The Best of the Alps and Provence
Discover our jewel in the South East of France. You will discover
the diversity of two amazing regions, from quaint villages
to the lofty peaks and glaciers of the Alps.
Experience the French culture through a local market, medieval villages,
a 19th century oil mill, the majestic Alps and of course through local
product tasting like chocolate, cheese and wine.
Day 1: Welcome to Aix-les-Bains
We will pick you up at the Aix-les Bains train station. Upon
your arrival at the hotel, you will have time to settle in and
relax, either by the lake just outside the hotel
or in the beautiful spa town of Aix les Bains
In the evening, we will have an orientation meeting followed by
a gourmet dinner.
Day 2: Cheese Tasting and Breathtaking Alps
Cheese is of course a specialty of France but especially of
the Alps. We will go to a cheese factory to learn how cheese is
made, how long it needs to age and the best part will be of course
to taste different Alps cheeses with wine.
Morning: Cheese Tasting in the Alps
Afternoon: Glaciers, mountains and chalets in Chamonix
- take the highest gondola in the world to go to the top of "L'aiguille
du Midi" at 12000 ft. You will have a breathtaking view of the
We will be heading to the highest mountain in Europe. Breathtaking
views of the Mont Blanc await us at Chamonix, the capital
city of the mountaineers.
You will have the choice to:
- explore the inside of a glacier through a
tunnel carved in the ice with its never-to-be-forgotten exhibit
of ice sculptures.
- shop or stroll through the chalet-town of Chamonix, the biggest
ski resort in the world. The high mountains and glaciers
surrounded the town are majestic.
Day 3: Annecy or 'The Little Venice of the Alps'
Morning: Market in Annecy
Annecy is the French show-piece of lakes-and-mountain
beauty. The Canal crossing Annecy brings Venice to mind
as you stroll along its banks. We will stroll the medieval narrow
streets to admire the renaissance houses along the canal as well
as the famous old prison, one of the most photographed monuments
We will also have the opportunity to go to the local market
in the old Annecy or to go on a boat ride on the cleanest lake
in Europe, Annecy Lake.
Afternoon: Walnut Oil Tasting
We will drive east along the Rhone River, through beautiful vineyards
and picturesque villages to the lovely village of Chanaz.
We will attend a walnut oil making demonstration
in a 19th-century mill.
This is a unique opportunity that can't be missed since
this mill is the only one left in France listed historical monument
where the oil is still made like it was in the 19th century.
You will of course have a chance to taste the delicious and organic
walnut, hazelnut and almond oils as well as the homemade jams.
Day 4: Chocolate Tasting and drive to Provence
|| Afternoon: Chocolate tasting
We will visit a chocolate exhibit, the "Paradis du Chocolat".
The history and making of chocolate will have
no more secrets for you.
Tasting the delicious cakes made by Pierre Jouvenal,
the famous chocolate maker of the Dauphine region will delight
In the afternoon, we will drive to Provence. New sceneries and new adventures await us!
Day 5: Provencal Market and Van Gogh's world
Morning: Provencal Outdoor Market
Stroll and shop the incredible and colorful market.
It is an accessible and rewarding way to immerse yourself in the
lifestyle of the area.
Fresh food and its artful display speaks for itself. But there
is much more than food: colorful arrays of Provencal fabric,
tablecloths, pottery, silk scarves, natural soaps with
dozens of scents and of course lavender products.
Gogh in St Remy de Provence|
We will visit the beautiful old monastery
of St Paul Mausole in St Remy de Provence. This is where Van
Gogh spent the last year of his life and painted 150 of his
famous paintings. This is now a nursing home that has a permanent
exhibition of paintings by the patients.
It is very emotional and fascinating to stroll through the
bedroom where Van Gogh stayed during his very troubled time
"Starry nigth", painted by Van Gogh in St
Remy de Provence
Day 6: Safari in Camargue and Medieval Village of Les Baux
Morning: Safari in Camargue
Camargue, a mythical land, is the house of wild
black bulls, white horses and rice fields.
A local farmer will take us on a trailer pulled by his tractor
into the very heart of his ranch where we will discover rice
fields, white horses and wild black bulls raised
for the "race Camarguaise" in arenas. His "cow-boys"
will do a demonstration of herding bulls with their horses.
You will find yourself in the middle of the herd. Very impressive!
Afternoon: The charming village of Les Baux de Provence
Discover this amazing medieval village dominating the valley and its
Château, listed one of the most beautiful villages in
France. Perched on a rocky outcrop, the site provides a unique
view over the vineyards and olive fields of Provence towards the sea.
Day 7: Olive Oil in Gordes and Red Village of Roussillon
Morning: From Olive Tree to 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 olive oil making.
He will show us the olive mill and we'll get a chance to taste
his olive oil and tapenade. The history and
the production of olives will have no more secret for you. You
will have the opportunity to buy many olive products like tapenade,
oil, olives but also bowls and items made out of olive wood.
| Afternoon: The Ochre village of Roussillon
and the Hilltop Town of Gordes.
In the afternoon, we will visit two villages listed as the "most
beautiful in France": the reddish village of Roussillon
that sits on top of the world's biggest vein of ochre, and Gordes,
sitting on a rock with an incredible view of vineyards and hills.
Stroll the cobblestone streets or the reddish trails
through the ochre formations, shop in cute small stores or have
a drink watching people go by.
Day 8: Departure
After our last breakfast together, we'll drive you to the Avignon
TGV train station by 10 am.
Hotel in the Alps
Situated in the heart of Savoie in the town of Aix-les-bains,
this 3 star hotel offers luxurious and comfortable accommodations
with view on the port of Bourget lake.
View from the hotel (Port at Bourget lake)
Photo credit: C.F.Day
The rooms are equipped with one double bed or 2 single beds
depending on your preference.
All soundproofed guest rooms are equipped with bathtub or shower,
a flat screen TV with international satellite channnels and
free Wi-Fi internet access.
Each guest room also features a free mini-bar stocked with
Hotel in Provence
We have chosen an elegantly restored villa-hotel dating from the
XVIIIth century located in the heart of Provence (25 minutes east
The luxury hotel offers 16 bedrooms with private full bathrooms
all with high comfort, tranquility and relaxation, with its
2 heated swimming pool set in over 2 acres of private grounds.
The refined cuisine
of the Chef, based on fresh seasonal local products, is an innovative blend of
Provencal and contemporary gastronomy.
Each bedroom has: a flat screen TV set, telephone, heating
and AC, a minibar, a safe, ADSL and WiFi and a big full bathroom.
Dates & Rates
Sept 22-29, 2013: 5 spots left-
$3,190 per person (+ $550 for single room)
Aug 29-Sept 5, 2014:
$3,290 per person (+ $550 for single room)
- Aix-les-Bains train station pick up at 3PM and drop-off at the
Avignon TGV train station at 10am
- All nights accommodation at the hotels
- Transportation every day in a comfortable van with A/C
- A welcome reception
- All breakfasts and 5 dinners including wine
- All planned visits
- A free Paris planner for a self guided visit in Paris: suggestions
of hotels, restaurants and places to visit
- Flights to and from France
- Trains in France
- Lunches and 2 dinners
- Optional activities (those not described in the itinerary)
- Personal expenses and tipping