Road Scholar : Home
Provence: The Art of Living

Program Number: 3729RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/21/2014 - 4/2/2014; 3/20/2015 - 4/1/2015; 4/10/2015 - 4/22/2015; 5/15/2015 - 5/27/2015; 5/29/2015 - 6/10/2015; 9/4/2015 - 9/16/2015; 9/18/2015 - 9/30/2015; 10/2/2015 - 10/14/2015;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: France
Price starting at: $2,997.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 22; 10 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Open markets of regional produce, lively sidewalk cafés, the old stone and tile of hilltop villages, the rugged virility of Marseille, the feminine charms of Aix — the many facets of Provence have made it a coveted destination for centuries. Discover its simple elegance through an insider’s view of the places, people, architecture, food, wine and décor, all imbued with a seductive philosophy of life that has inspired writers and expatriates worldwide. Come to understand the special provençal relationship with the present and past, the seasons and the earth, the family and its traditions.




Highlights

• Enjoy a privileged, by-invitation-only visit of Provençal mansions and their private gardens.
• Explore the 14th-century palace of the popes in Avignon.
• Gain rare access to one of the oldest family ranches in the Camargue, France’s national wildlife reserve near Arles.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles, about 2.5 hours a day on cobblestone and irregular terrain.




Date Specific Information

3-21-2014, 3-20-2015, 4-10-2015, 5-15-2015, 5-29-2015, 9-4-2015, 9-18-2015, 10-2-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Marseille, coach to Aix-en-Provence, 6 nights; coach to Arles, 5 nights; coach to Marseille, departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Marseille
Coach to Aix-en-Provence
6 nights

Discover Aix, known for its Roman thermal baths, numerous fountains and open markets, and enjoy Provencal cuisine at a terrace café. Explore the hilltop villages of the Luberon and the 12th-century Cistercian Abbey of Senanque, a spiritually inspiring monastery where monks still live and worship. Join Lilli Engle, Founding-Director of the American University Center of Provence, for a keynote presentation on French lifestyles and values. Learn about French gourmet cheeses and taste the very best at a buffet-dinner. See the Mediterranean and the bustling Old Port of Marseille. Discover the gems of rural Provencal architecture as home owners open their doors to you for a privileged visit of their mansions and gardens.



Coach to Arles
5 nights
Coach to Marseille
Departure

Visit the lovely town of St. Remy, birthplace of Nostradamus and explore the medieval hilltop stronghold of Les Baux. Take a trip into the past with an archaeologist through “A day in the life of a Gallo-Roman” and then discover the historical city of Arles, the Roman Amphitheater and the 12th-century Cloister of Saint Trophime. Visit a family-run soap factory, producers for over 100 years of traditional Savon de Marseille, olive oil soap. Taste the distinctive wines of France with Joël Corre, director of the Oenological Institute of Aix. Enjoy rare access to a working ranch in the Camargue national reserve, home to flamingos, wild white horses, and spirited bulls, where a personal welcome by one of the area’s oldest ranching families and lunch await you. Discover the Palais des Papes, official Papal residence of the 14th century and one of the largest, most important medieval gothic palaces in Europe.




France

The epicurious and the curious find much to admire in Western Europe’s largest nation, whose agricultural riches and terrain of beaches, mountains and fertile fields have drawn residents for thousands of years. The northern region hosts the nation’s Parisian capital, as well as unique Breton culture, while the sun-drenched Mediterranean coast sports the chic beach-goers and the terraced vineyards of the interior.



