SPORTS, MASSAGE, YOGA, BIKE, HIKE, FLY, BOAT, DRONES & NATURE...

 

To book or ask questions: whattodoinprovence@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Rider: An Ebike Tour for Foodies

Discover the striking, natural beauty of the Alpilles Mountain region from the comfy seat of an electric bike. Your guide will choose a route based on your biking level and interests. Along the way you'll visit a few of our favorite local artisan food producers: a goat farm where they make delicious chevre and sometimes raise adorable baby pigs; the family-owned olive mill where they make 6 award-winning oils and a wide range of other delicious local products such as tapenade and confiture; a manade (ranch) where they raise bulls and make saucisson; a bee farm to taste the honeys; a beautiful and historic winery, etc). Plus, you'll enjoy some of the most-stunning scenery around. If you choose a full-day tour, we'll break for a casual picnic or have lunch in one of our favorite local cafes or bistros; the cost of lunch is extra. The half-day tour price includes electric bikes, helmets, bottled water, all tastings and your foodie guide.  2019 prices: Half day: two people, 175€ pp. Then add 30€ per person. Kids prices depend on age and size (kids under 3 usually use a bike seat; ages 3 to 8 use a trailer. Ages 9 and above usually ride their own bikes). Available: year round.

Saddle Up in St. Remy

 

Jean Francois (who goes by Jeff) is a charming Frenchman who lived in Australia, speaks perfect English and loves to share the area with travelers by bike. If you want 100 km with 2,000 m of climbing, he'll do that with pleasure. Or maybe you just want a 25-miler with a few fun stops along the way? Or an even easier spin around the region--two hours, three hours--with perhaps a pop in at the goat farm to taste some fresh chevre...and a visit to our local olive mill or honey producer...maybe a winery...and then lunch in one of our favorite cafes. You'll bike here in the Alpilles Mountain region, which could include the pretty villages of St. Remy, Maillane or Eygalieres...or perhaps even an over-mountain ride to Les Baux, for serious bikers. Give us your preferences (distance, elevation gains, activities, sights) and we’ll customize the perfect route and schedule. If you don't have bikes, Jeff will handle the rental (road bikes or ebikes) and have everything ready for you. 2019 prices: 250€ half day, 400€ full day...flat fee for up to six people. Bike rental is extra as is lunch. There might also be small tasting charges, depending on which producers you visit, and casual picnics are possible. Available: year round. 

 

Sunset Petanque Apero

St. Remy or other villages

 

Before heading off to dinner, learn how to play this traditional Provencale ball game. You’ll be taught by an English-speaking local on one of the many boules courts in St. Remy. Your two hour game will be accompanied by chilled rosé wine--or Pastis if you prefer--plus something to nibble. 2019 Price: €300 no matter the group size. Offered from roughly 5 to 7 pm in St. Remy, year round. Minimum: 2 people but 6 or more is best. 

 

The Luberon for Foodies...by Bike or by Car

 

Choose your bike--road bike, hybrid or electric bike--and then off you go on a glorious full-day adventure in the Luberon, with a professional bike guide leading the way. Depending on the day of the week and the time of the year, your day might include a local market, an olive mill, a goat farm for a tasting of fresh goat cheeses, an ancient bread bakery still in use, a studio making superb confitures, the winery made famous in the Peter Mayle/Ridley Scott/Russell Crowe movie A Good Year and a tasting of truffle products. (We work only with English-speaking professional bike guides, one of whom is also a chef, with 20 years experience working in Provence.) Plus you'll experience some of the top sites in the Luberon such as the Abbaye de Senanque, The Chateau of the Marquis de Sade and the historic hilltowns of Gordes, LaCoste, Bonnieux, Menerbes and Oppede le Vieux. No matter what's in season (poppies, lavender, sunflowers, olives, grapes, fruit, etc.), you'll experience stunning scenery, taste wonderful artisan foods and best of all, go at whatever pace feels perfect to you. Total cycling is about 60 km or 38 miles but that's flexible. The day starts in Bonnieux around 8:30 am and ends about 5 pm. Available: Every day except Sunday. Price: Cost: 350€ pp for two people. 250€ pp for three to six people. For larger groups, please inquire. Price includes bike rental, helmets, market tastings, artisanal visits and tastings, restaurant lunch and any museum entry fees. Note: This same tour can also be done by car; pricing depending on group numbers so please inquire.  

