Tour Summary – What’s Included
- Comfortable, executive coaching with an experienced, professional driver
- Escorted throughout by Gavin Bade, designer of the itinerary
- 7 nights B&B accommodation in good quality 4* hotels
- Entrance fees to all featured visits
- 7 Breakfasts
- 2 lunches with wine
- 2 dinners with wine
- Drinks and patisseries at one of our garden visits
- 1 wine tasting
- 24-hour emergency service
- Doubletree by Hilton Carcassonne – 1 nights
- Pullman Montpellier Centre – 3 nights
- Grand Hotel Roi Rene – 3 nights
There is much more to the south of France than the ritzy Côte d’Azur. This tour is designed to discover some of the hidden corners of the true southernmost part of France – the Languedoc – and journey to the edge of Provence where the mighty River Rhône empties into the Mediterranean. Along the way, we include various World-class cultural, historical and architectural visits – after all, it would be a shame to travel past and not briefly divert to enjoy them! The atmosphere of the region is certainly timeless and will undoubtedly have you hooked – there is so much to discover, we can only ‘cherry pick’. This immersive tour will however leave you with a very good ‘grounding’ in so much of what makes life in the south of France so inimitable.
Day 1 – SUNDAY 11.10.20 – ARRIVAL IN CARCASSONNE – HOTEL MERCURE CARCASSONNE; DINNER INCLUDED
- Arrival at Toulouse or Carcassonne airport and make your own way to our welcoming hotel. According to your arrival time, you may wish to discover some of the sights in this, one of the most spectacular ‘Grand Sites’ of France, also listed by UNESCO. This evening, we dine together within the ramparts of the citadel.
Day 2 – MONDAY 12.10.20 – CARCASSONNE / FONTFROIDE / BÉZIERS / PÉZENAS / MONTPELLIER – BREAKFAST & LUNCH INCLUDED
- Following breakfast this morning, we check out and depart the hotel, for a visit to the Cistercian Abbey of Fontfroide. Here we have a guided tour of the Abbey and gardens, followed by a lunch prepared with local ingredients, accompanied by the celebrated wines of the Abbey vineyards.
- Following our lunch, we continue to a specialist private garden.
- After this visit, we make a short stop in Pézenas to enjoy this charming village, birthplace of Molière. Finally this afternoon, we continue to gracious Montpellier, one of the great cities of France, to our central hotel, for an evening and dinner at leisure.
Day 3 – TUESDAY 13.10.20 – MONTPELLIER / VAILHAUQUÈS / ST. GUILHEM-LE-DÉSERT / NAVACELLES / VIADUC DE MILLAU / MONTPELLIER – BREAKFAST INCLUDED
- This morning, we make another visit to a specialist private garden.
- From here, we continue to the fascinating mediæval village of St. Guilhem-le-Désert. Here we take time to visit the Abbey, to enjoy the authentic architecture and to take lunch at leisure.
- Following our visit here, we continue to the area of the Causse de Larzac, at Blandas for a grandiose view of another of ‘Grand Sites de France’, the ‘Cirque de Navacelles’, a spectacular geological formation within Europe’s largest canyon.
- We finish the day, with a visit to one of Europe’s most spectacular feats of civic engineering – the ‘Viaduc de Millau’ for a short guided tour.
- Finally, we return to Montpellier, for another evening and dinner at leisure.
Day 4 – WEDNESDAY 14.10.20 – MONTPELLIER / ANDUZE / ST. ANDRÉ DE MAJENCULES / MONTPELLIER – BREAKFAST & DRINKS/PATISSERIES INCLUDED
- This morning we depart for the Cévennes National Park, an area of spectacular, rugged beauty.
- Our first visit this morning is to the fascinating Bambouseraie at Anduze. We allow time for a light early lunch in the café on site (not included).
- Following our visit to the botanic gardens and the bamboo forests, we continue by historic steam train to St. Jean du Gard where our coach awaits.
- Our final visit this afternoon is to another private garden deep in the national park. We are served drinks and patisseries in the garden at the end of our visit.
- Following this charming visit, we return once again for a final evening in Montpellier with dinner at leisure.
DAY 5 – THURSDAY 15.10.20 – MONTPELLIER / AIGUES MORTES / ARLES / PONT DU GARD / VILLENEUVE-LÈS-AVIGNON / AIX-EN-PROVENCE – BREAKFAST INCLUDED
- Following breakfast this morning, we check out of the hotel and depart for the walled city of Aigues-Mortes. On the edge of the intriguing Camargue, the patchwork of streets within the ramparts are crowded with boutiques and artisans.
- We continue to nearby Arles for free time to visit the Roman amphitheatre, the Roman theatre and to take lunch at leisure.
- After lunch, we continue to the UNESCO-listed Pont du Gard for a short visit to this masterpiece of Roman civic architecture.
- Later, we continue to the gardens of the Abbaye de Saint André in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. From here, we may also enjoy spectacular views across the river Rhône – the frontier of Provence – towards the gleaming citadel of Avignon.
- Finally, we continue to our hotel in Aix-en-Provence for the rest of the afternoon and evening free with dinner at leisure.
DAY 6 – FRIDAY 16.10.20 – AIX-EN-PROVENCE / MENERBÈS / BONNIEUX / LOURMARIN / CUCURON / AIX-EN-PROVENCE – BREAKFAST & LUNCH INCLUDED
- Following breakfast this morning, we depart for a private garden situated in the wonderful Lubéron, to the east of Avignon. Following our visit here, we continue to another private garden that has become something of an icon – ‘La Louve’, garden of ‘the wolf’.
- Following our visit here, we continue to the village of Lourmarin for an included lunch, followed by a little free time to discover the narrow mediæval streets of this charming, intact example of a typical Lubéron village.
- Following our visit here, we continue nearby to a small but sparkling private garden yet deeper in the countryside.
- Finally, we return to our hotel in Aix-en-Provence, to further discoveries and an evening and dinner at leisure.
DAY 7 – SATURDAY 17.10.20 – AIX-EN-PROVENCE / PERTUIS / LAURIS / ST. RÉMY-DE- PROVENCE, – BREAKFAST & DINNER INCLUDED
- After our breakfast this morning, we travel into the Provençal countryside for a garden visit and a wine tasting.
- Next we continue to St. Rémy de Provence for free time to shop, discover and to lunch, before continuing nearby to visit a garden of influential design, conceived by Dominique Lafourcade.
- Later we return to Aix-en-Provence for an opportunity to refresh ourselves before a short walk into the centre of town for a farewell meal as a group.
DAY 8 – SUNDAY – 18.10.20 – AIX-EN-PROVENCE – BREAKFAST INCLUDED
- Following our breakfast this morning, we check out of the hotel and commence our homeward or onward journeys. Marseille airport is not far, or why not travel to Paris by directly from Avignon on the modern TGV?
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:
- Flights to and From France
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