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8 Day South of France Tour
Daily Itinerary

Day 1- Welcome to Southern France!

Pick up at Montpellier's airport or one of the train stations is between 12:00 pm and 4:30 pm. We will drive you to your hotel where you will have some free time to relax and unpack. (If you cannot arrive before this time you may have to take a taxi to the hotel, please email us to see what we can do) We will then all meet for our welcome drink at 5:45 pm where you will be able to meet the other travelers as well as your local guides! We will then have our welcome dinner at a French restaurant where you will be able to enjoy your first delicious French meal!

If you can we recommend arriving a day early at the beach hotel to adjust to the time difference and use this day as a buffer day in case of any travel delay. This would also give you more time to explore Le Grau-du-Roi (market on Tuesday morning), you have the option to book an extra night at the hotel when you are making your booking or adding it to your order later. If you come a day early pick up is until 8:00 pm.

Pickup, Hotel Check in, Le Grau-du-Roi, Welcome drink, Welcome Dinner

Best Beach South France Camargue Provence
Best Beach South France

Day 2- On the Compostela Road & French Picnic and Petanque

To start the day we will visit one of the villages on the "most beautiful villages of France" list, St-Guilhem-le-Desert, ranked a favorite on the tour! The village is one of the stops along the Santiago de Compostela (a Pilgrimage road recognized on the UNESCO world heritage list since 1998) for its relics located in the Abbey. The picturesque architecture and the wonderful abbey will bring you back in time. You will learn about the life of Saint Guilhem, grandson of Charles Martel and cousin of Charlemagne. Enjoy the peaceful feeling as you wander through the cobbled streets and archways of this untouched medieval village before stopping for lunch at a lovely French restaurant over a rocky gorge and turquoise river! You will then have some free time to explore: get lost in the small streets, shop the local artisans boutiques or have a walk in the adjacent mountains.

We will then gather for one of our tour highlights: a home made picnic catered by Julia's mother! The menu includes Quiches, Tapenade, Charcuterie, Wine and more, a gourmet French meal. You will also get to try your hand at "Petanque", the backyard game of Southern France. The picnic takes place at a local winery, where you will be able to learn about the vineyard and taste their wonderful wine. This is always a fun afternoon!

St-Guilhem-le-Desert on Compostela Road, Petanque, French Picnic, Exindre Winery, Picnic Dinner

Small group tour southern France
French Homemade Picnic Local Petanque
Provence small group tour

Day 3- Aix & Le Grand Marché

A visit to Southern France would not be complete without experiencing one of its lively Provençal markets. In Aix-en-Provence, the Grand Marché is a must-see - one of the biggest and most vibrant outdoor markets in all of Southern France. Overflowing with colorful stalls selling the region's finest bounty, this historic market is a feast for the senses. Delectable local produce, freshly-baked breads, aromatic herbs and spices, artisanal soaps and textiles all beckon to be sampled and admired. You will have some free time here to shop all the souvenirs and local treasures that you need before we all regroup for our group lunch. After lunch we will explore the town of Aix-en-Provence before we return to our relaxing hotel by the beach. You will have the evening free to discover one of the local restaurants or simply grab a delicious snack at the local bakery and enjoy it on your balcony while watching the sunset over the Mediterranean sea. (A list of restaurant recommendations located near your hotel will be provided at your arrival.)
Aix-en-Provence, French Market, Free Evening

Provence Market Aix en Provence Grand Marche
Aix en Provence - things to do Provence

Day 4- Stone Hilltop Village, Art & History

Our first stop today is the picturesque hilltop village of Les-Baux-de-Provence. Officially classified as one of the "most beautiful villages of France", the cultural heritage here is exceptionally rich and the landscape and the beauty of the Provençal village will take your breath away.  We will do a short guided walking tour and then stop at a traditional auberge for lunch. Afterward you will have time to explore the medieval streets, look over the artisan shops, or slow down at a cafe and watch the people come and go.

Our next stop is the Les Carrières de Lumières, a fascinating art, light & sound show! The 2023 exhibit will be Vermeer and Van Gogh! You can learn more about the current exhibit here. To finish the afternoon we will visit the 11th century Saint-Paul-de-Mausole monastary to appreciate the beautiful architecture of the Provençal Romansque style. It is here in this sanctuary where Vincent Van Gogh painted his famous Starry Night piece in 1889 during his troubled time. After returning back to Le Grau, spend your evening freely. You could go for a stroll on the beach, explore the busy fisherman village, and eat at a restaurant on the canal!  Baux-de-Provence, Light & Sound Show, Van Gogh, Free Evening

Les Baux de Provence
st paul mausole - St Remy de Provence

Day 5- Magnificent Carcassonne & Languedoc Winery

Today on our day trip you will explore the exceptional medieval walled city of Carcassonne. The city has about 2,000 years of history and has seen the Romans, Visigoths, Saracens and Crusaders. You will have a guided historical tour where you will learn about the history of the Cathar and the different periods of constructions of this magnificent defending art work. We will have lunch together and then you can enjoy some free time to explore on your own. The citadel derives its reputation from its massive double surrounding walls spanning 1.9 miles and 52 defensive towers. Walking between the ramparts and surveying the lands, you will feel like you are in a movie, maybe because of the Robin Hood movie scenes filmed here!

