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. Then there's the food & wine. April can't come quickly enough! This was the first Girls’ Guide trip I ever did, and we’ve perfected the offerings over the years, so in one short week, you’ll see and experience the very best this region has to offer. Provence will live in your heart for many years to come.
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip
Take the fast TGV train* from Paris into Avignon arriving at 2:21 p.m. Our driver will pick you up at the train station. It's a 30-minute drive to the 4-star Villa and Spa hotel in Fontvieille. Check-in, unpack, and relax.
We can help you make jet-lag curing spa appointments** upon arrival if you wish.
Drinks start at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner at the hotel where our guide, Nancy, will take us over the plans for the week.
*There is also a train you can take directly from CDG airport with one change. It arrives slightly earlier
**Optional jet lag massage is not included.
Today, we're headed to Uzès, the gorgeous walled town with a circular town square. We’ll participate in a Provençal cooking workshop followed by lunch. Spend free time after lunch strolling and shopping in this stunning town.
Before we return to the hotel we’ll visit the famous Pont du Gard, the ancient Roman aqueduct bridge built over 2,000 years ago.
You’ll have free time to relax at the hotel before dinner at the colorful Le Patio in Fontvieille.
We’ll rise a bit earlier today to experience the early morning at the beautiful market in St. Remy. The market sells freshly picked produce, espadrilles, provencal fabrics, olives, and other goodies, 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 have an Italian lunch at Da Pepe in St. Remy to change things up a bit.
Then, we’ll visit the monastery of La Mausole de St. Paul. It's the hospital where Van Gogh stayed after the ear incident and where he created some of his most famous paintings. You’ll visit his room and, if you're lucky, catch irises, which he captured in several of his paintings, still in bloom behind the building.
In the late afternoon, we’ll learn 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. Save room for dessert, the chef here specializes in spectacular French pastries.
After breakfast, we're off to an olive oil mill to learn how the unctuous local oil is made. A tasting is in order.
Then we’ll lunch at Bistro du Paradou in Le Paradou, a tiny medieval village.
This afternoon we'll attend an 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 across the globe.
After a full day, dinner is yours to enjoy as you please tonight. There are loads of places within walking distance of our hotel.
Today, after breakfast, we’ll drive and meet up with our truffle-hunting companions. Here, on a typical Provençal farm, you’ll learn everything about growing and hunting truffles with trained dogs. Luckily the truffle guides are fun, funny and produce superb products. After the hunt, you’ll enjoy a tasting of the less intense summer truffle outside at the family pool. It's served with bubbly of course!
Afterward, we’ll have time to explore Lourmarin (one of Peter Mayle’s favorites) and its wonderful shops. Grab a 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.
We’ll move 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. It looks as if he’s just walked out for lunch.
Dinner tonight is back in our village at Le Bel Oustau in Fontvieille
We're off to the city of Arles today. It's famous for its Roman amphitheater. It is also another stop on the trail of Van Gogh.
You’ll have free time here to visit the market. We’re having lunch at the Brasserie La Malarte. Then, we’ll take a guided tour of the city with Heather from Lost in Arles focusing on Van Gogh.
Tonight we're having a magnificent farewell dinner and wine tasting at Château Estoublon.
Breakfast, photo sharing & departure. 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.
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 May 6th, but if you’re traveling across an ocean to get to France, consider arriving a day or two early so you have time to relax and adjust to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early, let us know and we’ll help you with arrangements.
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 should fly into The Paris Charles 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 May, the maximum temperature is 67°F and the 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