PACKAGES & GROUP TRIPS FOR 2020 AND 2021
With more trips coming soon...
Sometimes you want to go it alone...other times the fun and ease of group travel seems like a better choice. I'm often asked if I can recommend any group tours to Provence and it's a pleasure to mention the ones below for the year ahead. I've chosen these in particular because I know the tour operator, host or guides well...or I think the itinerary is superb...or my clients have taken the tour and raved about it! If you're interested in any of the following, get in touch so we can discuss. My email: WhatToDoinProvence@gmail.com. -- Julie
TRIPS IN 2020
Provence in the Footsteps of Van Gogh
April 14-20, 2020
You’ll have to jump on this one quickly; as of this writing there’s just one spot left. For seven idyllic days and six nights this April, experience a Provencal dream on this ladies-only luxury tour organized and led by a top Parisian blogger, author and tour director. “We run women-only tours,” she tells me, “because the connection and sisterhood that gets created from women coming together from all over the world is simply magical.” Enjoy antiquing, truffle-hunting, wine tasting, a cooking class, market tours and picnics, while exploring some of the most beautiful yet less touristic villages in Provence. Gourmet meals and wines are chosen based on demanding foodie tastes and include high-quality local ingredients. All but one meal is included and all meals include wine and/or bubbly! Lodging this year is in St. Remy, where the group will take over a small, very-beautiful boutique hotel. 2019 Dates: April 14-20, 2020. Price: $4195 pp for a single room (savings are available if you prefer to share).
The Roads Less Traveled
May 4-12, July 6-14 and Oct 12-20, 2020
These small-group, active tours (ten people max) will whisk you away down the back roads of Southern France to some of the most spectacular cities and villages...on the French Riviera and in inland Provence. For nine days and eight nights, immerse yourself in French culture and beauty. Each day brims with something new and exciting: French cooking classes with a highly regarded chef, excursions to morning markets, a Sunday trip to the world-famous L’Isle–sur-la-Sorgue (antique capital of France), a leisurely boat cruise out of Cassis to see the Calanques (inlets that have been formed in the limestone cliffs) out of Cassis, wine tasting in Bandol and much more. We use small vehicles (with an English speaking driver) and take ancient paths to quaint villages and amazing vistas, places that coach buses just can’t access. We’ll enjoy three different 3- and 4-star boutique/spa hotels (in La Cadiere-d’Azur, Aix and Nice) but stay in each long enough to feel part of the region. All tours are guided by the company’s Connecticut-based founder, with years of experience hosting groups in France. Dates: May 4-12, July 6-14 and Oct. 12-20. (Additional tour dates may be arranged for private groups.) Prices: $4,180 pp (double occupancy), $4,840 (single) includes airport or train station pick up (but not drop off), all ground transport, lodging with breakfast, two lunches, welcome dinner, two cookery classes, Riviera cruise, wine tasting and welcome kit.
The Magic of Uzès and the Roman Rhône
June 1-8, 2020
For 8 days and 7 nights, this women-only, small group tour (6 guests max!) will be based in the charming town of Uzès, given you time to slow down, explore and truly savor this beautiful part of France. Charming Uzès, originally a Roman fortified town dating to the 2nd century BCE, is today a designated city of art and history. With its beautiful architecture and lively food scene, it's the perfect place to immerse yourself in the magic of Southern France. We'll discover the history of Uzes itself and the Valle de l’Eure, visit the UNESCO World Heritage site the Pont du Gard, and have a private chef-guided tour of a weekly food market, creating a lunch together from our visit. We'll have exclusive private tours and tastings at wineries in Lirac and Châteauneuf du Pape, as well as a private walking tour in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Avignon. Our second cooking class will help us understand and appreciate the traditional French Sunday lunch. There will be free time to rest, read, get a massage, window shop or just hang out and people watch in a café. The goal is to leave you relaxed, refreshed and inspired! This American tour company was founded by a WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Level 3 certified wine professional, a WSET Diploma candidate who has spent 8 years working in the wine business. She's traveled extensively in wine regions in Europe, exploring vineyards, meeting vignerons, tasting wine, and taking cooking classes everywhere she can! She loves to combine her passion for food, wine and travel to create unique tours for women from around the globe. Dates: June 1-8, 2020. Price: $5200.
