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Walking Vacation France: Slow Road Through Provence​

Activity Level: Easy  |  Daily Mileage: 3 – 6 mi  |  Daily Walking: 2 – 5 hr
Air package plus
10 days from only
$4095
Price includes roundtrip airfare.
Land only
7 days from only
$3045
Pre-trip Extension
Aix-en-Provence • 2 nights $245

Post-trip Extension
:
Nice • 3 nights $545
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Depart U.S. / Fly overnight to Marseille

Depart the U.S. and travel to France. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets.

Day 2 - Arrive in Marseille and transfer to your Aix-en-Provence hotel

Upon arrival at Marseille (MRS) Airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area—VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. Make sure that your VBT luggage tags are attached to your bags. This helps the representative identify you. If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer representative for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please have airport staff page our driver with your last name so they may be notified of your delay. You may also contact our One Call travel assistance to advise of your delay and they will contact our transfer service. Our drivers are only able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands after which you would be responsible for your own transfer.

After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative, who will be holding a VBT sign. Your representative will welcome you to France and arrange for your transfer via taxi or van (approximately 45 minutes depending on traffic) to your Aix-en-Provence hotel. (Please verify with your VBT Trip Leader the time of your transfers at the end of your trip, from your Aix-en-Provence hotel to the Marseille airport, or your Nice hotel to the Nice airport if you are taking the post-trip extension). Important: If you are delayed in meeting your VBT representative at the Marseille Airport, please call 04 42 93 01 44 from within France. Outside of France, call +33 442 93 01 44.

VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in Aix-en-Provence during your stay. Use the rest of the day to relax or to begin exploring the city. Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 pm. You may store your luggage with the reception desk.

Day 3 - Meet Trip Leaders / Transfer to Vaison la Romaine

VBT No-Air Package guests: Enjoy lunch on your own before meeting our VBT Trip Leaders, who will be wearing VBT staff garments, in the lobby of the Hotel Aquabella, 2 Rue Des Etuves, Aix-en-Provence (tel. 011 33 4 42 99 15 00) at 12:50 pm. Be dressed and prepared to start the warm-up walk upon arrival into Vaison la Romaine as we will not visit the hotel first. We transfer via private motorcoach to Vaison la Romaine (a journey of approximately 90 minutes, depending on traffic).

If your arrival in Aix-en-Provence is later than 1:00 pm or if your arrival is delayed, you must make your own arrangements for travel to our hotel in Vaison la Romaine. Please contact the hotel to let them know if you are delayed. The hotel will pass your message along to our VBT Trip Leaders.

VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, check out of the hotel (your luggage can be stored with the reception desk) and enjoy a morning at leisure in Aix-en-Provence. Enjoy lunch on your own before meeting our VBT Trip Leaders, who will be wearing VBT staff garments, in the hotel lobby at 12:50 pm. Be dressed and prepared to start the warm-up walk upon arrival into Vaison la Romaine as we will not visit the hotel first. We transfer via private motorcoach to Vaison la Romaine (a journey of approximately 90 minutes, depending on traffic).

Upon arrival in Vaison la Romaine, we embark on a walk that loops from the center of town into the countryside and back. As we make our way to our hotel in the medieval section of town, we'll walk along cobblestone streets, through small squares and pass by fountains and a belfry featuring a wrought-iron campanile. 

Enjoy time on your own to relax and settle in before regrouping for tonight's welcome reception and dinner in the hotel.

Day 4 - Walk from Sablet to Seguret / Wine tasting at Domaine de Mourchon / Visit and picnic lunch at potter's home

After a very short transfer this morning to the village of Sablet, we start our walk to one of the official "most beautiful villages in France”, Seguret. The village lies at the foot of a hill topped by the ruins of its feudal chateau. There will be time to explore the charm of this village, with its typical Provencal atmosphere and medieval character.

Just outside of the village is located the Domaine de Mourchon. Here we will stop to taste their wines. Our walk then continues to the home and workshop of potter Alain Berthéas. He is famous for producing large clay pots, for both wine storage and as pieces of art. Here enjoy a picnic lunch in his garden.

Later we return to Vaison la Romaine, where the remainder of the day is yours. Enjoy strolling through the medieval town and trying one of its many wonderful restaurants for dinner.

Day 5 - Market / Walk to Crestet

After breakfast, we walk straight from the hotel to the market of Vaison la Romaine, where we immerse ourselves in the wonderful scents, colors and sounds of Provence. Here we'll find local produce, such as white asparagus and purple artichokes; baked goods and artisanal cheeses; fresh flowers and dried lavender; colorful tablecloths, napkins, and other linens; and fragrant handmade soaps. You might wish to pick up few local delicacies for your lunch, which we'll pause for later, during our walk through open countryside to the pretty hilltop village of Crestet. As we stroll its narrow, winding cobblestone streets, we'll be treated to magnificent views of the Ouveze Valley and majestic Mount Ventoux. 

