Southeast Coast of France 8-Day Tour Itinerary

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Best of Avignon, Aix-en-Provence & Marseille in 8 Days

Discover the allure of France’s southeast coast on this meticulously curated 8-day tour itinerary.

From the historical richness of Avignon to Aix-en-Provence’s art-filled streets and Marseille’s Mediterranean charm, immerse yourself in a journey through picturesque villages, iconic landmarks, and breathtaking landscapes.

What is included:

Day 1: Arrival in Avignon - The Gateway to Provence

external view of the Palais des Papes, Avignon, France
Palais des Papes, Avignon, France

Welcome to Avignon, your first stop on this enchanting journey through the southeast of France.

With its rich papal legacy and vibrant Provençal culture, this historic city is the perfect introduction to the region’s deep-rooted heritage and artistic flair.

Palais des Papes: A Journey Through Medieval Grandeur

We begin with a comprehensive exploration of the Palais des Papes, a symbol of the church’s influence in the 14th century.

This architectural marvel stands as the largest Gothic palace in the world, offering over 20 rooms to discover, including the Pope’s private chambers, grand ceremonial halls, and the beautifully frescoed Chapelle Saint-Jean.

A private guide will bring to life the stories of the nine popes who resided here, delving into the political intrigue and artistic patronage that characterized their reigns.

The tour also includes access to the palace’s hidden gardens and terraces, providing stunning views over Avignon and the Rhône River.

Pont d'Avignon: Legends and Landscapes

Continue your journey to the Pont d’Avignon; this partially standing bridge, originally built in the 12th century, was an essential medieval crossing point and pilgrimage route.

On your guided tour, you will learn about its construction, the reasons behind its partial destruction, and the folklore surrounding it, including the tale of Saint Bénézet, who, according to legend, initiated its construction.

Historic City Center: A Tapestry of Time

Conclude your first day with a stroll through Avignon’s historic city center. Your guide will lead you through narrow cobblestone streets, pointing out architectural gems and recounting tales from the city’s past.

Discover the bustling Place de l’Horloge, the vibrant heart of Avignon with its cafes and the historic city hall, and the picturesque Rue des Teinturiers, lined with ancient water wheels.

This immersive walk highlights Avignon’s medieval and Renaissance architecture and gives you a glimpse into the daily lives of its inhabitants, past and present.

Day 2: Avignon - Cultural Immersion and Provençal Cuisine

Avigon Chateux, France, Private Tours
Avigon, France

Your second day in Avignon delves deeper into the cultural and culinary heritage that makes Provence so captivating, offering a blend of artistic discovery and gastronomic delight.

Local Cuisine and Market Tour: A Taste of Provence

Your guide will meet you outside your accommodation to set things off with a sensory tour of Les Halles, Avignon’s lively indoor market.

Under the guidance of a local culinary expert, you’ll navigate the colorful stalls bursting with fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, olives, and meats. Engage with local vendors, sample traditional Provençal delicacies, and learn about the regional ingredients that form the backbone of southern French cuisine.

Théâtre du Chêne Noir: Behind the Curtains of French Theater

In the afternoon, immerse yourself in the contemporary cultural scene with a visit to the Théâtre du Chêne Noir.

This renowned avant-garde theater in a former chapel is a hub for creative expression in Avignon. Depending on the theater’s schedule, you may have the unique opportunity to attend a private rehearsal, meet with the performers, or enjoy an exclusive performance.

Evening at Leisure: Savoring Avignon's Nightlife

As the day winds down, take the evening to explore Avignon at your own pace. The city comes alive at night, with its terraced cafes and gourmet restaurants offering the perfect setting to reflect on your experiences.

Enjoy a meal at one of the Michelin-starred establishments or a quaint bistro, indulging in dishes that showcase the finesse of French cuisine and the robust flavors of the Provence region.

