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Odyssey at Sea: From Provence & the French Riviera to Barcelona

Program No. 23520RJ
The cultural treasures nestled along the French Riviera are the stars of an epic educational adventure aboard the Aegean Odyssey.
13 days
Rating (3)
Activity Level
Starts at

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At a Glance

The artistic hilltop villages of Provence or the sensational beauty of the Côte d’Azur — why choose? Set off on an educational journey along a dazzling stretch of Mediterranean coast from the unspoiled landscapes of Corsica to elegant Aix-en-Provence, ending in the Catalonian capital of Barcelona. Discover the locales and vistas that inspired such artists as Matisse, Picasso and van Gogh, and soak up local life in bustling marketplaces and seaside villas. What’s more, you’ll experience these coastal gems during lovely moderate temperatures after the peak-season crowds have dispersed. Don’t miss your chance to experience the idyllic south of France!

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Discover the historic charms of Aix-en-Provence’s Old Town, followed by an exploration of a local winery.
  • Peruse the Picasso Museum for works from the artist's formative years.

General Notes

We’ll have up to 350 Road Scholar participants on the ship, divided into groups of 35 for shore excursions.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
La Dolce Vita University: An Unconventional Guide to Italian Culture from A to Z
by Carla Gambescia
La Dolce Vita University (LDVU) is the perfect sampler for anyone curious about (or already in amore with) Italy and its remarkably rich cultural gifts, both past and present.
Four Queens, the Provencal Sisters who Ruled Europe
by Nancy Goldstone
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.
Lonely Planet French Phrasebook
by Marie-Helene Girard, Anny Monet
This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
Matisse and Picasso, The Story of their Rivalry and Friendship
by Jack Flam
Jack Flam explores the compelling, competitive, parallel lives of these two artists and their very different attitudes toward the idea of artistic greatness, toward the women they loved and ultimately toward their confrontations with death.
Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook & Dictionary
by Anna Beltrami, Mirna Cicioni, Karina Coates, Susie Walker
This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
by Robert Hughes
A Longitude favorite, this big, thoroughly enjoyable cultural history of the city touches on architecture, art, religion and literature from Roman outpost to the present.
Lonely Planet Spanish Phrasebook & Dictionary
by Cristina Hernandez Montero
This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
Antonio Gaudi, Master Architect
by Juan Bassegoda Nonell
This lavish little collection of Gaudi's work captures the evolution, imagination and exuberance of one of the most influential architects of the 20th century.
8 Reviews
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3 Average
This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 9/26/2022

I was, unfortunately, one of the people who contracted Covid early on on the trip, so my view is stilted. Generally, I was disappointed that the experience of Gaudi’s architecture in Barcelona was a view from outside the Sagrada Familia. More than Picasso, to me Barcelona is the quirky Gaudi. After the first two field trips, I was quarantined in my room for 4 complete days with movie channels that pixilated, a porthole view blocked by a tender, and quirky bathroom plumbing. Eurovision and CNN did work, luckily, and I had books, but it was still a long haul. I was released for the second Sardinian port and Corsica, so those ports, obviously, were my favorite. The staff did check in on me during quarantine and I did have plenty of food, but I think I am done with cruises.

(5) Review left 9/15/2022

This trip satisfied my love of the Mediterranean .

(1) Review left 9/13/2022

The ship Aegean Odyssey and crew and the Road Scholar staff were excellent. Covid precautions aboard ship and busses were sensible. But two lunches, at Narbonne and Aix, during sightseeing far from the ship, were arranged at indoor restaurants far too congested for Covid safety precautions. In fact they were the most congested restaurants I have ever been in! Consequently over 11 percent of passengers caught Covid, missing much of the program due to necessary isolation. All the on-board masking was pointless as we were herded into super spreader events for these luncheons! Bad choices, Road Scholar!

