PROVENCE & THE FRENCH RIVIERA
9 DAYS/7 NIGHTS

DESCRIPTION

Provence, a region in southeastern France bordering Italy and the Mediterranean Sea, is known for its diverse landscapes, from the Southern Alps and Camargue plains to rolling vineyards, olive groves, pine forests and lavender fields. To the south is the Côte d'Azur (or French Riviera), where the elegant city of Nice and glamorous resort towns such as Monaco and Cannes line the coast. Here, all your wishes can come true!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Glamorous Cote d'Azur
  • Villages of Provence
  • Roman Theatre of Orange, UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Avignon, city of the Popes
  • Palais des Papes, largest Gothic palace ever built
  • Majestic Pont d’Avignon
  • Famous Côtes du Rhône wine region & Wine Tasting
  • St. Remy de Provence & Vincent van Gogh
  • Storybook-like medieval village of Les Baux de-Provence
  • Fabulous Roman ruins of Arles
  • Colored houses of Roussillon
  • Goirdes, most beautiful hilltop village in Provence
  • Ancient Senanque Abbey, founded in 1148 by Cistercian monks
  • Lavender Museum
  • Spectacular Aix en Provence
  • Paul Cezanne’s studio visit
  • Bustling and elegant city of Nice
  • Glorious architecture, year-round sunshine, outstanding food
  • Glitz and glamour of Cannes and Monte Carlo
  • Charming hilltop towns of Eze and St. Paul-de-Vence
  • Fragonard perfume factory visit
  • Villefranche, Niçoise fishing village
  • Milan, fashion & design capital
  • Milan’s magnificent Gothic Duomo
  • World-class Scala Opera House

Photo and Video



DAY BY DAY ITINERARY


Day 1 Depart USA
Depart from the US on an overnight flight to Marseille, France. Meals and refreshments served on board.

Day 2 Arrive Marseille, France
Upon arrival at Marseille airport proceed to baggage claim. After clearing customs, you will be met by our professional tour director and transferred to your hotel in Avignon. Dependent on arrival times the rest of the day is at leisure. Tonight, dinner is at the hotel. (D)

Day 3 Avignon - Orange - St. Remy De Provence - Les Baux De Provence - Arles
Your day begins with a visit of Orange, a UNESCO World Heritage site. After a visit of the well preserved Roman Triumphal Arch, a symbol of the Roman imperial glory, your driver will take you on a journey through the vineyards between Orange and Chateauneuf-du-Pape, where a wine tasting session of the most prestigious red wine in the Rhone Valley awaits you - Cultural Discovery Series. Continue to St. Remy de Provence, a picturesque market town. The medieval streets of the Old Town jumble together to form a maze filled with upscale boutiques and pretty shops stocking Provençal products. Continue with a visit of Les Baux de Provence, a village set upon a rock, and of Arles, a good example of the adaptation of an ancient city to medieval European civilization. (B)

Day 4 Avignon - City Tour
This morning you tour Avignon, the City of the Popes. See the Popes’ Palace, the largest gothic palace in the world, and the majestic Pont d’Avignon. In the afternoon, your time is free to explore or take an optional tour to Gordes, a hilltop village in the Luberon region. Its houses and buildings of white stone root themselves into the sharp cliff of the mountain. Its labyrinth of “calades,” narrow cobblestone streets, do not leave the visitor indifferent to its charms. Continue to Roussillon, a village that has seduced many artists. Its houses offer the passers-by a harmony of enchanting colors, art galleries, and some excellent restaurants. Afterward, as part of our Cultural Discovery Series, visit the Senanque Abbey and Lavender Museum. The Abbey of Senanque has become one of the symbols of Provence because of its idyllic setting. The Cistercian abbey from the 12th century still is occupied by monks. Since 1960 the monks have been cultivating what they call “the blue gold” lavender. After the visit, we head back to the hotel. (B)

Day 5 Avignon - Aix-en-Provence/Nice
This morning, after breakfast, depart Avignon bound for the Côte d'Azur and Nice! Along the way, you visit the spectacular town of Aix-en-Provence and step back in time. Vestiges of the Roman city are still visible at the Thermes Sextius spa, Gothic cloisters can be admired at the Cathedral, and sumptuous neoclassical houses that long inspired writers and artists can be seen in the Mazarin quarter. Here you visit Paul Cezanne’s studio – Cultural Discovery Series. Free time will be given for lunch, before continuing to Nice and check in at your hotel. Welcome to Nice, a gem of the French Riviera, sitting on the pebbly shores of the Baie des Anges. Founded by the Greeks and later a retreat for 19th-century European elite, the city has also long attracted artists. Relax and enjoy! (B)

Day 6 Nice – City Tour
Today you will enjoy a walking tour of the lovely town of Nice. See the Promenade des Anglais – one of the most photographed stretches of the seafront in the world, with its elegant Belle Époque-style buildings, and Marché aux Fleurs. This market is still one of France’s foremost venues, selling delicious fruit and vegetables as well as local flowers. This is a great place for taking photographs of the brightly colored displays or sampling the homemade local delicacies. Afternoon at leisure to shop, relax or head to a coffee shop to watch the world go by. (B)

