Provence & the Côte d’Azur
Immerse yourself in the sun-kissed landscape of the Côte d’Azur and Roman antiquities of Provence
Beginning in the medieval streets of Vieux Nice, you’ll have one of our favorite Old Town experiences learning of the city’s culture and cuisine, while indulging in Niçoise specialties ranging from crepes to ice cream. We explore Nice’s Italian, British, and Russian heritage through its history, architecture, and art.
Our guides lead you like locals on train excursions to medieval castles and churches, through an extraordinary Belle Époque villa and gardens, and sets you loose in the glitzy Riviera retail districts. Take in staggering views from a perched mountain top village and you’ll know exactly what drew the great 20th century artists to this “Azure Coast.” Along the way, you enjoy a taste of traditional Provence. Sample regional specialties and Michelin-rated food and meet artisan wine and olive oil producers. We wander the ancient cobbles of Arles, visit the best-preserved Roman monuments, and shop Provençal markets. The tour ends in the Fountain City of Aix-en-Provence, best known for its produce market and studio of artist, Cézanne.
Through guided walking tours, market and museum visits, specialized food and wine tastings, a cooking class, shopping excursions, day trips, and free time, you’ll come away with an authentic taste of the Côte d’azur.
Features & Attractions
- In-depth private tour of Vieux Nice, Nice’s Old Town
- Tour of Palais Lascarais & rare Medieval Musical Instrument Museum
- Museum admission: Matisse, Beaux Arts, Contemporary Art, Archaeology
- Tour of Villa Ephrussi art collections and gardens
- Tour of Pont du Gard, UNESCO World Heritage site: one of the world’s greatest Roman aqueducts
- Guided tour of UNESCO district of Arles’ Roman monuments: Les Arènes, Théâtre Antique, Cryptoportico, the Roman cemetery
- Tour Nîmes’ Roman sites: Maison Carée and Amphitheatre
- Tour of St. Trophime Cathedral’s famous sculpted cloister, Arles
- Tour & Tastings at Châteauneuf-du-Pape winery
- Tour of Palais Lascarais & rare Medieval Musical Instrument Museum
- Tour village and church of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
- Tour the beaches of the Camargue
- Pre-travel consulting services with one of our Travel Consultants
- Full-time services of two travel guides
- First-class accommodations of cultural or historical interest
- All meals noted in itinerary
- Limited wine with meals
- Food or drink tastings
- Tour guide book and reading list
- Itinerary with an emphasis on history, culture, and regional cuisine
- Luggage transfer between destinations
- All ground transportation as noted in itinerary (taxis, private vans, trains, etc.)
- All taxes and gratuities at hotels and restaurants
While meandering the medieval streets of Vieux Nice, our expert guides introduce the city’s food, history, and Italian influences with stops at Cathédral Sainte-Réparate and le palais Lascaris with its extraordinary Baroque frescoes and prestigious medieval musical instrument collection. Sample crepes, tarts, and rosé wine during our progressive lunch of Niçoise specialties; then unwind and get to know your fellow travelers over sunset cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at a beach front restaurant.
Colors and aromas greet us during a culinary walking tour through Old Town markets, beginning at the Cours Saleya (daily market) and ending with an artisanal olive oil tasting and lunch made by local shop owners. Spend a few hours museum-hopping, shopping for local sundries, or just basking on the pebbly beach. An afternoon Belle Époque walk highlights Nice’s British and Russian heritage with stops at landmark hotels, Europe’s largest Russian Orthodox cathedral, and the Beaux Arts Museum- a spectacular art collection housed in the former villa of Russian princess. Share your thoughts (and photos) with us during a casual group dinner in Old Town.
Make like a Jazz Age ex-pat and hop the train for a glitzy coastal excursion. Spend the morning wandering Antibes’ winding streets, open air markets or visiting the Picasso Museum. Then it’s off to Juan le Pin, a village best known for its jazz scene. Take in the coastline for a superb waterfront lunch at the five-star Belles Rives Hotel, once owned by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Enjoy some free time after lunch before we travel to Cannes, where you’ll shop along La Criosette and enjoy the sinking sun from a sandy beach. We’ll take dinner together in Cannes’ hillside Old Town. Back in Nice, the night is yours. Cabaret or Casino? Hot jazz? Cool surf? We’ll help you plan a night on the town.
After a leisurely morning in Nice, the train zips us to Èze-sur-Mer, a quiet swath of beach only a few stops from Nice, where we’re shuttled up the mountain for staggering coastal views from the perched village of Èze. Wander the steep, cobbled streets and enjoy lunch on your own. Next train stop: Beaulieu-sur-Mer to visit the extraordinary Villa Ephrussi. Tour of the historic gardens and rose colored mansion built in 1905 by Béatrice de Rothschild to house her art collection, furniture, and Old Master paintings. Snack on a pastry and drink at the villa’s teahouse overlooking the Mediterranean. Freshen up in Nice for an evening stroll to a fabulous scenic dinner gastronomique.
We embark on a group adventure to Arles, an ancient Roman city in the heart of Provence. Enjoy the changing scenery and a special lunch along the way. After getting settled, take a guided walking tour of Arles’ UNESCO classified district: learn about Arlesian history and cuisine while wandering around some of the world’s best-preserved Roman ruins, early Christian churches, and plenty of boutiques, galleries, and cafes. Sample traditional, Provençal cuisine and regional wine during dinner in historic Arles.
Spend the morning exploring Arles at your leisure. Use your museum pass to visit Les Arènes, Théâtre Antique, Cryptoportico, the Roman cemetery Les Alyscamps, St. Trophime Cathedral’s famous sculpted cloister or one of the many museums. Walk in the footsteps of Van Gogh, visiting sites made famous in his paintings, including the Van Gogh Café where you might have lunch on your own. After lunch, join us for an excursion to the coastal village of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and The Camargue – a protected national park famous for its half wild horses, lagoons, sandy beaches, and dunes. After a relaxing, sun-kissed day, dress for dinner at one of Arles’ many restaurants.
We embark on an 8-hour tour of Provence’s Roman heritage, beginning in Nîmes where we tour the Maison Carrée and Amphitheatre – two of the world’s best Roman ruins. Lunch in Nîmes is followed by a pilgrimage to the world’s best-preserved Roman aqueduct and a 900-year old olive tree. We’ll sample world famous Rhône wines at a Châteauneuf-du-Pape winery and shop for chocolat, bon-bons, and liqueur at the famous chocolatier, Bernard Castelain. Our casual bistro dinner in Arles highlights local Ingredients and wine.
An early train is worth the experience that awaits in nearby Avignon, an extraordinary walled city best known for being the 14th century seat of the Papacy. Lunch is prepared during a cooking class featuring regional recipes, ingredients, and wine with an acclaimed local chef, followed by a tour of Palais des Papes – the world’s largest Gothic palace built in 1334. Free time to visit the Petit Palais’ Museum of Renaissance Art, walk on the Pont d’Avignon, or wander through the city. We arrive in Arles around dinner to enjoy at your leisure.
It is up to you how your final morning in Arles is spent. Join us for an optional morning walking tour of Arles’ Van Gogh sites. We are happy to help you make arrangements from the hotel to your next destination or airport.