3729
France
Provence: The Art of Living
Alongside experts, immerse yourself in the heritage, architecture, culture and artistry of Provence, enjoying unique access to some of the region’s most fascinating landmarks.
Rating (4.85)
Program No. 3729RJ
Length
13 days
Starts at
3,199
Flights start at
925
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13 days
12 nights
22 meals
11 B 5 L 6 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Travel to France
In Flight
DAY
2
Orientation
Aix-en-Provence
D
Hotel Cézanne

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.

DAY
3
Aix-en-Provence and a French Language Workshop
Aix-en-Provence
B,L
Hotel Cézanne

Activity note: Today's activities include walking up to a mile today over uneven pavement as you explore Aix-en-Provence.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a presentation on the history of Aix-en-Provence. Afterwards, depart on foot for the center of Aix-en-Provence where you will receive an introduction to the historical center and the history of Aix-en-Provence. You will view 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 18th 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. Field Trip to the Musée de Caumont.

Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.

Evening: Take delight in an introduction to French workshop led by your group leader. Learn basic French expressions and key phrases to help you throughout your journey.

DAY
4
Lourmarin, Roussillon, & Abbey of Senanque
Aix-en-Provence
B,D
Hotel Cézanne

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will begin at the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque, a 12th century Romanesque cistercian monastery, still active today and famous for its breath-taking lavendar fields and production of honey. Afterwards, we will travel by coach to 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: We will explore Lourmarin, truly one of the most beautiful villages in France with its Renaissance castle, animated cafés and small boutiques, Lourmarin is now home to British writer Peter Mayle, famous for his book, "A Year in Provence." Afterwards, we will depart by coach to return to Aix-en-Provence.

Dinner: At a local restaurant with french guests

DAY
5
Cezanne Day
Aix-en-Provence
B,D
Hotel Cézanne

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Admire the landscapes that served as inspiration to Paul Cézanne, prodigal son of Aix and post impressionist painter considered the father of modern art. Stand in awe of the Sainte Victoire mountain, subject of many of Cézanne's chefs d'oeuvres, get a glimpse of the Château Noir, and discover the rugged countryside and sharp light of Provence, made famous by Cézanne's work.

Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.

Afternoon: We will carry on to the Terrain des Peintres, an inspiring and different take on Cézanne's cherished Sainte Victoire mountain. Enjoy a stop at the Château de Vauvenargues, short-time home and burial place of Picasso. Visit Cézanne's Studio: Built in 1901, according to the plans of Cézanne himself, the workshop contains much of the original furniture and still-life materials we find in Cézanne's paintings: the pot-belly stove, a chest of drawers, the olive jar and decorative vases, and the plaster cupid statue made by Belgian sculptor François Duquesnoy.

Dinner: Cheese buffet in a local restaurant.

DAY
6
Marseille and its Old Port
Aix-en-Provence
B,L
Hotel Cézanne

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Discover the rich diversity of Marseille, designated Cultural Capital of Europe, where you will find the picture-postcard fishing village of Vallon des Auffes, the majestic seaside drive Corniche Kennedy and the city's Old Port 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 emblematic, protective figure of Marseille. Don't miss the hand-crafted wooden boats hanging in the chancel, offered as ex-votos by fishermen for their safe return to shore, and take time to enjoy the exceptional panoramic view of Marseille.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continue exploring Marseille and venture through the winding, narrow streets of the city's oldest district, "Le Panier." See the Town Hall overlooking the Old Port, and climb the steps of the Montée des Accoules. Discover the austere splendor of the galleries, inner courtyard and chapel of La Vieille Charité.

Dinner: On your own.

DAY
7
Market Day
Aix-en-Provence
B,D
Hotel Cézanne

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/flea market section, tables are cluttered with silver spoons and ancient family portraits - ideal for browsing.

Lunch: On your own

Afternoon: Enjoy an expert-led lecture on "The French Loves and Contradictions." Understand the foundations of the French attachment to the art of living, what societal structures sustain their love of pleasure and yet make them one of the most openly rebellious people in the world. Visit the Granet Museum, whose permanent collections make it one of the richest provincial museums of France. The museum houses ten works of Aix-born painter Paul Cezanne, including the Portrait of Zola and the "Baigneuse."

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

DAY
8
Transfer to Arles
Arles
B,D
Hotel Le Calendal

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Free time to enjoy your last day in Aix. Check out is noon at the latest. You may leave your luggage in the hotel's luggage room.

Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.

Afternoon: Coach departs for Arles. (35 minutes). Stop en route and enjoy a wine tasting and a presentation on the distinctive wines of Provence. Upon arrival, take some time to unpack and to relax.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

DAY
9
Ancient Arles / Saint Rémy / Les Baux-de-Provence
Arles
B,D
Hotel Le Calendal

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will depart by coach for 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. Afterwards, we will depart for Saint Rémy, birthplace of Nostradamus.

Lunch: On your own in Saint Rémy to explore local cuisine.

Afternoon: We will depart by coach for an excursion to Les Baux-de-Provence (20 minutes). A short walk up the hill will take you to the village 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. Entirely restored, Les Baux counts 22 architectural treasures classified as Historic Monuments by the French government: a romanesque church, medieval castle, renaissance façades, ancient townhouses, all of which can be visted only on foot, as no cars are allowed in the village.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

DAY
10
Visit of Ancient Arles
Arles
B,L
Hotel Le Calendal

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: The presence of the past is seen throughout this lecture on "Roman and Romanesque" a recounting of the history of Arles through its architecture--from Roman ruins to more contemporary landmarks.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Enjoy a lecture and walking tour of Arles' 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 the up-lifting sounds of Provencal folk music, its Italian influences and the traditional use of fife and drum, called galoubets-tambourins.

DAY
11
The Camargue / Manade / Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
Arles
B,L
Hotel Le Calendal

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will depart by coach for the 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. Afterwards, we will depart by coach (54 minutes) for Mas des Bernacles, where you will enjoy a personal welcome from one of the area's oldest ranching families. Traditional practices come alive as you participate in the Festival of Flowers with Provençal cowboys (Gardians) on horseback.

Lunch: At the ranch.

Afternoon: We will depart by coach for 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.

DAY
12
Avignon / Palace of the Popes
Arles
B,L
Hotel Le Calendal

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will depart by coach for Avignon. Enjoy a stop at the Barthelasse Presqu'île to enjoy the view of the Rhône 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. There will be a short walk to Les Palais des Papes 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: Coach returns to Arles after lunch.

Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.

DAY
13
Departure
In Flight
B

Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: Departure to the airport. 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 enjoyed your Road Scholar learning adventure and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!