Day 7 Nice - Cannes City Tour - St. Paul-de-Vence
Your morning begins with a city tour of Cannes. “Discovered” by Lord Brougham in 1834, Cannes soon became a community for the international elite and is synonymous with the International Film Festival. We will see the Palais des Festivals with its lovely harbor and La Croisette, perhaps one of the most elegant seaside promenades in the world. The Old Town – Le Suquet – is still a delicious maze of medieval streets and Renaissance houses. We continue to St. Paul-de-Vence. The picture book medieval village of St. Paul-de-Vence stands hidden behind its ramparts and is “Provence in a nutshell.” It was rediscovered only in the 1920s by a group of painters, including Chagall, who lived here and is entombed here. Afterwards, it is time for our Cultural Discovery Series and time to learn and taste the local specialties – olive oil, cheese and wine. (B)

Day 8 Nice
Today enjoy a full free day to explore Nice or take an optional tour along the French Riviera visiting Villefranche, Monaco, Monte Carlo & Eze. The first stop will be in Villefranche. There’s a quite medieval feeling in Villefranche. The city’s long and rich history as a major seaport is visible everywhere you look with quiet little squares and Place de l’Eglise that has a bench circling a beautiful big tree. We continue to the Principality of Monaco. From casinos to elegant balls, Monte Carlo has plenty of luxurious attractions to draw international jet-setters. The next stop will be the tiny village of Eze, perched on a rocky hill above the sea. With narrow cobblestone, pedestrian-only streets, beautiful views of the surrounding hills and the azure water below, it is just as it was centuries ago. Along the way, there is free time for lunch and then our Cultural Discovery Series with a visit to the Fragonard perfumery to discover the trade secrets of our fragrances and the history of perfume-making from its beginnings to the present day. This evening dinner is included (B,D)

Day 9 Nice to USA or extend your stay with an optional Milan, Italy extension
This morning transfer to the airport for your return flight home, taking with you many wonderful memories of France. (B)

OPTIONAL MILAN, ITALY EXTENSION
Day 9 Nice/Milan, Italy
This morning we leave Nice and Southern France behind and head to Milan, Italy. Along the way stop in Genoa. An important maritime center that preceded the Roman Empire, Genoa offers a dazzling blend of Old-World charm and modern sophistication. You’ll have a short walking tour of Christopher Columbus boyhood home and some free time for lunch on your own before proceeding to Milan. Arrive in Milan and enjoy free time this afternoon and evening to explore Milan. (B)

Day 10 Milan - City Tour
Today you will embark on a captivating half day tour of Milan, the fashion and economic capital of Italy. Get to know Milan from its famed landmarks to its embracing entrepreneurial spirit. While soaking in the Italian culture, you will explore this vibrant city with your expert guide. Take-in the vista of its medieval Sforza Castle, built by the 4th Duke of Milan, as you hear intriguing history about Milan. Visit the city’s renowned Duomo, the largest Gothic structure in Italy adorned with 135 marble spires, and see the Golden Madonnina that tops the highest spire. View the world-class Scala Opera House. Stroll along this fashion mecca's stylish Galleria Vittorio Emanuele shopping gallery. Continue the visit to Santa Maria delle Grazie Basilica to discover the enigmatic Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” or Casa Degli Atellani (Leonardo da Vinci’s home) & Leonardo’s Vineyard.* Tonight, you will have time at leisure to savor the flavors of Italy in one of the many exquisite restaurants or cafés that line Milan’s fascinating streets. (B)

Day 11 Milan to USA
After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your return flight home (B)
(B) – Breakfast, (D) – Dinner
Hotel and Itinerary are subject to change.

*You will view/visit either Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” or Casa Degli Atellani based on availability.


Hotel and itinerary are subject to change.

INCLUDES

  • ROUND TRIP AIR TRANSPORTATION - Air transportation from New York
  • FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS - Hotel accommodations for 7 nights
  • SUPERB CUISINE - 9 included meals consisting of 7 buffet breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • SIGHTSEEING TOUR PROGRAM - Sightseeing, including local guide and all entrance fees as follows: City tour of Avignon, Tour of Orange/St. Remy/Les Baux/Arles, Tour of Aix-en-Provence, City tour of Nice, Full day tour of Cannes and St. Paul-de-Vence. Optional tours available
  • CULTURAL DISCOVERY SERIES - Our program encompasses cultural connections, in-depth learning on the local economy and social systems, and interaction with locals such as a visit to a winery, Paul Cezanne’s studio, and demonstrations on olive oil and cheese
  • PROFESSIONAL TOUR DIRECTOR - Assistance of a professional Tour Director for the entire length of the tour upon arrival in France
  • DELUXE MOTORCOACHES - Touring by private deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach
  • BAGGAGE HANDLING AND TRANSFERS - Baggage handling for one piece of checked luggage outside of the

OPTIONAL MILAN, ITALY EXTENSION TOUR FEATURES
  • FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS - Hotel accommodations for 2 nights
  • SUPERB CUISINE - 2 included meals consisting of 2 buffet breakfasts
  • SIGHTSEEING TOUR PROGRAM - Sightseeing, including local guide and all entrance fees as follows: City tour of Milan
  • PROFESSIONAL TOUR DIRECTOR - Assistance of a professional Tour Director for the entire length of the tour
  • DELUXE MOTORCOACHES - Touring by private deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach
  • BAGGAGE HANDLING AND TRANSFERS - Baggage handling for one piece of checked luggage outside of the airport

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