Below are some suggestions for private guided tours, shore excursions doable from Aix-en-Provence (the pick up point could be your hotel in Aix or the Tourist Office, 300 Avenue Giuseppe Verdi, 13601 Aix-en-Provence) Marseille or Avignon or other parts of Provence and that can be adapted to the time available to you.
Other combinations are, of course, possible and special activities like cooking classes, painting courses, wine tours, hiking, can be organized on request.
Please, reserve your private tour as soon as possible especially if you have special requests (hiking, cooking classes…).
If there is a special place not mentioned that you would like to visit, do not hesitate to ask us.
Half day trips are also possible.
You can also make up your own tours, we just adapt to your request.
The price for a full day-trip depends on the place where you have your accommodation or port of call for cruise passengers, the trip chosen, the size of the group (we can accommodate up to 8 guests in our vans) and the number of tours you take. It’s about 450 – 490 Euros for a full day trip for 2/4 persons staying in Aix-en-Provence where we are based. Please, contact us to have a precise quote and itinerary.
For those who want to discover the countryside, the Luberon mountain range will be an ideal place. See the limestone cliffs, oak trees, lavender fields (in blossom at the end of June and the beginning of July), quaint hilltop villages like the extraordinary village of Gordes, the colorful Roussillon with its ochre cliffs, the mysterious Lacoste with its haunting ruins of the Marquis de Sade’s castle and/or the hilltop Bonnieux and its breathtaking views of the Calavon Valley.
Depending on where you are staying, we return through the peaceful village of Lourmarin dominated by its remarkable Renaissance castle.
Scene of the first conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, the Luberon area is outstanding from the historical point of view.
- Visit to the Cistercian Abbey of Senanque (1 hour visit, in French only, with an english brochure)
- Visit to the Village des Bories near Gordes
- Wine tasting of Côtes du Luberon or Côtes du Ventoux wine
This tour is especially fascinating on market days, which are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
You will start in the beautiful city of Aix-en-Provence, discovering its sumptuous 17th and 18th century architecture, its markets and cafés, its mansions and singing fountains all over town, its lively streets and lovely stores. At the market, you will find not only food, but also the specialities of Provence, vegetable soaps, fabrics, potteries, etc.
You’ll spend the afternoon on the South side of the Luberon mountain range, a well-preserved area, with many quaint, delightful villages. Stop in the peaceful Lourmarin dominated by its Renaissance castle, the hilltop Bonnieux, and the mysterious Lacoste. Depending on the season, we may pass lavender fields in bloom. Your tour guide will also take you through narrow roads and to show you all her favorite places.
Market days are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Aix-en-Provence is one of the most attractive cities of Provence with lovely squares and narrow streets, noble houses, fountains everywhere. The 40,000 students also create a very unique atmosphere.
After lunch, you’ll follow your private guide in the footsteps of the painter Cezanne who was born in Aix and made famous the town’s surroundings, like the impressive Mount Sainte-Victoire, one of his favorite subjects. You will also discover his last studio, l’atelier des Lauves, where he completed many of his greatest works at the end of his life.
We start with a walk through the quiet town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and stop at the very peaceful Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, the hospital (medieval priory) where Van Gogh stayed for one year. He painted his most famous canvases here including irises, olive tree groves, wheat fields with the Alpilles range in the background, and one of the starry nights.
Stop in les Baux-de-Provence, a rock top fortress surrounded by olive trees and vineyards, which belonged to a rebellious family in the Middle Ages.
We end the day in the Roman and Romanesque city of Arles, admiring the great Roman amphitheatre, the ruins of the Roman theatre, the Romanesque church of Saint-Trophime with its remarkable sculpted gate, and other places featured by Van Gogh, like the Cafe at night or again the Starry night above the Rhône river.
We have olive oil tastings in a farm and/or wine tastings available to discover the Coteaux des Baux-de-Provence wine in one of the charming estates of the mountain range of les Alpilles.
It’s a delight to stroll around the market of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on a Sunday morning. There, you will find everything that makes Provence famous: herbs, cheese, olive oil, soap, fabrics… It is an excellent place for shopping and discovering the lifestyle of locals in Provence!
Not only is it great for shopping, but Isle is also a charming little town built on the Sorgue river. Water is everywhere, canals and water wheels… The town is also famous for its antique dealers, there are 300 dealers in town. Lovers of old paintings and furniture will make great discoveries.
We spend the rest of the time in the fabulous area of les Alpilles, visiting Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and the asylum where Van Gogh spent one year, and the impressive hilltop village of les Baux-de-Provence.
An olive oil tasting and/or wine tasting is possible.
We start with the famous Provencal market and/or antique market in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. There you will find everything that makes Provence famous: herbs, cheese, olive oil, soap, fabrics… It is an excellent place for shopping and learning about the Provencal lifestyle. This remarkable little town is built on piles on the Sorgue river with water running everywhere, working the water wheels left by fabric factories that created prosperity in the town until the French Revolution.