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 8/01/2022


This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 7/26/2022

This Odyssey at Sea was my first experience with Road Scholar. THE GOOD… IS SO VERY GOOD I will start off by saying my group leader, Barbara Gigi was wonderful…likable, helpful, funny, cheerful, informative. The last days of the day trip were great - even getting kicked out of Nice added a bit to the entertainment (not for the staff, I’m sure!). The ship crew and staff were great, the cabins better than I expected, the food excellent and the port talks well presented and interesting. The daily excursions were well planned and fun. ON THE OTHER HAND… Our arrival in Milan was so awful that I find it very difficult to get past it. I continue receiving emails about fascinating Road Scholar trips - like the trains in Australia - but I keep coming back to the fact that we were completely abandoned by Road Scholar when we arrived in Milan. I travel quite a bit - I know things go wrong…planes are late, deadlines are missed. Because a flight was delayed, my party missed 2 nights aboard ship, and the visit to Corsica - well, things happen… But to arrive in Milan after 20 hours of travel and find: No representative, no message from Road Scholar (who had arranged flights and was aware of delay) No one answering our phone calls either in US or Europe No one returning calls when we left messages in US or Europe After 4 hours in the arrivals area, finally getting assistance from someone who worked for an entirely different company unrelated to Road Scholar - four exhausted senior citizens, one in a wheelchair at that point. THAT was really unforgivable. I could go into details- we kept a log of every call and interaction with airport and other personnel- but there’s really no point. Road Scholar has so many good points, so many fascinating trips, so much going for it, but when things get tough, I can’t feel you’ll be there for us.

(2) Review left 7/04/2022

I had Road Scholar make my flight arrangements. They booked an overnight flight from Dulles to Frankfort. The economy cabin was be party time for a bunch of Palestinan teenagers going home so I arrived sleepless and tired. I missed the connection to Milan and somehow found a group of fellow travelers who had also missed connections. We had to stay in hotels at our own expense (insurance may cover it) before boarding a bus the next day. We all had to catch the ship in Nice, so we missed Corsica. The bus driver took a wrong turn and ended up at a hairpin turn on a hill. It took two police officers to guide him back up without falling over the cliff. I called my gentleman friend to say goodbye; others asked to get off. But we made it to Nice, with a 40 minute break at a rest area (driver rules?) and got to the ship while it was still light. Somewhere in the middle of the night it felt like the ship was moving, although that wasn’t on the schedule. The nice people of Nice had complained about the noise of the generators. We later heard that it was election time and the mayor was up for another term. We woke up in Toulon, and the rest of the trip had to be rearranged a bit. The weather was hot and humid, and my knees are still recovering from the “easygoing” group activities. I had enough Euros to buy gifts and something nice for my collection. Little time was allotted for shopping, except at the T-shirt and postcard stalls at the ports. I’ll save the Euros for my next trip and hope to do better.

(2) Review left 6/30/2022

The Odyssey at Sea was almost as unpredictable and harrowing as Odysseus's voyage home. Poor planning resulted in the ship's having been scheduled to leave Genoa at 5 pm on June 14, even though many participants were not arriving until midday at the Milan airport. The air travel was arranged by Road Scholar, so there must have been a huge disconnect between the travel office and whoever was in charge of the ship's schedule. The ship should have been scheduled to remain in Genoa overnight. As a result of its departure, 17 participants were stranded in Milan with no Road Scholar personnel to assist us. A young woman from the local agency with which RS had contracted spent hours trying to make arrangements for us. There was much confusion about where we were to spend the night and how we were to connect with the cruise. Finally at 9:30 that evening we were taken by bus to a hotel in Genoa, a two and a half hour drive for folks who had already been travelling overnight from the the US and waiting for hours in the airport. There we met more RS passengers who had been left behind. We became the "lost 32". Early the next day we were put on a bus for Villefranche-sur-mer, France. The driver spoke no English, did not know the route to the hotel, drove down a narrow, steep residential street, and was stopped by a hairpin turn that the bus could not make. We were truly afraid that the bus might go off the road and down a cliff. He backed all the way up the street, and we finally made it to Villefranche, where we were again put in a hotel for the night. We finally connected with the ship on June 16, having missed the visit to Corsica and spent two nights in hotels when we should have been on the ship. We also missed excursions to Nice, St. Paul de Vence, and Antibes because the ship was asked to leave the port of Nice and had to continue to Toulon. After Toulon, the cruise went as promised, but I have completely lost confidence in Road Scholar as a tour organizer.

(5) Review left 6/28/2022

My wife and I are glad that we made this trip. It exceeded our expectations and was well worth the cost. We really appreciated the fact that there was an option of different activity levels as it allowed us to travel together yet at a different pace. I don't know any other program that does that so well!

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