fbpx

Provence and French Riviera Discovery Tour

14 Days | History & Culture, Wine & Food

Travel through the vineyards enjoying the best regional cuisine and wine before a seaside getaway on the French Riviera

from $2,099

Experience the best of Provence and the famous French Riviera. See fabulous medieval villages, historical monuments, and, of course, taste your way through the sun-soaked vineyards. Along the way, learn how to make perfume, during an educational and creative workshop with a master perfumer in Grasse. Pick up some tips and tricks about proper wine sampling and the enology. Sail the stunning Côte d’Azur from Cannes. The trip ends in world-famous Monaco and Nice.      

Day by Day

Day 1: Avignon

Arrival at TGV Station in Avignon

Pick Up of your Rental Car

Evening in Avignon after arrival at your accommodation.

avignon-travel-france-landscape

Day 2: Avignon

Suggestion: morning walking tour of Avignon and the Pope’s Palace

Join your local guide in a walk to discover the rich historical center of Avignon – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Climb up to the top of the fortified medieval city walls and discover Avignon stretching in all its beauty along the Rhône River.

Enjoy skip-the-line access and follow your guide inside the Pope’s Palace (entrance ticket included), the largest Gothic-style palace in Europe where successive popes resided between 1309 and 1377. In this maze of galleries, chambers, and chapels, imagine its luxurious furnishing and sumptuous decoration from the medieval period.

Walk on the cobbled streets to the Place de l’Horloge; see the town hall, topped with its clock tower, and the theater.

Your tour will end up with a glass of Côtes du Rhône wine served in an intimate and historical place, mostly known by the locals.

Day 3: Les-Baux-de -Provence

Suggestion: visit Les Baux-de-Provence

Clinging to an ancient limestone hill, Les Baux-de-Provence is a typical Provencal fortified hilltop village. It’s located in the Alpilles Regional Natural Park, and it was built between the 15th-16th centuries. It is recognized as one the “most beautiful villages of France”.

The Carrières de Lumières is a former bauxite mine reconverted as one of our favorite art venues. Art is projected against the brilliant white walls. It’s a memorable light and sound spectacle. The theme of the spectacle changes every year. In 2020 it’s Dalí, the endless enigma.

landscape-france-provence-travel-vacations

Day 4: Aix-en-Provence

Suggestion: Sample Aix-en-Provence’s Sun-soaked Vineyards 

Brice, a passionate enologist, will guide you through the local vineyards where you will discover the finest wines of the region.

Starting at Aix-en-Provence, drive though the beautiful Aix-en-Provence Wine Roads (Route des Vins de Provence), along the impressive Sainte-Victoire mountain.

Your visit includes four renowned wineries, producing the Côtes-de-Provence and Côtes-de-Provence Sainte-Victoire appellations. Walk through vineyards in both. Brice will introduce you to the art of wine-growing, and take you to visit the wine cellars.

Your discovery tour will finish in style with a tasting of several fine wines and a few tips and tricks about proper wine sampling.

Day 5: Aix-en-Provence

Suggestion: Private gourmet walking tour of Aix-en-Provence

Join a local passionate food guide for a taste of magical Aix-en-Provence.
Rub shoulders with locals in boutique food shops and charming farmers markets. Taste local sweets and savory specialties. You’ll learn the history behind the city’s food traditions. This morning tour takes you through the more than 700-year-old market square.

You’ll get a chance to try the local pastries, traditional Calisson candy, olives, lavender honey, fruits, cheese, and charcuterie. Stop for a coffee or the well-loved rosé wine.

street-france-travel-vacations-history

Day 6: Marseille - Sainte Maxime

Suggestion: visit of Marseille, the City of a Thousand Faces

Nestled between the turquoise Mediterranean Sea, rocky inlets, and scenic hills, the Southern French metropolis is overhung and protected by the impressive Basilica “Bonne Mère” (the “Good Mother”). France’s oldest and second biggest city was founded by Greek traders 2,600 years ago and is full of surprises ever since.

Today it skillfully combines tradition with modernity. New or refurbished trams, designer hotels, galleries, museums, cultural centers, sights, and chic restaurants make the Mediterranean city a fascinating attraction. Not to be missed are the museum MUCEM (about history and culture of the Mediterranean Region) and the MAC, exhibiting contemporary art. Marseille’s life still focuses on the Vieux Port (the Old Port), with its vibrant nightlife and many restaurants. A must-try is the delicious Bouillabaisse, the local fish soup.

Worth visiting: Château d’If, an old fort converted into a prison whose most famous prisoner was immortalized by Alexandre Dumas in his novel The Count of Monte-Cristo, or the off the coast Frioul Islands where you can admire original protected plant life. And if you fancy taking a break, find your own hidden little bay, the typical Calanques where you can swim, relax and sunbathe!

marseille-france-vacations

Day 7: Saint-Tropez - Sainte-Maxime

Suggestion: visit Saint-Tropez

The name Saint-Tropez evokes images of sunbathing celebrities, designer boutiques, and luxury yachts. The appeal of Saint-Tropez was first discovered in the late 19th century by the Impressionist painter Paul Signac, who later lured artists such as Matisse and Marquet here. Then in 1955, the film Et Dieu Créa la Femme (And God Created Woman), starring Brigitte Bardot, forever changed this small port town into a legendary seaside resort, sparkling amid the glitz of the Côte d’Azur.