In the afternoon we discover the hilltop villages of Gordes and the colorful Roussillon, surrounded by ochre cliffs and former ochre quarries. If you are interested in a wine tasting, it is possible to sample the wines of Côtes du Luberon or Côtes du Ventoux.
Visit the sophisticated city of Avignon: stroll on top of the Rocher des Doms that will offer you wonderful views of the Rhône river, the famous bridge, and the city walls. Follow your private licensed tour guide through the amazing Palace of the Popes built in the 14th century when the Popes settled in Avignon.
The huge banquet room, the frescoes, and the colorful floor tiles will give you an idea of the Pope’s life during that time.
We spend the afternoon north of Avignon, discovering the famous vineyards of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and taste the outstanding red wines produced in this area at a private wine tasting.
Visit Avignon, walk along the city walls, enjoy a great view of the Rhône river and the famous bridge of Avignon from the top of the Rocher des Doms. Visit the spectacular Popes’ Palace and learn about the Popes’ life there in the 14th century by walking through sumptuous rooms with frescos and decorative architectural features of the time. Afterwards, we spend the afternoon in les Alpilles, which includes a walking tour in the quiet streets of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, a visit to Saint-Paul-de-Mausole where Van Gogh stayed for one year, and a trip to the hilltop village of Les Baux-de-Provence surrounded by olive tree groves and vineyards.
An olive oil tasting and/or wine tasting is possible.
We start the day in the often unknown but wonderful, picturesque town of Marseilles, settled in a sumptuous spot on the shore of the Mediterranean.
Discover the highlights of the city: the Old Port, the heart of the city and a beautiful spectacle with thousands of sailboats, the very new MUCEM Museum, designed by the local architect Rudy Ricciotti, and the Saint John Fortress. Visit Saint-Victor Abbey, a very important place for the first Christians of Marseilles, the hilltop church of Notre Dame de la Garde that offers the most amazing viewpoint of the road along the sea.
We spend the rest of the day in the little fishing port Cassis, settled between high cliffs, sea and vineyards.
The town is very famous for its location and its excellent white wine (which marvelously enhances Provencal food like bouillabaisse) produced in the 12 estates of the area. Cassis is also known for the Calanques that are like little fjords with high limestone cliffs, a paradise for hiking, rock climbing, swimming, diving, and kayaking. If it is not too windy, we highly recommend the 45-minute boat trip to see 3 Calanques. We end up on the top of Cap Canaille, one of the highest seaside cliffs in Europe with outstanding views of the Med and the Provencal countryside.
On request: Wine tasting
Mediterranean vineyards: discover the wines produced in the area of Bandol; sumptuous red wines made mainly with the Mourvedre grape, a Mediterranean grape variety that gives its best in this particular area of Bandol.
Sample wines in estates hidden between olive trees and vineyards at the foot of the hilltop villages of la Cadière d’Azur and Castellet.
Afterwards, we go to Cassis to discover the white wine produced in the area and to visit this picturesque little fishing port which is famous for its location between high cliffs, Mediterranean Sea and vineyards and for the famous Calanques, little fjords with high limestone cliffs. We highly recommend taking a boat ride to see this very spectacular area, which is now a National park. You will end up on the top of the cliff of Cap Canaille, where you will enjoy an incredible view of the ocean and Provencal countryside.
Private tour to the Plateau de Valensole
If you love nature, colorful fields of sunflowers, lavender, and wheat, and you want to see endless lavender fields, the Plateau de Valensole is the perfect place to go. We stop as many times as you want to take beautiful pictures in the fields.
After this colorful experience, we go to the beautiful hilltop village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, famous worldwide for its fine earthenware and ceramics. If we arrive early enough, there is a possibility of visiting a workshop. Your tour guide will explain about the mysterious golden star hanging on a chain over the town and show you the amazing heritage of the town with the medieval city walls, the 12th century church, fountains, and earthenware shops. If you like walking, it is worth going to the top of the village and then climb up the 262 steps to visit the 12th century chapel Notre Dame de Beauvoir that overlooks the red roofs and the valley.
In the afternoon, we go to the Sainte-Croix Lake to have a refreshing swim if you’re interested. On the way back we will stop in another lovely village.
On request: visit of a Lavender distillery if available
Discover our other Lavender tour in the Luberon!
The Luberon is a great area for a lavender tour in Provence from mid-June to mid-July. We visit a few hilltop villages during the day, including the rocky Gordes with its castle and dry stone constructions called bories, the 12th century Abbey of Senanque located in a remote valley and surrounded by lavender fields (in bloom mid-July), the colorful village of Roussillon in the middle of ochre cliffs, the mysterious Lacoste dominated by the Marquis de Sade castle. During the day, your tour guide will drive through hidden, picturesque roads where many photo stops are possible: lavender fields, bories, hilltop villages, etc.