 

Take a Hike!

St Remy/Les Baux/Eygalieres/Les Alpilles Region

 

Love hiking but don't know quite where to go? Our favorite (fully bi-lingual) St. Remy-based hiking guide offers glorious half and full-day hikes, mostly in and around the Alpilles Mountains but also slightly farther afield.  Depending on the time of year and the stamina of your group, she'll pick the perfect paths and design a great day out. Available: year round. Prices: Half-day (3-hour) hikes are €75 for the first person; €25 for each additional person. Full-day (6-hour hikes) are €150 for the first person; €35 for each additional person. Group rates available.

 

Private Garden Tour

 

Tell us where you're staying and what sort of gardens you most love...and we'll plan a beautiful day out for you including at least two private garden visits. We know many extraordinary gardens, most of them not generally open to the public; the selection will depend on location and season. Your host will be a professional tour guide and/or garden expert. When possible, the homeowner or gardener will also be on hand to welcome you. We'll take a break mid day for lunch and round out the afternoon with a visit to a professional flower farm or a shop selling beautiful things (such as pottery) for your own home and garden. This is a custom tour for any number of people, available in spring, summer or fall. The cost of lunch is extra. Prices: Two people: 400€. Three to six people: 600€. More than six: 800€.

 

Whirly Bird Special

 

Why sit in traffic when you can lift off from Nice Airport, enjoy a breathtaking helicopter ride along the stunning coastline and land at Monaco Heliport just 7 minutes later? This terrific company, in business since 1976, has 12 single- and twin-engine helicopters and an impeccable safety record providing transfers and site-seeing throughout the Riviera region and beyond. A one-way flight between Nice and Monaco (or vice versa) is just €135 per person. Private transfers range from €775 to  €1180 depending on the size of your group. If you’re landing at Nice and heading elsewhere in France or to Italy, you can helicopter to many cities and villages, landing at heliports, on golf courses and in the gardens of some restaurants and hotels. The company also offers panoramic site-seeing flights, departing from Monaco or elsewhere. The most popular flights are 10 minutes  (€60 per person), 20 minutes (€115 per person) or 30 minutes (€150 per person)…but  of course the sky’s the limit:  this summer, a client of mine booked a one-hour site-seeing flight for her family of four, with pick up and drop off on the lawn of her hotel in Vence (total cost: €2500). Depending on the length of the flight,  you may see Monaco, Eze Village, Juan les Pins, Cannes, St. Jean Cap Ferrat, Beaulieu, Villefranche, Menton, Roquebrune and the Lerins Islands. Seriously, you deserve this! Packages are also available, such as a one-night gambling jaunt to Monaco, including heli transfers from Nice, shuttle to your 5-star hotel,  room and a casino gift card (€ 475 per person).

 

My Beautiful Balloon

 

One of France’s top hot-air balloon companies (they operate in 9 regions nationwide and one in Spain) offers glorious flights over the Luberon region of Provence just about every morning. With two balloons at their base in Forcalquier and two fully bi-lingual pilots, their colorful montgolfières glide gracefully over the Luberon hills, lavender fields and hilltop villages of this vast “natural park,” halfway between the Alps and the Mediterranean. You’ll rendezvous at the Tourist Office in Forcalquier around 6 am (depending on the month), and enjoy coffee and croissants with your fellow flyers. Then off you go! Your flight ends with a celebratory glass of wine…and a diploma to take home. The flight itself lasts roughly one hour but the entire excursion takes 3.5 hours start to finish. Then you can spend your afternoon poking around pretty Forcalquier. The company recommends three- and four-star hotels nearby, which you can book yourself or package into the price. The fully refundable ‘’Maxi Choice’’ ticket option (274 €) insures that should you need to cancel for any reason, your money will be completely refunded (except 25€). The company has earned the Qualité Tourisme mark, indicating the highest standards for safety, professionalism and expertise.  And yes, you can get married in a balloon! Weekday flights: 191 € per person. Weekends: 217 € pp. Kids between 6 and 12 years old : 158 €. A private ride, for two is 900 € or four people is 1400 €.  

 

Up, Up and Away!

