Road Scholar : Home
France Along the Rhone: Provence to Paris

Program Number: 12417RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/31/2014 - 4/12/2014; 4/17/2015 - 4/29/2015; 5/3/2015 - 5/15/2015; 9/5/2015 - 9/17/2015; 9/20/2015 - 10/2/2015; 10/2/2015 - 10/14/2015; 10/13/2015 - 10/25/2015;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: France
Price starting at: $3,699.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats
Meals: 29; 11 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 10 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Combine Burgundy's charming countryside and Lyon's Roman and medieval past with Provence's picturesque villages and stunning natural beauty to experience the essence of the Rhone River. From Martigues to Avignon to Paris itself, discover the region’s history and beauty and the world’s greatest vineyards along the way.

Activity Particulars

Extensive walking along unpaved lanes and cobblestoned streets; some stairs without railings and/or uneven. Participants should be able to stand for at least one hour.

04/17/15, 05/03/15, and 09/05/15 will sail on the MS Van Gogh and 09/21/15, 10/02/15, and 10/13/15 will sail on the MS Mistral.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Aix-en-Provence, 3 nights; aboard vessel, 6 nights; Paris, 2 nights.

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 2-4: Arrival Marseille / coach to Aix-en-Provence:

Follow in the footsteps of Cezanne with a historian by exploring the sites that still exemplify his work today.Lodging: Comfortable hotel.

Day 5: Embark vessel / Martiques:

At a working ranch, or manade, learn about the traditions and history of the Camargue.

Day 6: Arles / Avignon:

Discover Arles' Roman roots and explore the city's amphitheater. Learn about medieval history and the papacy in Avignon.

Day 7: Viviers:

Experience the essence of Provence in a small village along the Rhone. Learn about traditional rural values and the challenges of preserving Provencal history and culture.

Day 8: Tain-l'Hermitage:

Learn about the wine trade in the Rhone region from the time of the Romans to today, then taste some of the regional wines and local products.

Day 9: Lyon:

Marvel at the beauty and technology created more than 2,000 years ago at the Saint Romain en Gal settlement and the Chaponost Aquaduc.

Day 10: Macon:

Explore the monastic city of Tournus, then taste the great wines of Southern Burgundy.

Days 11-13: Chalon-sur-Saone / disembark / coach to Paris / departure:

Journey through the world’s most select vineyards en route to Paris. Walk the historic fortified city of Beaune and later take time to explore Paris. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.

MS Camargue

The MS Camargue, a deluxe two-deck river ship, was built in 1995 and refurbished in 2006. At 361 feet long by 33 feet wide and cruising at 7 knots, it can carry 146 passengers, of whom 40 may be Road Scholar participants. The restaurant, lounge, bar and Sun Deck can be accessed by stairs.


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.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Laurence Roux

