Custom private tours of France

Provence - French Riviera

Paris - Burgundy – Lyon - Provence – French Riviera

10 days / 9 nights (This tour ends in Nice)

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Day 1 : Paris / Dijon / Beaune

Dijon / Excursion to the Route Of The Burgundy Wines.
Pick-up at 8 am from Paris, drive straight to Dijon

Dijon.  Former capital of one of the most important duchy in Europe, Dijon  offers an exceptional cultural patrimony, such as the ‘Palais des Ducs’ and the Fine Arts Museum. Walking tour and lunch.

In the afternoon, departure for our tour of great Vintage Wines Road
(Route des Grands Crus) :

Drive through the vineyards that hold the illustrious names of the Burgundy wines to get to the town of Beaune

Tour of the historical Clos de Vougeot, built by Cistercian monks in the 12th century. Surrounded by magnificent vineyards, it houses prestigious cellars and collections of winepresses from the Middle Ages.

Arrival in Beaune, ancient city with a splendid architectural heritage and Capital of the Burgundy wines. Visit the ‘Marché aux vins’ wine cellars, dating from the 13th/14th century, where you will be able to taste about 16 different kinds of wine!
Visit the Hôtel-Dieu, a marvel of Burgundian-Flemish art. The medieval building, with its preserved décor and magnificent colored glazed tiles, houses the famous polyptych of the Last Judgment, by Rogier van der Weyden, masterpiece of Flemish art. From the 15th century until recently it served as a charitable hospital, it is now an impressive repository of art and mementos of customs and medical practices in medieval Burgundy.

Dinner and accommodation near Beaune

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Day 2 : Beaune / Meursault / Tournus /
Cormatin / Beaujolais wine road / Lyon

(Option: Brou / Pérouges / Lyon)

Drive to Tournus in southern Burgundy. Guided tour of the 10th-century Saint-Philibert Abbey. Walk in the old feudal market town of Brancion, perched on a promontory overlooking deep ravines, and the tiny village of Chapaize.

Visit and guided tour of the château of Cormatin, a jewel dating from the beginning of the 17th century.
Extraordinary Louis XIII décor (circa 1630). In the Marchioness room, a magnificent French ceiling in gold and blue, with a painting of Venus and Vulcan, work of the second Fontainebleau school, symbolises love. The sumptuous Baroque decor in the Cabinet de Sainte-Cecile is dominated by very blue lapis-lazuli and rich gilding.

The Cluny Abbey was before the destructions of the Revolution, the largest Abbey church of all time.

Lyon through the ‘Beaujolais wine road’: via Juliénas, and Romanèche-Thorins.

Option: Lyon via Brou and Pérouges:
Drive into the Bresse plain (famous for its poultry) and visit the church of Brou with its Gothic-Renaissance transition architecture, the sculptures insides (Rood screen, tombs), are the most impressive Masterpieces of Flemish sculpture in Burgundy.
Pérouges is considered one of the loveliest authentic medieval villages in France.

Dinner and accommodation in Lyon

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Day 3 : Lyon

Twenty centuries of history and a superb geographical situation at the confluence of the river Rhône and the river Saône give Lyon, the third city of France, an appearance quite unlike any other city.

From the hill of Fourvière, down to ‘Old Lyon’, across to the ‘Presqu’île’ and up to the ‘Croix-Rousse hill’, explore the city most famous districts and monuments, discover the rich history and taste the cuisine in a traditional ‘Bouchon Lyonnais’, as Lyon is also one of the best know gastronomic centers in France.

Dinner and accommodation in Lyon.

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Day 4 : Lyon / Châteauneuf du Pape / Orange / Avignon

Today we leave Lyon down the Provence region.

Orange: visit the very well-preserved Roman theatre, and see the former entrance gate to the city, the Triumphal arch.

Then off to Châteauneuf-du-Pape through the vineyards, to the top of the hill for a beautiful panoramic view of the region.
Visit a picturesque wine cellar and taste different Châteauneuf wines. Walk through the village.

Tour of Avignon, an architectural jewel enclosed in 14th century city walls: see it's picturesque streets, the main monuments, including the exceptional gothic palace of the Popes (visit of the inside optional) and the world famous bridge.

Rest of the day free to see more of the town (for instance the Angladon museum) or do a little shopping.

Dinner and accommodation in Avignon.

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Day 5 : Avignon / Roussillon / Gordes / Sénanque / Fontaine de Vaucluse / l'Isle sur la Sorgue

Depart for Roussillon, famous for its ochre hills. From the top of the village, panoramic view of the area,

Then to Gordes, one of the most famous and well restored perched villages. Small detour to see the pictureque Abbey of Sénanque and it's lavender fields (blooming in July).
Then to Fontaine de Vaucluse, spectacular location of a river spring. Lunch by the river. Then to L'Isle sur la Sorgue, charming "little Venice of Provence" with its canals and picturesque streets, also renown for its antique shops.

