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From Cagnes-sur-Mer, St. Paul de Vence, Nice, and Aix-en-Provence, to Avignon, Saint-Remy-de-Provence, and Gordes … and the many picturesque villages in between, let Premier Tours & Travel enliven your senses on this private, small group tour of Provence. Partake in wine and olive oil tastings, gaze upon sunflowers and lavender fields, and experience unsurpassed culinary delights throughout your 11-day trip through Provence. Return to our fully private villa to relax in the countryside and gaze upon the Luberon mountains, the experience sunsets over the hilltop village of Gordes, and wander amongst the home's gardens and olive groves as you make your way to the pool. Participate in evening interactive, cooking preparations as part of your exclusive, private Chef's dinners prepared by our private celebrity chef or local French chef at the villa. Truly a Premier experience!
May 18-May 28, 2022 with U.S. Celebrity Chef Bob Waggoner
September 7-17, 2022 TBD
October 12-22, 2022 with French Celebrity Chef Jean-Marc Villard
From $6399 Per Person; Double Occupancy; Single Supplement $1,800; Limited to 18 passengers
May 17-May 27, 2023
September 6-16, 2023
October 11-21, 2023
From $6499 Per Person; Double Occupancy; Single Supplement $1,800; Limited to 18 passengers
DAY-BY-DAY IN PROVENCE***
Depart United States for Nice, France
Day 1 — Cagnes-sur-Mer, France
Arrive Nice International Airport in the morning. Stop for a light lunch in Cagnes-sur-Mer, followed by private transfer to your hotel Chateau Le Cagnard, a Small Luxury Hotels of the World property. Check-in your hotel with free time to explore the village on your own. Enjoy dinner on your own this evening as you settle in to France.
Day 2 — Nice
This morning following breakfast, transfer to Old Nice for a guided tour, which starts with the Cours Saleya market, a must-see on the French Riviera with its striped awnings protecting the beautiful and delicious produce. You will be guided through a tasting of local culinary treats, such as traditional socca. Learn about the local ingredients and products of the south of France and the way they are used in the traditional food. It, of course, will be an opportunity to stroll the famous Marche aux Fleurs Cours Saleya — the flower market — and learn about the long-standing history of Nice as the carnation capital of France. As well, enjoy a tasting at the historic Maison Auer, a continuously operating chocolaterie and confiserie that is currently run by the fifth generation of confectioners in the Auer family. Take time to explore Nice and enjoy lunch before departing for the hotel and a group dinner at Chateau Le Cagnard.
Day 3 — Vence — St. Paul de Vence
After breakfast at Chateau Le Cagnard, your guide will pick you up from the hotel to bring you on a guided visit to the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, often referred to as the Matisse Chapel or the Vence Chapel. This beautiful chapel is in the town of Vence on the French Riviera, built and decorated between 1947 and 1951 under a plan devised by Henri Matisse. Transfer to St. Paul de Vence for a visit to Maison de Parfums Godet to learn about their 100-year history, as well as the art and science of creating perfumes. Enjoy time at leisure to explore within the medieval walls encircling the narrow streets of St. Paul de Vence, to stroll through its many unique shops, and lunch at leisure. Return to the hotel and have your evening at leisure.
Day 4 — Aix-en-Provence — Villa Le Mas de Belle Combe, Gordes, France
Following your final breakfast at Chateau Le Cagnard, depart Cagnes-sur-Mer for your lovely, fully private villa in Gordes. On the way, enjoy the amazing town of Aix-en-Provence, founded by the Romans in 103 BC. Aix-en-Provence has been called the city of a thousand fountains and is known for its colorful market, which will be in full swing on this Saturday. This is market day in Aix, so explore the market with Chef, discovering the vegetables and fruits, cheeses, herbs, olive oil, and all the flavors of Provence in the center near Cours Mirabeau. After lunch at leisure in one of the many cafes in Aix-en-Provence, enjoy renown shopping and peruse the many art galleries before transferring to Villa Le Mas de Belle Combe — your home in Provence for the next seven nights. While in Aix, we encourage you to visit a local wine/spirits shop to purchase your beverage of choice for cocktail hours and your general enjoyment — wine will be available with dinner. You will be warmly welcomed home with a champagne toast, hors d'oeuvres, and a traditional Mediterranean paella.
Day 5 — Gordes
Wake up to breakfast and an amazing view of the hillside village of Gordes, France. Spend the morning in beautiful, medieval Gordes. On a guided tour, walk through the vaulted, arcaded lanes that reveal the town’s many charms. Visit the Caves du Palais Saint-Firmin a Gordes, which boasts a variety of artistic features, provide evidence of life in Gordes (listed as one of France’s most beautiful villages) from the Middle Ages onwards, and offer visitors a wonderful opportunity to immerse themselves in the history of this mysterious, semi-troglodyte world. Moving from room to room, visitors will learn all about the history of the place and the know-how associated with the oil production process. Late morning, enjoy a nougat tasting from the famed Maison Perrert with an aperitif (Rosé, white or red wine, still and sparkling water, fruit juices, savory bites) served in the gardens (privatized for the occasion). Stop in a café for lunch or have a picnic on your own overlooking the Luberon region before being transferred to the Abbaye de Senanque, a Cistercian abbey renown for its spectacular lavender fields. This evening, Chef will be hosting the first Chef’s dinner, which you are welcome to help create.