A native of Provence, Laurence Roux is certified as a National Guide of France, specializing in gastronomy, wine, history, architecture and the cultural traditions of Provence. Laurence and her husband split time between their home in the small vineyard village of Suze la Rousse and their ancestral farm deep in the mountains of Provence, where they practice the tenets of terroir (terrain), raising livestock, fruits and vegetables. She sells her homemade jams and patés at local farm markets.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Artea
  Aix en Provence, France 3 nights
   MS Camargue
  Martigues, France
Avignon, France
Viviers, France
Tain l'Hermitage, France
Lyon, France
6 nights
   Villa Montparnasse
  Paris, France 2 nights
 Hotel Artea
Type: Boutique Hotel
  Description: The former house of the music composer Darius Milhaud, Hotel Artea combines the charm and the quality of an old Aix townhouse with modern facilities. Just a few minutes from the pedestrian heart of Aix-en Provence, the Théâtre de Provence and the Cours Mirabeau, Hotel Artea is the perfect base for exploring this lively town. The SNCF train station is only a 5 minute walk from the hotel.
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: 4 Boulevard de la République
Aix-en-Provence,  13100 France
phone: +33 (0)4 42 27 36 00
  Room amenities: 50 rooms are spacious, simply furnished in traditional style and have 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: Bar, 24-Hour Front Desk, Elevator, Soundproof Rooms, Heating, Baggage Storage, All Spaces Non-Smoking (Public and Private), Air Conditioning, Meeting Room, Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBD Contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and reservations.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 MS Camargue
Type: Barge
  Ship Information: The MS Camargue is a deluxe two-deck river ship that was built in 1995 and renovated in 2006. It is 110 meters long and can accommodate 146 passengers in its 73 cabins, all of which have windows.
  Contact info: 12 rue de la Division Leclerc
Strasbourg,  67080 France
phone: +33 825 33 37 77
  Room amenities: Each cabin is equipped with a window, TV, radio, safe, and private bathroom with shower and hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: Dining room, lounge/bar with dance floor, TV and video in the lounge, shop, radiophone, radar, large sun deck, fully air-conditioned.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Villa Montparnasse
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Villa Montparnasse is a quaint hotel on the left bank of the Seine. The colonial-style residence is located in the 19th century intellectual elite neighborhood opposite the famed Montparnasse Cemetery and next to the apartment where Simone de Beauvoir lived. This hotel is both charming and comfortable and is one block from a pedestrian street featuring restaurants and shops. It is within walking distance of two different metro lines both with direct access to the main monuments of Paris.
  Contact info: 2, rue Boulard
Paris,  75014 France
phone: +33 (0)1 56 80 34 34
  Room amenities: In each room there is satellite TV, air conditioning, a mini-bar and a safe.
  Facility amenities: 24-hour front desk with English-speaking staff, bar / lounge, laundry service, smoke-free environment. Wifi is available in the lobby. Participants should be aware that hotel rooms in Paris are often considerably smaller than hotel rooms in the United States.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: TBD Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for details.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program begins with orientation in the early evening at the group hotel in Aix-en-Provence. You will be staying at Hotel Artea that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends after breakfast on the final program day in Paris. You will be staying at Villa Montparnasse the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Not applicable.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains, buses, and taxis are all available.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Aix en Provence
  Nearest city or town:  Marseille
  Nearest highway: A7
  Nearest airport:  Marseille-Provence 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 may take a bus from the Marseille airport to Aix-en-Provence that leaves every 30 minutes on the hour. Taxis from Marseille Airport to Aix-en-Provence take 20 minutes.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Paris
  Nearest city or town:  Gonesse
  Nearest highway: A1
  Nearest airport:  Charles de Gaulle 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. Paris Shuttle, a third party service, offers discounted shared shuttle and private transfer rates to Road Scholar participants. The rate they offer is about 10% discount off their published rate. By using the web link below, you can take advantage of these rates and book your transfer for departure in Paris. You will need to pay in advance with a credit card to confirm reservations and print your own voucher.
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: Departure from the U.S.
(Monday, March 31)
 Depart From: Depart U.S. on international flight to France.

