- Take a walking tour with a local in Aix-en-Provence historical center
- Learn to cook Provencal-style in the markets and a country home
- Sample classic French wines of the Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire
- Scope out the outstanding landscapes of the Sainte Victoire massif
|Day 1||Arrival in Provence||Aix-en-Provence|
|Day 2||Cultural Aix-en-Provence||Aix-en-Provence|
|Day 3||Aix Market-to-Table Cooking Class||Aix-en-Provence|
|Day 4||Côtes de Provence Wine Tour||Aix-en-Provence|
Day 1: Arrival in Provence
Welcome to France! The adventure begins with your arrival in Paris, from where you'll catch a direct TGV (high-speed train) for a three-hour journey to the famous Provence region, located in the southeast of the country, or fly direct from Paris to Marseille. If you do fly into Marseille, you'll then transfer 19 miles (30 km) north to Aix-en-Provence, a university city and the former capital of Provence. You can also pick up your rental car directly at the airport.
"Aix," as it's commonly known, is a city set in an exceptional geographic location amid the picturesque charm of the surrounding villages. The rural landscapes here, famous for their vineyards, lavender-blanketed fields, and limestone cliffs of Sainte Victoire Mountain, have been immortalized in the works of painters such as Cezanne, Picasso, and Kandinsky. Over four days you'll be able to immerse yourself in this city, enjoying all the culture and beauty for which it is deservedly famous.
You'll be lodging in the historic city center, and even though you might be tired from your journey, don't miss its array of dining options. You'll find everything from intimate bistros and chic gastropubs to fine-dining eateries serving contemporary French and fusion cuisine.
Day 2: Cultural Aix-en-Provence
Today you'll uncover the rich heritage, art, and culture that defines the famous city of Aix-en-Provence. On a two-hour walking tour, you'll stroll a labyrinth of narrow streets, passing historic fountains as your expert guide points out both famous and hidden gems.
You’ll visit the Saint-Sauveur Cathedral, a Romanesque/Gothic church built on the site of an ancient Greek temple to Apollo. You'll also see the town hall (known locally as the Hotel de Ville), which dates to the 14th century and sits on a charming old plaza. The tour includes a walk along the Cours Mirabeau, a busy thoroughfare lined with plane trees and abounding with markets and cafés—perfect for people-watching. You'll even see some ruins dating back to the days of the Roman empire.
After the walking tour, you'll have time to enjoy the city however you see fit.
Day 3: Aix Market-to-Table Cooking Class
You're in for a literal treat today in the form of a cooking class where you'll prepare and enjoy the cuisine of Provence. This day-long culinary adventure begins with a foodie tour of Aix-en-Provence, where you'll browse the myriad food markets of Aix's Old Town, meet local purveyors, and pick up fresh regional produce like herbes de Provence, olive oil, truffles, figs, honey, and more. You'll bring these ingredients to the country home where the cooking class takes place and then work on recipes before preparing the feast.
On the way to the country home, which follows a route that passes through the scenic Montaiguet Forest, you'll stop at a local chateau to select some Provençal wine to pair with your meal. Upon arrival, you can take a stroll around the property and search for wild aromatic herbs. Then it will be time to start the cooking class as you and a group of culinary enthusiasts will take part in preparing various recipes. After approximately two hours of cooking, it will be time for everyone to sit down at the long convivial table and share in all their gastronomic creations.
Later in the afternoon, you'll return to your hotel in Aix.
Day 4: Côtes de Provence Wine Tour
It's time to sample the flavors of one of Provence's most famous products: its wine. On this private, guided tour, you'll venture out to the vineyards around Aix-en-Provence. You'll also visit the wine region of Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire, which sits in the shadow of Sainte Victoire Mountain.
The tour includes visits to family-owned wineries where you'll sample varietals from their cellars. Throughout this experience, your local guide and wine expert will reveal insight into the characteristics of the terroir and the winemaking process. Afterward, you'll return to Aix-en-Provence where you'll spend the remainder of the day exploring that historic city.
Day 5: Return to Paris and Depart
In the morning you'll transfer to Paris by train, where you'll catch your flight home. This concludes your grand Provençal adventure. Au revoir!