Dinner and accommodation in Avignon.

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Day 6 : Pont-du-Gard / les Baux / Saint-Rémy / Arles / Marseille

Excursion to the ‘Pont du Gard’, this aqueduct is one of the Wonders of the Ancient world, built by the Roman in the 1C, it remains in very good conditions.

Drive through the Alpilles mountains, to Les Baux-de-Provence, spectacular village built on the edge of a cliff. From the fortress, panoramic view of the region (vines, olive trees, cypress), all the way to the Mediterranean. Lunch in Les Baux. Then to Arles, gate of the wild region of Camargue. Walking tour of Arles to see the main monuments: the church of Saint Trophime with it's exceptional Romanesque doorway, the arenas and other Roman monuments, Forum square, on the footsteps of Van Gogh.

Dinner and accommodation in Marseille.

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Day 7 : Marseille / Aix-en-Provence / Antibes / Nice

Marseille. See Notre-Dame de la Garde, best view-point over France’s second most populated city. Walk around the old port and taste the famous "bouillabaisse" (fish soup) or other specialties. The basic cooking ingredients in Provence are simple, consisting of fresh produce (tomatoes, zucchini, egg plant, sweet peppers, fennel, etc.), and a wide variety of fish. The whole art is expressed in the way all these ingredients are blended with aromatic herbs and spices: garlic, thyme, rosemary, savory, basil, chives and of course olive oil !

On our way to Nice, stop in the attractive town of Aix-en-Provence, with its sumptuous architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries, the nice terraces, lovely streets with fountains singing everywhere. Three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) there is a large Provencal market taking place in the historical centre. You can find there all the things that make Provence famous: food of course (olive oil, goat cheese...) but also crafts, potteries, vegetal soaps... That's always a lovely sight ! Lunch in Aix.

Walking tour in the old town of Nice, discover among other things, the Palais Lascaris, a Genoan-style Baroque palace built in 1648 by the Lascaris-Ventimiglia family.

Dinner and accommodation in Nice.

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Day 8 : Nice / Cagnes / Antibes / Biot / Saint-Paul-de-Vence / Grasse

Visit the village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, where lived many great artists such as Chagall (he is buried is the village’s cemetery),  Matisse, Soutine, Chagall, Renoir, Signac, Modigliani, Dufy used to meet there.… not to mention writers including Gide, Giono, Cocteau and Prévert. Later, it was the turn of film directors and scriptwriters: Clouzot, Cayatte, Audiard… and French and international stars: Yves Montand, Lino Ventura, Simone Signoret, Romy Schneider, Roger Moore, Tony Curtis…

Visit the Maeght foundation in Saint-Paul-de-Vence for both its permanent collection and temporary exhibits. Painters and sculptors participated in its architectural design, creating artworks to complement the building and its gardens : Chagall's mosaic, Braque's stained-glass windows, Giacometti's sculptures, Miro's labyrinth, Calder's mobile...

Different options are possible, a painter’s trail can be followed:

Renoir in Cagnes-sur-mer where one can visit the last dwelling of the Impressionist master.

Antibes, Picasso museum in the castle Grimaldi.

Biot: Fernand Léger museum

Villefranche-sur-mer. Ancient Romanesque chapel dedicated to Saint Peter, patron-saint of fishermen, entirely restored and decorated by Jean Cocteau.

The town of Grasse is famous for its perfumes production. It started around 1580 when the fashion of perfumed gloves arrived from Italy via the Court of Catherine de Medici. Visit a perfume factory and eventually see the Villa-museum Fragonard dedicated to the famous 18th century French painter.

Dinner and accommodation in Nice

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Day 9 : Nice / Ezes / Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat / Beaulieu-sur-Mer
Option: Monaco.

Eze is a charming village part of the ‘Perched villages’ of the French Riviera, also nick-named the ‘Eagle-nest'.

Discover Villa Kérylos in Beaulieu-sur-mer, a luxurious re-creation of an Ancient Greek Villa. At the edge of the sea, facing the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula, the Villa is a magic place that takes you back in time. Entirely furnished and decorated, the Villa’s many rooms bear witness to the art of living and refinement of Ancient Greece.

Discover the Ephrussi villa in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, the most beautiful French Riviera Palazzo with its wonderful gardens. Baroness Ephrussi de Rothschild sought out artworks all over the world, transforming the Villa at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat into a collector’s paradise.

Option: Visit the glamorous principality of Monaco.

Dinner and accommodation in Nice.

 

Day 10 : Nice - Fly home

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