Day 2: Arrival and Orientation in Aix-en-Provence
(Tuesday, April 1)
 Arrive To: Arrive in Marseille and transfer to the program hotel in Aix.
 Afternoon: Hotel check-in is available starting at 2 or 3 p.m. You will have time to freshen up and relax before orientation. 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: Welcome dinner at the hotel. Your three course meal will include a choice of entree.
Accommodations: Hotel Artea
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Cézanne in Aix
(Wednesday, April 2)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy a walking field trip led by a local expert around Aix-en-Provence to discover this historic city and heart of Provence. Discover the old religious and civil districts around the cathedral and the city hall,17th and 18th century mansions, fabulous façades, typical squares with their fountains and the Cours Mirabeau -- one of the liveliest parts of the city with its tunnel of greenery framing extraordinary and historic buildings. On market days, each square offers a different variety of stalls offering everything from antiques to vegetables.
 Lunch: At a local bistro.
 Afternoon: This afternoon there will be an on-site lecture titled, "In the Footsteps of Cézanne." Explore the artist's birthplace and the landscape that inspired many of his paintings. We will then take the coach to return to the hotel.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Artea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: The Classic Coastal Village of Cassis
(Thursday, April 3)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel.
 Morning: This morning, the coach will depart to Cassis where you will discover the famous and unique calanques (deep narrow bays). Learn about their geological history and how they determined the way of living in this little Provençal village.
 Lunch: At the old port.
 Afternoon: The coach will transfer you back to Aix via the crest road. As you travel along, your guide will discuss the Mediterannean environment and the impact of civilization on the landscape. Upon your return, take the rest of the afternoon to explore Aix on your own.
 Dinner: This dinner has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You may also join the Group Leader for dinner at your own cost if you would like.
Accommodations: Hotel Artea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: The Camargue Landscapes and Traditions / Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
(Friday, April 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel.
 Morning: This morning, check out of the hotel and board the coach. Today we will learn about the traditions and history of the Camargue, western Europe's largest river delta and France's equivalent of the "Wild West." The vast plain - with large brine lagoons cut off from the sea by sandbars and encircled by reed-covered marshes -- is home to more than 400 species of birds, including flamingos. Also famous are the wild horses of the Camargue and the manades (ranches) maintained by "Les Gardians" (cowboy). Our first stop this morning is at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (Saint Marys of the Sea). Local legend has it that around the year 40 A.D., persecuted saints -- The Three Marys -- fled from Palestine in a boat with no sails and no oars. Miraculously, the story goes that they landed safely here. The occupants were believed to be Mary Jacobe (sister of the Virgin Mary), Mary Salome (mother of the apostles James and John), Mary Magdalene and Martha (sisters of Lazarus), and a dark-skinned girl, Sarah. Upon landing, they are said to have built a chapel. Then, proceeding away from the coast, we gain a better understanding of the Camargue's landscape and wildlife. At the Parc Ornithologique du Pont de Gau (Pont du Gau Ornithological Park), you will have an opportunity to view species of birds that may be present including flamingos, herons, swans, egrets, teals, birds of prey, sparrows, and small wading birds. Comprising of approximately 150 acres (60 hectares), the diversity of habitats -- marshes, reeds, salt ponds, and streams -- attracts a great variety of birds that are protected here but not enclosed.
 Lunch: We will have lunch today at a manade (the Camargue's version of a ranch for horses or cattle) to enjoy local specialties.
 Afternoon: Continuing at the manade, we will explore and learn about daily life on this ranch, with roots in the traditions and history of the Camargue. The motorcoach will then take us to board the ship in Martigues. After checking in, you will have some time to freshen up and to relax before orientation and dinner. Tonight's orientation will cover all safety aspects during the cruise, as well as drink cards, and deposits for the TV remote.
 Dinner: Enjoy a welcome cocktail and leisurely dinner aboard our two-deck river cruise ship.
 Evening: Enjoy the evening at leisure.
Accommodations: MS Camargue
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Arles / Free Afternoon
(Saturday, April 5)
 Breakfast: On board the MS Camargue.
 Morning: We will board the coach and head to Arles, an important trade center since ancient times. Today, the Roman and Romanesque monuments of Arles are a designated World Heritage Site. We will explore the old town on foot and discover a few of these special sites with an on-site lecture titled, "Arles: France's Roman Roots in the South of France." At the Roman amphitheater, a splendid and complex piece of architecture that still remains standing in the middle of the city, learn about the games that they played. You will then have some free time to explore the market or other sites of interest in Arles before we return to the boat on foot.
 Lunch: On board the MS Camargue.
 Afternoon: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. In particular, you might want to examine the Romanesque architecture of Saint Trophime church dating from the 12th century. Alternatively, you are welcome to join your expert local guide for a walking excursion through Arles, including some of the sites that inspired Van Gogh. We will later return to the boat on foot.
 Dinner: On board the MS Camargue.
 Evening: Enjoy the evening at leisure.
Accommodations: MS Camargue
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Avignon / Provence Through the Centuries
(Sunday, April 6)
 Breakfast: On board the MS Camargue.
 Morning: Explore the medieval city of Avignon with your local guide. Then you will have some free time for personal indepedent exploration. Alternatively, you are welcome to join the Group Leader for a walking excursion to the austere and imposing Palais des Papes where we will learn about the history of papacy in Avignon. If time permits, you may independently visit the Saint Benezet Bridge, known as "Le Pont d'Avignon," made famous by the children's song.
 Lunch: On board the MS Camargue.