Day 3: Day Trip to the Pont du Gard and Uzès

Pont du Gard, Provence in France
Pont du Gard, France

Your third day takes you on a picturesque journey into the heart of Roman Gaul and medieval France.

As your private driver collects you from your accommodation in the morning in one of our luxurious executive class vehicles, prepare to venture beyond Avignon to explore two remarkable destinations that capture the essence of historical grandeur and architectural beauty.

Pont du Gard: A Testament to Roman Engineering

Upon arrival, begin with a guided tour of the Pont du Gard, an awe-inspiring ancient Roman aqueduct that stands as a testament to the engineering prowess of the Roman Empire.

This UNESCO World Heritage site, built in the 1st century AD, was crucial in supplying water to the Roman colony of Nemausus, now modern-day Nîmes. Marvel at the precision of its construction as you walk along the preserved upper tiers of the aqueduct, where water once flowed.

Learn about the aqueduct’s historical significance, its role in the region’s development, and the innovative techniques used by the Romans to construct this architectural marvel. The surrounding natural park offers a serene setting for a leisurely stroll or a picnic, with the majestic aqueduct serving as a breathtaking backdrop.

Uzès: A Stroll Through Medieval Times

Continue your day with a visit to Uzès, a gem of medieval architecture. This charming town, with its narrow streets, shaded squares, and beautifully preserved buildings, exudes an atmosphere of timelessness.

Follow your guide through the Duchy of Uzès, a castle that has been the residence of the Dukes of Uzès for centuries. Explore the medieval garden and the Berbis Tower, and enjoy panoramic views from the top of the King’s Tower.

Delve into the town’s history, from its Roman origins to its peak in the Middle Ages, and discover its significance in the development of the region. Uzès is also known for its lively market squares, where you can sample local products, from truffles to olive oil, rounding off your day trip with a taste of the local cuisine.

Thanks to Debbie and her team for organizing the holiday of a lifetime. It was great to meet real locals and visit less touristy parts of Paris. We loved Luc the chef for showing us, including our 2 teenage daughters, how to make the best Cassoulet in France! Highly recommend Paul, our driver guide who looked after us our whole time in Paris. We will be back next year!

Day 4: Arrival in Aix-en-Provence - A Canvas of Art and Elegance

Fontaine de la Rotonde, Cours de Mirabeau
Fontaine de la Rotonde, Cours de Mirabeau

Welcome to Aix-en-Provence, a city celebrated for its stunning architecture, rich artistic heritage, and vibrant street life.

Your exploration of Aix begins today, immersing you in the charm and beauty of this quintessential Provençal town.

Cours Mirabeau: The Heartbeat of Aix

Begin your journey on the Cours Mirabeau, a wide, tree-lined avenue that serves as Aix-en-Provence’s social and cultural artery. Stroll along this elegant boulevard, flanked by 17th and 18th-century mansions, fountains, and cozy cafés.

Your guide will share stories of the Cours Mirabeau’s historical significance, from its role in the city’s social life to its influence on the works of local artists. The vibrant café terraces offer the perfect spot to soak in the atmosphere and indulge in people-watching, a favorite pastime in Aix.

Paul Cézanne's Studio: In the Footsteps of a Master

Continue your artistic pilgrimage to the Atelier de Cézanne, the studio where Paul Cézanne, Aix’s most famous son, created some of his most significant works. Preserved just as he left it, the studio offers a deeply personal glimpse into the life and creative process of the post-impressionist master.

Surrounded by his tools, sketches, and personal belongings, you’ll feel the presence of Cézanne and gain insight into the inspirations behind his revolutionary art.

Day 5: Aix-en-Provence - Cultural Immersion and Market Flavors

Place des Prêcheurs, Aix, France

Your second day in Aix-en-Provence delves deeper into the city’s cultural fabric, exploring its renowned museums and lively markets.

Granet Museum: A Treasure Trove of Art

Begin your day at the Musée Granet, a fine arts museum housing an impressive collection of works spanning from the Renaissance to modern times. Highlights include pieces by Cézanne, Picasso, and Rembrandt, among others.

