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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 recommend the ones below for 2019. 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: -- Julie

Provence Dreams  

June 21- June 30, 2019

There's something magical about the combination of fields of lavender and sunflowers, a glass of cool rosé on a warm summer evening, markets full of gorgeous produce, delicious cheeses and local delicacies, and medieval towns with cobblestone streets so perfectly preserved that you expect a knight in shining armor to appear just around the bend.  This tour operator won the World Food Travel Association’s Food Trekking Award for 2017 and 2018 and says "This is our Provence and we want to share it with you!"  The towns, the wineries, the food, cooking lessons, truffle hunting, the scenery that inspired Cezanne and Van Gogh- they all await you on this small group tour. Accommodations: 2 nights in a 4-star hotel in Avignon and 7 nights in chateau in the middle of a vineyard, just outside of Châteauneuf du Pape!  Price: $4229 pp double occupancy.

Provence Meditation and Markets Escapade 

June 16 to 23, 2019

Relaxation, food, wine and shopping in Provence…you know this is just what you need! Each morning and evening you’ll be guided in a relaxing meditation session in various locations: a lavender field, a roof terrace overlooking the medieval village, among the ruins of an ancient church, surrounded by olive groves or in your beautifully designed St Rémy home for the week!  You'll be hosted for the week by an Australian interior decorator who now lives full time in Provence... and you'll quickly begin to feel like a local while enjoying food and antique markets, wine tastings, a cooking class, a gourmet picnic in the countryside, cultural experiences and the summer solstice music festival. Your meditation sessions will be guided by a certified holistic counselor and meditation facilitator, who also hails from Sydney. A guest from last year, Jill Baynes, says: "From the moment my girlfriends and I were collected at Avignon railway station, I knew it was going to be a week to remember and I was right. Our accommodation in the heart of St Remy was gorgeous, decorated in true Karen style and well located just a short stroll to the many shops, restaurants and bars that this charming town offers. The cherry on top was starting our days with Marilyn’s meditation sessions. Thank you Karen and Marilyn for a wonderful week that my friends and I will never forget." Group size: five guests max. Price: 3700€ pp single; less for a shared room.

A Stylish French Escape

May 25 to June 1, 2019


Explore Provence and for one week, live the French way…everyday! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore Provence and all its wonders through a designer’s eyes. Hosted by American design experts/ tour guides with 10+ years of experience and based from a fabulous mas in the heart of Provence, this is a week of textiles and design and of course, food & wine! They’ve put together an all-inclusive week of design expeditions, amazing craft & techniques, treasure-hunting and much more; all set against centuries of history, Provençal meals and true design camaraderie. Whether you're a fabr-i-holic, decor aficionado, creative traveler or a devotee of French style, this escorted, small group luxury tour trip is for you. From private textile trunk shows, painting lessons and treasure hunting in Isle sur l’Sorgue to petanque, creating your own scent at a perfumerie in Grasse and an exclusive Woad-dyeing workshop at your bastide, you’ll come away feeling like a true design insider.  Tours are capped at 8 people max. Price for 8 days/ 7 nights single occupancy is $4998. 2019 Dates are May 25 -  June 1.

C’est la Vie! Summer Tours
August 7 to 15, 2019

August 14 to 22, 2019

August 21 to 29, 2019

Slip into your espadrilles and experience one of the most magical places with local food, wine and newfound friendship on two different tours. The C'est la Vie Tour is designed to have the feel of a group of friends exploring Provence together...probably because it started as a group of friends enjoying Provence 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 be sipping a cool drink "sur la plage" by mid morning, in the picturesque port of Cassis. Explore the Calanques ("French Fiords") boat. After two nights in Cassis, the group heads to the lively medieval town of Uzès , where your home for the next few nights is just steps away from the best patisserie in town and the café-lined, tree-lit plaza of la Place aux Herbes. You'll kayak under the Pont du Gard, taste the wines of Chateauneuf-du-Papes and maybe even learn a trick or two from a famous chef. La pièce de résistance is St. Remy, 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 steps away from your hotel. Then there's a day of exploring followed by a memorable Provençal farewell meal. See dates below. This year, the same charming trip leader is offering a Shopping Tour hitting the best weekly markets on the Côte d’Azur and in Provençe. Arriving in Marseille you'll head to Cassis for two nights, hitting both the local artists market and the weekly port-side market the next day. You'll also enjoy the Brocante Marché in Uzès (where you'll spend 3 nights ) and explore the famous l’Isle sur la Sorgue summer antique fair. The shopping adventure continues with a stroll through the large weekly market in St. Remy. You'll also squeeze in some cooking and wine-tasting adventures before heading home with amazing treasures and lots of happy memories! Dates: C'est la Vie Tour: August 7 to 15 or August 21 to 29. Shopping Tour: August 14 to 22. Prices: All tours are $3299 pp, double occupancy, meals included.