Accommodations
Aix-en-Provence: Comfortable, centrally located hotel. Arles: Hotel in the heart of the old town.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Artea
  Aix-en-Provence, France 6 nights
   Hotel du Forum
  Arles, France 5 nights
 Hotel Artea
Type: Boutique Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Artea is a small hotel situated in the heart of Aix-en-Provence, just steps from the main boulevard, the Rotonde Fountain and across from the historic center of the city. The hotel occupies the former home of the composer Darius Milhaud.
  Contact info: 4 Blvd de la Republique
Aix-en-Provence,  13100 France
phone: +33 (0)4 42 27 36 00
web: www.hotel-artea-aix-en-provence.com/en.php
  Room amenities: 50 rooms are simply furnished and spacious, with air-conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, cable television with English language channels, direct-dial telephone, mini-fridge, soundproof windows, private bathroom with bathtub and hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Breakfast Room, bar, meeting room, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, elevator.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Hotel du Forum
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Hotel du Forum is a family-owned hotel located in the historic center of Arles, on one of the main squares. The hotel is made up of two separate houses, constructed in 1615 and 1850. Renovated over the years with modern fixtures, the buildings retain their traditional character, with antique furnishings and every room individually decorated.
  Contact info: Place du Forum
Arles,  13200 France
phone: +33 (0)4 90 93 48 95
web: www.hotelduforum.com
  Room amenities: Each unique, traditional room is spacious and simply furtnished, and is equipped with air conditioning, comfortable twin or double bed, safety deposit box, telephone, cable/satellite television, mini fridge, modern bathroom with bathtub or shower and hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Private garden with outdoor swimming pool, complimentary WiFi Internet access, air-conditioning, bar with billiard table.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Varies by program date Call the Road Scholar Program Department at 1-866-359-5966 for rates and reservations.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
The program begins at Orientation at 5:00 p.m. at the hotel in Aix-en-Provence. You will be staying at Hotel Artea that night.
  End of Program:
The program ends after breakfast at the hotel in Arles. You will be staying at Hotel du Forum the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
not applicable
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Aix-en-Provence
  Nearest city or town:  Marseille
  Nearest airport:  Marseille International Airport
  Transportation to site: A group arrival transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and arrive on the group date. Independent travelers are welcome to join this group transfer. The group transfer time will be confirmed in the final participant mailing approximately 5 weeks prior to departure. The shuttle or taxi from the Marseille airport to Aix takes about 30 minutes.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Arles
  Nearest city or town:  Avignon
  Nearest airport:  Marseille International Airport
  Transportation from site: A group departure transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and depart on the group date. Independent travelers can take a taxi from the hotel to the airport or can ask the hotel for assistance in arranging a shuttle transfer. Independent travelers may choose to take the train from Arles to Marseille and then a shuttle to Marseille airport.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Travel to France
(Friday, March 21)
   
 Depart From: Overnight in transit.

Day 2: Orientation
(Saturday, March 22)
   
 Afternoon: Arrive at the Marseille airport and transfer with the group to the hotel in Aix-en-Provence. We will gather in our private meeting room where the Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: Get to know your fellow participants at the Welcome Dinner.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Artea
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Aix-en-Provence and a French Language Workshop
(Sunday, March 23)

