On this quick itinerary, you'll spend five days seeing the highlights of Provence, including the charming village of Aix-en-Provence, the natural parks of Calanques, Alpilles, and Luberon, and a number of other historic and cultural sites. Take a cooking class, cruise around scenic coves on a boat tour, stroll down the streets of France's oldest city, and more: this trip plan takes you there.

Highlights

  • Wander through France's oldest city, Marseille
  • Cruise around Calanques National Park on a boat
  • Tour the hilltop villages of the Luberon
  • Take a cooking class at a 13th-century farmhouse

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Marseille - Explore France's Oldest City Marseille
Day 2 Pick Up Rental Car - Half-Day Cruise to Calanques National Park Les Baux de Provence
Day 3 Cooking class in the Alpilles natural park Les Baux de Provence
Day 4 The Luberon and its hill-top villages Les Baux de Provence
Day 5 Return to Marseille - Depart Provence  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Marseille - Explore France's Oldest City

The old port of Marseille
The old port of Marseille

Arrive at Marseille International Airport and pick up your rental car.  After checking into your hotel, explore this colorful city on the Mediterranean coast: with 2,600 years of history, it's France’s oldest city. As the sun goes down, relax on the Vieux-Port, the vibrant heart of the city and have an al fresco dinner in this fascinating setting.

Day 2: Pick Up Rental Car - Half-Day Cruise to Calanques National Park

Calanque National Park
Calanques National Park

This morning, you'll kick off your Provençal road trip by heading to Calanques National Park. Located just outside of the city of Marseille, this is one of the European continent's newer protected areas, as it was established in 2012. It's unique in that it comprises a large area between Marseille and the seaside town of La Ciotat, protecting both land and ocean. This is a true natural treasure of France's Mediterranean coast, and the best way to experience it is on a private cruise.

Your half-day tour leaves from Marseille on a private vessel. It only takes a few minutes to access the park to glimpse its stunning limestone sea cliffs and hidden coves. The waters in these famous inlets are an irresistible kaleidoscope of blues that become milky turquoise and crystalline the further you get to shore. You'll have ample time for swimming in these hidden coves, which are only accessible by boat.

After this experience, you will journey to the very heart of Provence, to the medieval mountain village of Les Baux de Provence, located just north of the Rhone River city of Arles. 

Day 3: Cooking class in the Alpilles natural park

Les Baux de Provence village
Les Baux de Provence village

This morning you'll head to Fonvieille to visit an olive oil mill and participate in a cooking class based on the use of olive oil. Anne and Magali, the hostesses and owners of the estate, offer a tour of their Provencal farmhouse, which dates from the 13th century. Your guides will then teach you how to taste olive oil and offer tips for its best uses in cooking. Finally, you'll participate in a cooking class around the mill's olive oil. 

Alpilles natural park offers a beautiful setting for hiking through mountains covered in pine and oak forests. Perched on a rocky plateau and surrounded by this wonderful landscape, Les Baux de Provence is an ideal base from which to discover this unique region.  At the end of the day, visit Saint Remy de Provence, a charming and typically Provençal village that inspired the works of the famous painter Vincent van Gogh.

Day 4: The Luberon and its hill-top villages

A hilltop village in the Luberon

The Luberon is a fascinating region filled with vineyards, orchards, and charming hilltop villages. Walk around to see some of its key highlights: surrounded by beautiful lavender fields, the ancient Cistercian Abbey of Notre-Dame de Sénanque is just outside the village of Gordes, famous for its fortified castle and church and its cobbled streets with enchanting views over the valley and the hills.

Next, you'll discover the natural and cultural heritage of the Luberon by horse-drawn carriage. Visit the Ocher Conservatory, then walk through the narrow streets of the village of Roussillon and along the famous ocher trail. For lunch, you will enjoy an organic picnic made with products from the farm. Finish the day with a visit to the underground mines of Bruoux. 

Day 5: Return to Marseille - Depart Provence

Goodbye, Provence!
Provence in the morning light

After breakfast, depending on your schedule, you'll make your way to the airport in Marseille to catch a direct flight or head to the nearest train station to board a high-speed train to Paris or Nice. Your grand Provençal adventure is over for now. Au revoir!

Map

Map of Parks of Provence: Calanques National Park, Alpilles, & the Luberon Valley - 5 Days
Map of Parks of Provence: Calanques National Park, Alpilles, & the Luberon Valley - 5 Days