France for Foodies

March 31 to April 7, 2019 (Paris)

Sept 7 to 14, 2019 (Provence)

Sept 14 to 21 (Provence)

Join an American teaching chef and food blogger who brings her love of food and France to life each year by creating and hosting these meticulously planned adventures for groups of 7 travelers max. Guests on her two 2019 trips to Provence (Sept 7 to 14 and Sept 14 to 21) will enjoy a cooking class and wine tasting in legendary Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a cooking class with a renowned local chef in his home (with plenty of wine, bien sur!) and a baking class with a charming and talented pastry chef. This culinary excursion is packed full of fabulous tasting experiences and opportunities to meet passionate Provencal food artisans. You'll explore hilltop villages, the city of Avignon, lovely, seaside Cassis on the Mediterranean and have time to shop some of the best markets in the world. This 7-day, 7-night tour is based in a quiet boutique-style hotel in wonderful St. Remy. Trip fee is $4350 (double occupancy); single upgrade is $850. If you're interested in Paris instead, those dates are March 31 to April 7, 2019.

Saveur Languedoc...and Sketching for Foodies

Multiple Dates in 2019


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. 2019 Price: 2500€ pp. 2019 Dates: May 12 to 18, May 26 to June 1, June 9 to 15, June 30 to July 6, Sept 1 to 7, Sept 15 to 21, Oct 6 to12, Oct 20 to 26. This year, the same company is also offering a new program, Sketching for Foodies. This 6-night holiday combines sketching workshops, cooking classes, food and wine-tasting and more...the perfect getaway for singles or couples. 2019 price: € 1600 pp (double occupancy), € 1750 pp (single occupancy). 2019 dates: April 4 to 10 and Sept 26 to Oct 2. 


Adventures in Provence

Multiple Dates in April thru October, 2019


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 24 years) and her team of charming local, English-speaking guides. (They won the LUX 2018 Tourism Award for Best Boutique French Tour Operator.) Their Provence trip will be offered 24 times from April to October 2019, giving you great flexibility. You’ll discover villages and historical sites, walk Provence country trails to discover three distinct areas of the region, cook in a private Provence farmhouse kitchen, participate in a private wine tasting excursion featuring a catered lunch overlooking the Rhone 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$3,398 based on early booking promotion prices. 2019 dates: April 23-28, April 30-May 5, May 7-12, May 14-19, May 21-26, May 28-June 2, June 4-9, June 11-16, June 18-23,  June 25-30,  July 2-7, July 9-14, July 16-21, July 23-28, July 30-August 4, August 6-11, August 27-September 1, September 3-8, September 10-15, September 17-22, September 24-29, October 1-6, October 8-13, October 15-20.


A Master Class in Mediterranean Flavors

Multiple Dates in 2019


Surprisingly, it’s not so easy to find a multi-day cooking holiday in Provence; I know of only a few: one in Vaison-la-Romaine, one in Uzes and this one, in St. Remy, run by a charming French chef named Philippe. Born in Lourdes and raised in the Hautes Pyrénées and Paris, Philippe has opened and run restaurants around the world, cooked for Marlon Brando on his atoll in French Polynesia, was exec chef for Stanford University and has written four cookbooks. (He’s also been a professional cellist!) After living in California and Isle sur la Sorgue, Philippe is now based in Cannes and, since 1995, comes up to Provence each summer and fall to lead cooking holidays for eight students (max) at a time. Everyone stays together in a charming, 19th century B&B with pool, five minutes walk from St. Remy’s historic center. Classes (focused on traditional and healthful Mediterranean and Provencal cuisine) are held in the farmhouse kitchen; dinners are enjoyed under the stars. The 4-day workshop (1300€ pp double; single supplement 280€) includes your room for 3 nights, 3 hands-on lessons, 3 four-course dinners with wine, a Michelin-starred lunch, cheese and wine tastings, market shopping, a visit to Saint-Paul-de-Mausole where Van Gogh created his most famous artworks, a Champagne “graduation” party, souvenir cookbook and more. The 6-day workshop (2300€ pp double; single supplement 480€) includes room for 5 nights, 4 hands-on lessons, 4 four-course dinners, everything else listed above and more. Non cooking partners may always join for dinner at 70€ pp. Additional nights before or after the workshop can be booked at 80€ pp (double). Note: Students must have their own car. Sessions begin Monday noon and end Thursday noon (4 Day) or on Saturday noon (6 Day). Dates for 2019 (4-day sessions end on Thursday): April 22 to 27, May 6 to 11, May 20 to 25, June 3 to 8, June 17 to 22, Sept 2 to 7, Sept 16 to 21, Sept 30 to Oct 5 and Oct 14 to 19.


