- Sail among the beautiful islands around Marseilles
- Cook up a storm during Provençal cooking classes
- Cycle e-bikes through the Luberon countryside
- Visit ancient villages dotted with castles and medieval homes
|Day 1||Arrive in Marseille||Marseille|
|Day 2||Private Half-Day Cruise, Photography Tour||Marseille|
|Day 3||Drive to Saint-Rémy via Olive Groves & Wine Estates||Saint-Rémy de Provence|
|Day 4||Free Day in Saint-Rémy & the Alpilles||Saint-Rémy de Provence|
|Day 5||Tour the Villages of the Luberon, Drive to Bonnieux||Bonnieux|
|Day 6||Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour, Mines of Bruoux||Bonnieux|
|Day 7||Electric Bike Tour of the Luberon||Bonnieux|
|Day 8||Drive to Aix-en-Provence, Cultural Tour||Aix-en-Provence|
|Day 9||Provence Cooking Class||Aix-en-Provence|
|Day 10||Drive to Marseille, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Marseille
Welcome to Marseille! After arriving at Marseille Airport, you'll be transferred directly to your hotel in the heart of the city. Depending on your time of arrival and your family's energy levels, you might want to hit the ground running by exploring this historic port that's one of the oldest cities in France. Wander the city's colorful, historic neighborhoods or head to the medieval Fort Saint-Jean for panoramic views of the city. Little ones can stretch their legs after the flight on the playgrounds of Parc Borély, where row boats and pedal cars are also available to rent within the city center's popular green space.
Day 2: Private Half-Day Cruise, Photography Tour
Ease into your time in Provence with a private half-day cruise around the rocky creeks of Marseille. Kids of all ages will love getting around by boat, which suits various energy levels. It'll only take a few minutes to reach your first stop: the Frioul Islands archipelago. There are four small islands, with the famous Château d'If on the Île d'If. Enjoy the best views of these little rocky coves and the ancient castle in the middle.
Continue your tour to Malmousque, where you'll appreciate the hidden rocky inlets and turquoise water. You won't be able to resist the urge to swim there, so take a refreshing dip. Finish your tour at the beautiful Vallon des Auffes, an ancient fishing port near Malmousque, under a massive bridge. You'll have ample time for swimming in these hidden coves, which are only accessible by boat.
Back on land, make the most of the golden hour of the late afternoon with a local guide passionate about photography. Tour colorful, cosmopolitan Marseille while improving your photography skills and getting some great family vacation photos. Take your mobile phone or, even better, your camera with you as your guide will show you the best spots in town. Kids might even like to try taking some photos of their own.
Day 3: Drive to Saint-Rémy via Olive Groves & Wine Estates
This morning you'll pick up your rental car and head to Fontvieille, a village in the Alpilles Mountains. The area is famous for its olive groves, and here you'll not only visit an old olive oil mill but also participate in a cooking class at a Provençale farmhouse based around this famous ingredient. Older children will enjoy the opportunity to learn more about food and improve their cooking skills as they help prepare a traditional meal. At the end of the class, everyone will sit down and sample the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor.
Follow the Route des Vins through the Alpilles Regional Natural Park and visit wine estates along the way—a treat for the parents of the group. Start with one of the most remarkable sites in the area: the Estoublon Château. The owners will be glad to let you visit and taste their great wines and olive products while youngsters run around the vines. Continue along the Domaine du Grand Fontanille, surrounded by pine forests and oak groves, lulled by the song of cicadas. Stop in at other wineries if the kids have the energy (and the patience!), and end at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence for the night.
Day 4: Free Day in Saint-Rémy & the Alpilles
Today you are free to explore the Alpilles at your leisure, choosing sights and activities that most appeal to the whole family. Experience everyday village life around Saint-Rémy by checking out the food markets in the morning. There are plenty of other spots to discover nearby, including the Roman Aqueduct de Barbegal, the formal gardens and brilliant blue pools of Château d'Estoublon, or the Saint-Paul de Mausole Monastery, which once housed Van Gogh.
Next door to the monastery, you'll find the ancient Roman town of Glanum, where imaginative kids will love stepping back into history as they explore the extensive ruins of amphitheaters, temples, and villas. If you'd like to get out of town, pack a picnic and set off to tour more of the mountainous landscapes of the Alpilles Regional Nature Park at your own pace.
