10 Days in The South of France ~ Provence

My tour of Provence takes you through quaint villages and the picturesque countryside of the region’s interior, as well as the strikingly beautiful coast between Marseille and Cassis.  The region is large and varied, and we allow ourselves the time to explore as much of its charm as possible, while still retaining the serenity aroused by rolling vineyards & the song of cicadas.  With family & friends peppered throughout, Provence has become a home away from home for us.


I limit this trip to 8 people, determined by the number of seats available in the non-commercial minivan that I rent.  With me in the driver’s seat of a 9-passenger minivan, we take off, as a group of friends on an adventure ~ exploring the backcountry villages, as well as the coast.  Throughout the trip, we stay in villages tucked away from the bustle, and explore places that are evocative of the movies, Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources (our daughter’s name is Manon, if that tells you anything about where our heart lies).

With me, you get to experience it, rather than just witness it ~ for instance, we not only watch locals play pétanque in the “boulodrome” in Vaison-la-Romaine, but you get to learn the game and play it together.  We even practice our French a bit during a French 101 Conversation Class while having lunch with a with our niece, native of Nice, in a hill town in the Var surrounded by rolling vineyards.  My trip incorporates interaction with local French people.  Perhaps the best feature of my trip is that you will reside in an authentic Provençal home for the majority of the trip, a way to truly “go local.”  Experience the vibrancy and colors of the South of France on the inside track with me.

The South of France ~ 10 Days in Provence

September 11 – 21, 2019  (Completed)
September 28 – October 8, 2019  (Completed)


 Highlights include:

Dinner with our French family at a beautiful, chic restaurant in Marseille 

Villages of the Var and a beautiful Côtes de Provence winery 

Private boat outing along the calanques of seaside Cassis

Private French language course & lunch with linguist Elise

 Tour & tasting at olive oil mill ~ visit the orchards, learn the production, and savor a tasting

Privately guided visit of Les Baux de Provence and “Footsteps of Van Gogh”, the St. Paul Asylum in St. Rémy de Provence from where Van Gogh painted “Starry Night”, “The Irises”, and “The Wheat Field” 

Game of pétanque in Gallo-Roman village of Vaison la Romaine

The largest archaeological site of Roman vestiges in France in Vaison-la-Romaine 

Medieval “Haute Ville” of Vaison
& the story of the Counts of Toulouse whose château remains perched atop the high town

Provençal outdoor market tour & cooking dinner in your Provençal home with Chef Karen 

4-kilometer scenic walk through the countryside of rolling vineyards

Postcard villages of the Vaucluse & Drôme at the base of Mont Ventoux

Privately guided tour of a family-owned lavender & herb distillery ~ witness the distillation and experience essential oils; conclude with a gourmet artisanal lavender- or herb-infused treat at the on-site tea salon with terrace 

Pont du Gard ~ the astonishing Roman aqueduct 

Privately guided visit of historic Avignon and the Palace of the Popes

Private dinner at the chef’s Guest Table in the 19th-century kitchen of a luxurious hotel in Avignon, originally a 14th-century cardinal’s mansion

Villages & vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône, including Ségueret and Gigondas, and a prestigious Châteauneuf-du-Pape winery

Exclusive Provençal dinner at the home of our hosts in Vaison-la-Romaine

Tour & tasting a family-owned nougat maker, almond grower & bee keeper workshop & boutique ~ the highest quality confections in Provence

Contact us for pricing and terms.

Includes: 10 nights lodging in beautiful, high quality accommodations with private bathroom (3 nights in villa in Cassis, 7 nights in Vaison-la-Romaine rental home), 4 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners, train station pick-up & return, van rental, insurance & fuel charges; tolls & parking; privately guided tours & visits; all highlights above, and Karen’s services as trip organizer, travel advisor, and full-time trip escort. LAND PACKAGE ONLY.  Excludes:   International flights to/from the US or other European city, transportation/taxis other than specified above, tips for guides, carbon offsets for flight, and trip insurance.

Activity level:  MODERATE to STRENUOUS – This tour involves a lot of walking, standing, stairs, hills, cobblestones, and gravel pathways.

Note on travel styleMy focus on well-being affords you an itinerary with a slow start to offset the stresses of travel, a comfortable sight-seeing pace, periodic downtime (free time during some days, and several free evenings), attention to healthful practices, such as balanced meals, fresh vegetables, and the option to attend a yoga class.  Travelers with food sensitivities or allergies may be accommodated, please inform me upon booking.

For more information & photos, visit our daily itinerary description & photo gallery

Practical Information

  • Tour limited to 8 travelers; reservations honored on a first come, first served basis.
  • This is a LAND ONLY package beginning in Marseille and ending in Avignon; price does not include airfare, nor transportation to and from Paris or other French cities other than pick-up and return from/to cities mentioned herein.
  • Arrival pick-up and return is included only for arrivals at Marseille train station (Marseille St. Charles) and departures from Avignon train station (Avignon TGV).
  • Travelers must consult Karen before finalizing flight plans
  • Prior to booking your international flight, please consider the following:
    • Please plan to spend one night in Paris before and after the tour, allowing 14 days total travel time:
      1/ Outbound flight: Due to overnight flight from the US, you will need to depart one day prior to desired arrival in France
      2/ Inbound flight:  Departs France and arrives USA same day
    • The group will take the train together from Paris to Marseille on the start date of the tour.  You may return together by train from Avignon to Paris (details below). 
    • How to get from Paris to Marseille:  High-speed train from Paris to Marseille; trip duration: approx. 3-hours; cost: approx. $100 per person, to be paid by you.  Meeting point:  Gare de Lyon in Paris, time be confirmed 3 months prior to travel.  Karen will then collect the minivan for the group at Marseille train station, and we will drive together to Cassis.  In order to ensure that everyone arrives on the same train, Karen will purchase 1st class train tickets on behalf of each traveler at the best price (to be reimbursed by traveler).
    • How to get from Avignon to Paris:  Non-stop high-speed train from Avignon to Paris; trip duration: approx. 2.5-hours; cost: approx. $80 per person, to be paid by you.  You will be driven to Avignon TGV train station to catch your return train to Paris.  For your convenience, Karen will purchase 1st class return train tickets on behalf of each traveler at the best price (to be reimbursed by traveler).

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