Avignon

 

Glorious site-seeing flights are offered by a highly experienced pilot, fully tri-lingual in French, English and German, working out of the airport in Avignon.  What a great way to celebrate a special day or just enjoy the beautiful landscape.  Choose the circuit you prefer or let the pilot decide; he knows all the most-breathtaking views. A running commentary is provided by headset, in the language you prefer. Champagne at the end of your flight? No problem...he can provide that too. Prices: A 1/2 hour flight in a four-seater plane is 175€ for up to three people; one hour is 350€. Champagne is extra. In summer the best time to fly is late in the day, around 5 or 6 pm.  If the weather isn't cooperating, the pilot will call you to reschedule. Available: Every day year round, weather permitting.

 

Guided Cycling Tour with Wine Tasting and Picnic (or Restaurant Lunch)

All Over Provence

 

Provence looks even prettier by bike! Head out with a highly experienced guide (20 years experience leading bike tours in the region) to discover beautiful scenery, historic sites and fabulous biking no matter your level. Pop into a winery for a tasting…and enjoy a fabulous picnic amidst the gorgeous scenery. Three routes are available: Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the Luberon Valley and St. Remy de Provence. The price includes bike rental (electric assisted bikes available for an extra charge), helmet, guide, wine tasting and picnic lunch. Your guide is a native Californian, the co-owner of a bike touring company…and a chef who has worked in top restaurants throughout America, Spain and France. 300€ per person for the first couple, 250€ per person for three people or more. Available: Spring, Summer, Fall.

 

An Elegant Speedboat Cruise

French Riviera/Cote d'Azur

 

Private charter this luxurious 10.5 meter Sunseeker Portofino 32 (motor: 460 HP, capacity: 8 people) for a glorious cruise along the Cote d'Azur. Skipper, fuel, snorkeling and soft drinks included. Cruise between Monaco and Villefranche (includes Cap Martin, Eze Beach, Cap Ferrat, Cap d'Ail and Beaulieu): Two hours 660€. Three hours 960€. Four hours 1160€. Extra hours: 260€. Half-day cruise to Cannes and the Lerins Islands (includes Juan les Pin, Cap dÁntibes, Billionaires Bay, Eden Roc and the red rocks of the Esterel) : Four hours 1390€. Two-hour Sunset Cruise, with Champagne and appetizers, along the coast between Monaco Bay and St. Jean Cap Ferrat: 690€. All prices are for up to 8 passengers. The boat can depart from Beaulieu Harbor, St Jean Cap Ferrat Harbor or Monaco Harbor (for an 80 € supplement ).

 

Days of Wine and Truffles

Southern Luberon

 

This adorable Franco American couple moved to the South of France from Chicago in 2003 to take over the his family's vineyard and find a better quality of life. So just like on Green Acres (remember?), they traded in their high-flying jobs in finance and PR for fresh air, starry skies and organic farming in the bucolic Luberon region of Provence. That was ten years ago. Today their 11-hectare farm (in Cadenet, near Lourmarin) produces grapes, olives, apricots, cherries, plums, apples, pears, pomegranates, figs, almonds, hazelnuts and—wait for it--black winter truffles. Yes, la famille owns 50 mature olive trees and another 320 trees (that they they planted themselves—yikes!) and a stand of oak that regularly produce the prized tuber melanasporum, AKA truffes noirs, AKA Black Gold. They also produce tuber aestivum--white summer truffles--as well. Sign on for one of their truffle tours and you’ll learn about how truffle trees are cultivated, the special conditions necessary to grow truffles, the signs nature gives to indicate your trees might have truffles beneath them, dramatic stories about the extreme lengths people will go to in order to steal or even sabotage, all while watching their expert hunter's duo of dogs dig for the hidden treasure and come up with "black gold" before your eyes. You’ll learn how to clean and prepare fresh truffles, what dishes taste best with truffles, how to tell the difference between a real truffle and the fakes from China…and then tuck into a sampling of fresh truffle hors d'oeuvres, with Champagne, and a tasting of their organic olive and truffle oils. Available: Weekday tours at 6pm, weekend tours at flexible hours. Tours take roughly 2 hours. For 2-12 people. Cost per person: 70€ in summer, 80€ in winter (20€ reduction for children, age 10-17). 

