If you've never been to Provence, it's a must-see destination. The quaint hilltop villages, the history imbued in the Roman aqueducts and coliseum, the fields of sunflowers and lavender, the markets of St. Remy, hunting for truffles - I could go on and on. And then there's the food & wine. April can't come quickly enough! This was the first Girls’ Guide trip ever did, and we’ve perfected the offerings over the years so that in one short week, you’ll be able to see and experience the very best that this region has to offer. Provence is a place that will live in your heart for many years to come.
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip
Arrive on the fast TGV train* from Paris into Avignon arriving at 2:21pm when our driver will pick you up. After a 30 minute ride you’ll check in and refresh, unpack and relax at our 4-star Villa and Spa hotel in Fontvieille.
We can help you make jet-lap curing spa appointments** upon arrival if you wish.
Drinks start at 6:30pm followed by dinner at the hotel when we’ll go over the plan for the week with our guide Nancy.
*There is also a train arriving slightly earlier that you can take directly from CDG airport with one change.
**Optional jet-lag massage in the afternoon not included.
Today we are headed to Uzès, the gorgeous walled town with a circular town square. Here we’ll participate in a Provençal cooking workshop followed by lunch. A bit of free time after will allow you to stroll and shop this stunning town.
Then we’ll visit the famous Pont du Gard, the ancient roman aqueduct bridge built over 2000 years ago.
After traveling back to our hotel, you’ll have some free time to relax before dinner tonight which will be at the colorful Le Patio in Fontvieille.
Today we’ll rise a bit earlier to experience morning at the beautiful market in St. Remy. They sell not only freshly picked produce but espadrilles, provencal fabrics, olives and other goodies which make perfect gifts to take home. Don’t worry you’ll have time to duck into the lovely boutiques that line every street as well.
After the market we’ll sit down for a nice lunch at Da Pepe in St. Remy for some Italian food just to change things up a bit.
This afternoon we’ll visit the monastery of La Mausole de St. Paul, otherwise known as the hospital where Van Gogh stayed after the ear incident and where he made some of his most famous paintings. You’ll visit his own room and hopefully catch some irises still in bloom behind the building which he captured in several of his paintings done here as well.
In the late afternoon we’ll be instructed on how to play Petanque in St. Remy. Petanque is the Provençal version of Boule, a game played outside with metal balls. You get better the more rosé you drink!
Dinner will be at the wonderful L’Ail ou la Cuisse in St. Remy. Don’t forget to save room for dessert, the chef here specializes in spectacular French pastries.
Today we’ll rise and after breakfast visit an olive oil mill to learn how the unctuous local oil is made. A tasting will be in order.
Then we’ll lunch at Bistro du Paradou in Le Paradou, a tiny medieval village.
This afternoon we will enjoy the interactive show at Carriere des Lumieres followed by a stroll in the famous town of Les Baux. This is the first location that started the interactive, music and light show museum craze that has traveled all over the world.
After a full day, tonight’s dinner is on your own. There are loads of places within walking distance to our hotel.
Today, after breakfast, we’ll drive and meet up with our truffle hunters. Here on a typical Provençal farm you’ll learn everything about growing and hunting for truffles with trained dogs. Luckily our truffle guys are fun, funny and produce superb products. After the hunt you’ll enjoy a tasting of the less intense summer truffle outside by the family pool, served with some bubbly of course!
After we’ll have time to explore Lourmarin (one of Peter Mayle’s favorites) and its wonderful shops. Grab a small bite on your own or some dessert if the truffle tasting didn’t fill you up. This charming village is where the famous French writer Albert Camus once lived and worked.
Then we’ll continue on to the über famous small city of Aix-en-Provence for a guided tour with a focus on Cezanne. You’ll get to visit his atelier which looks as if he’s just walked out for lunch.
Dinner tonight will be back in our village at Le Bel Oustau in Fontvieille
Today we’ll visit the city of Arles, famous for its Roman amphitheater as well as being another stop on the trail of Van Gogh.
You’ll have free time here to visit the market. Then we’ll lunch at the Brasserie La Malarte. After lunch we’ll take a guided tour of the city with Heather from Lost in Arles focusing on Van Gogh.
A magnificent farewell dinner and wine tasting will be enjoyed tonight at Château Estoublon.
Breakfast, photo sharing & depart. You’ll be dropped off at the TGV station for your trip back up to Paris. Should you want to fly back from Marseille, there will be a small extra charge.
Born and raised bilingual in Quebec, Nancy was naturally attracted to France. She seized a work opportunity that brought her to the south of France which led to a love story that's lasted ever since.
After a career in corporate and international event management for the United Nations and Coca-Cola, Nancy had a desire to share her passion of this beautiful area with others. She's now having fun using her creative skills and local knowledge leading trips to Provence and the Cote D'Azur.
Nancy lives in Sète with her papillon spaniel, Jewel.
Includes transfer to and from the Avignon train station and one night at the Villa and Spa Hotel in Fontevieille
There is nothing quite like a Provençal village
Provence is famous for its beautiful scenery, light, and colors. Because of this, the region is associated with more than its share of gifted artists. Such great artists as Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne and Pablo Picasso.
Everything stated in itinerary above including all meals except where indicated plus wine with dinner
All classes and hunts as described
All Museum or other entry fees
All transport in Provence including transfers to and from the train station in Avignon
Accommodations at unique, 4-star or better hotels
Expert Guides and Trip Leaders
A small group experience
Roundtrip airfare to France
Roundtrip train from Paris to Avignon
Any spa treatments desired
Any personal souvenirs or purchases
Additional wine, beer or spirits beyond what is offered at meals
Travel and Medical Insurance (required)
The trip officially starts the afternoon of April 17th, but if you’re traveling across an ocean to get to France, you may want to consider arriving a day or two early so you have time to relax and get acclimated to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early, just let us know and we’ll help you with arrangements if you need it
Because everyone is arriving at different times and it’s not difficult to get into town, we have not included the cost of private airport transfers in the trip. When you land in Paris, just hop in a cab or an Uber after you collect your luggage. They are clean, comfortable and plentiful at Charles de Gaule airport and get to the train station.
You are going to want to fly into The Paris Chharles de Gaulle Airport.
We will have a zoom call about 6 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list Here is a great website that we love that will help you with packing and travel trips.
In the month of April, maximum temperature is 67°F and minimum temperature is 52°F (for an average temperature of 59°F). The climate is rather cool around this time of year.
Nancy McGee will be your trip leader. Nancy was born and raised bilingual in Quebec, Nancy was naturally attracted to France. She seized a work opportunity that brought her to the south of France which led to a love story that's lasted ever since