A Taste of Provence & NEW A Taste of Provence, en français

June 2 to 9, 2019

June 11 to 18, 2019


Hosted by a French-born, US-based tour operator with 25+ years experience escorting groups throughout Europe and Latin America, these 8 day/7night unforgettable, 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. 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, relaxing poolside and experiencing the rhythm of Provençal life. NEW in 2019, A Taste of Provence, en français. Program will follow a similar itinerary and feature the same popular activities but will be conducted entirely in French. Ideal for those travelers with an intermediate level of French language or higher who wish to experience the richness of the region in a different way. The Taste of Provence, en français program provides a fun and authentic immersion alternative to the traditional classroom experience.Trips are perfect for friends, couples and singles. There are currently two 8-day, 7-night trips scheduled for early through mid-June, 2019. All-inclusive price (except travel to the Avignon starting point): $5600 pp (no single supplement). 2019 Dates: June 2-June 9, 2019 and June 11-June 18, 2019 (en français). 

A Week in Uzès

Multiple Dates in April thru October, 2019


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 siteseeing 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 one of two beautiful guesthouses & 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 by a French chef; group size is six students max and all levels are welcome. 2019 Price:  2750€ pp. 2019 Dates: April 13-20, May 25 - June 1, June 8-15, June 15-22,  Sept. 7-14, Sept. 21-28, Oct. 5-12.

Artisan, Antique, Lifestyle Tour in the Luberon 

May 22 to 27, 2019


A beautiful five-day tour with a private chateau in Moissac-Bellevue as its base, planned by a well-known English-born blogger and author who has “lived in France forever.” She'll take you around to her favorite antique shops in little stone Provencal villages...and to visit artists and artisans who have become friends of hers over the years. Also included is a floral art lesson and a cooking class in a beautiful setting at the chateau. Accommodation is in a four-star hotel that’s just a 3-minute walk from the chateau; transport is via chauffeured van. New this year: the addition of an overnight to visit a linen designer and to catch an antique fair outside Avignon at sunrise. Price: 5500€ (single occupancy) includes all meals, ground transport, accommodation and activities. 2019 Dates: May 22-27. The same blogger/author will also lead a Burgundy tour June 18-23 (with a cooking theme and a class at the Cook’s Atelier) and a Paris and Normandy trip Sept 24-29 (focused on antiquing, with visits to the famous markets/fairs at Saint Ouen and Chatou, among others).

Food Glorious Food!


October 19-26: Hiking (Sauntering) & Feasting in Provence

February 9-16, 2020: Winter Truffle Week

February 26-March 3, 2020: Two City Chocolate Tour

February 23-26, 2020: Chocolate Pre-Tour: Bordeaux


This well-known tour operator, who says she's American by birth and French by adoption, is once again offering food-focused small-group tours in her much-loved Provence. Meet the gifted food artisans, farmers and vintners she has befriended through more than 20 years spent running a culinary-tour business based out of Arles and Avignon. In her October Hiking (Sauntering) and Feasting Week, you'll hike through olive orchards, picnic in the vineyards, stroll along the coast and follow the trail of an ancient Roman aqueduct (October 19-26, 2019). During a special Winter Week of Indulgence (Feb 9-16, 2020), of course you'll hunt and feast on truffles...among many other things! New in 2020 is a Two-City Chocolate Tour, co-hosted with a top chocolatier, which includes chocolate shop visits, learning to make chocolate and taking in the beauty and gourmet delights of Paris and Provence (Feb 26 to March 3). Plus, there's an optional three day Chocolate Pre-Tour in Bordeaux, for anyone joining the Paris and Provence tour or who simply wants to indulge (Feb 23 - 26).

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Left and right photos courtesy of France Off the Beaten Path Tours.