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23956
France

The French Riviera for Women Only: Provence & the Cote d’Azur

On a special women’s-only program in Provence, discover open-air markets, medieval villages, Roman monuments and renowned museums with an inspiring group of Road Scholar women.
Program No. 23956RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
2,399
France

The French Riviera for Women Only: Provence & the Cote d’Azur

On a special women’s-only program in Provence, discover open-air markets, medieval villages, Roman monuments and renowned museums with an inspiring group of Road Scholar women.
Length
9 days
Starts at
2,399
Program No. 23956 RJ
climate
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At a Glance

From the green hills, sunbaked villages and lavender fields of Provence to the brilliant azur waters and billowing white sails of the French Riviera, join a bright group of Road Scholar women as you absorb the colors — not to mention the sights, sounds and flavors — of Southern France. This special women’s-only adventure on the French Riviera combines field trips led by top-notch Road Scholar experts with plenty of time for independent discoveries on your own or with your newfound friends.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Discover the famed medieval city of Avignon and the historic city of Nice on expert-led excursions.
  • Explore Provence’s lively open-air markets, medieval villages and natural environments, and enjoy independent time to experience even more of this beautiful and unique region on your own.
  • Do it all with an empowering group of Road Scholar women as you experience this stunning region on a special women’s-only adventure.
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.
The Yellow House
by Martin Gayford
Gayford 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.
Lonely Planet French Phrasebook
by Marie-Helene Girard, Anny Monet
This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
Provence A-Z
by Peter Mayle
A companion to all things Provencal, from bouillabaisse to lavender and vinaigre, by the British expatriate and Francophile Peter Mayle.
The Popes of Avignon: A Century in Exile
by Edwin Mullins
Grounded in the architecture 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.
Made in Marseille: Food and Flavors from France's Mediterranean Seaport
by Daniel Young
An enticing portrait of a historically mischievous town, followed by a robust collection of recipes.
The Food & Wine of France: Eating & Drinking from Champagne to Provence
by Edward Behr
Behr seeks out the best of French food, in encounters from Champagne to Provence, to tell the stories of French artisans and chefs who work at the highest level. He shares what he learns from these experts on French traditions and how to best enjoy this food.
Edible French: Tasty Expressions and Cultural Bites
by Clotilde Dusolier
French food-related idioms are explained and delightfully illustrated in this playful meditation on the French language.
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.
Camembert: A National Myth
by Pierre Boisard
Camembert - delectably fragrant, creamy-centered, neatly boxed - is the most popular and most famous French cheese. Originally made by hand in the Norman countryside, it is now mass-produced internationally, yet Camembert remains a national symbol for France, emblematic of its cultural identity. In this witty and entertaining book, Pierre Boisard investigates the history of Camembert and its legend.
F is for France: A Curious Cabinet of French Wonders
by Piu Eatwell
An alphabetized catalogue of quirky French culture and history tidbits.
My Life in France
by Julia Child
The touching and famous story of Julia Child in France, where she learned to cook and fell in love with French cuisine, all in her own words.
Cezanne and Provence: The Painter in His Culture
by Nina Maria Athanassoglou-Kallmyer
Cezanne departed from Paris in 1886 to permanently resettle in his native Aix-en-Provence. This book explores the importance of this place for the artist as well as the regionalist politics of his day.
A Year in Provence
by Peter Mayle
The original best-selling tale of an ex-pat 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.
Tasting French Terroir: The History of an Idea
by Thomas Parker
This book explores the origins and significance of the French concept of terroir (the specific taste of a particular place), demonstrating that the way the French eat their food and drink their wine today derives from a cultural mythology that developed between the Renaissance and the Revolution.
The Markets of Provence: Food, Antiques, Crafts, and More
by Marjorie Williams
An in-depth pocket guide to 30 of the best markets in Provence. Dive into the heart of Provencal culture and navigate the markets like a local with maps, tips, and handy phrases.
Provence: Food, Wine, Culture and Landscape
by Lars Boesgaard
A stunning portrait of an alluring, sun-drenched region. Whet your appetite for Provence with over 700 jaw-dropping images of the food, landscape, and local people.
Van Gogh in Arles
by Alfred Nemeczek
A study of Van Gogh in the stunning setting of Arles in Provence, the place of his death.
Two Towns in Provence
by M. F. K. Fisher
Celebrated food writer M.F.K. Fisher contrasts village life in Aix-en-Provence with bustling Marseilles, evoking both with anecdote and loving description.
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9 days
8 nights
13 meals
7 B 2 L 4 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Marseille, To Avignon, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Avignon
D
Novotel Avignon Centre