Adventures in Provence
Multiple Dates from May thru October, 2020
This American-owned company, specializing in active tour travel exclusively in France, offers fully escorted six-day, five-night group tours in Provence hosted by the company owner (a tour operator, travel author and photographer who has lived in France for 25 years) and her team of charming local, English-speaking American and French guides. (They won the LUX 2019 Tourism Award for Boutique French Tour Operator of the Year.) Their Provence trip will be offered 22 times from May to October 2020, giving you great flexibility. The itinerary is designed to cater to both walkers and non-walkers alike by offering guided cultural excursions for guests not participating in the scheduled walks. You’ll discover villages and historical sites, walk Provence country trails to discover three distinct areas of the region, dine in a private Provence farmhouse, participate in a private chocolate making workshop and a Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine tasting excursion featuring a privately hosted lunch overlooking the Rhone River valley, visit artisan food producers and craftsmen, learn about Van Gogh’s presence in Provence, see gorgeous Cassis and the Calanques, and enjoy a mix of celebrity bistrot and Michelin-starred restaurants. You’ll experience four of the most-beautiful areas of Provence--the Alpilles, the Luberon, the Mediterranean Coast, and Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine country—and return each evening to your charming boutique hotel with pool in the heart of the village of St. Remy. For those who wish to arrive early or stay on, we’re happy to help you with planning. Max # of guests per trip is 16. Prices from US$3,298 based on early-booking promotional prices. 2020 dates: May 5-10, May 12-17, May 19-24, May 26-31, June 2-7, June 9-14, June 16-21, June 23-28, June 30-July 5, July 7-12, July 14-19, July 21-26, July 28-Aug 2, Aug 25-30, Sept 1-6, Sept 8-13, Sept 15-20, Sept 22-27, Sept 29-Oct 4, Oct 6-11, Oct 13-18, Oct 20-25.
May 20 - 26, 2020
This trip offers a great opportunity for the vintage fan...a second-time-around experience for a small group of women, mostly all strangers a year ago, who met on a Provence tour last spring. "They had such an over-the-top wonderful time," the host tells me, "that they became fast friends and felt they had to do it again. And now we're looking for two more fun-loving appreciators of Provencal beauty to join us!" The itinerary is filled with vintage shopping, invitations to private homes, a day on the Mediterranean, a centuries-old festival in a gorgeous Luberon village, wine, nature, beautiful food and lots of laughs. Lodging is in a boutique hotel in Aix and the tour is led by an American living in Provence, a vintage expert who's organized tours in France for more than 20 years. Dates: May 20-26. Two spots left; women only; 8 people max. $2475 pp double occupancy; single supplement is $420. "Singles don't be shy!," the host says. "That's how this group started and I know you'll love this tour!"
Three-Day Châteauneuf du Pape and Southern Rhone Wine Tour
May, June, Sept and Oct 2020
This three-night Southern Rhône wine immersion is hosted by two of the most-experienced wine-tour operators in the area. In business since 2007, their Trip Advisor reviews are 98% “excellent.” He’s a WSET-diploma wine tutor, she’s an accomplished and creative chef...and you’ll stay in their stylish architect-designed house perfectly placed in the heart of Châteauneuf du Pape. The tour includes seven winery visits--including grand estates and secret artisans-- where you’ll meet the winemakers and taste the full range of their labels, plus enjoy, in one case, a special vineyard lunch prepared by the winemaker. There will be food and wine pairings “at home” and other meals in your hosts’ favorite nearby restaurants. This tour is designed for small groups of six people max; couples are free to join in and will be paired with other travellers. If you’re four people, you can book a private tour. I see this package as the perfect add-on to a longer Provence or France trip...or the perfect getaway for anyone already in Europe. Available 2020 dates: May 12-15, May 19-21, June 8-11, Sept 16- 19, Oct 7-10, Oct 13-16. Price: $1800 pp double occupancy includes everything except travel to France.