Note: You can expect to walk a maximum of 2 km today over uneven pavement as you explore Aix.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Presentation: Passé Composé - The History of Aix by our local expert guide. Enjoy a graphic illustration of the urban and architectural evolution of the city, layer after layer, from Roman to Modern times. Depart on foot for the center of Aix. Field Trip: An introduction to the historical center and the history of Aix-en-Provence: the Saint Sauveur Cathedral, the Museum of Old Aix, the Archbishops' Palace, Town Hall, Albertas Square and the Palace of Justice. Discover Medieval streets and the city's architectural heritage ranging from the 5th to the 14th century.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue the walking tour of Aix-en-Provence with a stroll down the Cours Mirabeau, Aix's elegant tree-lined main street, dotted with fountains of fresh spring water discovered by the Romans, and a visit to the Mazarin district with its discretely ornate 17th century private town-houses.
 Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.
 Evening: Workshop: An introduction to French led by your group leader. Learn basic French expressions and key phrases to help you throughout your journey.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Artea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Gordes / Roussillon
(Monday, March 24)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Coach departs Aix for Gordes (1 hour 10 minutes - 77 km) This morning, we start at Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque, a 12th century Romanesque cistercian monastery, still active today and famous for its breathtaking lavendar fields and production of honey. We carry on with a visit to the village of Gordes where you will follow narrow cobble-stoned streets threading their way past elegant townhouses built against rocks. Later in the morning we stop at Roussillon, or the "Red Village" named after the rich pigments found in the nearby quarries. You will be charmed by this lazy little village evoked by Samuel Beckett in his play, "Waiting for Godot".
 Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we explore Lourmarin, truly one of the most beautiful villages in France with its Renaissance castle, animated cafes and small boutiques. Lourmarin is now home to British writer Peter Mayle, famous for his book, "A Year in Provence".
 Dinner: At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Artea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: "The French: Loves and Contradictions" / French cheese
(Tuesday, March 25)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: This morning is market day in Aix-en-Provence. Spend your free time exploring the various squares and streets of the city and enjoy the colors, sounds, and smells of Provence. Open-market stalls overflow with fresh flowers and ripe produce. In the antiques and flea market section, tables are cluttered with silver spoons and ancient family portraits. It is ideal for browsing!
 Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.
 Afternoon: This afternoon gather with your fellow participants for a lecture on "The French: Loves and Contradictions," which will be given by our local expert. From this, you will understand the foundations of the French attachment to the art of living. Later in the afternoon, we depart on foot for a visit of the Granet museum, (15 minute walk) whose permanent collections make it one of the richest Provençal museums of France. The museum houses 10 works of Aix-born painter Paul Cézanne including the Portrait of Zola and the "Baigneuse".
 Dinner: At the hotel, in the form of a lecture/tasting of the prized cheese of France. Learn to savor, serve, and enjoy an assortment of the gourmet, farmhouse cheese of France.
 Evening: Free time in town.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Artea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Marseille
(Wednesday, March 26)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Discover the rich diversity of Marseille, designated the cultural capital of Europe. View the picture-postcard fishing village of Vallon des Auffes, the majestic seaside drive Corniche Kennedy and the city's Old Port which was founded in 600 B.C. by the Greeks. Visit the Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde (walking up numerous stairs). This major landmark that dominates the city was built 800 years ago in a Romanesque Byzantine style and features a monumental sculpture of the Virgin Mary, which has become the emblamatic figure of Marseille.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Little walk to take the ferry boat across to the old port and access the oldest district of Marseille, Le Panier. See the Town Hall which overlooks the old port and climb the steps of the Montée des Accoules.
 Dinner: Dinner with a French family.
 Evening: Coach departs for Aix.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Artea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Provençal Mansions
(Thursday, March 27)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Depart on foot from the hotel to American Center (20 minutes) where you will attend the lecture: The Living landscapes of Cézanne and Van Gogh. Later in the morning, the coach departs from American Center for Château Noir, le Thonolet, Beaureceuil and the Château de Vauvenargues.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Admire the landscapes that served as inspiration to Paul Cézanne, prodigal son of Aix and post-impressionist painter considered the father of the modern art. Get a glimpse of the Château Noir and discover the rugged countryside and sharp light of Provence, made famous by Cézanne's work. Visit Cezanne's studio. Built in 1901, the workshop contains much of the original furniture and still-life materials we find in his paintings: the pot-belly stove, the olive jar and decorative vases.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Artea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Arles
(Friday, March 28)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Free time to enjoy your last day in Aix. Check out is noon at the latest.
 Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.
 Afternoon: Coach departs for Arles. (35 minutes). Arrive in Arles and walk 5 minutes to Hotel du Forum. Unpack and relax.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
 Evening: Lecture/Wine tasting at the hotel. Beyond Rosé-The Distinctive Wines of Provence. A local wine expert will introduce you to Provençal wines, whose personalities, like the people of Provence themselves, are lively, colorful, forthright and complex.
   
