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We like the model – small groups, excellent tour directors, solid hotels, good mix of group/independent activities.

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Seattle, WA
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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Albi touring and Toulouse-Lautrec Museum
  • Medieval Carcassonne
  • Canal du Midi cruise
  • Beautiful Pyrénées scenery
  • Salvador Dalí Museum in Figueres, Spain
  • Cistercian monument of Abbaye de Fontfroide
  • Collioure, “City of Painters”
  • Roman France touring: UNESCO sites of Avignon and Arles
  • Provençal cooking class and dinner
  • Charming Provençal villages of St-Rémy, Les Baux, Roussillon, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
  • Tasting and dinner at a local winery
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Toulouse, France

Day 2: Arrive Toulouse/Albi We arrive in Toulouse today and transfer to the historic market town of Albi and our lodgings, a fifth-generation family-owned hotel. Tonight we meet our Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director and fellow travelers at a briefing about the journey ahead, followed by a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. D

Day 3: Albi This morning we set out on a walking tour of Albi, hometown of Belle Époque artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. We visit the Palais de la Berbie, an ancient fortress housing a museum devoted to the works of Toulouse-Lautrec; as well as the magnificent 13th-century Cathédrale Ste-Cécile, the world’s largest brick building and a UNESCO site. B,D

Day 4: Albi/Carcassonne/Perpignan We travel this morning to the medieval fortress of Carcassonne. Sitting atop a hill overlooking vast green plains that stretch as far as the Pyrénées, fortified Carcassonne boasts the longest city walls remaining in Europe, with battlements and ramparts dating to the 1st-century Romans. Here we embark on a walking tour and have time for lunch on our own. Continuing on our way, this afternoon we visit Abbaye de Fontfroide, the 11th-century monastic complex that ranks as the best preserved Cistercian monument in France and a key site in Languedoc. We tour the church and its cloisters then continue on to our hotel in Perpignan, known for its Catalan influence. B,D

Day 5: Perpignan/Figueres, Spain Today’s excursion showcases the beauty of art and of nature, as we set off through the majestic Pyrénées to Figueres, Spain, birthplace of surrealist artist Salvador Dalí. Here we visit the acclaimed theater-museum he designed to showcase his artwork; the structure itself is considered his last masterpiece. Then we have free time for lunch on our own and to stroll the pedestrian streets of Figueres’ compact Old Town. We drive back to Perpignan along the Catalan coast, stopping in downtown Perpignan for a walking tour.  B,D

Day 6: Perpignan/Collioure We travel this morning to Collioure, France, the “City of Painters” immortalized by such artists as Dérain, Matisse, and Picasso, among other Fauvists, the “anti-Impressionists” who emphasized strong, bold color in their work. After an orientation tour, we are free to discover this charming town as we wish. Collioure boasts an impressive castle, Chateau de Collioure; photogenic medieval streets; and a picturesque harbor. B,D

Day 7: Perpignan/Avignon En route this morning to Provence, we enjoy a tour highlight as we cruise the grand 17th-century Canal du Midi, one of the waterways connecting the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. Once a channel of kings and commerce, the canal today is a UNESCO site and a prime draw for boaters and tourists.  Following this peaceful interlude, we enjoy lunch in a local restaurant then resume our journey to Provence.  Mid-afternoon we reach our hotel in Avignon, the ancient Roman city that was the capital of Christendom in the Middle Ages.  Dinner tonight is on our own.  B,L

Day 8: Avignon Today we discover Avignon’s historic city center, a UNESCO site, with its 12th-century Romanesque cathedral; the partial Saint-Bénézet Bridge; and the Palais des Papes (Papal Palace), one of the world’s largest and most important Gothic structures. We tour the palace, where seven successive popes lived during the 14th century (the papacy controlled the city until it became part of France in the late 18th century). Then we have free time to explore this historic city on our own. Tonight we enjoy a small group highlight as we join a local chef for a Provençal cooking class followed by dinner. B,D

Day 9: Avignon/Arles/Pont du Gard We explore more of Roman France today in the city of Arles, once part of Roman Gaul then a clarion of Christianity. Our tour here features some of Arles’ ancient Roman monuments, all UNESCO sites, including the two-tiered amphitheater (c. 90 CE), the Thermes de Constantin (Roman baths), and the théâtre antique (Roman theater). After time for lunch on our own in this city once home to Vincent Van Gogh, we visit the Pont du Gard, the 1st-century Roman aqueduct with three tiers of arches spanning the Gardon River. Skillfully engineered and artistically designed, the aqueduct, now a UNESCO site, carried water to residents of nearby Nîmes for almost 500 years. B,D

