Price starting from: $6,895.00 per person. Prices are in USD, per person, based on double occupancy.
(for CAD$ rate call 1-855-824-2495)
Provence is a region that quickly comes to mind when one is seeking iconic landscapes in France. It evokes thoughts of lavender blooming and sunflowers in the breeze; the magical arid landscapes are paramount in our imagination. It’s much more than that, though. It’s a place known for its culinary traditions, celebrated wines and rich history. Thousands of acres of peaceful countryside await our exploration, with route notes acquainting us with the best way to stay off the beaten track when traversing this stunningly varied landscape in the lovely Luberon and famed Aix-en-Provence. Uncork the delicious vintages from an organic family winery, bed down in the region’s best hotels with each one uniquely luxurious in its own right, and hear the wonderful story of how American artist Jill Steenhuis came to choose this area as her home and atelier 40-years ago. In sum, it’s pure pleasure.
All accommodation as indicated on the itinerary (suite upgrade available, call for details)
Meals as indicated with wine, as selected by B&R
Services of B&R guide(s) and support van
A reusable B&R water bottle
Equipment as indicated
GPS routes, provided via RideWithGPS (app available for Apple or Android)
All special events, private tours, expert guests and entrance fees
All transportation from rendezvous to farewell locations
All baggage transportation
All gratuities for baggage, porters and hotel service
– International flights
– Cancellation insurance
– Items of a personal nature
– Gratuity for your B&R guide(s)
– Early hotel check-in or late check-out
Please call 1-855-824-2495 to request a quote.
Murs to Gordes
After a 45-minute drive east into the Luberon Valley, we’ll have a short introduction to the quiet village of Murs. This is the perfect place for your first impression of the region, with its beautiful panorama at 800 m (2,600 ft), tucked away in the Mont Vaucluse hills. Snap some photos in town of the 13th c. château and the Romanesque church before embarking on our walk, with a slow descent to our next hidden Luberon village of Joucas. This village is heavily influenced by art, which you’ll quickly discover as you walk past the work displayed by artists along winding alleyways. Feel free to pop into one of the many galleries before we meet for lunch on a beautiful terrace overlooking the valley.
Our post-lunch walk crosses through the wooded valley and eventually, we reach Gordes, one of Provence’s most beautiful villages and home to our stunning hotel. We won’t be surprised if you walk right past reception and your dangling room key and onto the terrace to soak in the glorious views. Not to worry, we’ll leave you some time to relax in front of the breathtaking landscape before an evening aperitif. Dinner will be hosted at the hotel’s lovely restaurant. Enjoy spectacular views while toasting to a great week ahead. Bon appetit!
Fontaine-de-Vaucluse & the Sorgue River
Following breakfast, we’ll set out to follow in the footsteps of Francesco Petrarch, an Italian poet and one of the pioneers of the Renaissance movement. At this time, the papacies had comfortably settled in Avignon and, blame it on the new creation of wines like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, life wasn’t exactly pious. Displeased, Petrarch sought refuge from the lords of Fontaine de Vaucluse and wrote against the new Babylon. Fontaine-de-Vaucluse is a medieval village known for its intimidating cliff, topped with a castle that overshadows the town below. More mysteriously, you’ll find the Sorgue River, which appears out of the ground forming a glacier-coloured lake. The origins have been explored without success, even in our day.
We’ll start hiking from the hotel along narrow paved roads before entering a short rocky section. From there, we’ll pass through the picturesque village of Cabrieres d’Avignon and ascend to a plateau arriving at Le Mur del Peste (a wall built to keep out the plague in earlier times). We’ll encounter stunning nature along with rocky footing as we descend into the valley reaching today’s destination, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, for a well-deserved lunch break along the tranquil Sorgues river. Once well sated, we’ll have a short drive back to the hotel, where you’ll have time to enjoy the elegant Sisley Spa or simply relax. This evening, dinner is on your own to explore one of the delightful local restaurants. Of course, your guides can help you plan the perfect evening.
This morning is market day in Gordes, only a few steps from your hotel’s front door. Stroll past the stalls selling fresh local produce, aromatic soaps, vibrant textiles and of course, lavender. From there, it’s a short drive to the 12th c. Abbaye de St-Hilaire, where we’ll embark on our walk. We’ll pass through the artist village of Lacoste along the way, once home to Marquis de Sade and then designer Pierre Cardin. The walk will meander in and out of forest groves, along pastures and vineyards until we reach the hilltop village of Bonnieux, where we’ll explore the myriad of winding streets in this quintessential Luberon town. Walking through the countryside, your appreciation and connection to the beauty of Luberon will continue to deepen.
There are plenty of options for lunch on your own, and your guides will point you in the right direction and let you know the departure time for our drive to the next hotel. Upon arrival at our sumptuous stay, enjoy some time to explore the extravagant grounds and relax by the pristine pool.
When the sun sets behind the mountains, we‘ll attempt Provence’s trademark game, boules, or as the locals say—pétanque, with our friend Bernard, whose passion for this game is contagious. Feeling a touch more Provençal, we’ll move into the restaurant’s airy dining room for an indulgent dinner.
Lourmarin Village & Château La Coste
Today, a short drive takes us across the Durance river to the village of Cadenet, where our pleasant journey starts on foot near a beautiful feudal château. Stroll alongside almond groves and vineyards, exciting your taste buds for a later encounter. We’ll arrive in Lourmarin, home to a beautiful castle from the 15th c. where we’ll be surrounded by Mediterranean architecture and winding alleyways. Explore local boutiques and have a refreshing drink in one of the cafés before carrying on to our lunch destination where a delightful wine tasting awaits. Upon arrival, the passionate estate owners welcome us with open arms as we’ll hear about their recent undertaking to transform this winery into an organic estate.
After lunch, a short drive takes us to the famed Château La Coste, primarily a wine estate but also known for stunning architecture and outdoor art installations. Wander through olive groves, vineyards and enchanting wooded trails to discover sculptures by talented contemporary artists along the way. Alternatively, head back directly to the hotel to enjoy the pool or relax in the gardens.
A short 10-minute drive has us back to the hotel for a well-deserved rest. If you feel the competitive itch, reconvene for a final round of pétanque before gathering around the table for an informal dinner al fresco on the romantic hotel grounds.
Aix-en-Provence & Art
Today offers a unique and exclusive opportunity to meet with American artist Jill Steenhuis at her incredible studio and home. Before our visit, we’ll take a short drive to the start of a scenic walk just outside Aix-en-Provence. We’ll enter a wooded area that emerges onto a plateau with mountainous views of Mt. Sainte Victoire, where Cezanne (and Jill) sought their inspiration. We’ll continue walking to arrive at Jill’s provençal mas (country home), where we meet our hostess extraordinaire. Hear about her fascinating life and visit her atelier, modelled after Cezanne’s in the centre of Aix. Spot her paintings and sculptures in every nook and cranny, indoor and out.
We’ll enjoy a relaxing lunch on the patio and soak up some beautiful stories before we head into the centre of Aix-en-Provence. We’ll wander around the village highlights and, for those staying an extra night (recommended), you’ll get a good sense of sites to explore later. A 10-minute walk brings you to your gorgeous luxury hotel. This evening, we join together for a parting cocktail to celebrate the new memories we’ve made. After, we’ll move into the hotel’s lavish dining room, spilling over with ambiance, for a final celebratory gourmet dinner together.
After a final breakfast together, we drive to the Aix-en-Provence train station in time for TGV trains to Paris. Keep in mind that we highly recommend an extra night in Aix-en-Provence. Bon voyage!