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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

Morning: Cheese Tasting in the 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.

Afternoon: Glaciers, mountains and chalets in Chamonix

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.

- 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 Alps.

- 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 in France!

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 your palate.

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.


Afternoon: Van 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 in 1889-90.

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.Weather permitting, we will have a picnic under the olive trees.

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 soft drinks.

Hotel in Provence

We have chosen an elegantly restored villa-hotel dating from the XVIIIth century located in the heart of Provence (25 minutes of Avignon).

The luxury hotel offers 16 bedrooms with private full bathrooms all with high comfort, tranquility and relaxation, with its swimming pool set in over beautiful 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

Oct 14-21, 2015: US $3,290, 1 spot left women-only tour .
+$550 for single room.

  • Aix-les-Bains train station pick up at 3PM and drop-off at the TGV Avignon 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 4 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 3 dinners
  • Optional activities (those not described in the itinerary)
  • Personal expenses and tipping

Tel: 1-510-483-5713