Romanesque architecture.  Later on  you’ll enjoy your  visit of the Lavender Museum where antique copper stills are displayed, and  watch a movie outlining different distillation processes.  The museum's boutique offers excellent lavender products.  We’ll end this day with a wine tasting at a favorite local winery.  

DINNER:  Dinner on your own.


Arles & Les Baux-de-Provence


On our way to Les-Baux-de-Provence we'll travel through olive groves, vine covered hills, the lively towns of Cavaillon and Saint-Rémy, along small roads lined with plane trees, and arrive in the heart of the Alpilles region.  Standing high on a rocky spur, the spectacular natural fortress of Les Baux-de-Provence, the ruins of its castle dominate the Alpilles valley. The breathtaking view from the dungeon and plateau extends to the Camargue and the sea.  

It's from this 12th-13th century castle and village that the Court of Love originated.  Here, troubadours composed passionate verses for ladies of the court.  The narrow streets of this unique village are lined with 16th-17th century houses, art galleries, and boutiques with a variety of Provençal fares and crafts.  Take time to visit the Eglise St. Vincent, partly carved from living rock,  the Santons Museum (17th-18th century traditional clay figurines), or take a short hike to the top of the castle.  Walking through this village gives the sense of life when noble dames were courted by poets, cruel acts were perpetuated, and lords and knights fought some of the bloodiest wars in the history of Provence.

LUNCH:  Take a break from your visit and shopping spree and join us for Côtes des Baux-de-Provence wine and lunch at the terrace of an excellent restaurant.   

After lunch we'll be on our way to Arles, a town with a rich and glorious past, built on the bank of the Rhône river. In the city of Caesar and Van Gogh, the Arena is one of the most ancient of the Roman world.   Across from the Place of the Arena you can tour the Antique Theater or, a few steps away, the St. Trophime Church and its magnificent Romanesque and Gothic cloister.   

EVENING:  Free evening for dining out.


hilltop villages & castles in the luberon


We'll first go to Ménerbes, a natural fortress, famous for its stronghold of 16th-century Calvinists - and for Peter Mayle's  books on Provence. One of the most beautiful villages of France, Ménerbes has numerous testimonies of a rich historic past such as the 12th-16th-century citadel, 16th-century mansions, and the 14th-century church.

Our next stop this morning will be at the village of Lacoste dominated by the impressive Château du Marquis de Sade.  Perched high above the Luberon valley it overlooks the village of Bonnieux: a great spot to take photos.  The castle has been partly restored by designer Pierre Cardin; the huge quarries next to it are used as a magnificent theater for concerts, ballet and other shows. 

LUNCH:  We invite you to our very special place (surprise) for a delightful lunch.

After lunch, we'll drive up to the top of the village of Bonnieux for a spectacular panoramic view with Mont Ventoux in the distance.  Nestled in a beautiful park shaded by huge cedar and pine trees, the 12th- century "Old Church" stands high above the entire region. Walk down the narrow streets leading to the 19th-century "New Church" and enjoy Bonnieux' architectural and artistic wealth: medieval tower, 16th-18th-century mansions, passageways cut into the rock, small places with water fountains, galleries with talented artists, ceramists, jewelers, and even a lady who creates exclusive hand-knitted garments!  We suggest you visit the gallery of our friends who, we believe, paint the most beautiful Provençal landscapes.  Afterwards, we'll stop at Pont Julien, a 1st-century Roman bridge named after Julius Cesar.

DINNER:  Free evening for dining out.  


Medieval villages & Fontaine-de-Vaucluse


Our beautiful drive through the foothills of the Monts de Vaucluse will take us to the mysterious Fontaine de Vaucluse which is truly one of Provence's wonders.  It's here that the river Sorgue begins, formed at a great depth by subterranean springs that erupt from the earth after gathering water from the Vaucluse plateau.

You'll enjoy walking along the emerald-green water of the river that flows through this pretty village.  Built at the foot of steep cliffs, it's dominated by the ruins of the 14th-century Bishops of Cavaillon Castle perched atop a rocky outcrop.  Don't miss the 11th Century Provençal Romanesque church and the Moulin à Papier Vallis Clausa (paper mill of the Close Valley) which produces handmade paper since the 14th century. There, you can buy beautiful stationary, prints or reproductions of old maps. Take photos of this very pretty region and, if needed, do some last minute shopping in the small shops, art and craft galleries, and more Provençal fabric stores.  On our way to our next stop we’ll drive the scenic road and cross other typical and less-known villages that are worth seeing.

LUNCH:  We invite you for lunch in our favorite restaurant in Goult.  We'll then take a tour of this typical fortified hilltop village, crowned with a windmill and ramparts of a 13th-century castle.  Part of the castle's walls and vaulted passages are carved out of living stone.  Goult overlooks Gordes and the Luberon mountains.   

FAREWELL DINNER:  We will have a wonderful farewell dinner and more Provençal wines!


Au revoir!


Enjoy breakfast, pack the lovely gifts you bought for your friends back home, take some last photos of the gardens and Gordes, your "home in Provence," and of the beautiful countryside. We will leave at 9:30 A.M., and arrive at the Avignon  train station at about 10:30 A.M.  We recommend our guests to stay an extra day in Paris or somewhere else before going back to the United States.  This makes easier plane connections as it’s not fun to get up very early and miss breakfast to catch a plane the same day your Provence France Tour ends.

Welcome   |   Our Tour   |   Hosts  |    Lodging  |    ItineraryPrice & Dates  |   Contact & Reserve |  Gallery |   Travel Tips