A Culinary Journey through Lyon and Southern France

10 Days | Wine & Food

Experience the best of Lyon and Southern France's exceptional gastronomy

$3,599 pp

This trip is a true delight for the senses. Your journey begins in Lyon, France’s culinary capital, and continues down into Provence and the French Riviera. It's a gastronomic adventure to taste some of France's fine cuisine and local specialties. You’ll feel right at home in a welcoming bouchon, the tradition Lyoniasse bistro. Sip some great wine on a tour of the neighboring Beaujolais wine region. Next up, the highspeed train whisks you down into the heart of Provence, a land of alluring fragrances, flavors, and colors. From a base in elegant Aix-en-Provence, enjoy a wide range of local products and gastronomic traditions. Visit the daily markets for some great, authentic food. Explore the historic villages of the Luberon. Learn about the fine wines of Provence. If you have a sweet tooth you'll want to sample the iconic calisson, a famous almond, and fruit candy. The tour wraps up in Nice and Monaco. Sunbath on its famous beach, and enjoy the incredible Mediterranean food with a glass or two of Bellet. Contained within Nice’s city limits, Bellet is France’s only AOC-recognized urban vineyard.

Day by Day

Day 1: Lyon

Private Transfer

A chauffeur will meet you for a private transfer between the airport and your lodging.

Lyon city in France

Day 2: Lyon

Private Full-Day Tour of the Beaujolais Wine Region and Medieval Pérouges

Your chauffeur and private guide will meet you at your lodging for a tour of the Beaujolais vineyards and the medieval village of Pérouges.

This is a day of wine and history. Discover the region’s spectacular nature, historical heritage, fine wine, and delicious regional specialties. Head north of Lyon for a drive through the Beaujolais vineyards. The landscape offers some breathtaking views. Your first stop is to sample wine in the Château de Montmelas in the heart of the Beaujolais AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) region. This winemaker distinguishes himself with warm hospitality and a dedication to a traditional wine-making process.

Beaujolais landscape with vineyards

Depending on your preference, you may stay for lunch in Beaujolais or stop in Dombes. In the afternoon continue your journey through the Dombes plateau, an extensive area brimming with small lakes and historical villages. The region is renowned for bird-watching and fishing. It boasts an enormous diversity of bird species. The majority of the small lakes are actually man-made, dug by monks centuries ago.

Next is the medieval village of Pérouges, recognized as one of France’s most beautiful villages. Walk around Pérouges learning about its history. A gourmet break in the traditional Hostellerie gives you an opportunity to taste the galette au sucre de Pérouges with a glass of cider. This thin sweet tart is a local specialty and a real treat. Finally, some free time is planned so that you can continue the visit at your own leisure.

Pérouges ville in France

Day 3: Lyon - Aix-en-Provence

Private Half-Day Gourmet Walking Tour of Lyon

This gourmet tour passes through Lyon’s most emblematic neighborhoods with stops to taste local specialties.

Meet your guide by the Saint-Jean Cathedral. He is a specialist in culinary history, who will show you around the charming historical Lyon and point out the admirable traboules, sheltered medieval passageways.

The first gourmet stop is to one of the best pastry shops in Lyon, where you will learn about how pralines are made. Of course, you’ll get to taste them too! The popular pink sugar-coated almonds are a perfect dessert on their own but are also the base of a number of praline-based treats.

The tour continues on the other side of the Saône River, where the Bourgeoisie settled from the 17th century. The Presqu’île district has seemingly countless bouchons, traditional bistros found only in Lyon. Learn the history of the Mères Lyonnaises, or the mothers of Lyon, 19th-century middle-class women who worked outside their homes as cooks. They created brand new culinary traditions incorporating regional cooking.

A stop at one of the famous Chocolats Voisin stores to taste Coussin de Lyon is a must! This unique chocolate and marzipan dessert is shaped like the cushions used by Lyon’s silk weavers. It has been a symbol of Lyon since the 1960s.

Finally, visit the indoor Paul Bocuse Market, in the modern Part-Dieu district. This is a center of Lyon gastronomy that brings all of the region’s fine products under one roof: charcuterie, cheese, quenelles, chocolate, wines, and much more. Products change based on seasonal availability, but no matter when you visit, it is a gourmet pleasure.