Day 6 — Bonnieux — Menerbes
Following breakfast, head out to enjoy the hilltop villages of Bonnieux and Menerbes. In addition to walking tours, enjoy free time to peruse each quaint locale before enjoying a wine tasting and lunch at Bastide de la Marie. Return to the villa for a lovely Chef's dinner.
Day 7 — At Leisure
Today, participate in a morning dessert class or go into Gordes with Chef to shop the market for local ingredients for tomorrow's Chef's dinner. Otherwise, enjoy the entire day at leisure to relax by the pool, take a hike to enjoy the landscape of the area, or walk on your own into Gordes to visit the shops for gifts to take back home. Dinner will be at leisure -- you can make reservations in Gordes; transportation will be provided at set times.
Day 8 — Saint-Remy
In the village of Saint-Remy in the heart of Provence, forever entwined with the legacy of Vincent van Gogh, find everything Provençal you desire as you stroll along the boulevards under the shade of century-old trees. Your guided walking tour will take you around the narrow little streets, discovering squares where children play in the fountains, and the attractive boutiques and art galleries that make the town’s historic center so lively. Enjoy strolling through the local market place, brimming with fresh produce, baguettes straight from the oven, fragrant herbs, and seasonal specialties…taste and select some French cheeses to take back to the villa. Enjoy lunch at leisure at one of the many cafes and restaurants before departing for Moulin du Clos Jeannons, an olive oil mill that favors traditional processes such as using a stone wheel to crush the olives. Participate in a tour and tasting, as well as take an opportunity to meander the beautiful grounds. Transfer back to the villa with time to refresh and relax before the nightly Chef’s dinner.
Day 9 — Avignon — Châteauneuf du Pape
After breakfast at the villa, depart for Châteauneuf du Pape between Avignon and Orange, France. In the 14th century Pope Jean XXII, chose Châteauneuf as the location for their summer residences, and then decided to plant vines on the stony land which surrounded their landholdings. For a long time, the wine production remained a secret but in 1929, it was officially recognized and bestowed with its own appellation: Châteauneuf du Pape. This appellation means that the wine production in Châteauneuf du Pape is subject to strict controls to ensure that the 55 vineyards produce extremely fine wine. In addition to a walking tour of the village, enjoy a private wine tasting and a light lunch in the historic heart Châteauneuf du Pape. Depart for the village of Avignon — one of the most historically significant towns in France following lunch. From 1309 to 1377, it was the seat of the Catholic popes. It remained under papal rule until becoming part of France in 1791. This legacy can be seen in the massive Palais des Papes (Popes' Palace) in the city center, which is surrounded by medieval stone ramparts. Should you wish to visit the inside of the Palais des Papes, please feel free to do so at any point during the guided walking tour. Transfer back to the villa for a Chef's dinner.
Day 10 — Gordes
The last day at the villa take the opportunity to participate in a cooking class with Chef. Enjoy a leisurely walk to nearby, acclaimed local vineyard, Domaine Chapelle Saint Heyries, for a tour of their cellar and tasting of five of their wines. Return to the villa for a Farewell Dinner.
Day 11 — Gordes
Breakfast at the Villa. Check-out of Villa Le Mas De Belle Combe and Transfer to Marseille Airport for your flight home.
* Itinerary for October 8-19, 2021 will fly into Marseille, France go directly to the villa in Gordes and will follow the itinerary beginning Day 5. The final three nights of the tour will be at the Chateau Le Cagnard in Cagnes-sur-Mer. You will depart to the USA from Nice, France for this tour.
**IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Itinerary subject to change. Premier Tours & Travel reserves the right to modify programs and itineraries (including arranged sightseeing, accommodations, dining experiences, aircraft, trains, vessels, and so forth) at any time due to unforeseen circumstances or circumstances beyond Premier Tours & Travel’s control, including force majeures. In the instance our Expert host cancels due to unforeseen circumstances, Premier Tours & Travel has the right to substitute another Expert host, such as a chef, in such an emergency (timing allowed) and/or the tour will continue in its entirety. Every effort is made to operate our itineraries as planned but alterations may need to be made after the final itinerary has been issued. Airfare is not included. Deposits are utilized to secure services on your behalf and are nonrefundable. Deposits are transferrable to a future Expertly Done Culinary & Wine Travel tour. Wine is included as noted otherwise alcoholic beverages are the responsibility of each adult guest. Guests are limited to one carry on and one checked baggage and will be responsible for any additional fees charged for additional luggage. Please see Key Items to Know Before You Leave Home in Terms & Conditions.
Chef Jean-Marc Villard
Our celebrity French partner, Chef Jean-Marc Villard, is our expert local host in Provence. Chef Villard has served in some of the finest French restaurants in France and abroad, including three-star Michelin L’Oasis near Nice, and Le Gourmandin and one-star-Michelin L’Alexandrin in Lyon, among others. His exceptional skill and his love of French gastronomy made him an integral part of the faculty at the prestigious Paul Bocuse Institute in Lyon as Chef Instructor from 1991 to 2001. In 2001, Chef Villard opened French Cuisine by Jean-Marc Villard Culinary School in Provence with his wife, Alice, where he teaches French cuisine, including to English-speaking students and guests like us.