A week in Provence
Enter a landscape of historic cities and stunning hilltop villages, of fields of lavender and sunflowers. Stay in Avignon, and explore Aix, Arles, tiny coastal Cassis and the vast wetlands of the Carmargue, as we spend seven days uncovering the beauty of the very south of France.
Fly into Nice or Marseilles where our coach will be waiting to carry you through the countryside to Avignon and your hotel, where your Tour Manager will be waiting to greet you.
On today's included tour we'll discover Avignon - once protected by 40 stone towers (just one remains). Dominated by the monumental Palais des Papes, Avignon is centred on the cafe-lined Place d'Horloge. Don't miss the celebrated Pont d'Avignon across the Rhone or the opportunity for lunch in one of the famed hostelries.
After the tour and a visit to the Palais des Papes, you'll have time to explore, and perhaps head to the city's Les Halles food market to pick up some local specialities for an improvised picnic lunch.
Aix-en-Provence, the "city of a thousand fountains", is one of the great jewels of Southern France. At its heart lie the aristocratic mansions and fountains of the Cours Mirabeau and the old town - a labyrinth of narrow lanes. Birthplace of Paul Cezanne, Aix is home to museums, art schools and galleries, as well as specialist shops and boutiques.
Our second stop, today, is the lovely little Mediterranean resort of Cassis. Stroll around the harbour, stop for a drink at a cafe on the quay, or perhaps take a boat trip up the coast to explore the narrow inlets and gorges of the Parc National des Calanques (payable locally).
Spend today relaxing, or join our optional excursion to Nimes and Montpellier. Sometimes called the French Rome, Nimes became a Roman colony in 28BC and still boasts a two-tier amphitheatre, and one of the best-preserved Roman temples in the world - the Maison Carree.
A little way to the south-west, Montpellier is the fastest growing city in France - thanks largely to its three universities and other colleges. Pay a visit to the Musee Fabre (entry payable locally) to view one of the greatest collections of art in France, and wander the pedestrianised city centre, which radiates out from the oval expanse of the Place de la Comedie (often simply called l'Oeuf).
Our final included excursion takes us to Roman Arles. Here, the superb archaeology includes a baths, a chariot racetrack and the famed Les Arenes arena. The great cathedral of St-Trophime and several museums add glamour to a city that inspired both Van Gogh and Gauguin.
In the afternoon we'll head into the untamed marshland of the Camargue to explore a landscape of islands and lagoons where flocks of flamingoes sweep across the sky, and herds of black cattle are still protected by traditional herdsmen (gardians) from atop their white horses.
Make the most of your last full day in France - either in Avignon's streets and squares or on our optional excursion into the landscape immortalised in Peter Mayle's 'A Year In Provence'.
Spend a relaxed day exploring sun-soaked medieval villages and market towns like Apt, Gordes and Bonnieux, and make the most of your final opportunities to enjoy the local produce.
Transfer back to the airport to check-in for your flight home.
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour and 30 minutes from Marseille Airport and two hours and 45 minutes from Nice Airport.
Hotel transfer times
We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
Combining hotel transfers
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.
Changes to your hotels
This holiday is also available by rail, travelling directly from London to Avignon by Eurostar. The transfer time from Avignon train station to the hotel is approximately 15 minutes.
Rail travel packages