Day 10: St-Rémy-de-Provence/Les Baux-de-Provence/Aix-en-Provence This morning we set out first for the picturesque village of St-Rémy, where we take a walking tour of the ancient Gallo-Roman city center with its maze of winding streets and fountain-filled squares. We stroll through the weekly market then have free time for lunch and to explore. Next we visit the Provençal-Romanesque jewel of St-Paul de Mausole, where Van Gogh was confined after cutting off his ear and still a functioning psychiatric hospital today. Then we travel on to Les Baux, a gem of a medieval village nestled atop a rock spur in the Alpilles range. We visit the Chateau des Baux and have time to wander here as we wish before continuing on to the university town of Aix-en-Provence and our hotel in the heart of the city. B

Day 11: Aix-en-Provence/Roussillon/Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Our first stop today: the “most beautiful village” of Roussillon, in the heart of one of the world’s richest ochre deposits. With its red-hued cliffs, redstone buildings, and red-tiled roofs, Roussillon poses a striking image against the blue Provençal sky. We continue our exploration of the Luberon region with a photo stop at the beautiful hilltop village of Gordes then travel on to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, known as the “Venice of Provence” for its many canals and pedestrian bridges. We have free time for lunch on our own and to visit the lively Thursday market for which the town is famed. Tonight we visit a local winery for a tasting and dinner. B,D

Day 12: Aix-en-Provence This morning we take a walking tour of Aix, known for its beautiful Cours Mirabeau, the plane tree-lined main boulevard; elegant Roman fountains; and as the birthplace of artist Paul Cézanne. This afternoon is at leisure for independent exploration. Tonight we celebrate our sojourn through Southern France at a farewell dinner at our hotel. B,D

Day 13: Depart for U.S. This morning we transfer to the Marseille airport for our connecting flights to the U.S. B

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking up hills or stairs, and on uneven or cobblestone streets. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
  • 11 nights’ accommodations in Superior First Class and First Class hotels
  • 21 meals: 11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 9 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2019 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

Oct 7
Oct 14
Apr 29
May 6
Sep 23
Sep 30
May 13
May 20
Jun 3
Jun 10
Sep 2, 9
Boston, New York$4,197$4,497$4,697
Charlotte, Phil,
Washington, DC
$4,397$4,697$4,897
Atlanta, Chicago,
Cincinnati, Cleve,
Dallas, Detroit,
Hou, Miami, Minn,
Orlando, Tampa
$4,497$4,797$4,997
Denver, Los Ang,
Phoenix, Port (OR),
San Fran, Seattle
$4,597$4,897$5,097

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $502, which are subject to change until final payment has been made.

Single travelers please add $995. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days before departure. All 2019 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

Airline upgrades (subject to availability) on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight: Business Class – $3,595 per person; Premium Economy – $1,595 per person

Post-Tour Provence Extension: $295 Apr, Oct; $345 all other dates. Single Supplement: $195 Apr, Oct; $245 all other dates

A visa is not required for this tour.

Accommodations
    Hotel Saint Antoine, Albi / Days 2-3 / First Class

    The fifth-generation family-owned Hotel Saint Antoine sits in the heart of downtown Albi, with shopping and restaurants just outside the front door.  The hotel boasts manicured courtyard gardens perfect for relaxing or taking a stroll, as well as a bar, laundry and dry cleaning service (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Each air-conditioned guest room is individually decorated using antique furniture and floral-patterned fabrics, and includes private bath with hair dryer and phone.

    La Villa Duflot, Perpignan (Languedoc) / Days 4-6 / First Class

    Designed to resemble an Italian villa, La Villa Duflot sits amidst a three-acre park with cypress, olive, and palm trees a short drive from Perpignan’s city center and nearby beaches.  Amenities of the 24-room lodging include a restaurant, piano bar and lounges, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, wine cellar, terrace, contemporary art gallery, outdoor swimming pool, gym, and laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee).  Art Deco-themed guest rooms are air conditioned and offer private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, and phone.

    Avignon Grand Hotel, Avignon (Provence) / Days 7-9 / First Class

    The Avignon Grand Hotel stands directly across the street from Avignon’s famed medieval city walls.  In contrast to these centuries-old ramparts, the hotel offers a host of modern amenities to complement its contemporary layout and décor, including a bar and breakfast room, outdoor rooftop pool, dry cleaning service (for a fee), library, patio and landscaped courtyard, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Each spacious guest room includes a terrace or balcony and has private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.

    Grand Hôtel Roi René, Aix-en-Provence / Days 10-12, Extension / Superior First Class

    Situated on the edge of Aix-en-Provence’s historic old town, the Grand Hôtel Roi René conceals an idyllic courtyard and pool area behind its pale sandstone walls.  The 134-room property offers a restaurant and bar, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, safe deposit box, and dry-cleaning service (for a fee).  Each of the air-conditioned guest rooms has a private bath with hair dryer, TV, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and phone.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Post-Tour Extension

Provence – On Your Own

3 days/2 nights from $295 total price
Single Supplement: from $195

See more of Provence on your own, from your base in lovely Aix.

