June 2-10 Off the Beaten Path in Languedoc Beginner
June 16-24 Spring in Provence Advanced $3,475*
* For more detailed information on PRICING for our Languedoc and Provence tours (Inclusions & Exclusions), please click HERE.
You can also download PDF's of our detailed Languedoc and our Provence itineraries (include photos).
Every day will begin with one hour of French class with our Native French Tutor who will prepare us for the day of excursions ahead of us.
Note: Itineraries are subject to change.
Off the Beaten Path in Languedoc
DAY 1: Montpellier
Arrival in Montpellier, France.
Private transfer from airport to hotel subject to time of arrival.
Check into DISINI HOTEL**** for 2 nights (or same category)
We will relax in this gorgeous property, and enjoy our first French regional dinner at the Michelin-rated Disini Restaurant.
DAY 2: Pont du Gard
After breakfast, let’s have our first class in France! Our French tutor will prepare us for the first visit of our trip.
Our driver will then take us to this jewel of architecture, unique in Europe, that is the Pont du Gard (Roman aqueduct over the Gardon River).
Our guide will give us a tour of the museum and of the aqueduct. This will include walking across the top level of the aqueduct from which we will enjoy a spectacular view!
Lunch will be at the local restaurant Les Terrasses, facing the aqueduct.
After the Pont du Gard visit, we will return to our hotel and enjoy some relaxing time at the Disini: the park of olive trees, the swimming pool, the jacuzzi, the spa, or massage in your room. Your hotel is part of the “Hotel du Silence” group. It is a relaxing place that you will appreciate with a good glass of wine before dinner.
Dinner at the hotel.
DAY 3: Pézenas, Sète
After breakfast, we will have our daily class before checking out of our hotel.
Our driver will take us to Pézenas for a guided tour of the village. Pézenas is a City of Art and History that boasts a stunning architectural and cultural heritage. Beautiful paved streets lined up with craft workshops cheer up the stroll. Pézenas was also the place of residence of 17th century playwright, Molière.
Local specialty lunch in the village.
Afternoon: We continue our tour by driving to Sète, a 40-minute drive south.
Sète, located on the Mediterranean shore, is crisscrossed with canals and waterways.
We check in at
GRAND HOTEL (or same category). The Grand Hotel is a charming 19th-century 3*** hotel in the heart of Sète, built in front of the canal in the heart of the old town. Its original glass roof is stunning, as is the very Parisian interior staircase.
Dinner on our own in town.
DAY 4: Sète, Bouzigues
We will enjoy our breakfast in the indoor patio, followed by our daily French class.
Afterwards, a guide will take us for a visit of Sète.
On the other side of the Lake of Thau, the village of Bouzigues specializes in oyster and mussel farming. 7,500 hectares in size, the lake is the largest salted lake in Languedoc, separated from the Mediterranean by a laguna.
We will have lunch in Bouzigues.
After lunch, let’s go to Béziers (32 miles)! We will visit the Saint-Nazaire Cathedral.
The history and settlement of Béziers at the foot of the hill of Saint-Nazaire started some 6,500 years ago. The most infamous episode in Béziers’ history dates back to July 1209 when the city, then a notorious stronghold of Cathar heresy, refused to surrender to the armies of the King of France. The Crusaders eventually stormed and sacked the city, sparing only a minority who accepted to give up their faith. Half the population of Béziers lost their lives on that day, July 22nd, 1209.
The Canal du Midi (1609) represents a turning point in the history of Béziers. Pierre Paul Riquet designed it, connecting the Garonne (the Atlantic coast) to the Mediterranean Sea. Meant to develop and secure trade between the two seas, the Canal provided a period of great prosperity for Béziers.
We will check into our 4**** hotel for 2 nights (or same category). The CHATEAU DE LIGNAN is a spectacular property located ten minutes from downtown Béziers.
Dinner at La Maison de Petit Pierre.
DAY 5: Béziers, Canal du Midi
After breakfast and French class, we transfer to the Canal du Midi where we will spend a full day of leisure on a barge cruising the legendary waterway. We will learn all about the history of the Canal and its designer, Pierre-Paul Riquet, while we cross the canal-bridge, pass the nine locks, and then leave town for a visit of the local countryside.