 Afternoon: We will cruise northward on the Rhône. During the cruise, the Group Leader will provide an overview of Provence through the centuries, a melting pot of civilizations.
 Dinner: On board the MS Camargue.
 Evening: Join the Group Leader for a stroll in Viviers, a virtual open air museum perserving history and culture since the Medieval era.
Accommodations: MS Camargue
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Rural Provence / Jardin aux Abeilles in Marsanne / Cliousclat/ Tain l'Hermitage / Rhône Wines
(Monday, April 7)
 Breakfast: On board the MS Camargue.
 Morning: This morning, we will take the motorcoach to Marsanne where we will visit rural Provence and breath in the country air at the beautiful "Jardin aux Abeilles" in Marsanne. This charming private "Bee Garden" is a marriage of Provençal temperament and English garden style. The collection of native and rare species of flowers, shrubs, and trees is arranged on several levels with delightful views of the surrounding countryside. We will take the motorcoach to reboard the boat in La Voulte, stopping en route in Cliouslat, a scenic village specializing in traditional artisanal pottery that is both practical and decorative.
 Lunch: On board the MS Camargue.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, there will be an on-board discussion: "The Wine Regions along the Rhone and the Origin of Wine." Later, we will take a field trip to a small wine cellar in Tain l'Hermitage where you will taste some of the regional wines paired with local specialties.
 Dinner: On board the MS Camargue.
 Evening: Enjoy the evening at leisure.
Accommodations: MS Camargue
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Saint-Romain-en-Gal Museum and Archaeological Site / Chaponost Aqueduct / Historic Lyon
(Tuesday, April 8)
 Breakfast: On board the MS Camargue.
 Morning: This morning, we will take a short walk along the bridge that connects Vienne to visit the Roman Temple of Augustus. We will then take the coach to the Gallo Roman museum. There will be a lecture titled: "Roman Vestiges of the Northern Rhône." Explore the Saint-Romain-en-Gal museum and archaeological site and learn about the everyday life of the ancient Romans. Then continue on to the Chaponost Aqueduct where you will marvel at the amazing beauty and technology created more than 2,000 years ago. We will then board the coach to depart for Lyon.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, we move ahead in history to the medieval era in Lyon. This UNESCO heritage city sits at the confluence of two great rivers: the Saône and Rhône, and has long been at the center of European trade due to its strategic location. As the UNESCO inscription explains, "The long history of Lyon, which was founded by the Romans in the 1st century B.C. as the capital of the Three Gauls and has continued to play a major role in Europe's political, cultural, and economic development ever since, is vividly illustrated by its urban fabric and the many fine historic buildings from all periods." It was annexed to the Kingdom of France in 1312 and became even more important as a center of international trade. By the mid-1500s, each of its 36 districts had its own specialty. We will take the funicular down to Old Lyon for further exploration of the architecture, hidden traboules and alleyways of one of the greatest Renaissance sites in France. Later, enjoy some free time to explore Lyon.
 Dinner: On board the MS Camargue.
 Evening: Enjoy the evening at leisure.
Accommodations: MS Camargue
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: History of France and the Duke of Burgundy / Monastic Tournus / Burgundy Vineyard / Farewell Dinner
(Wednesday, April 9)
 Breakfast: On board the MS Camargue.
 Morning: Your Group Leader will present a lecture on the history of the powerful Dukes of Burgundy and their role in the history of France from the fall of the Roman Empire to 1477.
 Lunch: On board the MS Camargue.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we will explore the monastic city of Tournus, a small fortified village in Roman times. Tournus had a turbulent history during the Dark Ages, but became a monastic center and place of pilgrimmage. The principal feature is the Abbey of Saint Philbert, a fortress-like Romanesque church dating mainly from the 11th century -- attacked, damaged, rebuilt, and restored over the centuries. We will learn about the role of monasteries in the wine trade. Then travel to a family vineyard where you will have an opportunity to taste some of the great wines of southern Burgundy and talk with a cellar master about his work.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner onboard the MS Camargue.
Accommodations: MS Camargue
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Depart Ship / Fortified City of Beaune / Arrival Paris
(Thursday, April 10)
 Breakfast: On board the MS Camargue.
 Morning: This morning, leave your ship behind and head towards Paris, driving past some of the world's most renowned vineyards. Stop in Beaune for an educational stroll through the fortified city, capital of the Burgundy wine trade, and enjoy an on-site lecture at the famous Hospices de Beaune. This former almshouse -- an architectural treasure -- has been the site since 1851 of one of Europe's most important annual wine auctions.
 Lunch: This lunch has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You may also join the Group Leader for lunch at your own cost if you like.
 Afternoon: As the coach travels from Beaune to Paris, your group leader will talk about life as a French immigrant. We will check-in at the hotel in the late afternoon. You will have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy the evening at leisure.
Accommodations: Villa Montparnasse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 12: Île de la Cité / Free Afternoon in Paris / Farewell Dinner
(Friday, April 11)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning, accompanied by an expert lecturer and Paris resident, you will explore medieval Paris and the Île de la Cité.
 Lunch: This lunch has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You may also join the Group Leader for lunch at your own cost if you like.
 Afternoon: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities at the end of the daily schedule. Participants must make their own way back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. The coach will pick up those who wish to return to the hotel.
 Dinner: The coach will transfer you to the farewell dinner a local restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy a monument ride by bus around Paris after dinner to enjoy the "City of Light."
Accommodations: Villa Montparnasse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13: Departure from Paris
(Saturday, April 12)
 Breakfast: The program concludes with breakfast.
 In Transit: Transfer to Charles de Gaulle airport for international flights. 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 Moveable Feast

