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Timeless Provence

8days from
£1,429*per person


8 Days - Classic Escorted Tours

Striking natural beauty, immortalised by Van Gogh and Cezanne, home of the Papacy and capital of Roman Gaul. Provence evokes an ambience of provincial France at its finest. Of all the regions of France, Provence is the most irresistible. The borders are defined by nature: to the west, the River Rhône; the south, the Mediterranean; the east, the Alps; and to the north, where the olive trees end. It is a land of striking natural beauty and great diversity - from sun baked plains with fields of lavender, interspaced with vineyards and olive groves, crowned in the distance by the hills of the Luberon and the azure blue sky. The deep valleys are the home of vast oak and pine forests giving that unmistakable Mediterranean aroma to the air. The desolate wilderness of the Camargue is fascinating, with its white horses galloping across flat wetlands, herds of black bulls and striking flocks of pink flamingos, which appear to fly and land in perfect formation! The towns are a delight and so distinctive - perhaps the most famous being Aix en Provence – its old quarter is street upon colourful street of traditional shops with quiet and hidden squares, complete with the soft murmur of ancient fountains giving an atmosphere of cool tranquillity. It has vibrant, colourful markets and crowded café terraces nestling under the shade of countless plane trees. The majestic Mont St. Victoire, so immortalised by Cézanne, towers over all: Paris-like in stature and style, yet village-like in gentility, pace and ambience. So, for a unique blend of interesting and superb monuments, fine food, culture and most of all, some outstanding scenery, come with us and see it all on this French tour.


  • Arrive at the airport for your flight to France, or at the station for your train journey by Eurostar and high-speed TGV. We transfer by coach to your hotel in Aix-en-Provence, where we stay for seven nights.   Signature Experience: Start your holiday in style with a traditional aperitif known as “Apero time” in France with canapés at your hotel.
  • This morning we take guided walking tour and see what inspired the city’s favourite son, Paul Cézanne, to produce numerous paintings in and around Aix. Beautiful Aix-en-Provence seamlessly combines Parisian-style chic with village-like gentility. Founded as a spa town by the Romans, it became the capital of Provence during the Middle Ages and evolved into a major educational and artistic hub. Aix is known as the ‘City of a Thousand Fountains’ and the tranquil sound of running water accompanies us down colourful boulevards, through fine squares and labyrinthine alleyways. The afternoon is yours to spend as you wish in this wonderful Provençal city, perhaps taking the opportunity to visit Cézanne’s perfectly preserved workshop.  Signature Experience: Sample amazing wines at one of Provence’s leading organic wineries. Discover how these crisp, delicately perfumed wines are produced and then enjoy a glass or two with lunch against the delightful backdrop of this charming wine estate.
  • Morning After breakfast we head to the Camargue, the delta of the great Rhône River and a beguiling landscape of flat saltwater marshland teeming with around 400 species of birds – including remarkable pink flamingos. This designated national park is also home to the region’s iconic black bulls and an ancient breed of white horse, some of which you may spot being ridden by the Camargue’s famous ‘cowboys’. We arrive at the small port town of Saintes Maries de la Mer and take a guided boat trip to explore the natural splendour of this wetland environment – don’t forget to bring your binoculars! Afternoon We then make the short trip to extraordinary Arles, a prosperous Roman regional capital from the 1st century AD. You’ll marvel at the city’s impressive UNESCO-listed monuments on a fascinating walking tour, taking in the incredibly well-preserved Roman amphitheatre, the theatre built by the Emperor Augustus and the Forum, once the city’s heart. There’s free time to spend in Arles, perhaps to seek out locations associated with Vincent Van Gogh, who spent 14 months here from early 1888. It was his most prolific period and, inspired by Arles and the light and beauty of the Provençal countryside, he produced around 300 works, including The Café Terrace at Night, The Sower and, of course, Sunflowers. 
  • This morning we travel north to the stunning Luberon Mountains. It was here that Peter Mayle found inspiration for his book, A Year in Provence. The region’s pure natural light has always attracted artists, while the hilltops are crowned by enchanting villages that, at a distance, appear frozen in medieval times, yet are alive with vibrant bistros, rustic restaurants and markets selling fabulous local produce. The landscape in this designated Regional Nature Park changes dramatically from flat plains dotted with olive and peach groves to sloping vineyards and then, higher up, rows of lavender whose fragrance mingles with pine and wild herbs to give the unmistakable aroma of rural Provence.
  • Today we visit nearby Avignon, one of Europe’s most historic cities. Its destiny changed early in the 14th century with the exile of the Pope’s court from Rome. Vast wealth poured in to build churches, convents and elegant townhouses, but most of all the incredible Papal Palace. We have time to visit this imposing building which from the outside resembles a citadel rising from living rock flanked by turrets more than 150 feet high. Alternatively, there is the Petit Palais museum which houses an excellent collection of more than 1,000 paintings. We also visit the Pont du Gard, an amazing Roman aqueduct, wider than the Thames in London and one of the wonders of the ancient world. We then return to your hotel in Aix.
  • A free day to spend as you wish in Aix. Wander along Cours Mirabeau, Aix’s elegant main street, and peel off into the maze of lanes to discover tiny squares and myriad fountains. Alternatively visit the superb Musée Granet and its collection of works by Cézanne, Degas, Picasso, Matisse and Monet, or the fascinating Museum of Natural History where you can view a collection of dinosaur eggs unearthed on the slopes of nearby Mont Sainte-Victoire.  Signature Experience: Tonight we dine at a renowned local restaurant which proudly holds the accreditation of ‘Maître Restaurateur’. Begin the evening with a refreshing aperitif in the delightful gardens before savouring the exquisite flavours of the gourmet menu in enchanting surroundings. Freshly prepared seasonal ingredients promise a truly memorable Provencal feast and our gastronomic experience will be completed with a selection of local wines.
  • An invigorating trip by the sea today as we head to the rugged coast and the lovely fishing port of Cassis whose painted cottages, charming little harbour and sandy beach are all overlooked by a mighty medieval fortress. Situated in a spectacular bay, the town has attracted numerous famous visitors over the years – including Virginia Woolf and Sir Winston Churchill, who took painting lessons here in the 1920s. Choose one of the many waterside restaurants for a lunch of freshly caught fish before taking an afternoon boat trip to see the Massif des Calanques, a rugged coastline of dazzling white cliffs, rock pinnacles and rare seabirds.
  • Transfer to the airport or station for your flight or train home.