Day 5: Tour the Villages of the Luberon, Drive to Bonnieux
This morning, drive to the Luberon—an area of Provence famous for its rolling green hills dotted with vineyards and cherry orchards. Perched atop many of these hills are postcard-perfect villages and little market towns. On today's drive, you'll visit this stunning countryside and its hilltop villages and will see plenty of things that will appeal to kids, especially romantic castles and vibrant fields of flowers.
Begin in the medieval village of Lourmarin, famous for its winding streets, charming patio cafés, and 16th-century castle. Next is Gordes, arguably the most beautiful of all the hilltop villages. A fortified castle dominates the skyline with a turreted fairytale-like appearance. From Gordes, it's just a few miles to the 12th-century Cistercian Abbey of Notre-Dame de Sénanque, which is especially beautiful when the lavender fields are at their purple best (June through July).Next up is Roussillon, notable for its vivid red cliffs caused by the extensive ocher deposits here. Walking through Roussillon's narrow streets, you'll be struck by the contrast between the bright green of the surrounding pine trees and the earthy browns, yellows, and reds of its buildings. Finish in Bonnieux, another hilltop gem with homes dating back to the 16th century. Sitting atop the town is its iconic church, whose steeple points into the sky like a Christmas star.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour, Mines of Bruoux
Reward the youngsters for their stamina on the trip with a tour of the Luberon by horse-drawn carriage. Animal lovers will enjoy meeting their equine guide and exploring the countryside with this peaceful (and sustainable) mode of transport. Trot over to the Ocher Conservatory to learn more about this important mineral, then say à bientôt to your horse and walk the narrow streets of Roussillon along the famous ocher trail. At lunch, an organic picnic made with farm-fresh products awaits. Later, visit the ocher mines of Bruoux, where adventurous kids will love descending into the cavernous chambers.
Day 7: Electric Bike Tour of the Luberon
Electric bicycles are an ideal way of getting around the Luberon region: energetic members of the family can enjoy the challenge while those with less pedal power can rely on the electric-assisted backup. Cycle through the Luberon Regional Nature Park and the surrounding villages along quiet country roads. From Bonnieux, visit villages including Lacoste, Ménerbes, and Oppède le Vieux. Dine at a restaurant in one of these towns or opt for a countryside picnic. Along the route, you'll also have time to visit vineyards and lavender fields if your family is interested. Return to Bonnieux for the night.
Day 8: Drive to Aix-en-Provence, Cultural Tour
After breakfast, drive to Aix-en-Provence, a historic city set amid Provençal villages and surrounding countryside famous for vineyards, lavender-blanketed fields, and the limestone cliffs of Sainte Victoire Mountain. These landscapes are so iconic they've been immortalized in the works of painters such as Cezanne, Picasso, and Kandinsky.After checking into your hotel, explore the city's rich heritage, art, and culture on a guided walking tour. Stroll through a labyrinth of narrow streets and visit highlights like the Saint-Sauveur Cathedral, a Romanesque/Gothic church built on the site of an ancient Greek temple to Apollo, and the 14th-century Hotel de Ville. You'll even see some ruins dating back to the days of the Roman Empire. The tour includes a walk along the Cours Mirabeau, a busy thoroughfare with markets and cafés for snacking and shopping. Kids with a sweet tooth will love trying local treats like callisons and nougat along the way.
Day 9: Provence Cooking Class
Today, experience Provence's rich way of life with a foodie tour and cooking class. Kids interested in food (and, let's be honest, that's most kids!) will enjoy getting their hands messy. This full-day adventure starts with a shopping trip in the food markets of Aix's old town. Meet local purveyors and choose fresh regional produce and products like herbes de Provence, olive oil, truffles, figs, honey, and more.Take these ingredients to your host's country estate, which follows a route that passes through the scenic Montaiguet Forest. Stop at a local château to select some great Provençal wine to pair with your meal. At the country home, take a stroll around the property and task the kids with searching for wild aromatic herbs to pick. At the end of your lesson, sit down to enjoy a celebratory family meal together on your penultimate day in Provence.
Day 10: Drive to Marseille, Depart
After breakfast, depending on your schedule, you'll make your way to the airport in Marseille to drop off your car and catch a direct flight or head to the nearest TGV station to board a high-speed train to Paris or Nice. This concludes your grand Provençal family adventure. Au revoir et bon voyage!
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