Day 1: Arrival.
We will pick you up at the Avignon train station. Upon your arrival at our guesthouse, take time to settle in, relax by the pool, explore the private park around the house or the village. In the evening, you will enjoy a welcome reception followed by a gourmet dinner.
Day 2: Market and Roussillon, the ochre village.
Morning: Provencal and antique market at Isle sur la Sorgue. Stroll and shop on this incredible market. In the charming village of Isle sur la Sorgue built on an island, the river flows through, past, in and around the town, in its many natural beds and several canals. On Sundays, the village has two markets: the biggest Provencal market and the biggest antique market in Provence.
Afternoon: The ochre village of Roussillon and the village of Gordes. Roussillon, one of France’s Most Beautiful Villages, sits on top of the world's biggest vein of ochre, the reddish pigment which has been used by artists for centuries and which is used throughout the village in buildings, pottery, even in gravestones. We will have a guided visit of the ochre mine followed by a guided walk to the Ochre Trail revealing many fantastic rock and cliff formations.
On our way back home, we will stop in Gordes, also listed one of France’s Most Beautiful Villages. Gordes is the most spectacular village in Provence, perched on the southern edge of the high Plateau de Vaucluse. The view from the village is a southern panorama out across fields, vineyards and forests, and small-perched villages to the Montagne du Luberon.
Day 3: Artisan demonstrations: Chateau Neuf du Pape wine, chocolate and nougat.
Morning: Wine tasting and discovery of Chateau Neuf du Pape village. The Chateau Neuf du Pape village is dedicated to its world famous wine "Châteauneuf-du-Pape" which is also part of the famous Côtes du Rhône. Chateauneuf du Pape was the first Appellation in France in 1923. At the wine museum we will have a guided visit to learn everything about this famous wine and its making. The visit will end with the tasting of three exquisite Chateau Neuf du Pape wines. Free time to wander the narrow streets of this cute village and lunch at a restaurant at the top of the village with a breathtaking view of the countryside.
Afternoon: Chocolate and nougat tasting. Not only will you learn everything about the history of cocoa but you will also attend the making of wonderful chocolate by the chocolate maker himself. At the end, you will savor this wonderful treat. We will then attend a demonstration of nougat, the specialty of Provence: from almonds and honey to nougat. At the end, everybody will be able to enjoy this delicacy.
Day 4: Lavender and jeep Safari in Camargue.
Morning: Lavender museum. One cannot really separate Provence from images of purple lavender fields, the heady lavender scent in the air and the distinctive taste of lavender infused dishes. Discover the whole history of lavender, its distillation and use in medicinal therapy, cooking at the lavender museum. This will be the perfect time to shop for all the products made out of lavender.
Afternoon: Safari to see the wildlife in Camargue. Camargue, a wild and mythical land is the house of wild black bulls, wild white horses and thousand of pink flamingos. A local farmer will take us with a 4x4 on an authentic safari into the very heart of this mythical region where we will explore lakes, salt marshes, wild fauna and flora, rice fields, birds, pink flamingos, white horses and bull farming ranches. We will finish this incredible experience by tasting Camargue specialties.
Day 5: Olive oil and Pont du Gard
Morning: From olive tree to oil. 25 centuries ago the Greeks planted the olive tree deep in Provence. The olive has become one of the main ingredients of Provençal cuisine: tapenade (a purée of black or green olives), table olives and of course, olive oil. A local producer of olive oil will take us on a walk through his olive fields and share with us his knowledge and passion for olives. After the walk, he will show us the olive mill and the visit will finish with a tasting of his olive oil and tapenade. The history and the production of olives will have no secret for you after this enjoyable visit. You will have a chance to buy all olive products like tapenade, oil, olives but also bowls and items made out of olive wood.
Afternoon: Visit of the Pont du Gard. Explore the Pont du Gard, listed World Heritage site by UNESCO, built 2000 years ago by over 1000 people who worked for 5 years. The Roman architects who designed this bridge, which stands almost 150 feet high and is on three levels – the longest measuring 825 feet – created a technical as well as an artistic masterpiece. To understand better the building of the bridge as well as learning about the rich Gallo-Roman civilization, we will spend some time in the interactive museum of the Pont du Gard: full scale replicas, maps, multi-screen images, video and sound archives and all with a common denominator: water.
Day 6: “Palais des Papes” Avignon.
The Pope's Palace, first built in the 1300s, is the size of four normal French cathedrals. This amazing and expansive structure is the highlight of Avignon. We will have an audio-guided visit of one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe. After the visit, you will have leisure time in Avignon. There is so much to do: stroll in the old streets in search of antic dealers and art galleries. 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.
You can also savor local cuisine in the tea-rooms and restaurants, taste the flavours of Provence, the "Papalines" the specialty of the city, a delicacy made of fine chocolate, sugar and oregano liqueur. You also have a huge choice of museums (10 in the old Avignon): from Provencal history to paintings, sculptures, contemporary art, etc…We recommend a private mansion turned into a museum with paintings from Cezanne, Van Gogh, Picasso, Degas, Modigliani,…
Day 7: Sound and light show of Van Gogh in Les Baux de Provence.
Morning: Baux de Provence village. Discover this amazing medieval village dominating the valley and its Château. Perched on a rocky outcrop, the site provides a unique view over the vineyards and olive fields of Provence towards the sea.
Afternoon: Sound and light show of Van Gogh. Impressive limestone quarries still remain in Les Baux de Provence. Today, Cathedrales d'Images uses the quarry as natural screens for the projections of huge images on the walls and ceilings. The bases of these natural pillars measure between 15 and 30 feet and they are between 21 and 27 feet high. Moving around, you will discover new angles of view and perspectives, submerged in a world in which the ceiling is lit up with images creep along the floor and burst onto the ridges.
Day 8: Departure.
After a copious breakfast, we will drive you back to the Avignon train station. Accommodations: The luxurious guesthouse offers 12 bedrooms with private full bathrooms all with high comfort, tranquility and relaxation, with its heated swimming pool set in over 2 acres of private grounds, landscaped with pine and 100-year-old oak trees. From your window, you will have a breathtaking view of the Mont Alpille and internationally renowned vineyards.
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