- Wander narrow streets amid historic buildings in Aix-en-Provence's Old Town
- Browse food markets and take a cooking class in Aix-en-Provence
- Visit one of France's most beautiful hill-top villages, Les Baux de Provence
- Sample the best olive oils in the Provence region in Fontvieille
|Day 1||Arrive in Aix-en-Provence - Walking tour||Aix en Provence|
|Day 2||Foodie tour & Aix cooking class||Aix en Provence|
|Day 3||Visit Les Baux de Provence - Transfer to Saint Rémy-de Provence||Saint Rémy de Provence|
|Day 4||Day trip to Fontvieille & Cooking class||Saint Rémy de Provence|
Day 1: Arrive in Aix-en-Provence - Walking tour
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 2: Foodie tour & Aix 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, and honey. 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 through the scenic Montaiguet Forest, you'll stop at a local chateau to select Provençal wine to pair with your meal. Upon arrival, 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 en Provence.
Day 3: Visit Les Baux de Provence - Transfer to Saint Rémy-de Provence
After breakfast, you'll travel to the historic Les Baux de Provence, a village in the Alpilles Mountains. A defensive fortress stronghold in the middle ages, today it's regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in France, receiving a million visitors each year.
Stroll the historic streets of this well-preserved township, visiting ancient churches as well as its famous 10th century fortified castle, Château des Baux de Provence. You'll also experience an unforgettable treat: Les Carrières de Lumières. This can't-miss multimedia art show is held in a former quarry over 2,600 feet (800 m) from the castle. Projected on its cavernous walls and expansive floors are enormous, moving images of Van Gough's famous artworks set to music.
Another popular excursion is to head just outside of town to the Val d'Enfer. This valley is filled with unique limestone rock formations that have been carved by water erosion over thousands of years. Moreover, the area offers panoramic views of the town and surrounding valley, which gives you the best vantage points for snapping photos. At the end of the day, you will travel to Saint Rémy-de Provence, where you will overnight.
Day 4: Day trip to Fontvieille & Cooking class
This morning you'll 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 group cooking class based on this famous ingredient.
You'll arrive at a 13th-century Provençale farmhouse, and the owners, Anne and Magali, will offer a guided tour (in English) of their estate. You will then sit down for a tasting course of various olive oils, learn how to differentiate their qualities and flaws, and receive tips for their best use in cooking. Then, the professional chef/teacher will lead a cooking class based on these locally produced olive oils. At the end of the class, everyone will sit down and sample their creations.
Olive oil cooking class duration: 2.5 hours
Day 5: 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!