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Discover France’s Provence region on this marvelous trip starting in Marseille, France’s oldest city. Then, stay five nights in Avignon with its intact ramparts encircling the entire city, cobblestone streets and squares, and private mansions built in the 18th and 19th centuries. A guided tour of Avignon includes the Palace of the Popes, built in the 14th century as the sovereign popes’ residency. Get to know and enjoy the relaxed Provence way of life while visiting some of its main sights. Excursions are included to Pont du Gard, the triple-tiered Roman aqueduct dating to the 1st century AD; Nîmes with its Roman Amphitheater built to seat 24,000 spectators around 100 AD; Uzès with its medieval towers and narrow cobblestone lanes; Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where you can sample local wines; Orange, home to the 9,000-seat Roman theater; Arles with its 9th-century cathedral and 1st-century Roman amphitheater; and Les Baux de Provence. Before arriving back in Marseille, stop in Aix en Provence with its picture-perfect Old Town.
Destinations & Sightseeing
Individual headsetsInside visits and special features:Shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description including admission charges where applicable.Sightseeing: Visits to Marseille, Avignon, Pont du Gard, Nîmes, Uzès, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Orange, Arles, Les Baux de Provence, Aix-en-ProvenceGuides:
Professional Tour Director while touring
Scenic Highlights: Provence
The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on this vacation:
Transportation: Touring by private, first-class, air-conditioned motorcoach
Meals & Itinerary
Buffet breakfasts daily
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Day 1 Arrive in Marseille, France
Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore this Mediterranean port city. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day 2 Marseille–Avignon
Capital of the Provence, Marseille, France’s oldest city, was founded by the Greeks in 600 BC and is packed with fascinating sights. An orientation of the city takes you to its bustling ancient heart, the picturesque VIEUX PORT (old port), where elegant markets and handsome townhouses surround the boat-filled harbor. Then, head for the hilltop BASILICA NOTRE DAME DE LA GARDE for a visit and stunning views of the city. This afternoon, travel to historic Avignon, where you’ll stay for five nights.
Day 3 Avignon. Excursion to Pont du Gard
Start the day with a guided walking tour of this fortified medieval city, once the home of popes and famed for its Pont Saint-Bénezet, the arched bridge immortalized in the 15th-century French song Sur le Pont d’Avignon. Set alongside the Rhône River, the city’s pink sandstone buildings, cobblestone streets, and tree-lined squares are reminiscent of a Van Gogh painting. See the Romanesque cathedral and enjoy an inside visit to the PALAIS DES PAPES (Popes’ Palace). Topped with fairytale turrets, the court of this citadel once attracted Europe’s most distinguished intellectuals and artists. The afternoon is dedicated to your visit of PONT DU GARD. This stunning three-tiered Roman aqueduct dates back to the 1st century AD and was built to pipe water to the fountains, baths, and private homes in Nîmes—an attraction that more than warrants its UNESCO World Heritage status.
Day 4 Avignon. Exursion to Nîmes & Uzès
Begin today in the Roman town of Nîmes, the original heart of the 19th-century denim (de Nîmes) industry. On your guided tour, see the lotus tree-lined boulevards and squares, the Roman arena, and Maison Carrée, a colonnaded 5th-century temple. Also on the agenda: visit the wonderfully preserved Roman AMPHITHEATER, built around 100 AD to seat 24,000 spectators. This afternoon, explore the lovely town of Uzès, where medieval towers stand sentry over narrow cobblestone lanes.
Day 5 Avignon. Excursion to Châteauneuf-du-Pape & Orange
Once the summer retreat of Avignon’s popes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is now known for its local wines and its quaint cobblestone streets filled with wine shops. The ancient ruins of the papal château, destroyed by the retreating Germans in 1944, still loom high above the village. Sample local wines at a WINE CELLAR before heading toward Orange, home to a spectacular 9,000-seat Roman theater.