Accommodations: Hotel du Forum
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Ancient Arles / Les Baux-de-Provence
(Saturday, March 29)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Coach departs to the Arles Archeological Museum. Housed in a contemporary building near the remains of the Roman Circus arena, the museum offers unique insight into the city of Arles at the time of Roman rule. Discover a rich selection of sculptures, mosaics, and daily objects that bring to life the ancient origins of Provence. Later, the coach departs to Saint Rémy, birthplace of Nostradamus.
 Lunch: On your own in Saint Rémy to explore local cuisine.
 Afternoon: Excursion to Les Baux (20 minutes). A short walk up the hill will take you to the village of Les Baux de Provence, where an "eagle's nest" fortress was built in the 10th century. Located on a rocky plateau, this medieval stronghold provides provides a panoramic view of Arles and the Camargue region.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
 Evening: Discover the history and uplifting sounds of Provençal folk music.
   
Accommodations: Hotel du Forum
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Roman and Romanesque Arles / Arles Historical Center
(Sunday, March 30)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: This morning learn more about Arles' past in a lecture on “Arles: Roman and Romanesque.”
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Lecture/walking tour of the historical city center. Local landmarks come alive during this creative tour that traces the daily habits of a typical Roman through the streets of Arles 2,000 years ago.
 Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.
 Evening: Discover the history and uplifting sounds of Provençal folk music.
   
Accommodations: Hotel du Forum
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11: The Camargue / Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
(Monday, March 31)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Coach departs to Camargue (54 minutes with several stops), where you will discover the largest river delta in Europe made up of large lakes, natural salt flats, marshlands and lagoons. This natural reserve and regional park is home to flamingos, egrets, wild white horses and black bulls. Later, you will enjoy a personal welcome from one of the area's oldest ranching families at the Mas des Bernacles. Traditional practices come alive as you participate in the Festival of Flowers with Provençal cowboys (Gardians) on horseback.
 Lunch: At the manade.
 Afternoon: Coach departs to Saintes Maries de la Mer where, according to legend, the "three Mary's" (Mary Magdalene, Mary Jacob, and Mary Salome) and Saint Sarah were washed ashore after being forced to flee the Holy Land by boat. This small fishing village has since become a place of pilgrimmage for Gypsies who vow an intense devotion to Saint Sarah.
 Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.
   
Accommodations: Hotel du Forum
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Avignon / Palace of the Popes
(Tuesday, April 1)
   
 Arrive To: At the hotel.
 Morning: Coach departs to Avignon. Enjoy a stop at the Barthelasse Presqu'ile to enjoy the view of the Rhone and the celebrated bridge "Pont d'Avignon". The bridge was formerly one of the entrances to this fortified city, whose ramparts represent some of the finest examples of medieval fortifications in existence. Drop off within the old city. Walk to Palace of the Popes (4 minutes) where you will have a guided visit of the official Papal residence of the 14th century- one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic structures in Europe.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free time to visit le Petit Palais. This palace is now a museum and home to a large collection of 14th century Italian paintings, sculptures and regional paintings from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
 Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.
   
Accommodations: Hotel du Forum
Meals Included: Lunch

Day 13: Departure
(Wednesday, April 2)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: Departure to the airport. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France


Author: Georgeanne Brennan


Description: Marvelously frank about daily chores and the decidedly unglamorous business of raising goats and pigs, Brennan lards her earthy tale of the rural life with recipes, one per chapter. Offered as a bonus book in the Essential Reading package for just $1.00!



A Year in Provence


Author: Peter Mayle


Description: The original best-selling tale of settling down in Provence, told with warmth and a great deal of humor. It offers a wonderful inside look at the charms and quirks of the people and the countryside in the south of France.



Cadogan Guide Cote D'Azur


Author: Dana Facaros


Description: A guide in the respected series with insightful cultural and historical background, and up-to-date practical information, illustrations and maps.



Death at the Chateau Bremont


Author: M.L. Longworth


Description: A lively whodunit steeped in the rich, enticing and romantic atmosphere of Aix-en-Provence, Death at the Chateau Bremont introduces Antoine Verlaque, the handsome and seductive chief magistrate of Aix, and his sometime love interest, law professor Marine Bonnet.



Eyewitness Guide Provence & the Cote D'Azur


Author: Roger Williams


Description: This is an illustrated, colorful guide to the art and architecture, literature, history and attractions of Provence. With photographs and site plans, maps and sections on the Riviera, the Var, Bouches-du-Rhones, Vaucluse and the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.