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After checking in to the hotel and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax before our Orientation session. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Travel and transfers will be via motorcoach unless noted otherwise. There are several lengthy motorcoach transfers during this program. Due to ecological regulations in France, new motorcoaches do not have restrooms on board. Older models have restrooms, but they are not available for use. A rest stop will be made along the way for rides that are more than 90 minutes. The Group Leader will announce when rest stops will be made en route. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will have a plated meal with beverage choices of a glass of wine or soft drink and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Arles, Market Day, Pont du Gard
Avignon
B,L
Novotel Avignon Centre

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 63 miles, approximately 2 hours; walking up to 3 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time; cobblestone streets, some uneven terrain.

Breakfast: The hotel breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, breakfast meat, breads, cheese, cereals, jam, butter, yogurt, seasonal fruits, milk, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach and set out on a field trip to explore the old city of Arles. With its Roman and Romanesque monuments, Arles is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. From the UNESCO inscription: “Arles is a good example of the adaptation of an ancient city to medieval European civilization. It has some impressive Roman monuments, of which the earliest – the arena, the Roman theatre and the cryptoporticus (subterranean galleries) – date back to the 1st century B.C. During the 4th century Arles experienced a second golden age, as attested by the baths of Constantine and the necropolis of Alyscamps. In the 11th and 12th centuries, Arles once again became one of the most attractive cities in the Mediterranean. Within the city walls, Saint-Trophime, with its cloister, is one of Provence’s major Romanesque monuments.” A local expert will lead our exploration of the old town on foot and point out a few of these special sites. We will also learn about some of the picturesque places that inspired Van Gogh and the works he created while he lived in Arles. As a special highlight, we will visit a traditional Provençal market and have some time for independent exploration.

Lunch: At a restaurant in Arles, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of soda and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Back aboard the motorcoach, we will head to the Pont du Gard, where we will learn about this ancient Roman aqueduct that spans the River Gardon.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you would like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Palais des Papes, Rocher des Doms, Pont d’Avignon, Free Time
Avignon
B,D
Novotel Avignon Centre

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time; even and uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will head out on foot, accompanied by a local expert, into the center of Avignon to explore some of its iconic landmarks. The Palais des Papes, Palace of the Popes, was built during the so called “Babylonian Captivity” — the period from 1309-1376 when the seat of the papacy was transferred to France. The magnificent palace was constructed in only 20 years and was the largest Gothic palace in Europe. We will learn about its history from the days of grandeur to near destruction and restoration. The Rocher des Doms is now a landscaped public garden covering seven acres. What we see today dates from 1830 but the spot has been inhabited since the Neolithic (Stone Age) era. It was later a fortified Roman oppidum and a place where shepherds grazed their sheep. We will also see the famed Avignon bridge. Severely damaged during the 17th century, the remaining structure is still a popular place for promenades. People who have never seen it know it from the popular song “Sur le pont d’Avignon.”

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Avignon. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. We will regroup at the hotel before dinner.

Dinner: At a restaurant near the hotel, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of soda and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Les Baux de Provence, St-Remy, Glanum, St-Paul de Mausole
Avignon
B
Novotel Avignon Centre

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 45 miles round trip, approximately 1.5 hours throughout the day; walking up to 2 miles; unavoidable stairs and inclines at historic sites; standing up to 2 hours at a time; cobblestone streets and uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will take the motorcoach to Les Baux de Provence, officially classified as one of the “Plus beaux villages de France” — most beautiful villages in France. With a local expert, we will explore this fortified village that has an interesting history and offers some of the most picturesque views in Provence. We will visit and learn about the sites where a fortress once stood. We’ll then ride to the Provençal village of Saint-Remy-de-Provence, where Van Gogh spent the penultimate year of his life after being forced to leave Arles, and visit Maison de santé Saint-Paul de Mausole. This was the mental hospital where Van Gogh committed himself from 1889-90. It became for him an island of serenity and source of creativity where he made 143 oil paintings and more than 100 drawings over a period of 53 weeks. Some of his most important were paintings — “Cypresses,” “Irises,” and “Starry Night” — were inspired by local vistas. The building itself is considered a masterpiece of Provençal Romanesque architecture and still functions as a psychiatric hospital.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy the local fare. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Just outside Saint-Remy-de-Provence, we will see Glanum, an oppidum — Roman fortified town — founded in the 6th century BCE. This area contains two Roman monuments of the 1st century BCE, a mausoleum, and a triumphal arch.