Day 6 Avignon. Excursion to Arles & Les Baux de Provence
Van Gogh was so inspired by the delightful town of Arles that he painted his masterpieces Sunflowers and Starry Night here. Admire its café-filled squares, 9th-century cathedral, and breathtaking 1st-century Roman amphitheater. Later, visit the walled town of Les Baux de Provence, whose crumbled citadel gives wonderful views over the Camargue.
Day 7 Avignon–Aix-En-Provence–Marseille
Provence’s medieval capital and once home to Cezanne, the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city of Aix-en-Provence boasts a postcard-perfect Old Town that is simply bursting with medieval treasures. Enjoy a walking tour that shows off the elegant mansions, 12th-century cathedral, and tree-lined COURS MIRABEAU, a virtual tunnel of greenery lined with grand fountains, famous cafés, and ornate town houses. Later, return to Marseille for a final overnight.
Day 8 Marseille
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
MARSEILLE Holiday Inn Express St. Charles (ST) or Golden Tulip Airport (F)AVIGNON Mercure Cité des Papes (F) or Ibis Pont de l'Europe (ST)
The following list of optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These optional excursions might or might not be offered. Whether it's a special dinner, a local show or a special behind-the-scenes glimpse into an historical site, optional excursions are a wonderful way to enrich your vacation even further. Plus, they give you flexibility. We include the must-see sites and experiences, and we also understand that people take interest in different activities and may want to craft a more personal vacation by hand-picking optional excursions that appeal to them.
Farewell Dinner Bouillabaisse
Say au revoir to France with your travelling companions by joining this farewell dinner to savor a very typical fish dish from the Marseilles region bouillabaisse. It is a fish soup containing various kinds of cooked fish, shellfish and vegetables, flavored with a variety of herbs and spices. Bon appetite!
Approximate value: 40 EUR per person
The Calanques of Marseille
A calanque is a geological formation in the form of a deep valley with steep sides, typically of limestone, in part submerged by the sea. It can be likened to a Mediterranean fjord and the ones in Marseilles offer spectacular panoramas. The best known examples of this formation can be found in the Massif des Calanques which extends for 20 Km in length and 4 Km in width along the coast between Marseilles and Cassis. The excursion takes you for a drive along these calanques with a stop in a fishing port.
Approximate value: 15 EUR per person
Dinner Ile De La Barthelasse
Leave your hotel and head to the Ile de la Barthelasse, one of the largest river islands in Europe and which is essentially agricultural due to its rich, alluvial soil. Dine in a charming restaurant on the bank of the Rhone river with a superb view of the city of Avignon famous for the Pont d'Avignon and Popes Palace.
Approximate value: 30 EUR per person
Olive Oil Tasting
In Provence the olive tree thrives in the Mediterranean climate: bright and mild in winter and hot and dry in summer, with gentle rainfall in spring and autumn. Visit an olive grove and taste for yourself the delicious olive oil from this region together with some "tapenade", a typical dish consisting of finely chopped black olives, anchovies, capers and olive oil.
Approximate value: 20 EUR per person
Aix en Provence
Mont Sainte-Victoire, rising to the east of Aix, is one of the landmarks of the Pays d'Aix. It dramatically overshadows the dam built by Emile Zola's father and has various haunts favored by Paul Cezanne for his works of art. In the village of Le Tholonet, on the southern side of Mont Sainte-Victoire, there is a mountain hut, the "refuge Cezanne", where the painter liked to work.
Approximate value: 15 EUR per person
Know Before You Go
These Know Before You Go travel tips are designed with you in mind, with helpful hints to help you prepare for and enjoy your escorted vacation. They are your guide to getting ready and contain general information on travel documentation, customs, and the country/countries you will be visiting, including budgeting, transportation, climate, languages, and much more. With Globus, you benefit from our experience.
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for additional information. Some tours require intra-vacation flights (and in some cases intra-vacation segments must be purchased from Cosmos).