On the way back we will stop at a Languedoc winery. Languedoc is renowned for its diversity of grape varieties thriving in the region's sun-drenched terrain, producing rich, complex wines that have earned global acclaim. During the tour, you'll have the opportunity to delve into the fascinating winemaking process, from the meticulous cultivation of the vineyards to the intricate art of blending and aging. The tour will conclude with a wine tasting, where you can savor the unique flavors that have made Languedoc wines world-famous.

At the end of the afternoon we will then return to your beach hotel for your free evening. Why not enjoy some mussels and fries at one of the seafood restaurants near your hotel or maybe grab a quiche at the local bakery and relax in your room. You will be able to eat a delicious meal in Le Grau-du-Roi using our restaurant recommendations list provided at your arrival to find the perfect place.

Carcassonne Medieval City, Languedoc Winery, Free Evening

Carcassonne South France Castle Medieval
guided tour carcassonne
Wine tour South France

Day 6- Arles: Home of Van Gogh & Camargue Ranch

The city of Arles is famous for its many Roman monuments and being the place where Van Gogh called home for a little over a year and produced over 300 paintings! Here you will follow our Van Gogh expert guide and discover the places by which Vincent was inspired. During the tour you will also have the chance to visit the Roman Arena built around 90 AD. After lunch you will have the choice to visit the Foundation Van Gogh to see it's current exhibit or explore the city on your own more.

We will then regroup and head to an authentic ranch in the Camargue! Another highlight of the tour, here we will learn about the traditions of the region and see the French cowboys practice herding the black bulls of the Camargue while riding the famous white horses. Afterwards we will enjoy a fun French barbecue style dinner on the Ranch with regional food before heading back to the hotel.

Arles, Van Gogh, Camargue Ranch,  Dinner at the Ranch

provence van gogh arles
south of france vacation package

Day 7- Avignon & Pont du Gard

Today we discover Avignon and its magnificent historical center listed as a world heritage by UNESCO. We will tour the Papal Palace (1252) home to 7 successive Popes and the Pont d'Avignon which inspired the famous kid's song and also its episcopal ensemble (the ramparts and churches). We will have a fabulous lunch on the main square in front of the entrance to the Palace.

Afterwards, we will visit a masterpiece of ancient architecture: the Pont du Gard, a massive 2000 year old Roman aqueduct. Also registered as a UNESCO monument, it is a milestone of human engineering and one of the greatest monuments of France that stand as a reminder of the tremendous power of the Roman Empire. You will then have the evening free for you to use as you wish after this incredible day spent traveling back in time.  Avignon, Pont du Gard, Free evening

Avignon Provence South France Tour
Pont du Gard Provence Small Group Tour

Day 8- Montpellier 7th City of France & Crusade Town

For our last day of tour but not the least, enjoy the gorgeous downtown of Montpellier where we will take in sights of beautiful architecture: La Promenade de Peyrou, a beautiful scenic park with a statue of King Louis XIV, the Arc De Triomphe monument, a 300 year old Roman style Aqueduct, and one of the best views of the city. As we move along we will talk about the famous University of Medicine of Montpellier, stop to appreciate the magnificent gothic style of the Cathedral and finish with a hidden secret: the special visit of a 13th century ceremonial Jewish bath. This medieval Jewish ritual bath is one of the oldest and best preserved in Europe! After lunch, you will have the option to visit the botanical garden (oldest of France!) or take some extra free time to shop and explore.

After some free time to relax at your hotel, we will end this day with our farewell dinner in the next door town of Aigues-Mortes: the medieval fortified port city where the 7th and 8th crusades were launched. You will first learn about this truly surprising walled town surrounded by ponds and salt marshes and it's rich history before enjoying a gourmet meal in a 16th century building that holds a 5 star hotel and fabulous restaurant (but shh, this is one of our secret gems!) While eating our last French meal together we can share our good memories before our departure. Montpellier, Medieval Ceremonial Jewish Bath, Aigues-Mortes, Farewell Dinner

Montpellier Southern France Best City
towns of south of france
Crusade town Provence Aigues Mortes

Day 9- Departure

It is time to leave the South of France and return home with new friends, great memories, and plenty of stories! We will drop you off at the airport or train station in the morning before 12 pm and help to make sure that everything is well coordinated for you to travel stress free. We hope we will have succeeded our mission of sharing our culture and region for a trip full of good times and smiles and that you will join us again on one of our other tours!

Departure for your train or plane between 4:00 am and 12pm

Grau du Roi sunset Mediterranean sea south france
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