Dinner: On your own to have what you like.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Transfer to Nice, Aix-en-Provence, Paul Cézanne
Nice
B,D
Splendid Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 170 miles, approximately 3.5 hours. Walking up to 2 miles, standing up to 2 hours; even and uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel, board a motorcoach, and begin our journey to Nice, seeing even more of Provence along the way. En route, we will stop in Aix-en-Provence to explore this famous town on foot with a local expert.

Lunch: On your own in Aix-en-Provence.

Afternoon: We will regroup at a designated time and place to visit the atelier of famous local artist, Paul Cézanne, credited as one of the fathers of modern art. We’ll then ride on to Nice and check in to our hotel late afternoon.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of soda and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Antibes, Picasso Museum, St-Paul de Vence, Matisse Chapel
Nice
B
Splendid Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 2 miles, standing up to 2 hours at a time.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will go by motorcoach to Antibes to explore this seaside town with a local expert. Among the highlights is the Musée Picasso. The artist lived for several months during 1946 in the former Château Grimaldi, a castle dating back to the 12th century. Picasso donated a large number of the paintings and drawings he did here to Antibes, and the château was renamed the Picasso Museum in 1966. It has since collected more of the artist’s works and also displays works by other 20th century artists of note. We will learn about Picasso, his work, and his time in France. Next, we will ride to Saint-Paul de Vence.

Lunch: On your own in Saint Paul de Vence.

Afternoon: We will have some time for independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Saint-Paul de Vence. You might like to visit the Maeght Foundation, an exceptional example of modern cultural achievement. It was founded by art lovers Marguerite and Aimé Maeght to present modern and contemporary art in all its forms. The building was designed by master Catalonian architect Josep Lluís Sert, and the collection includes works by Bonnard, Braque, Calder, Chagall, Giacometti, Miró, and more. Altogether, the Maeght Foundation boasts one of the largest and finest collections of 20th century art in Europe. We will regroup at a designated time and place, reboard our motorcoach, and ride to the Matisse Chapel in Vence, on a hillside above Nice. The Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence was a labor of love by Matisse out of gratitude to Monique Bourgeois, the nurse who cared for him after cancer surgery in 1941. They became devoted to one another. Later, Monique entered the religious order of the Dominicans and asked Matisse to advise her in the decoration of their chapel. Instead, the artist took it on as a far greater project. For four years, Matisse dedicated himself to designing every element of the building, regarding the finished chapel as his masterpiece. We will return to the hotel after our field trip.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Nice, Cimiez Hill, The Romans, Matisse, Chagall
Nice
B,L,D
Splendid Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 3 miles, standing up to 2 hours at a time; even and uneven ground; potential crowded conditions.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will ride into Nice to see some of the iconic sites with commentary by a local expert. We will see the Russian Orthodox church, stop at Castle Hill for a panoramic view of the city, and drive along the Promenade des Anglais before reaching the “Old Town” and the renowned Marché aux Fleurs (flower market). Continuing with a local expert, we will savor the flavors of Nice as we visit food markets and artisan shops where local specialties are made.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of soda and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we will ride to the Cimiez neighborhood for a walk around the Monastery Gardens that feature the old ruins of Nice’s Roman past and the Matisse Museum. At the museum, we will see a comprehensive collection of Henri Matisse’s artwork from all periods of his life: from the first paintings made in 1890 to the famous gouache cutouts. There are 236 drawings, 218 engravings, and a complete presentation of the books illustrated by the artist at this museum. We will then ride down Cimiez Hill to the “Musée national message biblique Marc Chagall” (National Museum Marc Chagall Biblical Message). It features scenes from Genesis, Exodus, and the Song of Songs illustrated in 17 large paintings, sculptures, stained glass windows, mosaics and tapestries, along with preparatory sketches, gouaches, engravings, and lithographs — all housed in a museum built especially for these works and opened by the artist in 1972.

Dinner: At a restaurant near the hotel, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of a glass of wine, soda, and water included; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
9
Program Concludes
Nice
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon. See your program’s Transportation Information regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet (depending on departure times). This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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