 

A Cycling “Fix” for Confirmed Roadies

All Over Provence

 

If you’re an avid road cyclist visiting Provence, one of the first things you’re likely to think is “Wow, this would be an amazing place to ride!” And of course, you’d be right. The Luberon, the Alpilles region and Mont Ventoux area can be paradise for bikers, with a great variety of terrain, some of the most beautiful villages in the world and stunning scenery at every turn. There are also challenging climbs and thrilling descents for the grimpeur in the family.  The country side is crisscrossed by a endless supply of small, quiet roads, which makes it even more of a cyclist’s dream. This half-day cycling adventure is guided by two North Americans who run a local cycling tour company… and is for confident cyclists who ride regularly. Bike with us and your time in the saddle will be spent enjoying the roads and scenery, rather than looking at a map.  Each route is custom-made, based on your fitness and desires, and can start right from the front door of your hotel, B&B or rental villa,  depending on where you’re staying. Each ride is 3 to 4 hours long and includes bars and gels to keep you going. Price: €165 per person based on two riders, €140 per person for three to six people.  Price includes bike rental and helmets. Available: Year Round.

 

Cassis...and the Calanques by Private Boat

 

Cassis is a charming seaside town but quite crowded in summer...and it's hard to find parking nearby. Don't worry, we've got that sorted out! Our guide will pick you up at your hotel or rental anywhere in Aix or nearby. If you want a one-hour walking tour of Aix, he'll be happy to do that with you. Then, in his car, you'll head for Cassis, where he enjoys special parking privileges at the port. You'll have an hour or so to explore the village, with or without your guide. Then you'll all lunch together at what many consider the best seafood place in Cassis. Or, buy a basket of local delicacies to have a picnic at sea. Next it's onto your private boat you go, with your guide as the caption. You'll take a 2.5 hour boat ride to explore the world-famous Calanques. You can swim, you can sun, you can drink wine...and at the end of the day, you'll drive the famous Route de Crete, with some of the most spectacular scenery in France. Return to your hotel or rental somewhere around 5 or 6 pm. A client who did this in early September, 2013 said: "We had a really exceptional, perfect day. Your guide was such a pleasure to be with-- so pleasant and positive, easy going and knowledgeable. Really loved being with him! He had fun, we had fun. This day was a highlight of the trip for us. I think finding our way and renting a private boat on our own would have been WAY too confusing and not relaxing. And seeing the Calanques on one of those big tour boats looked like no fun at all to us. We had SO much fun doing it our way."  Price: 1000€ total for up to six guests, plus the cost of lunch. Pick up and drop off is available in the Aix/Marseille area. For pickups further afield (Luberon, Avignon, St. Remy, Arles, etc.) add 100€ to the price. If you don't want the full day tour but not the private boat rental, you can substitute a trip on the public Calanques sightseeing boats (15€ pp) or a snorkeling excursion or lots of other fun options...at a much cheaper price. And for those who want the private boat ride only--along with a short guided stroll around the village of Cassis before or after--the price is 600€ total for up to six people.

 

Recharge, Revitalize, Regroup with Yoga 

St. Rémy, Eygalières and the Alpilles (Luberon + additional fee)

 

Travel taking a toll on your body? Missing your yoga fix alongside all the fun and food? This American expat and former professional athlete will help get you back in balance with a gentle or vigorous yoga practice. Private classes for individuals, couples, families and groups in the studio (also a working artists’ atelier in the village of Eygalières, 15 minutes east of St. Remy) or at your hotel or rental property. Classes custom-tailored to all ages and all levels. All equipment (mats, blocks, straps) provided.  75€ for 1-2 people, 25 € per person groups of 3 or more. Thai yoga massage also available, price on request. 

 

Hassle-Free Golf in Provence

 

Did you know that France has more golf courses than Ireland, Spain and even Scotland? Here in Provence we have fantastic courses—including the only course in France designed by the legend Steve Ballesteros--and of course glorious weather pretty much year round. This well-known golf tour company makes it all extremely easy. Their one-day package (offered year round) includes: pick up and drop off at the location of your choice (hotel, villa, train station, airport); private transfer to golf course; tee times reserved; 18 holes of golf; golf clubs, balls, tees, buggy and water; and a golfing partner for those who want it.  Arrangements can also be made for lunch in the club after. Prices depend on your pick up and drop off location but start as low as 200€ per person. Tell me what you’d like and we’ll be happy to provide a quote.

 

Don't You Deserve a Massage?