The atmospheric Vieux Port is the heart of Saint-Tropez, where the old fishing village first sprung to life. Visitors are charmed by the idyllic scene of small fishing boats and fashionable yachts docked in the harbor, which is lined by pastel-colored Mediterranean houses and lively cafés with outdoor terraces. On the wide sidewalk at the water’s edge, artists sell colorful paintings depicting scenes of Saint-Tropez.

The old town of Saint-Tropez, known as “La Ponche”, is the historic center of the fishing village and is the most picturesque area of Saint-Tropez. Part of it has been laid out as a pedestrian zone of narrow alleyways and quaint cobblestone lanes abounding with small shops, upscale boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. Place des Lices, a pleasant and shady town square (also known as Place Carnot) is in the heart of Saint-Tropez. At this lovely square beneath the plane trees, older men of Saint-Tropez gather to play pétanque (the Provençal version of bocce ball). On Tuesday and Saturday mornings, a traditional Provençal market takes advantage of this spacious square.

boat docked in st tropez harbor mediterranean sea

 

Day 8: Les Arcs sur Argens- Sainte Maxime

Suggestion: Discover Les Arcs Sur Argens – The capital of the Côtes de Provence wines

As you stand on the village square, just raise your eyes to the north to discover the ancient medieval village of Le Parage and its rugged old keep, huddled on a rocky spur.

Visit the village, tightly encircled by the remains of its double walls, through the ancient, fortified village gates. Its maze of streets winds up steeply to the castle, offering endless views over the valley down below.

Fed by the river Argens and home to the “Maison des Vins des Côtes de Provence” wine institute, this village is a genuine hub of Provencal wine growing.

france-travel-vacations-provence

Day 9: Golfe Juan les Pins - Nice

Suggestion: Private Sailing Cruise along the coast of the French Riviera with Lunch on Board

At the harbor of Cannes, Olivier and Fabienne, welcome you on board of their twelve-meter long, comfortable, sailing boat for an unforgettable cruise: a sea getaway along the coast of the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var.

This cruise is yours! Let yourself be rocked by the sea waves while enjoying the beautiful panorama or take part in the navigation manoeuvers.

Around midday, you will drop anchor so that you may take a swim in the turquoise water!

At lunch, you will be served a variety of savory tapas, accompanied by a delicious cool Sangria or a seasonal Mediterranean lunch with salads and fresh fruit.

vacations-south-france-beach

Day 10: Nice

Suggestion: 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. It’s a popular restaurant area if you’re looking for a special dinner by the water.

From the harbor, you can climb to the Colline du Château for great views of the city, where 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.”

nice-france-vacations-travel-street

Day 11: Grasse

Suggestion: Perfume Workshop

During an educational and creative workshop, Guy, master perfumer in Grasse, will make you discover a combination of traditional manual work methods and contemporary techniques used in the manufacturing of perfume.

On this occasion, you will learn about the major perfume “families” and the raw materials used for making your own for perfume.

The workshop includes a guided tour of the Grasse d’Antan Museum, an initiation to the main perfume “families” and its multiple essences, the olfactory pyramid, as well as the development of your senses: olfactory memory linked to memories and emotions.

At the end of the workshop, you can take back home your “self-made” perfume (100ml of Eau de perfume spray), its formula, the training booklet, and a certificate honoring you as a “perfumer apprentice”.

perfume-france-adventure-travel

Day 12: Menton

Suggestion: Free day in Menton

Menton is a town located in the French department of Alpes-Maritimes, on the Côte d’Azur. The city is located with its Garavan district, directly on the border with Italy.

Menton is the first French town after the Italian border and is also the first or most eastern French town on the Côte d’Azur. Thanks to the protected location, Menton is also the warmest place on the French Côte d’Azur in winter, and the best part: it has the best restaurant in the world (Mirazur).

Day 13: Monaco

Suggestion: Visit the Principality of Monaco

Take the day to discover Monaco, its museums, its monuments, and above all, its magic. The Principality, the second smallest country in the world, is located near the border between southern France and northern Italy. Home to a world-famous casino, the Grand Prix, luxury services, and lush gardens, Monaco is a dreamy destination.

Visit the Casino of Monte Carlo, the gardens, and the nearby Hotel de Paris. Day and night, people flock to this mythical place. Explore its impressive architecture and grandiose rooms. It’s a pleasure where you prefer to play yourself or just watch. Consider a pause at the Café de Paris’ terrace to watch the world pass and indulge in a cold drink or an ice cream.

Walk through the old city, by the cathedral and the palace. Enjoy the changing of the guard at 11.55 am is a visitor favorite. Port Hercule gives off a James Bond feel with its resplendent yachts, the Grand Prix circuit and the towering Oceanographic Museum (also known as “Temple of the Sea”).

hotel in monaco

Day 14: Nice Airport

Depart Nice

Unfortunately it’s time to say goodbye. Return your rental car at the airport.

Map

Speak to a Local Travel Designer


Our Favorite Hotels

Hotel de l'Horloge
Hotel Cardinal
Hotel La Belle Aurore
Hotel Ellington

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.