Private transfer

A chauffeur will meet you for a private transfer between your lodging and the train station.

Train from Lyon to Aix-en-Provence

Private transfer

A chauffeur will meet you for a private transfer between the train station and your lodging.

Day 4: Aix-en-Provence

Half-Day Guided Tour of Cassis and the Calanques

There are some places you can’t help but fall in love with at first sight and Cassis is one of them!

Drive to Cape Canaille, the highest maritime cliff in Europe to enjoy the panorama of the bay.

Spend some free time in Cassis. The small village, east of Marseille, is a charming Mediterranean fishing port. A centuries-old château overlooks the village which is famous for its Calanques and pebble beaches. The Calanques are turquoise, narrow Mediterranean inlets framed by incredibly steep limestone cliffs. They are the Mediterranean’s answer to Norway’s fjords. Enjoy a 45-minute sea cruise to experience them (at own expense). Besides these natural wonders, Cassis offers restaurants, pastel-colored buildings, and sidewalk cafes in the harbor. The local vineyards are well-known for their white wine.

overlooking the port pin calanque boats on tourquise water

Private Walking Tour of Aix-en-Provence

Visit Aix-en-Provence with your local professional guides Mylène and Arthur. They will share their knowledge and their passion, tell you historical anecdotes and reveal the secrets of a city steeped in history.

Dominated by 17th and 18th-century architecture, Aix offers a palpable and rich heritage. The fountains, the quaint squares, the cathedral, the grain market, the mansions along Cours Mirabeau and the Mazarin district, the Place de la Rotonde, and the Saint Jean de Malte Church all leave an impression. You’ll also get the chance to see hidden Roman and medieval remains and learn about famous locals like King René, Mirabeau, Paul Cézanne, and Émile Zola.

Be sure to try the calissons, a candy supposedly created for the wedding of King René in the 15th century, and have a drink at “Les Deux Garçons”, Aix-en-Provence’s oldest café and an onetime favorite of Cézanne.

aix en provence street

Day 5: Marseille - Marseille Vieux-Port - Aix-en-Provence

Half-day private tour of farmer’s market: discover regional dishes and Marseille soap

Visit the Cours Julien market and discover many local products and meet producers, as well as visiting the district of Marseille soap production. Enjoy a tasting of local products (3 cheeses, organic bread and a glass of Provence wine) at the table on a terrace.

Fort Saint Jean in Marseille

Explore the history of Marseille with a visit to the Fort Saint John and the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations. The fort was recently restored and connected to the MuCEM. The impressive contemporary building was designed by Ruddy Ricciotti and opened in 2013. Visiting these buildings is traveling in time between the Greek founding of the city to the multicultural, dynamic place it’s become in the 21st century. Lose yourself in the corridors, gardens, and the view of the old harbor and sprawling city rising behind it.

Day 6: Aix-en-Provence

Full-Day Small-Group Self-Guided Tour of the Luberon and its Hilltop Villages

Discover an open-air market each day in a different village: in Gordes on Tuesdays, in Roussillon on Thursdays, in Lourmarin on Fridays and in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on Sundays. As the markets take place in the morning only, the order of the visited sites will change accordingly.

Drive along countryside roads at the foot of Luberon, and arrive in Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue. The town has become the capital of antiques in recent years, with many antique dealers as well as galleries and shops. This “island city” lies at the foot of the Vaucluse plateau. Its colors are nature’s green and the bright reflection of the water shining from the several canals running through its center. The river Sorgue surrounds the city as if to hug it. Walking along the canals you will notice how they run between the narrow ancient streets. There are little bridges to cross and great wheels to look at with mossy blades turning in the river.

Isle sur la Sorgue, beautiful place in Provence

Gordes is listed as one of the “Plus Beaux Villages de France” (Most Beautiful Villages of France). This lovely little hilltop village looks like the scene of a postcard or painting. In fact, artists Victor Vasarély and Marc Chagall found inspiration for their paintings here. An ancient “village perché” (perched village), Gordes has a dramatic setting. The village stands on a steep slope descending from the Plateau de Vaucluse to the Coulon Valley. The perched location provided protection from invasions during the Middle Ages. At the center of Gordes, the Place du Château de Gordes is a lively town square with many cafés, restaurants, art galleries, and souvenir shops.

