June 26-July 2, 2016 NEW Date Added!
July 10-16, 2016 SOLD OUT
We will meet you at Avignon TGV station in the early afternoon and transport you to our Villa and home for the week which is an excellent point from which to begin our daily Adventures.
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 principal 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 metres 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 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. After the market and lunch on your own in Apt, we will visit the famous hill top towns of Roussillon and Gordes. It’s hard to do justice to the unique splendour 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, then we depart for Avignon with a stop in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Over the last 40 years L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue has become famous as the antiques capital of Provence, indeed of France, if you don’t count Paris. Sunday morning the place becomes an orgy of antiques and bric-a-brac stalls, about 300 in all. This is the time to visit, when the streets are thronging with color and life. After lunch on your own, we will travel on to the ancient City of Avignon. In the 14th century, this walled medieval city 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 will come to light in Avignon. Strolling in the old streets in search of antique dealers and art galleries, discover its local cuisine in the tea-rooms and the restaurants. Taste the flavors of Provence, the “Papalines” the specialty of the city, a delicacy made of fine chocolate, sugar and oregano liqueur. Taste the famous Cotes du Rhône wine of which Avignon is the Capital. In addition to the large variety of well stocked luxury shops, you will find Provencal materials, ceramics and pottery, terra cotta figurines (santons), handicrafts, and other specialties of the region. We provide transportation to Avignon TGV station for your late afternoon return home by train. (Breakfast)
The Adventure cost covers rail originating in Paris to and from airport, 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.
- Tour cost is included..
- Airfare is not included.
- Airport meet and escort by host via rail is available for additional fee of $500 per group.
- Travel Insurance is HIGHLY recommended.
- Nonrefundable deposit of $750 pp due upon booking.