A Gastronomic Holiday in Aix-en-Provence

Aix is one of the most quintessential Provencal towns, nestled in the heart of the Bouches-du-Rhône region. It is one of the larger of Provence’s cities, and owes much of its vibrancy to its history, climate, and large university population. From the famed tree-lined Cours Mirabeau, to the many (some say 1000!) fountains and public squares, Aix is a city for wandering, exploring, and sitting in one of the many outside restaurants for a meal, a glass of wonderful Provencal wine, or simply a coffee. The old city meanders with narrow, winding streets, many shops, restaurants, and cafes. The medieval quarter is home to the Cathedral of Aix, which embodies over a thousand years of religious, architectural, and artistic history in its many styles. In addition to the many sites Aix has to offer, its location in the heart of Provence make it an ideal base for exploring such other famed Provencal areas as the Luberon, the Verdon gorge, and the coast.


Trip Details

Your stay in Aix will include 2 cooking courses focusing on Provencal cuisine. The first will be with a well-known chef in the Luberon, the idyllic mountain range to the north of Aix. The second will be in a cooking atelier in the heart of Aix. Both hands-on cooking courses will feature the fresh seasonal produce for which Provence is so justifiably famous.


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Itinerary

Lavender at market in Provence

Day One

  • Private transfer from Aix TGV station or Marseille airport to Aix city center.
  • Check in to your hotel.
  • Time to relax, stroll around the city, and enjoy dinner on your own and overnight.

Cheese at market in Provence


Day Two

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • This morning meet your chef for a trip to the weekly open air market and sample regional products such as olives, calissons, cheese, and fruit. Then it is off to her cooking atelier, where you will enjoy a cooking class followed by lunch (drinks included).
  • In the afternoon, explore on your own the studio of painter Paul Cezanne, who was born in Aix. The studio was designed by Cezanne, and gives you the impression of stepping back to turn-of-the-century Provence!
  • Dinner on your own and overnight.

Fountain in Aix en Provence


Day Three

  • Breakfast.
  • The rest of the day will depend on the season. From April through October, have morning at leisure, and then meet your guide for an afternoon gourmet walking tour in Aix, learning about the town and tasting some of the local specialties. From November through March you will do a shared morning “Wine tour in Cezanne countryside” (maximum 8 participants) in which you will see the Sante-Victoire Mountain, such a famous inspiration for Cezanne, and then the Cotes de Provence Sainte-Victoire vineyards. Tasting at two of the wineries, then back to Aix with the rest of the day at leisure.
  • Dinner on your own, overnight.

Apple tart in France


Day Four

  • Breakfast.
  • Meet your English-speaking guide and transfer to the beautiful Luberon for a cooking class with famed chef Reine Samut. You will make seasonal Provencal dishes, perhaps utilizing zebra tomatoes, real custard, puff pastry, Provencal olive oil, preserved lemon, and more.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts (drinks included).
  • In the afternoon, off to discover the Luberon on a private tour. Stop in Lourmarin, one of the most beautiful villages in France, which is famous for its Renaissance castle. Then on to Bonnieux, a lovely town dominated by its High Church, perched 425 meters above sea level, which dominates the Combe of Lourmarin, a unique road that winds through the Luberon. Traverse the Pont Julien, an ancient Roman bridge, to Roussillon, a hilltop village that is famous for the colors of its cliffs, a mix of blood red, gold, and ochre.
  • Back to Aix, dinner on your own and overnight.

Pont du Gard in France


Day Five

  • Breakfast.
  • Meet your English-speaking guide for a shared full-day tour (maximum 8 participants). First head for the village of Les Baux de Provence, with its medieval charm and imposing castle ruins. (Or, from March to December it is possible to substitute this for a special light show in Carrieres de Lumieres. Entrance fees not included.)
  • Next, Pont du Gard, a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the finest Roman ruins.
  • End in Avignon, the “city of the Popes”, to see its medieval walls, Pont d’Avignon, and (if you choose) the famed Popes’ Palace (entrance fee not included).
  • Free time for lunch.
  • Stop at a Chateauneuf-du-Pape winery for a tasting en route back to Aix.
  • Dinner on your own and overnight.

Hotel room in Aix en Provence


Day Six

  • Breakfast, and checkout.
  • Spend the day exploring Aix (perhaps the Musee Granet), and enjoy a cheese and wine pairing for lunch.
  • Afternoon transfer to Aix TGV station or Marseille airport.

Trip Details

Included in the 5-Night Trip

Accommodations

5 nights accommodation in 3* hotel in Aix

Food & Beverages

  • Daily breakfast
  • 2 lunches, beverages included
  • Wine & cheese pairing on day 6

Classes & Instructors

Your stay in Aix will include 2 cooking courses focusing on Provencal cuisine. The first will be with a well-known chef in the Luberon, the idyllic mountain range to the north of Aix. The second will be in a cooking atelier in the heart of Aix. Both hands-on cooking courses will feature the fresh seasonal produce for which Provence is so justifiably famous.

Excursions

  • Market visit with the chef
  • Shared seasonal tour on day 3 (max 8 people, either a gastronomic walking tour of Aix with tastings or 2 winery visits/tastings in the Cote de Provence Sainte-Victoire area)
  • Private tour of the Luberon including Lourmarain, Bonnieux, the Pont Julien, and Roussilon
  • Shared excursion (max 8 people) to Les Baux de Provence, the Pont du Gard, Avignon, and Chateauneuf du Pape (please note depending on the season this excursion may be modified slightly)

Transfer Details

  • Arrival and departure transfers from/to Aix TGV station or Marseille airport (please note that the departure transfer on day six is in the afternoon; please do not book a train departing before 3 pm, nor a flight departing before 4:30 pm)

Miscellaneous

  • Tour guide in Avignon (entrance fees to Popes’ Palace not included)

Accommodation Information

Near the Fontaine de la Rotonde, your 3* family-run hotel is perfectly located to explore the wonders of Aix.  The colorful rooms feature art deco touches and free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Some rooms have private terraces.  A delectable brasserie with a covered terrace serves Provençal specialties. (If unavailable a comparable hotel will be proposed.)

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Pricing & Tour Dates

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Pricing:

5-night Program
US$2450 per person based on double occupancy
  • Add US$425 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)
  • Add US$300 per person to upgrade to 4* hotel

30% deposit due to confirm booking.
Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

Single supplement in 4* hotel: add US$650

Please inquire for July & August.


Tour Dates

Available any dates except for July & August for a minimum of 2 people.

Pricing & Dates

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