"AN OUNCE OF SAUCE
COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS."
"YOU HAVE TO GET LOST BEFORE YOU CAN BE FOUND."
On and off the beaten path
THE DISCOVERY TOUR
Upon arrival in southern France, scheduled pick ups will begin at 2 pm from Marseille Provence Airport or Aix-En-Provence TGV train station (Guests will be required to make prior arrangements regarding where and when to be picked up).
The drive to our hotel will take us through the heart of Provence and the south of the Luberon area. Guests will be checked into the hotel upon arrival and provided time to unwind.
Drinks and treats will be served during a meet and greet for all tour guests and staff on the hotel patio.Dinner will either be at our hotel or at a nearby restaurant.
The Cassis Coast
Our day will begin with a drive to the Cassis coast. Nested in the hills of southern Provence, Cassis is truly one of the most incredible places in France. The small town is surrounded by the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean on one side and the highest European sea cliffs on the other. From there if the weather permits, we will take a small boat to the hidden “calanques” of Cassis, inland fjords where the mountains meet the sea.
Our lunch will be in the small port by the water as we enjoy local food and wine from the “blue coast”.
Cassis, full of color and history, is definitely worth visiting by foot. There will be free time to explore the streets and marina or simply enjoy a local ice cream while soaking in the beautiful views.
As the afternoon winds down, we will head to a winery on the hills of town to meet with a true Cassis wine connoisseur. One of the smallest and oldest appellations of France, Cassis prides itself on its dry, white wine. Kissed by the sun and cooled by the ocean breeze, the grapes here produce some the most famous French whites.
The cliff top drive as we depart will complete our visit of the picturesque town. A unique scenic drive that will leave you breathless and allow you to take some last pictures of the fjords.
Our dinner will be in La Ciotat, birthplace of movie projection, as we enjoy the last light of the day and the company of each other.
The St Baume
Our morning drive will take us to the heart of the St Beaume and Garlaban area, a small mountain range which has inspired famous writers like Marcel Pagnol to compose classics such as “My Father’s Glory” and “Marius”.
We will first visit our local artisans, either be goat cheese or fruit producers, depending on the weather. Lunch will take place in the high hills of the village of Cuges where centennial retaining walls and olive trees offer a unique secluded view of the valley.
Our afternoon stroll will take us to the wine region of Bandol. Some of the boldest reds in southern France are produced in this area. Composed mainly of Mouvedre and Grenache, the spicy and tannic wines are truly some of the most underrated in France and always make for good buys.
Our next stop is the Valley of St Pons. Only known by a few, the regional park host the largest variety of trees and wildlife in Provence. The mile long hike will take us through a mystical forest full of legends and bring us to the Abbey of St Pons. The Christian edifice was erected in 1205 and hosted a colony of nuns for several centuries. Gateway to the St Marie Magdalene grotto, the pilgrimage route is a unique place in southern Provence.
Our dinner will either be at our hotel or at a nearby restaurant.
Today is market day! We will head to one of the colorful markets nearby our hotel and pick fresh produces for lunch. Hilltop villages such as Cadenet, Cucuron or La Roque D’Antheron have weekly markets featuring fresh produces, local honey, olive oils, lavender products and linens.
The afternoon will be spent in the towns of Bonnieux and Roussillon. Our more adventurous guests will be able to pedal their way through the Luberon region aboard electric bicycles. No effort is required when you are riding the “sun-e bikes”, the electric pack takes over on the hills and you won’t even break a sweat. It’s the perfect way to discover the region through the vineyards and orchards. Transportation between the villages will be provided to remaining guests.
The perched village of Roussilon offers a unique feature in the region. Once the pigment capital of Provence, the small town is surrounded by orange and red hills earning it the title “Provence’s Colorado.”
As we head back to our hotel, we will stop at a local vineyard to taste wines from the Luberon region. Rose and reds are the specialty of the region. These up and coming wines are truly hidden treasures.
Our dinner will be served at our hotel or a nearby restaurant.
Our day starts in Gordes, classified as one of the 100 most beautiful villages of France The hilltop town is a must see. Too crowded in the months of July and August, Gordes is very accessible during the off peak seasons. Featured in Ridley Scott’s “A good year”, the charming town features great shopping, art galleries, monuments, artisan shops and delectible restaurants. A list of fine establishments will be provided and lunch will be on your own.
After lunch we will make the short drive to the town of Fontaine du Vaucluse, a village of only 600 inhabitants. Birthplace of the Sorgues river, the village is distinctive in its unusual natural river formation. Myths and legends have been part of its history for centuries as the river comes out of a “hole” from the bottom of 240 meter cliff. Locals and scientists have searched for the origin of France’s largest spring which collects all the water from the nearby Mount Ventoux. Other points of interest in the town are the Chateau des eveques de Cavaillon (13th century), the paper mill, and the church.
We will end our day with a visit to a local olive oil producer. Introduced by the romans over 2000 years ago, the locals have made of the olive a favorite in their diet. Our producer will explain to you the art of olive oil production, and you will be able to enjoy a tasting of its finest oils.
Dinner will be served at our hotel or a nearby restaurant.
Today you will be brought back to either Marseille Provence Airport or Aix TGV train Station. On our way out of Provence, if time allows, we will make one last stop to the ritzy village of Lourmarin. The perfect end to our journey, the village has great last minute shopping and street cafes.
Perched in a hilltop village , close to the town of Cucuron, our host hotel is located in the heart of the luberon national park. Our hosts/owners Michel and Stephane are delighted to have us as guests in their newly renovated 5 bedroom hotel. We chose this place because it embraces the philosophy of Lost Provence, the quiet and clean establishment is away from busy noisy streets and has an authentic feel.. The reading room, the upstair patio and the downstair secluded patio offer great space to relax and enjoy the company of other guests. Each room is individually decorated with a provence theme and the personal bathrooms are spacious. Breakfast is served every morning in the stone arched room. Stephane prepares a breakfast for our guests each day with the best produce the region has to offer as well as homemade pastries, local cheeses and cured meets. Certain of our evening meals will also be prepared by the very talented chef, and enjoyed on the secluded patio.
A unique hotel and find which we have to keep secret for our guests.
Oct 2013 Trip
As I was laying here remembering the past month, I think about being in Provence and experiencing their simpler ways of life, the way they live and eat, their colors of the sea, the flowers, the smell of lavender and herbes de Provence in the market place, the quaint colorful villages, our stay at Stephan and Michel's (was unforgettable,) the amazing meals, the grotto Mary Magdaleine( I felt so humbled to be able to go there), our hike with Jean Marc,the vineyards, the Mediterranean. All of it was my favorite part of my whole trip!
Debbie, Flagstaff, AZ