SOUTHERN FRANCE: Côte d’Azur and Provence
April 6-17 2018 $5365* from New Orleans
Sign up: https://eatours.com/ Tour number 218121
Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Nice, Gourdon, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Arles, L'Isle sur La Sorgue
We will sightsee, shop, eat, museum/gallery-hop, relax and experience the best that Southern France has to offer while enjoying each other’s company This itinerary coincides with antique market days in almost every town. The markets, called brocantes, are as much vintage flea markets as anything and just happen to be going on during our visits. You can relish them or ignore them as is your pleasure! We will walk in the footsteps of van Gogh, see why Cézanne painted the same mountain over and over and why the Popes left Italy for France.
We will get over jet lag and ease into our tour in a five star hotel overlooking the hills and valleys in a Mediterranean park full of hundred year old olive trees, citrus trees and a green house full of orchids. The hotel, on outskirts of Saint Paul-de-Vence has a famous restaurant renowned for its Provençal cuisine. St. Paul-De-Vence, one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera, is oddly is known for its modern and contemporary galleries and museums. Saint-Paul-de-Vence is full on charm, medieval alleys, bell tower, and a square (Place de la ville) shaded by plane trees. The walls date to the 16th century. From St. Paul-de Vence we can see both the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps. Surrounded by vineyards, this has been a land of inspiration for artist and writers. This is the home of the famous Maeght Foundation; one of the world's most important private, but open to the public, modern art collections. Matisse, Braque, Picasso and Chagall all participated in making this incredible contemporary art center famous around the world. Marc Chagall lived here and writer James Baldwin died here. About a half hour from Saint-Paul de Vence is town of Vence, another artists’ town, and features the Rosaire Chapel designed and decorated by Matisse. A half-day to Nice, is included for the market or walk around the old city. Nice is a wonderful combination of modern museums and galleries and a picturesque old town filled with pastel Italianate façades. Nice offers us incredible shopping, unique cuisine, a Russian Orthodox cathedral, a Matisse Museum, a Chagall Museum and much more in a Mediterranean resort setting.
From Saint-Paul-de-Vence we will stop in Gourdon for lunch and a look-see on our way to Aix-en-Provence. Gourdon is a medieval village, perched on the side of a mountain, built for defense and most of the architecture dates from the 9th century. The 17th century gardens were designed by André Le Nôtre who also worked for Fouquet, Louis XIV finance minister at Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. When Fouquet made the mistake of inviting the king to its grand opening and was arrested for embezzlement. His architects/landscape architects went to work for Louis XIV at Versailles. Scenes from the movie Les Misérables were filmed in and around Gourdon.
AIX-EN-PROVENCE will charm us with its elegant mansions, beautiful squares, graceful fountains, tree-lined boulevards, numerous quintessential French sidewalk cafes, plazas and almond cakes. It will be easy to understand why we must use run-on sentences to describe it and why Cézanne kept coming “home!” Aix offers a wide variety of shopping opportunities. “The city of a thousand fountains,” is situated between the Arc River and Mount Saint-Victoire. Cézanne depicted this mountain more than 60 times in various media. Aix was founded by the Romans in the 1st century BCE and ruled by the Visigoths, Franks, Lombard’s, Saracens, Charles Martel (The Hammer). It became the capital of Provence in the Middle Ages and became a cultural and learning center. The Cours Mirabeau is the most famous street in Aix, lined with plane trees, fountains including the famous Fontaine del la Rotande and cafes. Cézanne, Émile Zola, Albert Camus, and Hemmingway used to hang out in these cafes (maybe not all together). The street divides the city into its two parts: The Quartier Mazarin or New Town (south and west) and the Ville Comtale or Old Town, which is north with winding streets and 16th -18th century mansions. There are churches, Cézanne’s studio, museums, shopping (this is perfume country) and architecture from the Middle Ages through the 18th century.
AVIGNON is situated along the Rhône River. In the 14th century the Papacy moved from Rome to Avignon, where seven French Popes ruled during the Babylonian Captivity. The Palais des Papes still stands as does about three miles of the city’s fortified walls, seven gates and thirty-nine towers. Avignon is known equally for its medieval look, complete with cobble stoned streets, pink roofs, and wide traffic free boulevards lined with cafes.
ARLES may be the most rustic and authentic towns of Provence. The streets are narrow and winding and we really will feel that we are in the place where van Gogh painted Starry Night and The Sunflowers. The sun and the light are magical. The Greeks founded ArIes in the 6th century BC; it became a Roman colony in the 1st century BC under Julius Caesar and it became an important religious center during the Middle Ages. The city is known for its Roman amphitheater and theater and Romanesque churches
L’ÎSLE-SUR-LA-SORGUE “the island city.” Early inhabitants lived off crawfishing, silk and paper industries used the great water wheels (of which there are many and still in working condition) for manufacturing these products. There are many waterside cafés and restaurants, all within walking distance of each other. Antique lovers and art collectors will be gratified by the nearly 300 permanent antique dealers and second hand shops here. The market features ceramics, Provencal fabrics, quilts, linen, kitchen and garden ware, paintings.” The people are friendly and helpful and the sellers come from all over Europe and North Africa.
$5365* Price includes:
Round trip airfare from New Orleans
Hotels (two four-star and one 5-star)
Travel within France by private coach, including airport / hotel transfers
Guided tour of Avignon, Papal Palace, old synagogue in Avignon
Guided tour of Church of St. Trophime and immediate area in Arles
Entrance fees for Papal Palace, Musée du Petit Palais, and Musée Calvet in Avignon
All taxes and tips
Custom Pre-tour newsletter
Custom guide booklet
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Francie Rich, John Hodge
Some pictures of my travels.