 

Your Tour Price Includes
  • 2 nights’ accommodations in Aix-en-Provence at Grand Hotel Roi René (Superior First Class)
  • 2 meals: 2 breakfasts
    Transfer to Marseille airport

Please see the Accommodations tab for hotel information.

Tour Directors for this Journey
Catherine Chamoux

“Catherine is first-class. Very knowledgeable, approachable, personable, professional, and fun. Good sense of humor. Awesome.”
Mary D. Ellison
Richmond, VA

Muriel Gosselin

“Muriel was another great Odysseys tour director. Very caring and compassionate, informative, efficient, and organized.”
William & Renee Harrah
Lake Oswego, OR

Florence Hebert

“Florence Herbert is perhaps the best tour director we have ever had in all our years taking land tours. She is warm, welcoming, organized, efficient, and so knowledgeable. Florence made each and every area come alive with her vast knowledge.”
Denise & Alan Federoff
Tustin, CA

Fanny Poirier

“Fanny is just an incredibly wonderful person. Her knowledge, warmth, patience, concern for our welfare and happiness was/is incredible. You have found a wonderful leader – a national treasure.”
Dave Goudy
Southport, NC

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

Ina Caro
The Road from the Past, Traveling through History in France
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.

Michael Jacobs
The Most Beautiful Villages of Provence
With an excellent introduction to the history, culture, landscapes and pleasures of Southern France, this illustrated guide features 34 towns and villages across Provence from the Vaucluse to Bonnieux and Gordes, tranquil Alpine villages and southern vineyards.

Cathy Muscat (Editor)
Insight Guide Provence
This regional guide in the popular series, noteworthy for its color photographs and maps, includes a section of practical information and a pull-out color map.

Dana Facaros, Michael Pauls
Cadogan Guide Languedoc-Roussillon
Based in southwest France, Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls cover the sweep of the Mediterranean, from the Rhone Valley to the Spanish border, in knowledgeable detail.

National Geographic
Southern France Adventure Map
A detailed, full-color fold-up map of southern France at a scale of 1:465,000. Waterproof and tear-resistant, with points of interest and town location included in the index.

Marie-Helene Girard, Anny Monet
Lonely Planet French Phrasebook
This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.

Laura Morelli
Made in France, A Shopper’s Guide
Both a fascinating history of France’s artisanal legacy and an insider’s shopping guide, the book includes: illustrations, maps, a primer on French shopping culture and craft festivals.

Rachael Mckenna
Lunch in Provence
A richly evocative blend of photographs, recipes, and literary and historical citations, this lovely book features 35 Mediterranean lunchtime recipes from three-star Michelin chef Jean-Andre Charial.

Mark Gregory Pegg
A Most Holy War, The Albigensian Crusade and the Battle for Christendom
As talented a writer as he is a historian, Pegg never loses sight of the drama of grand expeditions, heroic sieges and the panoply of village insurgents, kings and crusaders in this rousing tale of the battle for Christendom.

Edwin Mullins
The Popes of Avignon, A Century in Exile
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.

Robert Cole
A Traveller’s History of France
This fast-moving survey covers the conquests of ancient Gaul through the heady days of revolution to modern times.

Martin Gayford
The Yellow House
Gayford chronicles three turbulent months in the everyday lives of Van Gogh and Gauguin in Arles, where the two artists worked side by side in 1888. With 60 black-and-white reproductions.

Peter Mayle
Provence A-Z
A companion to all things Provençal, from bouillabaisse to lavender and vinaigre, by the British expatriate and Francophile Peter Mayle.

Barbara Stoeltie
Living in Provence
Bringing together the region’s most remarkable interiors, classical and contemporary, this book paints a gorgeous picture of Provençal living.

Luke Barr
Provence, 1970
A unique moment in 1970 brought culinary luminaries James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck and Judith Jones together in Provence. Discussions ranging from the development of taste to the future of food, recorded in the journals and letters of M.F.K. Fisher, are presented here by her great-nephew.

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

Peter Mayle
A Year in Provence
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 of the south of France.

Henry James
On Provence
James attempts to capture the provincial spirit of France in this collection of magazine entries, originally published in 1884.

Patrick O’Brian
The Catalans
Patrick O’Brian’s bitingly funny novel of Dr. Alain Roeg, returned home to a family in crisis, beautifully evokes the Languedoc town of Saint-Feliu, where O’Brian made his home.

M.L. Longworth
Death at the Chateau Bremont
When local nobleman Etienne de Bremont falls to his death from the family chateau, the town is abuzz with rumors. A lively whodunit steeped in the rich and romantic atmosphere of Aix-en-Provence.

William Rodarmor (Editor)
France, A Traveler’s Literary Companion
This collection contains literary gems from all corners of France by a select group of 20th-century French writers from Colette to Simenon.

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2018 All Rights Reserved

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