 

Eric Roubach is a massage therapist (qualified physiotherapist and osteopath) in Eygalieres, 15 minutes east of St. Remy. He'll also come to you for a small extra charge. I've been to see Eric him multiple times and he's terrific...so it's a pleasure to recommend him here. Born and raised in France, Eric has been living in Provence with his Australian wife and their young son since 2014. He has 13 years of experience including two years in Australia as a massage therapist in a "Leading Spa of the World." Eric is fully bi-lingual.  2019 Price: A 60-minute massage costs 80€ in the office or 100€ in your home or hotel. To book: eroubach@hotmail.com, ​+33 (06) 61 53 10 91.

 

A Perfect Day in the Camargue

This is a wonderful, full day experiencing the best of the Camargue, the unspoiled très-nature region known as the Wild West of Provence. Your guide was born and raised in nearby Arles…and knows every inch of the Camargue as only a local can. The day starts around 9 am as we head off to toward the Vaccares Lake, where, hopefully, you’ll get to see plenty of pretty pink flamingoes. (Depending on the time of year, we might end the day at the lake instead, to catch the stunning sunset.)  For lunch, either we’ll settle into a shady spot for a gourmet picnic or enjoy one of our favorite Camargue restaurants (guide will offer you choices). After lunch, we’ll see the famous salt dunes of Salin-de Giraud. The standard day is an 8 hour tour which costs 630€ for up to six guests, plus lunch. Then, add to it whichever options suit your fancy. Add ons include: *A two-hour jeep tour of a well known manade (ranch) to see the famous white horses and black bulls. Price: 50€ pp. *A more extensive visit to another well-known ranch, where you'll see the animals and learn about the work of the cowboys known as gardians. At the end of the visit, there's local wine and a tasting of local products. Price: 200€ for a couple; 350€ for 3 to 10 people. *A 2-hour boat cruise (roughly 30 € pp). *A visit to the ornothological park, where you'll definitely see pink flamingoes...along with scores of other species of birds (8€ per person). *A seafood dinner at a lakeside restaurant at sunset (roughly 40€ pp). *Private tour of the salt marshes of Aigues Mortes (as opposed to the group tour on the tram.) Our guide is the only one allowed access to the salt marshes in his vehicle. "We can even drive down to the coast and enjoy miles and miles of private beach," he says. "It’s a pretty amazing experience. Price: 80€ per person. Available: year round.

 

Boat Ride and Gourmet Picnic from Cannes

 

This easy-going, professionally trained Dutch chef--with a French mother--worked in Paris, Burgundy, the UK, Switzerland and the Caribbean before opening her own place in Cannes seven years ago. Today her French/Mediterranean kitchen offers one-stop shopping for foodie fun on the Cote d’Azur. She offers a wide range of classes, a Chef’s Table dinner, picnics with a boat ride, Culinary Walking Tours, catering services and more.​ For those who want a day out on the Med, the chef has teamed up with a local charter company to offer a boat ride and gourmet picnic. Priced at €85 pp, it includes a cruise to Isle Saint Marguerite with time to explore the island, a picnic packed in a cooling bag and a bottle of wine. 10:30 am to 4:15 pm. Must be booked 3 days ahead; available May 1 to Sept 30 for 25 guests max.

 

Drone Lessons!

 

There’s a small association of drone pilots in St. Remy who are happy to give two-hour lessons for beginners. The lovely field adjacent to the hotel Chateau des Alpilles has been set aside as the training ground. According to Nathalie Freysz, a licensed drone pilot and instructor, drones are being used by farmers to check their fields, crops and animals; by property owners who wants video for insurance or tax purposes; by homeowners to promote rentals or sales...and most of all, just for fun. The hexacopter DJI 550 drones are equipped with GoPro video cameras and your two-hour lesson includes a souvenir photo or video. 2017 prices: 200 € for a two-hour lesson for two people; group prices and multi-day packages are available.  Available: on demand, year round.

 

Boat Cruises from Marseille, Cassis and various ports on the Cote d'Azur

 

We now work with a wide range of boats and captains and can arrange private boat trips of varying lengths, for groups of all sizes. Add ons can include swim and snorkle...picnics at sea or in quiet coves...sunset cruises...Champagne cruises and more. Let us take the hassle out of booking the perfect cruise, for your family, friends, corporate group or special occasion.