A Stylish French Escape
Sept 12-19, 2020
Live the French way…everyday! If you're a decor aficionado, fabr-i-holic, creative traveler or devotee of French style, this small group tour is for you—a week of design discovery, treasure-hunting, traditional Provençal crafts, history, and of course, exceptional food & wine! Exclusive excursions for private workshops, tours, and market visits are further enhanced by the luxury of returning to a fabulous mas near St. Remy at the end of day. Think drinks & nibbles under the plane trees, followed by leisurely dinners catered by a local chef—with conversation as inviting and inspiring as the food. Your hosts are American design experts/tour guides with 10+ years of experience leading design-focused tours in Provence. Tours are capped at 8 people max. Price for 8 days/ 7 nights, single occupancy, is $4998, with most meals included. Dates: Sept 12-19, 2020.
Multiple Dates from April thru October 2020
Organized and hosted by a former producer at the Food Network, a food writer and cookbook author, this package called Saveur Languedoc offers food lovers of all levels a fun French culinary experience. Languedoc is a singular historic region rich in traditions, art, architecture and culture...and it makes the perfect location for sightseeing jaunts to some of the most popular villages and sites, as well as fantastic food markets. The Saveur Languedoc program includes 6 nights in a comfortable B&B, 5 days of sightseeing, cooking, wine tastings, a comprehensive truffle workshop and a Canal du Midi cruise. You’ll enjoy market and local-producer visits, breakfast each morning, lunches at local restaurants and, best of all, hands-on French cooking experience making soups, salads, stews, local dishes, French desserts and more. Classes are taught in English; group size is six students max and all levels are welcome. 2020 Price: 2800 € pp. Dates: April 19 to 25, May 10 to 16, May 24 to 30, June 7 to 13, June 21 to 27, July 5 to 11, Sept 6 to 12, Sept 20 to 26, Oct 4 to 10, Oct 18 to 24.
C’est la Vie! Summer Tours
August 12-22, 2020
Slip into your espadrilles and experience one of the most magical places in France with local food, wine and newfound friendships. The C'est la Vie Tour is designed to have the feel of a group of friends exploring Provençe together...probably because it started as a group of friends enjoying Provençe together! Then others asked to join...and the Vermont-based trip leader decided to make it annual getaway, open to any like-minded travelers. Six guests and two guides guarantees an intimate experience. You'll arrive in Marseille and head to L’isle sur la Sorgue where you’ll hit the ground running by exploring their stream side Antiques, Art & You Fair. You’ll spend the night at your hotel just steps away. Next you’ll head to Uzès by way of Châteauneuf du Pape, tasting wine and nibbling chocolate. Uzès, a lively medieval town, is your home for the next few nights. You’ll be just around the corner from the best patisserie in town and the café-lined, tree-lit Place aux Herbes. You'll kayak under the Pont du Gard and maybe even learn a trick or two from a famous chef during your Provençal style cooking class. Then you’re off to St. Rémy, where you'll experience the incredible meld of music and art at the Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux, followed with a quick dip in the pool before dinner. The next day's main event is the big weekly market, just stepsfrom your hotel. Then there's a day of exploring followed by a memorable Provençal meal. For the last leg of the tour you'll head to the picturesque port of Cassis on the Mediterranean for two nights. You’ll be hitting both the local artists market and the weekly port-side market, as well as an excursion wine tasting at a vineyard that's walking distance to the port. As the pièce de résistance you’ll squeeze in an incredible adventure exploring the Calanques ("French Fiords") by electric boat. You’ll head home with amazing treasures and lots of happy memories! Dates: August 12 to 22. Prices: $4150 pp, double occupancy, meals included.
June 11- June 20, 2020
Imagine yourself amongst fields of lavender and sunflowers, sipping a glass of cool rosé on the edge of a vineyard on a warm summer evening, strolling through markets full of gorgeous produce, delicious cheeses and local delicacies, and exploring medieval villages with cobblestone streets so perfectly preserved that you expect a knight in shining armor to appear just around the bend. This tour operator, who has won multiple World Food Travel Association’s Food Trekking Awards, says "This is our Provence and we want to share it with you!" Guided tours, winery visits and tastings, gourmet food, cooking lessons, truffle hunting and the scenery that inspired Cezanne and Van Gogh- all await you on this small group tour. Accommodations: 2 nights in a 4-star hotel in Avignon and 7 nights in a gorgeous chateau in the middle of a vineyard near Châteauneuf du Pape! Dates: June 11-20. Early Booking Price: $4355 pp double occupancy.