A lunch of regional delicacies will be served on board.
We return to Béziers around 4:30pm; the rest of the evening is free.
We meet up later for dinner.
DAY 6: Minerve, Carcassonne
After breakfast and our French class, we will check out of our hotel and head to Minerve (30 miles). Ranked among the "Most Beautiful Villages of France", Minerve is the historical capital of the Minervois. The village is located on a rocky outcrop and is surrounded by canyons and vineyards. In 1210, one year after the Béziers massacre, the Crusaders besieged Minerve to capture the Cathar heretics. The town was taken and 140 of them perished in the flames, refusing to renounce their faith.
We will tour Minerve with our guide, and have lunch at a nearby restaurant.
Afternoon: The fortified city of Carcassonne awaits us. With its medieval feel, its equestrian tournaments, its Museum of Torture, its ramparts and its moats, Carcassonne is one of the most beautiful and unique fortified towns in Europe.
We will take a guided tour of the Château Comtal (Castle of the Counts of Carcassonne) upon arrival.
Later, we will check in for 2 nights at HOTEL DU CHATEAU (or same category).
Dinner in Carcassonne.
DAY 7: Cooking Class near Carcassonne
Today is a very special day!
After breakfast and our daily class, we will be transferred to Trèbes (15 miles), to a 12th century farm located on one of the most photogenic and meandering stretches of the Canal du Midi. There, we will prepare our own delicious lunch with Chef Heather. Our cooking class will be paired with a wine tasting session led by a local wine expert.
The rest of the evening is free.
Dinner in Carcassonne.
DAY 8: Fontfroide Abbey, Narbonne
Today is dedicated to oenotourism (wine tourism) and history.
After breakfast and French class, our driver will take us to Fontfroide Abbey where we will be welcomed by a specialist for our “Aroma and Flavors of the Garrigue” visit. Garrigue is the name given to this unique scrubland of the Mediterranean landscape.
We will discover the local olive oil, taste three of the Abbey’s own wines, and enjoy olive specialties and regional biscuits.
We will then explore the Abbey with a dedicated guide.
Lunch will be at the Abbey’s restaurant La Table de Fontfroide.
Our visit to Frontfroide Abbey will end with a free bottle of Muscat wine and a jar of local honey.
Afternoon: Our driver will then take us to Narbonne where the rest of the afternoon will be free.
Founded in 118 BCE, Narbonne’s geographical location made it a veritable crossroads on the Mediterranean coast. You will love discovering the town: the monumental cathedral, the paved streets of the pedestrian shopping area, and the cafés on the riverbanks.
In the evening, we will transfer back to DISINI HOTEL near Montpellier for our last night.
Farewell dinner at the Disini Restaurant.
DAY 9: Bye-bye, Languedoc!
After breakfast, it will be time to say Au Revoir. Nous reviendrons bientôt!
We will be driven to Montpellier airport for our outbound flight.
Spring in Provence
DAY 1: Arrival in Marseille-Marignane Airport
Meet&Greet at Marseille Marignane Airport (MRS) and transfer to St Rémy de Provence.
Check in at LE MAS DES CARASSINS Hotel***.
We will spend the rest of the afternoon in our beautiful hotel located in Saint Rémy de Provence. You will freshen up and get acquainted with this beautiful Provençal house, our home for the next 8 days. Lounge by the pool, hike around the area, or take a well-deserved rest! We will reconvene in the evening around a gourmet meal, our first “Provençal" dinner.
DAY 2: Sénanque Abbey, Gordes
After breakfast and our first morning French class, we will take a guided tour of Notre-Dame de Sénanque, a Cistercian abbey founded in the 12th century.
After our visit, we will have lunch in Gordes at La Terrasse, with a menu of Mediterranean specialties.
We will spend the afternoon in Gordes, a hilltop town listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. The village boasts the most exceptional views over the mountain chain of “Alpilles”. Dominated by the castle and the church, the perched and fortified village shelters several mansions, constructed from the same stone. The village became an inspirational place for artists: Marc Chagall, Victor Vasarely, Jean Deyrolle and Pol Mara spent time here.
DAY 3: L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse
After breakfast and our class, our driver will take us to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (“The island on the River Sorgue”), a former center of silk and paper manufacture, also known as the “Venise Comtadine” for its many canals. We will stroll through its famed Sunday morning market.