What's Included

Holiday Highlights

  • Tour of colourful Cassis and including a boat trip to see the stunning Calanques or limestone cliffs
  • Guided walking tour of Aix-en-Provence, Provence’s former stylish capital
  • Visit to Avignon – home of the Pope’s Palace and almost mythical bridge
  • Walking tour of Arles, capital of Roman Gaul, with an iconic amphitheatre and immortalised by Van Gogh
  • Visit the Camargue, the unique wetland region famous for its black bulls, white horses and pink flamingos and enjoy a boat trip through the Camargue delta
  • Tour of the Luberon Hills and it’s timeless Provençal villages so vividly described in Peter Mayle’s book ‘A Year in Provence’
  • Visit to the Pont du Gard, one of the ancient Romans’ largest aqueducts
  • The Signature Tour option includes all of the above as well as:
  • Taste typical wines of Provence at an organic vineyard and enjoy a delicious lunch in the wonderful surroundings of the estate
  • Sip on an aperitif before an exquisite dinner of classic Provencal dishes, paired with local wines, at a renowned gourmet restaurant
  • Start your holiday in style with a traditional French Aperitif known as “Apero time” with canapés at your hotel
  • Enjoy the more exclusive atmosphere of travelling in a small group with an average of 22 guests

Our Price Includes

  • The price of this holiday is per person based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability on request and subject to supplement. The price includes flights to Nice or Marseille or return standard class rail travel on Eurostar and TGV to Aix en Provence if you prefer not to fly, airport departure taxes, coach transfers to the hotel, all tours as mentioned, seven nights accommodation with breakfast, two dinners in local restaurants ( Stays at the Novotel Aix Beaumanoir also include 2 x dinners at the hotel) and the services of a Riviera tour manager.
  • There are only a limited number of twin rooms at the Novotel - most have one king sized bed and one convertible single bed. Room type available will be confirmed upon booking.
  • Not included: Entrance to Papal Palace and Bridge in Avignon €13.50, Petit Palais museum €6, approximate costs, payable locally.
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Dates and Prices

July 2024
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Price from:£1,429
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4* Grand Hotel Roi René Mgallery - Aix-en-Provence -


The four-star superior Grand Hotel Roi René Mgallery, one of Aix’s finest hotels, is stunningly chic offering a truly stylish atmosphere coupled with attentive and friendly service just steps away from the Cours Mirabeau the city’s principal and most atmospheric avenue. Light and airy rooms feature fine quality fittings and all the modern comforts you would expect. The hotel is air conditioned throughout and centred round an internal courtyard with plenty of comfortable seating and a beautifully inviting heated pool, the intimate bar and restaurant are the perfect place to relax.

4* Aquabella Hotel - Aix-en-Provence -


The four-star rated Aquabella hotel and Spa is a delightful converted 18th century townhouse, beautifully located next to the old town with literally a part of the surviving medieval wall forming the hotel's boundary. It's a veritable oasis of calm in the historic centre, set in a large private garden featuring its own olive grove - a real luxury in an urban setting, plus a stunning heated swimming pool. Its light filled restaurant overlooks the gardens, serves an extensive buffet breakfast, and evening meals. The hotel boasts both internal and external bars and a spa. Rooms are extremely comfortable and tastefully decorated, air conditioned with safe satellite TV, minibar and private facilities.

4* Novotel Aix Beaumanoir - Aix-en-Provence -


The four-star rated Novotel Aix Beaumanoir is purpose-built property with comfortable rooms with air conditioning, satellite TV, safe and private facilities. Set in its own garden the hotel has a pleasant bar and restaurant, outside terrace and swimming pool open all year round and staff are extremely friendly and welcoming. Stays at this hotel include two dinners at the hotel restaurant. Please note, the use of air conditioning is at the discretion of the hotel.

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Holiday provided by Riviera Travel

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: change your booking for free, Covid-19 cancellation protection included as standard and 100% protection with ABTA & ATOL. This holiday is sold and operated by Riviera Travel (ABTA V4744, ATOL 3430). These ABTA and ATOL bonds mean that, when you book a Riviera Travel holiday, you can be 100% sure that your money is safe.

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