Forward After Fifty: An Empowerment Retreat for Women
September 13 -18, 2020
Make your life at 50 and beyond even more fabulous…in the magical surroundings of the Provencal countryside. This five-day retreat includes four mornings of group coaching sessions where you’ll learn steps and gain insights to support and motivate your next chapter. Topics to be covered include People Pleasing, Boosting Confidence, Understanding Ourselves, Values to Aid Decision-Making…and putting it all together to create realistic goals. An aromatherapy expert will be on hand and one private aromatherapy massage with is included. This retreat offers a unique mix of well-being and day trips to discover charming nearby villages, from your base in an authentic 18th- century Provencal mas. The retreat will be led by a travel industry veteran who has been leading tours throughout Europe for almost 35 years…and coaching women for five years. The group will be eight women max, perfect for solo-travelers or groups of friends. Dates: Sept 13 to 15. Price: €1630 pp (single room), €1570 pp (shared twin), €1300 pp (shared triple).
A Week in Uzes
Multiple Dates from April thru Sept, 2020
Organized and hosted by a popular cooking school with branches in Paris and Provence, the package called A Week in Uzès offers food lovers of all levels an intensive French culinary experience. The Medieval city of Uzès is one of those magical, historic places that everybody seems to love...and it makes the perfect location for sightseeing jaunts to some of the most popular villages and sites in Provence, as well as the fantastic food markets in and around Uzès. "This is glorious, intensive week of French cooking, baking and tasting," proclaims the ebullient chef/owner. The Week in Uzès includes 7 nights in a beautiful guesthouse hand-picked by the French chef and his wife along with 5 days of cooking, baking & touring. You’ll enjoy market and local-producer visits, breakfast each morning, dinner at one of your chef's favorite restaurants, winery tours, a wine-pairing experience and, best of all, hands-on French cooking experience including bread making, breakfast pastries, soups, salads, stews, Provencale dishes, French desserts and more. Classes are taught in English; group size is six students max and all levels are welcome. 2020 Price: 2855€ pp. Non-participating guests: 850€. Dates: April 25- May 2, May 2-9, May 23-30, June 6-13, Sept 5-12, Sept 19-26.
A Taste of Provence...for the Holidays
Dec 6-13, 2020
Hosted by a French-born, US-based tour operator with 25+ years experience escorting groups throughout Europe and Latin America, these 8 day/7night small-group trips (6 guests max) focus on the food, wine and culture of Provence. Cooking classes at the homes of local chefs, shopping at outdoor markets, gourmet walking tours, winery tours and exclusive visits to artisanal purveyors and producers are combined with visits to the charming hill towns of the Luberon and to historic sites in Avignon, Les Baux de Provence and more. Brush up and practice your French at the optional breakfast "table ronde" conversation sessions. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and the perfect balance between planned activities and leisure time. Stay at an elegant boutique hotel and dine from the menu with wine at authentic restaurants inaccessible to larger groups. Leisure time for shopping and experiencing the rhythm of Provençal life. The December version of this tour includes visiting local Christmas and santon markets for unique holiday gifts, cooking classes to prepare soul-warming dishes and unique activities guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit! Trips are perfect for friends, couples and singles...and fill up quickly. 2020 Dates: Dec. 6-13, 2020. Price (includes everything except travel to the Avignon starting point): $5600 pp (no single supplement). Inquire about early booking discount.
Don't see what you like? We're adding more trips through the month of January so definitely check back. Or, let us plan the perfect trip package for you!
TRIPS IN 2021
Private Provence: A House & Garden Tour
Late Spring, 2021
For everyone who sees a gorgeous garden gate and simply must know what's behind it, this tour is for you. This exclusive small group tour (8 travelers max) is a one-of-kind opportunity to visit some of the most enchanting private homes and gardens in Provence, where you'll be hosted by the homeowners, architects and gardeners themselves. We'll also visit a professional flower farm, boutiques selling beautiful things for your own home and garden (such as traditional Provencal pottery), a Provencal fabric workshop and one of our favorite antique markets. When we're not poking in and out of these exquisite places, you'll be offered a flower arranging class, a cooking class, a pastry class, a painting or sketch workshop and more. And of course we'll enjoy superlative Provencal meals made from the freshest local ingredients, paired perfectly with our favorite wines. Every step of the way you'll meet enchanting locals (French and expat) who are excited to host you and share their unique stories and experiences. Welcome to Provence and please, come in! Dates: Late Spring, 2021. For pricing and more details: WhatToDoinProvence@gmail.com.