A guided tour will provide context to the artworks, highlighting the museum’s role in preserving and showcasing the region’s rich artistic legacy. The museum’s elegant rooms and tranquil courtyards offer a peaceful retreat from the bustling city streets.

Market Squares and Café Culture: The Provençal Way of Life

Spend the afternoon immersing yourself in Aix’s vibrant market squares, where the colors, scents, and sounds encapsulate the essence of Provençal life.

Explore the bustling markets of Place des Prêcheurs and Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, where you can find everything from fresh local produce to handmade crafts. Engage with local artisans, sample regional specialties, and perhaps pick up a souvenir to remember your time in Aix.

Conclude your day in one of the city’s iconic cafés, savoring a leisurely drink while reflecting on the artistic and architectural wonders that define Aix-en-Provence.

Day 6: Day Trip to the Luberon Villages - Provençal Charm Unveiled

woman walking amongst rows of purple lavender fields in Roussillon, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Roussillon, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France

Along with your private driver-guide, journey into the heart of the Luberon, a region celebrated for its idyllic villages, verdant vineyards, and vibrant artisanal markets.

This day trip from Aix-en-Provence will introduce you to the quintessential beauty of rural Provence, exploring three of Luberon’s most enchanting villages.

Lourmarin: A Gateway to the Luberon

Your first stop is Lourmarin, often hailed as one of the most beautiful villages in France.

Nestled amidst olive groves and vineyards, Lourmarin captivates with its Renaissance castle, charming streets, and lively cafés.

A guided stroll through the village reveals a harmonious blend of architecture and nature, with art galleries, boutiques, and open-air markets showcasing the creativity and culinary prowess of the local community. The relaxed atmosphere and stunning landscapes have inspired many artists and writers, making Lourmarin a perfect introduction to the Luberon’s allure.

Bonnieux: Layers of History and Panoramic Views

Next, ascend the winding streets of Bonnieux, a hilltop village offering breathtaking views over the Luberon Valley.

Bonnieux’s layered history is visible in its ancient churches, medieval ramparts, and terraced houses clinging to the hillside.

Your guide will lead you through the village’s narrow lanes, uncovering centuries-old stories and pointing out the best vantage points for capturing the sweeping vistas.

The local bakery, perched high in the village, is an ideal spot to savor traditional Provençal pastries while overlooking the patchwork of vineyards and orchards below.

Roussillon: A Symphony of Colors

Conclude your day in Roussillon, renowned for its striking ochre cliffs and vividly colored buildings. This village seems to emerge from a palette of warm hues, from golden yellow to deep red, creating a mesmerizing landscape.

A guided walk along the Ochre Trail allows you to explore the natural ochre deposits that have shaped the village’s identity and economy. Learn about the history of ochre mining and its impact on the region, and wander through Roussillon’s streets, where the colors of the earth are reflected in the facades of homes and shops.

The village’s art galleries and studios offer insights into how the unique landscape continues to inspire contemporary creativity.

This day trip through the Luberon villages offers a deep dive into the essence of Provence, where the beauty of the landscape intertwines with the rich cultural and artistic heritage of its villages. Lourmarin, Bonnieux, and Roussillon each offer a unique perspective on the Provençal way of life, leaving you with lasting memories of this picturesque region.

We arrived safely back in Texas earlier this week with full hearts and stomachs!! Our trip was AMAZING!! We have already shared many times with family and friends that our trip could not have been better! We loved every minute! Thank you for all that you did to make everything so special! We loved Fabrice! He was so professional and wonderful to be with! Our favorite guide was Edwige! (all were wonderful though)! The Seine boat tour was so very special! FYI...the Kimpton St Honore was wonderful and an excellent price compared to the other 5 star hotels. We have already told several friends about Luxury France Tours and plan on using your services on our next trip to France....which we hope will be soon! Many thanks and blessings to you both....