A photo stop at Senanque Abbey will be included between mid-June and mid-July only during the lavender blooming season.

Roussillon is the capital of ochre. This small village, classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, blends into the surrounding cliffs. As you walk through the narrow streets and enjoy the small squares, you see and feel the color that is an inherent part of its history.

From there you will continue on towards the colorful hilltop village of Bonnieux and the picturesque and winding Combe de Lourmarin. In the charming village of Lourmarin, famous for its Renaissance castle, you will have free time to enjoy as you wish.

luberon mountains villages senanque abbey near gordes

Day 7: Aix-en-Provence - Nice

Visit of Nice

Private transfer

A chauffeur will meet you for a private transfer between your lodging and the train station.

Train from Aix-en-Provence to Nice (1st class)

Self-guided visit of Nice – The Pearl of the French Riviera

The elegant city of Nice is set against an impressive backdrop of soaring hills and the famous blue waters of the French Riviera. The “Place Rossetti” is at the city’s heart, surrounded by brightly colored buildings, the cathedral, and a large fountain lending the square a unique flavor.

The Cours Saleya is the main street in the old town and hosts a daily flower and vegetable market (except Mondays). You can find top-notch seasonal produce here, and there is a good selection of other local souvenirs if you’re eyeing some Marseille soap or lavender to take home with you.

Spend some time by the beautiful harbor, where the sun shines from the west in the evening. It’s a popular restaurant area if you’re looking for a special dinner by the water.

nice france waterfront beach vacation

From the harbor, you can climb to the Colline du Château for great views of the city. Despite the name, there is no longer a castle on the hill, as it was destroyed in 1706. Now there is a beautiful park with views of the beach stretching along the Baie des Anges (“Angel Bay”).

The beach might be Nice’s most famous attraction. The famous “Promenade des Anglais” boardwalk follows the Mediterranean seafront for 3 miles (5 kilometers). It was built in the early 19th century when English upper class began coming to the French Riviera to spend their winters in a mild climate. This gave the boardwalk its name, which translates to the “Walkway of the English.”

Day 8: Nice

Morning Guided Walking Food Tour through Nice

Looking to discover the French Riviera off the beaten track? Your local guide invites you to explore Nice and its gourmet specialties on this unique tour.

There is more to Nice than just the Promenade des Anglais and the Place Massena! Even if you don’t understand the Nissart dialect (the local dialect spoken in and around Nice), you will want to taste the city’s specialties – all of them are very tempting. The chickpea flour pancake (socca), the bagna cauda (a warm dip that originated in Piedmont, Italy), and the stuffed tomatoes will leave you wanting more and more.

Your tasting will include between 10-12 specialties including local olive oil and Provençal rosé wine pairings.

authentic socca flatbread from nice with rose wine

Day 9: Nice - Monaco - Èze - Monte Carlo

Self-guided tour of Èze, Monaco and Monte Carlo

  • First stop at Èze, a perched medieval village, with its crafts shops and breathtaking views.
  • Take a guided tour of the perfumery Fragonard, the true essence of Provence.
  • Visit the Old Town of Monaco. You can visit the Palace (open June/Oct. 8 €/p) – Cathedral, Cousteau Oceanographic Museum (14 € pp)
  • See the Changing of the Palace Guards.
  • Take a tour of Monte-Carlo and drive the amazing Grand Prix circuit.
  • Free time at Casino Square: amuse yourselves with luxurious shopping, strolling through stunning gardens, see the megayachts and chic casinos, or simply watch the “rich and beautiful” in their favorite haunts.
  • Drive along the spectacular Lower Corniche harboring ancient villages and modern marinas and admire the Bay of Villefranche.

Day 10: Nice

Day 10: Private Transfer

Unfortunately, it’s already time to say goodbye! A chauffeur will meet you for a private transfer between your lodging and the airport in a premium vehicle.

About This Tour:

    • Enjoy 24/7 English-spoken telephone assistance while traveling
    • This itinerary includes transport, activities, guides, accommodations with breakfasts, and other listed services
    • Price is in USD per person, assuming double occupancy. Note that prices and availability are subject to change.

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