A Taste of Provence
May 25-June 1, 2021
Hosted by a French-born, US-based tour operator with 25+ years experience escorting groups throughout Europe and Latin America, these 8 day/7night small-group trips (6 guests max) focus on the food, wine and culture of Provence. Cooking classes at the homes of local chefs, shopping at outdoor markets, gourmet walking tours, winery tours and exclusive visits to artisanal purveyors and producers are combined with visits to the charming hill towns of the Luberon and to historic sites in Avignon, Les Baux de Provence and more. Brush up and practice your French at the optional breakfast "table ronde" conversation sessions. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and the perfect balance between planned activities and leisure time. Stay at an elegant boutique hotel and dine from the menu with wine at authentic restaurants inaccessible to larger groups. Leisure time for shopping and experiencing the rhythm of Provençal life. Trips are perfect for friends, couples and singles...and fill up quickly. 2021 Dates: May 25-June 1. Price (includes everything except travel to the Avignon starting point): $5600 pp (no single supplement). Inquire about early booking discount.
France for Foodies
September 4th-11th 2021 – Provence
September 11th-18th 2021 - Provence
Join an American teaching chef, food blogger and TV personality who brings her love of food and France to life each year by creating and hosting meticulously planned foodie adventures for groups of 7 travelers max. Don’t delay, these trips fill 18 months out! Guests on her two 2021 trips to Provence (Sept 4-11 and Sept 11-18) will cook alongside and learn from world renowned French chefs in a cooking class and wine tasting in legendary Chateauneuf-du-Pape and a stunning French Market cooking class with plenty of wine, bien sur! This culinary excursion is packed full of tasting experiences including an olive oil mill and a goat cheese farm, delight as you meet Provencal food artisans oozing with passion for their products. You'll explore hilltop villages, the city of Avignon, lovely, seaside Cassis and have time to shop some of the best markets in the world. This 7-day, 7-night tour is based in a luxurious private villa appointed with French antiques and linens in wonderful St. Remy. 2021 Dates: Sept 4-11 and Sept 11-18. Price: $4375 (double occupancy); single upgrade is $850. This company also offers Paris (April 12-18, 2021) and a Wine Lovers Trip to Burgundy and Champagne (April 22-30). Details and pricing for those upon request.
Adventures in Provence
Scheduled Departure Dates from May thru October, 2021
This American-owned company, specializing in active tour travel exclusively in France, offers fully escorted six-day, five-night group tours in Provence hosted by the company owner (a tour operator, travel author and photographer who has lived in France for 26 years) and her team of charming local, English-speaking American and French guides. (They won the LUX 2019 Tourism Award for Boutique French Tour Operator of the Year.) Their Provence trip will be offered 20 times from May to October 2021, giving you great flexibility. The itinerary is designed to cater to both walkers and non-walkers alike by offering guided cultural excursions for guests not participating in the scheduled walks. You’ll discover villages and historical sites, walk Provence country trails to discover three distinct areas of the region, dine in a private Provence farmhouse, participate in a private chocolate making workshop and a Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine tasting excursion featuring a privately hosted lunch overlooking the Rhone River valley, visit artisan food producers and craftsmen, learn about Van Gogh’s presence in Provence, see gorgeous Cassis and the Calanques, and enjoy a mix of celebrity bistrot and Michelin-starred restaurants. You’ll experience four of the most-beautiful areas of Provence--the Alpilles, the Luberon, the Mediterranean Coast, and Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine country—and return each evening to your charming boutique hotel with pool in the heart of the village of St. Remy. For those who wish to arrive early or stay on, we’re happy to help you with planning. Max # of guests per trip is 16. Prices from US$3,298 based on early booking promotion prices. 2021 Dates: May 4-9, May 11-16, May 18-23, May 25-31, June 1-6, June 8-13, June 15-20, June 22-27, June 29-July 4, July 6-11, July 13-18, July 20-25, July 27-August 1, August 31 - September 5, September 7-12, September 14-19, September 21-26, September 28 - October 3, October 5-10, October 12-17.
Left and right photos courtesy of France Off the Beaten Path Tours.