JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2016 JULY 10-16, 2016 – This date is sold out
What is the A Week in Provence with Artistic Gourmet Adventures? Six nights and seven days in a privately owned Luxury Mountainside Villa with our own private swimming pool. Gourmet meals in our Villa dining room or on the terrace with panoramic views of the Luberon Mountains and local tastes in the surrounding hilltop villages. Daily Adventures by van through the spectacular countryside of vineyards, orchards and the light of Van Gogh and Cezanne. Experiencing for yourself a series of strikingly picturesque perched, hill-top villages, dating back 1000 years or more – famous names like Gordes, Roussillon and Bonnieux of course, but also a host of beautiful villages that are relatively unknown. The sights of the color and texture, and the scent of a lavender field encapsulate, for many, the essence of Provence. The lavender in the Luberon blooms from around the last week of June to the beginning of August when it is harvested. It is usually at its peak in early July, but this depends on the rainfall in the year. Be amazed by the colors of ochre of which this land is made and used as a natural pigment in paints. The reds, yellows, oranges and pinks that merge one into the other and the stunning contrast of the green of the pine trees and the blue sky against the red cliffs. Gourmet food, local wines and fantastic hillside Villa accommodations. This and so much more is what you will experience during your Week in Provence with Artistic Gourmet Adventures.
We will meet you at Avignon TGV station in the early afternoon and transport you to our Villa and home for the week centrally located outside Caseneuve and an excellent point from which to begin our daily Adventures. Caseneuve is dominated by its castle, which looks out sized considering the rest of the village, and indicates the ambition of the ruling family that built it in the 970s AD. This family, the Agoults, then moved on to other strongholds and took their wealth and connections with them, so the village never grew to catch up with the size of the castle. All that is left of them is their enigmatic motto: “Lilia sustentant turres” (the towers sustain the lilies).
After settling in, enjoy a meet-and-greet with homemade hors d’oeuvres and locally produced wines. Then relax by the by the outdoor pool or explore the tranquil mountain-side estate and enjoy the view of the Luberon Mountains until it is time for a homemade welcome dinner. (Dinner by “chef” Walter)
After breakfast at our Villa, we will visit nearby Apt for sightseeing and a little shopping. Apt was at one time destroyed by the Romans in about 125 BC and restored by Julius Caesar. It is the principle town of the Luberon mountains. After lunch on your own in Apt, we will visit a local wine producer. Home to relax and then dinner at the Villa prepared by Artistic Gourmet Adventures. (Breakfast/Home Cooked Dinner)
Morning breakfast at our Villa. We then drive through the mountain Forest of the Vaucluse via the immense lavender fields of the region. We will stop for a homemade picnic half the way up the mountain. We then continue on to our destination of Sault, a small town spread out along a low rocky promontory above the lavender fields 750 meters above sea level, with one side of the village winding around the top of a cliff. You will have the opportunity to explore the village on your own. Highlights include great fine 16th century stone houses, shopping, eateries, and the beautiful panoramas, lavender honey and the very delicious local macaroons. Dinner on your own in Sault. (Breakfast/Gourmet Picnic Lunch)
Awake rested and ready to go. We will enjoy breakfast at the Villa and head to a local lavender oil producer. Here we will see how lavender is farmed and the production of the lavender oils. We will visit a local vineyard and sample their wines followed by a drive up to the beautiful hilltop village of Bonnieux, filming site of the movie, A Good Year by Peter Mayle . If you don’t know Peter Mayle’s books, you should read at least the first one, A Year in Provence. It was written when Mayle lived just outside Menerbes and is a warm and charming account of an English couple’s first year living there and renovating their farmhouse. It also serves as a good guide to the Luberon’s attractions, markets and restaurants. There are two sequels, Toujours Provence and Encore Provence. Bonnieux is one of the most impressive Luberon villages, in size and amenities, with plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from for lunch on your own. There is a very good market, even a bakery museum! Our next destination will be Lourmarin. If your idea of a perfect Provence village includes fantastic art galleries, amazing shopping and cafes and restaurants spilling out onto the cobbled streets, Lourmarin is the place for you. The tiny streets of Lourmarin meander round, past fountains and tightly-packed houses, and you get the impression that they are circling around the impressive belfry (Castelas) at the highest point of the village. The belfry is built on the vestiges of the medieval moated castle that once defined Lourmarin. (Breakfast/Home Cooked Dinner)