We will then explore the city on foot before lunch.
Our visit will continue with Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, the source of the Sorgue River. The spring originates from an immense underground network of waters, with an average flow of 630 million m3 per year, the biggest in France and one of the biggest in the world.
In the early evening, transfer to the hotel. Dinner on our own.
DAY 4: Oppède-le-Vieux, Roussillon, Aix-en-Provence
After breakfast and our daily French class, our driver will pick us up to transfer us to the hilltop village of Oppède-le-Vieux. The village is only accessible on foot, which, despite the beauty of the site, has kept it off the beaten (tourist) path. We will spend our morning walking around its many well-hidden wonders.
A gourmet lunch at David Restaurant in Roussillon will be followed by an exploration of the village itself and its unique geology, due to three centuries of exploitation of a large vein of ochre. We will walk along a path winding around the old quarries and marvel at the many colors and varieties of ochre still visible in the surrounding landscape.
Later in the afternoon, our driver will take us to Aix-en-Provence . This charming town is known for its old universities and was home to artist Cézanne. Explore the Cours Mirabeau, and the narrow streets of the city with their cafés and shops.
We will have dinner in Aix-en-Provence before returning to our hotel.
DAY 5: Les Baux-de-Provence
We will drive 7 miles to Les Baux-de-Provence.
Upon arrival, we will go to Moulin Castelas. In this mill, at the foot of the Château des Baux, Catherine and Jean-Benoît combine know-how, passion, exacting standards, technique and all of their olive farmers’ sensibility to create intensely powerful olive oils. We will taste the oils of the Castelas Collection, distinguished regularly by prizes at the Concours Général Agricole in Paris.
Lunch will be at Café des Baux.
Later, we will discover the Carrières Lumière, a quarry turned into a gigantic 3-D canvas. The current art show features works by Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael.
After this visit dedicated to art, spend some time at leisure in Les Baux-de-Provence. The village is a listed heritage site that has won titles such as “one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France” or “an Outstanding Center for Flavorful Food”.
After the visit, transfer to the hotel and dinner on your own in Saint Rémy.
DAY 6: Pont du Gard, Nîmes
Our driver will take us to the Pont du Gard (Roman aqueduct over the Gardon River), one of the wonders of the Ancient world, listed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. We will take a guided tour of the site and of its museum, and enjoy the view from the third level of the aqueduct. We will explore the monument with a private guide.
Lunch will be at the local restaurant Les Terrasses, facing the Aqueduct.
After lunch, our driver will transfer us to Nîmes. Discover the Arena, the Maison Carrée and the Tour Magne, all three vestiges of the Roman era, or simply discover the antique city on your own.
We will have dinner in Saint-Rémy. Tonight is the Fête de la Musique, World Music Day, all over France. Every year, on June 21st, amateur and professional musicians play in the streets, until the wee hours of the morning.
DAY 7: Saint Rémy de Provence, Glanum
Today, after breakfast and our daily French class, we will stay around Saint Rémy to explore this little town and its heritage with a guide.
The hometown of Nostradamus, Saint Rémy de Provence is also the place where Van Gogh created Starry Night and Irises during his stay at St Paul de Mausole mental hospital. The art and historical heritage of this town are worth the visit!
This will also be a good opportunity to walk around Saint Rémy’s “Grand Marché Provençal”, with its many colors and fragrances. This open-air market which takes place every Wednesday, is considered the most popular and the largest in the region.
The afternoon will be dedicated to a guided tour of the nearby ruins of Glanum, an antique city founded in the 6th century BC. The archaeological site of Glanum contains important religious and civic monuments, and presents a fine example of urban development, revealing Greek and subsequent Roman influences.
DAY 8: Cooking Class in Provence
Today will be devoted to our tastebuds. We will drive to Uzès where our host, Chef Petra, will guide us on our exploration of local cuisine. With her help, we will prepare a delicious French meal which we will all eat together afterwards.
In the afternoon, we will go wine tasting at a local winery.
DAY 9: Bye-bye, Provence!
After our last breakfast together, we will drive you back to the Marseille Marignane airport. Possible extension on your own at additional cost to Paris with TGV, the High Speed Train (ask for your customized Paris tour).