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Description: A treasure for anyone interested in Parisian cafe society and its luminaries circa 1925. Hemingway includes sharp portraits of Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Maddox Ford and others who idled on their way to greatness.

A Traveller's History of France

Author: Robert Cole

Description: This fast-moving survey covers the conquests of ancient Gaul through the heady days of revolution to modern times.

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.

Between Meals, An Appetite for Paris

Author: A.J. Liebling

Description: Liebling captures with stylish prose his coming-of-age in Paris in this elegant memoir, which is also a tribute to French cuisine.

Eyewitness Guide Paris

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: Gorgeous, well illustrated and filled with maps, this compact book provides an excellent overview of the French capital, its history, traditions and sights.

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.

Fodor's Paris' 25 Best

Author: Fodor's

Description: This shirt-pocket map and guide includes essential information on the city's history, highlights and sightseeing, ideal for a short visit to the City of Light.

France, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Author: William Rodarmor (Editor)

Description: This collection contains literary gems from all corners of France--not just Paris--by a select group of 20th-century French writers, from Colette to Georges Simenon.


Author: James Henry Rubin

Description: An excellent illustrated survey of Impressionism in the "Art and Ideas" series.

In a Dark Wood Wandering, A Novel of the Middle Ages

Author: Hella Haasse

Description: With a cast of thousands including Joan of Arc and the Dukes of Burgundy, this 1949 historical novel renders the political intrigue, people and texture of 15th-century Europe and of medieval court life during the Hundred Years War.

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.

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.

My Life in France

Author: Julia Child

Description: Child's characteristically ebullient record of Paris and Provence, her many friends, family and memorable meals, in the years after WWII, turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci (as husband Paul).

Rhone Valley Map

Author: Michelin Travel Publications

Description: A colorful, detailed map of the Rhone Valley from Lyon to the Mediterranean at a scale of 1:200,000.

The Botanist and the Vintner, How Wine Was Saved for the World

Author: Christy Campbell

Description: In this witty book Campbell interweaves a dramatic tale of the devastation of vineyards in 1860's France with French cultural history and a tale of the mad scramble by scientists (along with witches, priests and mystics) to discover the cause and cure. The French were none too pleased that salvation (as well as the disease) came in the form of American root stock.

The Cook and the Gardener, A Year of Recipes and Writings from the French Countryside

Author: Amanda Hesser

Description: An American cook in Burgundy, the author records her recipes and growing fondness for a very French gardener, in this narrative cookbook. It includes 250 recipes and some fine observations on local people and places.

The Food of France

Author: Waverly Root

Description: An evocative and beautifully written survey of French food. First published in 1958 and revised in the mid-1970s, the book covers the important regions of French cuisine by dividing them into domains of Butter (northern France), Fat (Alsace) and Oil (the south).

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 architecture and papal legacy of 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.

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 these two favorite places with anecdote and loving description.

Wine Tours in the South of France

Author: Florence Hernandez

Description: With suggested itineraries, noteworthy wineries and estates and photographs throughout.

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