How about a dip in the Mediterranean Sea? Breakfast at our Villa, then we head south through Aix en Provence and onto our picnic spot. After a filling homemade picnic, we will continue our drive to Cassis east of Marseille, an amazing small fishing village located in a protected cove on the Mediterranean. It is a curve of pink, yellow and eggshell-blue houses. The port is bobbing with colorful wooden fishing boats and sailboats. Surrounded by dazzling white limestone cliffs, crystalline coves called calanques and vineyard hills descending directly into the sea, Cassis remains a miraculously friendly, unspoiled spot. Great beach, shopping and sightseeing without the pretentiousness of other popular towns on the Cote D’Azur. Dinner on your own overlooking the harbor in one of the seaside restaurants. (Breakfast/Gourmet Picnic Lunch)
After breakfast at our Villa we will visit the famous hill top towns of Roussillon and Gordes. It’s hard to do justice to the unique splendor of Roussillon. You can say that there are 17 shades of ochre daubed across the houses of the village. Roussillon’s ochre quarry was one of the most significant ochre deposits in the world. If the Luberon were a country, Gordes would be its capital. This is the Parthenon of Provence, an imposing edifice born of stone that has always attracted its share of attention because it is just so picturesque. Inevitably, Gordes is officially one of The Most Beautiful Villages in France. Dinner at a local restaurant. (Breakfast)
Breakfast at the Villa, we will visit the Apt market. This is the biggest market of the Luberon weekly markets. It takes place every Saturday morning for the last 900 years. The market sprawls and slithers through several alleys and squares in the heart of old Apt, like a long conga line of vitality and color. There is a real buzz in the air as you stroll from stall to stall. Apt market covers food, local products, clothes, Provencal fabrics, bedspreads and table cloths, flowers, herbs, toiletries, perfume, and many other things you probably didn’t know you needed. Then on to Avignon. You may decide to spend the night in this 14th century walled medieval city. Avignon was the seat of the papacy. The Palais des Papes, an austere-looking fortress lavishly decorated by Simone Martini and Matteo Giovanetti, dominates the city, the surrounding ramparts and the remains of a 12th-century bridge over the Rhone. Beneath this outstanding example of Gothic architecture, the Petit Palais and the Romanesque Cathedral of Notre-Dame-des-Doms complete an exceptional group of monuments that testify to the leading role played by Avignon in 14th-century Christian Europe. The Provencal way of life come to light in Avignon. Antique dealers and art galleries, the “Papalines” the specialty of the city, a delicacy made of fine chocolate, sugar and oregano liqueur and the famous Cotes du Rhône wine of which Avignon is the Capital. In addition to the large variety of well stocked luxury shops, there are Provencal materials, ceramics and pottery, terra cotta figurines (santons), handicrafts, and other specialties of the region. We will provide transportation to Avignon TGV station for your late afternoon return home by train or if spending the night, we will take you to your chosen hotel. (Breakfast)
Accommodations-A Week in Provence-2016
PRIVATE HILLSIDE VILLA OVERLOOKING THE LUBERON MOUNTAINS
June 26-July 2, 2016
July 10-16, 2016 – This date is sold out
$3600 USD pp single occupancy
$3450 pp double occupancy
REMEMBER! Traveling Single? When you share a TWIN or DOUBLE bed room with a friend you BOTH get a deal by paying the Double Occupancy Rate!!!
Tour cost is included.
Airfare is not included.
Airport meet and escort by host via rail is available for additional fee of $500USD per group.
Travel Insurance is HIGHLY recommended. Nonrefundable deposit of $750USD pp due upon booking.
The Adventure cost ground transfers to and from the Avignon rail station, daily ground transportation by van, all breakfasts, most lunches and most dinners, accommodations and wine and soft beverages with meals at our accommodations.