Four Queens, The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe


Author: Nancy Goldstone


Description: Transporting you back to back to the apogee of independent Provençal power in the Middle Ages, Goldstone captures the drama of 13th-century Europe in this history of the four daughters of the count of Provence -- future queens of France, England, Germany and Sicily.



Joy of Man's Desiring


Author: Jean Giono


Description: A twentieth century master of letters, Giono's fiction invokes the folklore and traditions of his birthplace in southern France.



Lonely Planet French Phrasebook


Author: Marie-Helene Girard, Anny Monet


Description: This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.



Made in France, A Shopper's Guide


Author: Laura Morelli


Description: Both a fascinating history of France's artisanal legacy and an insider's shopping guide, Made in France includes illustrations, maps, a primer on French shopping culture, and craft festivals.



My Father's Glory and My Mother's Castle


Author: Marcel Pagnol


Description: Best known as a filmmaker, Pagnol evokes his childhood in Provence and Marseilles fifty years ago. These memoirs sparkle with delight in the people, landscapes and daily life of southern France.



Old Provence


Author: Theodore Andrea Cook, James Ferguson (Introduction)


Description: A reprint of the classic 1905 account of travels through Provence, focusing on the history of the region from Greek and Roman temples to Medieval market towns and castles.



Pardon My French, Unleash Your Inner Gaul


Author: Charles Timoney


Description: A transplanted Englishman, Tomney reveals how to get by in French (and in France) through this wickedly funny A-to-Z of words and phrases.



Provence A-Z


Author: Peter Mayle


Description: A companion to all things Provencal, from bouillabaisse to lavender and vinaigre, by the British expatriate and Francophile Peter Mayle.



Provence Alps French Riviera Map 527


Author: Michelin Travel Publications


Description: A colorful and detailed map of the region from Lyon to Marseille along the Rhone River, at a scale of 1:200,000.



Provence, A Cultural History


Author: Martin Garrett


Description: Through its architecture, literature and popular culture, Garrett analyzes and celebrates the identity of this beloved region.



Provence, From Minstrels to the Machine


Author: Ford Madox Ford


Description: Madox Ford probes the history, attractions and pleasures of the region in this spirited classic, with illustrations by his companion Biala, written during their time on the Mediterranean coast.



The Most Beautiful Villages of Provence


Author: Michael Jacobs


Description: With an excellent introduction on the history, culture, landscapes and the pleasures of Southern France, this illustrated guide features 34 towns and villages across Provence from the Vacluse to Bonnieux and Gordes, tranquil Alpine villages and southern vineyards.



The Popes of Avignon, A Century in Exile


Author: Edwin Mullins


Description: Grounded in the architecrure and papal legacy in Avignon and the surrounding area, this engaging history sets the 70-year period of papal exile in the south of France against the context of Europe's turbulent transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.



The Road from the Past, Traveling through History in France


Author: Ina Caro


Description: Time travel through France by way of its finest castles, chateaux, cathedrals and monasteries. This unusual travelogue is an invaluable companion for traveling in Paris, southern France, the Dordogne and the Loire Valley, combining personal observation with large doses of well-presented history.



The Yellow House


Author: Martin Gayford


Description: Gayfor chronicles the turbulent three months and texture of the daily lives of Van Gogh and Gauguin in Arles, where they worked side by side in 1888. With 60 b&W reproductions.



Two Towns in Provence


Author: M. F. K. Fisher


Description: Celebrated food writer M.F.K. Fisher contrasts village life in Aix-en-Provence with bustling Marseilles, evoking both with anecdote and loving description.



Vincent Van Gogh, The Passionate Eye


Author: Pascal Bonafoux


Description: From Paris to Asnieres, Amsterdam and Provence, this jewel of a book traces the life and art of Vincent Van Gogh, the spirited, self-destructive painter who celebrated the south of France. Engaging, compact and illustrated with hundreds of photographs.





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