Have you ever dreamed of Provençal hilltop villages, fields of red poppies and olive trees with glistening ripe olives dripping from them? Then consider joining our women-only tour to discover the highlights of this enchanting and famous region in the spring before the hordes of tourists descend.
This was the first tour we did way back when we first began doing group tour and since we have perfected the offerings so that in one short week you’ll be able to see and experience the very best that Provence has to offer. On this adventure we’ve upgraded you to a glorious Chateau but we’ll still be hunting for truffles and participating in a cooking class with our very own chef. You will notice a certain feeling that comes over you when you step into Van Gogh’s room where he painted over 100 of his best works. We know from experience that Provence is a place that will live in your heart for many years to come.
Arrive into the Avignon TGV train station where you’ll be picked up. Once you arrive you will have time to refresh, unpack and relax at our magnificent private Chateau St. Victor la Coste reserved just for us.
Drinks begin at 7 pm and then we will dine at the Chateau providing the weather is fine we’ll head outside on the terrace.
Today we will step into the famous artist’s footsteps by visiting the city of Arles – Vincent Van Gogh’s first stop in Provence. The artist first arrived in Arles in 1888 and he discovered the city, the light, the history all inspired and changed his painting style forever. During his time in Arles he produced an estimated 300 paintings and drawings including Cafe in the Evening, Starry Night, Staircase of the Trinquetaille Bridge and many others. We will take a guided walking tour through the ancient city that was first settled by Greeks and then Romans. We will take in the beauty that inspired Van Gogh and many artists since. After our tour we will sit down to a sumptuous Provençal lunch at a local favorite.
Our next stop of the day is the famed St. Remy de Provence, home to Van Gogh’s monastery/hospital where he lived and painted during his last years. In addition we will get to see some Roman ruins a short walk away.
We will then have an opportunity to wander through the small but über charming village where Nostradamus was born. You’ll have time to shop, this town is full of charming shops with lots of unique items to buy. Its also the headquarters for Souleiado.
We’ll head back to our Chateau for a rest and some wine, cheese, charcuterie and patés for a light but satisfying meal after a long day of exploring.
Today we’ll explore the environs of historic Avignon, former city of the popes. We’ visit the Palais du Papes, and spend some time shopping and exploring this gorgeous city in between resting and reviving ourselves at a local cafe.
After a nice rest back at the Chateau, in the afternoon as the sun falls lower in the sky (better for picture taking) we will visit the Pont du Gard – it remains one of the best architectural examples the might and intelligence of the Roman Empire. We will have the opportunity to walk across the aqueduct that supplied water to the the city of Nimes and the visit a small museum that helps explain how this marvel was built.
Tonight we will dine nearby at a lovely former train station in the the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard before returning to our Chateau for the evening.
Today is our truffle hunt with the experts & their dogs where you’ll learn everything you never knew about truffles, how they’re raised and why they cost so much. After tasting our fresh truffles with champagne by the pool at the proprietor’s home, we will head to the beautiful village of Lourmarin and enjoy a light lunch.
After lunch we’ll have a walk around and shop the exquisitely chic shops in this picturesque town known as Peter Mayle’s favorite.
In the late afternoon we will be instructed on how to play pétanque by our truffle guys. Pétanque is the provencal version of Boule, a game played outside with metal balls. While we play we will enjoy an apero (drinks and snacks) which will act as meal tonight. Jean Marc who is half of the the truffle team will bring out his home-made paté as well as Pastis, rosé wine and more surprises. The less of an athlete you are, the better you will be at pétanque!
After a lively and enjoyable day you’ll be home early to catch your beauty sleep.
To market we will go…Today we will go to the market with Allison, to shop for items for our hands-on provencal cooking class which will take place back at the chateau in the mid- afternoon. She will guide us through the market as we select the freshest items for our meal. You won’t want to miss tasting local cheeses and getting up close with the locals as they banter back-and-forth with the workers in the stalls.
Following our shopping experience, we will part ways with Alison (the chateau owner) for a few hours while we explore the beautiful town of Uzès, well known for its quintessential square Place aux Herbes, surrounded with cafes and small shops and art studios for us to peek into. Here we’ll take a short guided tour followed by time on your own to grab a bite, shop and explore the medieval garden which is divided in two with a Herbarium (medicinal herb garden) and a hortus (vegetable garden) – don’t miss the corner with toxic plants that were sourced for witchcraft-Yikes!
We will return to the chateau to relax by the pool and then join Alison in preparing our evening meal. A sensational end to another perfect day!
Because it is so famous, we dare not miss the market at Isles-Sur-Sorgue – known as the European antiques capital and is also well known throughout the region for its classic marché on Sunday mornings. Yes, we are talking about visiting another fabulous market. – you can’t get enough of Provencal markets, and this one is surely the very best.
We will enjoy perusing this darling town surrounded by a river and moving watermills. We will peek inside the 17th century church with its gorgeous painted blue walls and guided nave.
Lunch today will be at the Carré des Herbes, one of our favorites set inside one of the many antique cooperatives, all of which are open for shopping on Sundays! This afternoon it’s your choice – explore the antique stalls or go with us to the Fontaine de Vauclause, the source of the Sorgue river for a short nature walk which will inspire and refresh you.
Tonight we will relax and enjoy a wine and cheese pairing and tasting at our chateau. We’ll be able to explore the famous wines of the region including the roses, the whites from Cassis and the reds from Les Baux and of course the world famous Gigondas and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This will be an enjoyable and relaxing way to end our week together.
Breakfast, photo sharing & depart from the Avignon train station back up to Paris or wherever the road might take you!
GG2P always reserves the right to alter the itinerary based on weather or availability as well as exciting opportunities that might crop up!
** Not to worry – Vegetarians will be well fed in all cafés and and restaurants as well as those allergic to seafood. Options are plentiful.
Trip Cost: 5,055 Euro*
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If you’d like to come, press the Reserve Now button above. You will be prompted to complete a form with your pertinent details, put down a refundable $250 deposit, and schedule a time to speak with a GG2P representative. We like to speak with everyone before they embark on their first trip with Girls’ Guide to Paris & Beyond. This allows you to ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have. These are intimate, small group trips; a quick yet personal conversation allows you to get to know how our trips work and make sure it’s right for you. If it’s not, we’ll immediately refund your $250 deposit.
If it’s a Go! after your call, we’ll bill you for a non-refundable deposit, usually 35% of the trip’s cost (less the $250 place-holder deposit, if you already paid it) and your place is reserved. At this point, you’re committed to the trip, so we recommend that you purchase Travel Insurance to protect you in case your plans change unexpectedly. The balance will be due approximately 2 months before the trip.
Our cancellation policy is here.
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