After leaving Crestet we meet our bus and shuttle to our next hotel, in Villeneuve Les Avignon (a journey of approximately 60 minutes, depending on traffic). Enjoy free time here to settle in before we regroup tonight for dinner in the hotel's restaurant.

Day 6 - Avignon

This morning, we walk through the Old Town of Villeneuve and pause at the historic Fort Saint-André with views over Avignon. After exploring the town with take the local public bus into Avignon.

Here we'll meet a local guide for a walking tour of the famed “City of Popes,” so named for the 67-year period during the 14th century when seven popes, beginning with Clement V, abandoned Rome and made the city their permanent residence. During our stroll, we'll tour Avignon's historical center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and view the Palais de Papes, or Palace of the Popes, the magnificent Gothic complex in which the holy men once lived.

The afternoon is yours to do with as you please. Perhaps you'll venture inside the Palais de Papes, browse for souvenirs like pottery or handmade tablecloths at shops and market stalls, or enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the local bistros. Later we regroup with our Trip Leaders and walk back to our hotel.

Dinner tonight is on your own.

Day 7 - Les Baux / Les Alpilles / St. Remy

Today's discoveries begin with Les Baux, a fascinating village perched on a rocky plateau more than 800 feet high that can only be reached on foot. Enjoy some free time here to explore on your own, admiring the village's carefully restored Renaissance facades, browsing its art galleries and craft shops selling Provençal goods—and delighting in the sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.

We then transfer to a nearby ridge to begin our walk near Les Alpilles, or “The Little Alps.” This chain of limestone peaks running east-west is where bauxite was first discovered (and named after the village of Baux-de-Provence), and are an extension of the Luberon Mountains. Although the Alpilles may seem white and barren, the area has been rich in almonds, apricots, olives and grain since the Middle Ages. Our walk treats us to magnificent views of the mountains and surrounding plains before we drop down through the wooded slopes into St. Remy. Here we'll be invited into the home of Odile Mifsud, a renowned pastry maker. She gives us a taste of her considerable talent during a memorable home-cooked lunch—including delectable pastries, of course!

Afterward we meet up with another local friend, historian Mathilde Duvillier, who will escort us on a walking tour of St. Remy, during which we'll follow in the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh. The artist's paintings come alive as we visit the very scenes he immortalized; one of Van Gogh's most famous paintings, The Starry Night, is said to have been inspired by St. Remy's cityscape. After our walk, we shuttle to our next hotel, located just outside of the city.

Tonight, enjoy dinner on your own at our hotel's restaurant, or venture into St. Remy and choose from among its many inviting bistros.

Day 8 - Walk in Les Alpilles/Market visit at Eygalières/Olive oil tasting at Moulin a huile du Calanquet 

Today we have a short shuttle to our trail head where we join an undulating footpath that skirts the bottom edge of Les Alpilles through olive groves and vineyards. From a distance, before you arrive in the village, you'll see Eygalières perched on the summit of a small hill. As you approach you'll be able to make out the small houses which make up the village and the busy Friday market. Stop here to explore the village and market, perhaps buying some local produce for a picnic lunch.

Afterwards, we shuttle a short distance to the Moulin a huile du Calanquet and have the opportunity to learn all about the production of olive oil during a tour, starting in the olive grove and finishing with a tasting session.  

We return via shuttle to St. Remy, which you'll have time at leisure to explore before returning to our hotel. Here you'll have the opportunity to try your hand at the celebrated Provençal pastime of pétanque.

Tonight, toast your discoveries of southern France with your fellow travelers during a special farewell dinner at the hotel.

Day 9 - Transfer to Aix-en-Provence / Free time / VBT No-Air Package ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: After breakfast, transfer to the Aix-en-Provence Hotel Aquabella, arriving at approximately 11:00 am. Your tour ends here. If you need to depart at an earlier time, please make your own transfer arrangements.

VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, say goodbye to your Trip Leaders and transfer to Aix-en-Provence. Upon arrival, transfer to your centrally located hotel. You may spend the rest of the day relaxing and discovering this magical city on your own. You may wish to head out immediately to visit the large morning market that sells wonderful fruit, vegetables, flowers and spices and also Provençal goods (such as soaps, tablecloths, aprons, pottery) and clothes. There's a flea market, too.

Day 10 - Depart for U.S.

After breakfast*, transfer to the Marseille airport for your return flight. Please ensure you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated time**.
 
*For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.
 
**VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

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