Immerse yourself in the culture of Provence
Explore the south of France from Avignon to Nice on this small group tour, with capacity for just 20 travelers.
Enjoy exclusive accommodation in some of the region's most impressive boutique hotels, experience the high life of the sparkling French Riviera with afternoon tea at the famous summer retreat of the Rothschild family, and immerse yourself in the culture of Provence and the Côte d'Azur with sightseeing tours led by local guides.
After meeting at our Departure Office in London St Pancras, we board the direct* Eurostar straight to Avignon. On arrival we check into our boutique hotel in the heart of this ancient city, the Cloitre Saint Louis. This evening, we celebrate the start of our vacation with a group dinner at a local restaurant.
*Please note: our May 8 departure travels via Paris.
Our morning starts with breakfast, followed by a guided walking tour of Avignon. Escorted by a local guide, we learn the secrets of Avignon's fascinating history - starting with the Palais des Papes, where entrance is included. The seat of the Papacy for 6 successive Popes during the 14th century, Avignon become the center of the Roman Catholic Church after Pope Clement V fled the violent chaos and corruption of Rome. Next, we enjoy included entrance to the Rocher des Doms gardens, a lush hilltop garden set on a rocky bluff overlooking the city. From here, we get a glorious panorama across the terracotta roofs of the Old Town, as well as of the Rhône River flowing peacefully below. In the afternoon there's free time to look around. Why not head to Les Halles, the city's vibrant market to savour the sights, smells and tastes of fresh Provençal produce? From here, art-lovers can happily while away a few hours at the wonderful Angladon Museum. Home to Van Gogh's 'Railroad Carriages', other famous artists displayed here include Picasso, Manet and Cézanne.
One of France's most recognisable landmarks, the impressive Pont du Gard stands 161 feet above the Gardon River, spanning a width of 902 feet. This mighty aqueduct was built around 50 AD, using solid blocks hewn from nearby but no mortar to hold them together. Originally, the Pont du Gard was part of a 30-mile waterway used to transport 4.4 million gallons of water from the River Eure to Nîmes every day. The mineral deposits still visible on the aqueduct, indicate it was still being used in the 9th century, long after the fall of the Roman Empire.
This afternoon we drive to nearby Coustellet for lunch. After our meal, we walk the short distance to the town's quaint lavender museum. Here, we learn about the history, cultivation and distilling process involved in making all the lavender products available in the gift shop and café.
We transfer back to Avignon for dinner this evening, served at one of the city's many popular restaurants.
We make our way to the station after breakfast this morning, where we catch the train to Nice, on the famous French Riviera. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel for the next 3 nights, the art-deco style Villa Victoria. After time to settle in, we head out for dinner at a local restaurant.
On Day 5 we meet our local guide for a sightseeing tour. We drive up to Mont Boron, which offers terrific views over the Bay of Angels. We continue to the hill-top quarter of Cimiez, former home of the artist Matisse. The Roman remains at Cimiez also offer an insight into the history of the region. After a visit to the bustling Place de l'Opéra and the narrow streets of the Old Town, we conclude our tour at the market in Cours Saleya, just in time for lunch. This afternoon, we make a visit to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, the seaside vacation home of the wealthy Rothschild family. We enjoy high tea here, indulging in some traditional French patisserie.
On arrival in the principality of Monaco this morning, we meet our local guide for a tour. The second smallest country in the world, Monaco is famous as a haven for the very wealthy, its electrifying Grand Prix, and casino. It's here we begin our explorations, admiring the opulent high-rollers entrance before making our way to the 13th-century Palais du Prince, home of Monaco's ruling family for over 700 years. Just before midday, we see the enchanting 'Changing of the Guard' ceremony before free time to look around at your own pace.
Back in Nice this evening, we sit down to a dinner of French specialties.
Following a final breakfast at your hotel, your tour concludes and you are free to make your own way to Nice Airport for your flight back home.
For this tour, we recommend arriving to London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport (LGW or LHR). London Gatwick is approximately 30 miles from your start and end point, and London Heathrow is approximately 19 miles from your start point. For this tour we recommend departing from Nice Côte d'Azur Airport (NCE) which is approximately 5 miles from your end point.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and travel during your tour
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Immerse yourself in the culture of Provence