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PROVENCE & FRENCH RIVIERA

Reference: BRT

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, AVIGNON , CANNES & ARLES

  • 9 Day small group back road tour
  • 15 Passengers maximum 
  • Cost per person A$4,495 Twin-share
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AIX-EN-PROVENCE, AVIGNON , CANNES & ARLES

The lavender-carpeted fields of Provence. The staggering sight of Gorges du Verdon. The movie star looks of Cannes. The French Riviera has it all, and on this tour we’ll soak up its history, glamour and natural beauty.


ITINERARY

Day 1 NICE – ANTIBES – VENCE

Antibes may be an old port with boatloads of historical charm, but the luxury yachts make this very much a 21st century playground. We get a sense of both its heritage and jet-set style as we wander the narrow streets and impressive harbour. Then we swap Antibes for Vence, with its colourful canvas of medieval streets and market stalls. It’s no surprise swathes of artists have been captivated by this city. We linger here overnight to find out more, beginning our stay with a welcome dinner together. (D)
Overnight: Hotel Cantemerle (or similar)

Day 2 VENCE – CANNES – GRASSE – VENCE

This morning we make our way to the sublime village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Then it’s time to channel your inner film star as we arrive in Cannes – famous for its glamorous festival, glitzy hotels and utterly chic boutiques. There’s much to see here, so we go our separate ways to allow plenty of time on Promenade de la Croisette. Wooing us away from the shoreline is Grasse, a hillside town north of Cannes that’s famous for creating world-class perfumes. The end of the day brings us back to Vence and the light-filled Chapelle du Rosaire – a masterpiece of contemporary design conceived by Henri Matisse. Look for the vivid and abstract stained glass windows, and the stark black-lined depictions of the Madonna and Child on the walls. (B)
Overnight: Hotel Cantemerle (or similar)

Day 3 VENCE – AIX-ENPROVENCE

Dotted with gravity-defying mountain villages and reach for-your-camera scenery, The Var is ideal driving country. We travel through it on our way to Aix-en-Provence, stopping at a handful of characterful villages as we go. When we reach the Old Town of Aix, we dive into a network of narrow streets lined with spectacular architecture and centuries-old monuments. We even get time to pay a visit to Hôtel de Caumont, an elegant 18th century château on an urban scale, which houses an art centre. (B)
Overnight: Hotel Cezanne (or similar)

Day 4 AIX-EN-PROVENCE – SAINT-RÉMY-DE-PROVENCE

This morning is yours, and you could use it to discover and revisit the sights of Aix-en-Provence. When we come back together, we head off to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, pausing in some of the pretty villages scattered throughout the Luberon. (B, D)
Overnight: Hotel Sous Les Figuiers (or similar)

Day 5 SAINT-RÉMY-DEPROVENCE – ORANGE – SAINTE-CÉCILE-LES-VIGNES – SAINT-RÉMY-DE-PROVENCE

Our first stop today is the magnificent Roman Theatre in Orange. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is extraordinarily well preserved, especially its striking arch. By this point, we’ll be ready for a flavour of this area’s culinary heritage too. So we make our way to Sainte-Cécile-les-Vignes where a private vineyard, delicious wines and a Provençal lunch await. Back in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, we have an evening to ourselves. (B, L)
Overnight: Hotel Sous Les Figuiers (or similar)

Day 6 SAINT-RÉMY-DEPROVENCE – PONT DU GARD – AVIGNON – ARLES

Roman engineering. Catholic architecture. It must mean we’re en route to Avignon. We pay a visit to the iconic Pont du Gard, an impressive two-tier Roman aqueduct that carries us on a journey back in time. Onwards to Avignon, we cross sublime landscapes before we enter this 14th century city to see its sights. At the top of our list are the Palace of the Popes, which towers over the historic centre, and the legendary Saint-Bénezet Bridge. By the time we reach Arles, in the heart of the Camargue region, we’ll be ready for a delicious dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)
Overnight: Hotel Le Calendal (or similar)

Day 7 ARLES

Museum and gallery hop by morning. Spend the afternoon tracing the brush strokes of Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. And in between, pull up a chair in a cosy bistro or shady square to watch the world go by. Whatever you feel like doing in Arles, the whole day is at your disposal. We can point you towards the Roman amphitheatre, baths and monastery. Or you could discover the city’s bullfighting heritage and artistic side all by yourself. There are thousands of years of history and culture to uncover here. (B)
Overnight: Hotel Le Calendal (or similar)

Day 8 ARLES – LES BAUX-DEPROVENCE – GORGES DU VERDON

We make for the mountains today and venture into the ‘LittleAlps’. First up is the Huguenot stronghold of Les Baux-de-Provence. Here we marvel at the extraordinary Carrières de Lumières, where works of art are projected on to the walls of this former quarry. Finally, we arrive at the sensational Gorges du Verdon – for many, the jewel in this region’s crown. This centuries-old canyon, circled by quaint villages, captivates from the moment you see it. It’s so spectacular that we stay in the area overnight to truly appreciate it, and settle down to a final dinner together. (B, D)
Overnight: Hotel & Spa Gorges du Verdon (or similar)

Day 9 GORGES DU VERDON – CASTELLANE – NICE

It’s time to say goodbye today, but not before one last trip. Our tour’s last stop sees us in the cobbles of Castellane. Look out for the dazzlingly high Chapelle Notre-Dame du Roc and groups of locals venturing off, oars in hand, on rafting and kayaking expeditions along the nearby rivers. After that, we return to Nice where we bid one another “au revoir”. (B)


Tour Inclusions

  • 8 nights’ accommodation in boutique hotels
  • Experienced Back-Roads tour leader
  • Luxury mini-coach transportation
  • European breakfast daily
  • 4 x evening meals )D),
  • One lunch with wine tasting (L)
  • Included Entrances: Rosaire Chapel, Hôtel de Caumont, Roman Theatre of Orange, Palais des Papes, Pont Saint-Bénezet, Pont du Gard and Carrieres de Lumières.