Day 7: Marseille - Vibrant Port City and Historical Wonders

Mountain Notre Dame in Marseille tour
Marseille, France

As your journey through the southeast of France continues, arrive in Marseille, where ancient history and modern vibrancy converge against a backdrop of Mediterranean blues.

Today’s exploration of Marseille will take you from its bustling old port to the serene heights of its famed basilica.

Vieux Port: The Heartbeat of Marseille

Begin your Marseille adventure at the Vieux Port, the historic and cultural epicenter of the city. A private guided tour around the port will unveil its evolution from a Greek trading post in 600 BC to a lively marina and social hub.

Witness the daily fish market, where the catch of the day is still sold, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere surrounded by cafés and historical buildings. The tour will also highlight key landmarks, such as the modern mirror canopy designed by Norman Foster, which reflects the port’s bustling life.

Notre-Dame de la Garde: A Panoramic Sanctuary

Next, ascend to Notre-Dame de la Garde, the city’s most iconic landmark. Perched atop a limestone outcrop, this basilica offers panoramic views over Marseille and the Mediterranean Sea.

A guided tour inside reveals stunning mosaics, maritime ex-votos, and the story of Marseille’s spiritual protector. The serene ambiance and breathtaking vistas provide a moment of reflection, contrasting with the city’s dynamic pulse.

MuCEM: A Journey Through Mediterranean Civilisations

Conclude your day at the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCEM), an architectural masterpiece linking the old and new. Explore the exhibitions that delve into the diverse cultures of the Mediterranean basin, from ancient artifacts to contemporary art.

The museum’s design, featuring a concrete filigree exterior, is a sight to behold, especially at sunset when it casts intricate shadows.

Day 8: Marseille - Natural Wonders and Farewell

the Calanques National Park and Mediterranean Sea.
Calanque Marseille Cassis Sea Mediterranean

On your final day, embrace the natural beauty surrounding Marseille with an adventure to the Calanques National Park, followed by leisure time to reflect on your journey.

Calanques National Park: A Natural Masterpiece

Embark on a guided boat tour or hike through the Calanques National Park, where dramatic limestone cliffs plunge into the azure waters of the Mediterranean.

This pristine environment offers a tranquil escape, with hidden coves and crystal-clear waters ideal for swimming. Your guide will share insights into the park’s unique ecosystem and the efforts to preserve this natural treasure.

Leisure Time in Marseille

Spend your afternoon enjoying Marseille at your leisure. Revisit the Vieux Port for a leisurely lunch, explore the artistic quarter of Le Panier, or simply relax on the beach, soaking in the Mediterranean sun.

Departure Dinner

Celebrate the conclusion of your tour with a farewell dinner in one of Marseille’s renowned seafood restaurants. Savor the flavors of bouillabaisse, a traditional Provençal fish stew, as you reminisce about the unforgettable experiences and connections made throughout your journey.

These final two days in Marseille encapsulate the essence of your tour: a blend of historical exploration, cultural immersion, and natural beauty, setting the stage for a heartfelt farewell to the enchanting southeast coast of France.

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Contact Us About The 8-Day Southeast Coast of France Tour

This itinerary offers a deep dive into the heart of Provence and the Rhône Valley on the southeast coast of France, away from the bustling French Riviera, allowing guests to experience the rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and culinary delights of southeastern France.

Whether you’re captivated by the historical allure of Avignon, the artistic vibes of Aix-en-Provence, or the vibrant shores of Marseille, our team is here to tailor an unforgettable 8-day adventure just for you.

Contact us today to start planning your customized exploration of France’s stunning southeast coast. Your extraordinary adventure awaits!

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Salut from France! I’m Debbie, founder of Luxury France Tours.

Having developed into a Francophile on a trip to the French Alps many years ago while still in school, I moved to France after a career traveling the world led to me meeting my (now) French Husband in Johannesburg. I created Luxury France Tours as a way of sharing my love of France & igniting this passion in others.

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