- Discover the culinary highlights of Nice on a gourmet tour
- Visit the Monte Carlo district with its legendary casino
- Discover the hilltop villages of Luberon from the sky
- Explore the Calanques from France's oldest city
|Day 1||Arrival in Southern France||Nice|
|Day 2||Gourmet Culinary Tour in Nice||Nice|
|Day 3||Past and present of Monte Carlo||Nice|
|Day 4||Sailing Tour of the Lérins Islands||Cannes|
|Day 5||Epicurean break in the Western French Riviera||Aix en Provence|
|Day 6||Explore Aix-en-Provence||Aix en Provence|
|Day 7||Cultural tour across the hill-top villages of Luberon||Forcalquier|
|Day 8||Hot air balloon tour experience in Haute Provence||Forcalquier|
|Day 9||Explore the Calanques from France's oldest city||Aix en Provence|
Day 1: Arrival in Southern France
Welcome to France! Arrive at Nice International Airport and pick up your rental car before checking in at your 4-star hotel. After taking an evening stroll along the shore, enjoy a gastronomic introduction to France with a memorable welcome dinner.
Day 2: Gourmet culinary tour
At the eastern end of the French Riviera, near the border with Italy, lies Nissa la Bella—or, "Nice the Beautiful." This Mediterranean coastal gem has earned its nickname due to an abundance of ancient buildings, expansive plazas, long and inviting beaches, and a historic legacy that dates back to the city's founding in the Ancient Greek Massalia region around 350 BCE.
Nice is a densely populated city overflowing with the sights and smells of local open-air markets—perfect for a gourmet tour. You and your guide will embark in the morning for a gastronomic journey that follows the narrow streets of Nice's colorful old town, Vieille Ville. All the while, your guide will introduce you to market vendors who will treat you like a local while offering sweet and savory symbolic treats as they explain the history of Nice through food.
Day 3: Past and present in Monte Carlo
Today, you’ll enter Monaco: you are in one of the smallest countries in the world, a city-state principality. Plunge into the heart of this city-state. You will visit the famous Monte Carlo district and travel to the old town on the Rock.
Then, leave for an unusual medieval village, suspended above the sea, Eze. This is a city that attracts, thanks to its location and its history, many painters. As you stroll in the alleys, you will discover the famous Chapelle Sainte-Croix and the ruins of the castle testifying to the strategic importance of the city.
Day 4: Sailing the Lérins Islands
What could be better than a pleasure cruise just offshore of the Riveria hotbed of Cannes? You'll get to do just that as you discover France's Mediterranean coast on this full-day sailboat outing. The skipper's name is Pierre and he'll be whisking you away to the famous Lérins Islands. It's a mere 15 minutes from the coast of Cannes to Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat, the two largest of this group of four emerald islets.
The Lérins are known for their rocky beaches and nature trails leading through rich pine and eucalyptus forests. They're also an important site of cultural patrimony. On Sainte-Marguerite, for example, you'll find the 17th-century Fort Royal, which is most famous as having been the prison of the Man in the Iron Mask for 11 years. Today it houses a fascinating maritime museum. On Saint-Honorat, there's the expansive Lérins-Abbey, a Cistercian monastery that dates to the 11th century.
But the real order of the day is total relaxation. The boat tour will stop at different beaches where you'll have ample opportunity to swim in crystalline waters. After teaching you the basics of some different sailing maneuvers, the skipper will then prepare a delicious lunch which you can enjoy right on the boat.
Day 5: Epicurean break in the Western French Riviera
Today you take your time to discover with your driver guide the Mediterranean coast by small pretty roads (often leading to hiding creeks and wild beaches). From Cannes, you drive to Sainte-Maxime for a cultural getaway through a Côte-de-Provence wine tasting. Then nothing better for your lunch break to find you in Saint-Tropez, at the edge of the marina!
In the afternoon you can discover the medieval village of Grimaud overlooking the bay of Saint-Tropez. Your guide will also suggest you discover Port-Grimaud: a real Provençal Venice! Or you can continue to the wild coast of Cavalaire-sur-mer and take a break in the small village of Ramatuelle before discovering the intimate beaches of Escalet.
Day 6: Cultural Aix-en-Provence
This morning 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 (also known 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.
Day 7: Cultural tour of Luberon's hilltop villages
Start your day with a visit to the Provençal market where you can find plenty of local specialties such as macarons, calissons, goat’s cheeses, olive oil, honey and fantastic local wines. Go shopping in the fashion boutiques of this “mini-Paris” or relax in the spa of your hotel built on ancient Roman natural springs and swim in its outdoor pool at the foot of the ramparts.
After lunch, you go together to discover hinterland Provence. The Luberon is a fascinating region: the spectacular countryside of vineyards and orchards, fascinating perched hill-top villages, outstanding natural produce. At your own rhythm, you will stroll around in the cool air rising from the springs at Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. You will be seduced by the hill-top village of Gordes dominated by its fortified castle and church and its cobbled streets with enchanting views over the valley and the hills. You will then visit Roussillon, located in the very heart of the biggest ochre deposits in the world, which is one of the most beautiful villages of France. Discover its flamboyant colors wandering its narrow streets, squares, and steps where men have long worked in harmony with nature.
Tonight you spend the night in the small town of Forcalquier, between the Luberon and the Verdon natural parks. On the day after, you can go on your own visiting Manosque, the birthplace of l'Occitane natural beauty treats, or head to the Valensole plateau and enjoy discovering the great plains of lavender, a real purple tide!
Day 8: Hot air balloon over Haute Provence
Before the sun rises, you fly up and away with a hot air balloon flight in Haute Provence. Marvel at the scenery during this sky-high experience. Led by the wind, you will see landscapes and hidden treasures that can only be seen from a hot air balloon: hilltop villages and lavender and clary sage fields, caught between the Alps and the Mediterranean.
Day 9: Explore the Calanques from France's oldest city
Drive to Cassis and meet Loïc, a fisherman's grandson and the last generation of a family that has been living locally for more than a century. Walk from the Calanques National Park gateway up to En-Vau, a rocky creek with sheer cliffs suspended over the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
After your morning walk, time to relax with a good pastis on the Vieux-Port of Marseille (the heart of the city) and an al fresco lunch in France’s oldest city. Visit the characteristic district of Le Panier and walk to Fort Saint Jean and the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCEM) for an extraordinary mix of old and new.
Later in the afternoon, get ready for a cruise with our skipper alongside the Côte Bleue and the Calanques, with its stunning limestone creeks. You will be visiting hidden coves only accessible by boat and swimming to your heart's content.
Day 10: Departure
In the morning you'll head to the airport via the Arles, Avignon, Marseille or Nice train stations, thus concluding your grand Provençal adventure. Au revoir!