– Stop at the Lavender Museum in Coustellet (the making of the essential oils, lavender cosmetics, and soaps)
– Wine tasting stop to taste Côtes du Luberon Or Côtes du Ventoux wine
Also discover our Lavender tour to the Plateau de Valensole!
Your tour guide will drive through the beautiful countryside of Provence to reach the charming hilltop village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie nestled at the foot of a spectacular cliff. Strolling around this medieval little town is a delight: old houses, fountains and water everywhere with the Torrent Notre Dame, a beautiful Romanesque church with a picturesque bell tower. There are earthenware shops all over the village because this is the Moustiers specialty, a very old tradition still alive today. If we arrive early enough, we can visit a workshop to learn about the making process. For the bravest, a short but hilly walk leads to Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir chapel. There you will be rewarded with a gorgeous view of the valley and the village and the discovery of this peaceful monument.
Afterwards, you’ll take a scenic road to reach the Verdon Canyon, one of the deepest in Europe (250 to 700 meters). Your guide will stop at several outlook points to appreciate the beauty of this natural gem with its clear emerald water and white limestone cliffs. The surrounding countryside is very spectacular and dramatic; this is definitely a very special part of Provence and one of the greatest “natural experiences” you can enjoy in the area.
Tour in the ancient Roman capital of Provence with your private guide! Get to know the fascinating history of the town: important Roman city, also the residence of the first Counts of Provence during the Middle Ages. Your guide will take you to one of the largest Roman arenas of the Roman Empire and to the ruins of the Roman theatre. Afterwards, walk to the incredibly well preserved Saint Trophime church with its magnificent statuary, dating back to the 12th century, and pass ancient 17th and 18th century noble houses on the way. Your tour guide will not forget to show you some of the places featured in the works of Van Gogh. He completed his most famous paintings during his two and a half years in Provence: the “Café at Night“, the “Garden of the Hospital in Arles“, the “Starry Night over the Rhone“, the “Yellow House“, the “Alyscamps“, and the “Sunflowers“. The series of paintings featuring sunflowers was made to decorate Gauguin‘s bedroom in the yellow house Vincent Van Gogh rented in Arles.
We spend the afternoon south of Arles in Camargue. Camargue is the delta of the River Rhône, completely different from the rest of Provence, which is generally dry and hilly. Camargue is a wet, flat area with swamps, ponds and paddies—the only place where rice is grown in France.
Camargue’s fauna is very unique, characterised by pink flamingoes, black bulls and white horses. The flora includes species like salicornia, a type of grass partial to seashores and wet lands, and huge areas with reeds. The best way to discover the trademark pink flamingoes of Camargue and many other birds, is to go to the ornithological reserve to get very close for great pictures! On the way back, it is also possible to stop and “chat” with friendly white horses if there are any around. They are a type of local breed, well adapted to this wet environment, called “Cheval Camargue”. Bull ranches and bullfighting is also specific to this area and we may be lucky enough to see black bulls during our drive.
A walking tour of Saint-Tropez with a private tour guide allows you to discover a different facet of this world-famous town. Not only is it the glamorous town one thinks of, but it is also a charming Provencal town with plenty of history and interesting monuments, including the remains of the city walls, the Tour Guillaume and the Tour Jarlier. You can also enjoy the picturesque fish market and Place des Lices where people play pétanque. Saint-Tropez became a meeting point for post-impressionist painters at the end of the 19th century, who came to visit Paul Signac, and some of their works are on display in the Annonciade Museum. You will also learn about the world-famous facet of Saint-Tropez, including the family house of Brigitte Bardot who made the village famous in the 50’s and see the huge luxury yachts in the port. It is home to the international jet-set, a place to see and be seen.
Afterwards, you will see Grimaud, a much quieter hilltop village with tiny squares, charming narrow streets winding through beautiful Provencal houses leading to the top of the hill. On the way up, the Saint-Michael church will give you the opportunity to discover a remarkable example of Romanesque architecture. Then, you can walk through the ruins of the castle which overlook the village and the bay.
A wine tasting of the Côtes de Provence wine produced in the region is possible.
If you are looking for a tour with a Mediterranean atmosphere, take our private tour through Hyères and Bormes.
Starting in Hyères, a beautiful town with medieval features, you will see the city walls, the ancient gate, the Templar’s tower, and the Saint-Paul church. Nearby, the luxurious Sainte Claire garden will give you a sense of the mild climate there. The town is quite hilly but going to the top is worthwhile. The bravest will discover the Villa Noailles, and its Cubist garden, home of the Noailles family in the beginning of the 20th century, who were patrons of the arts and friends of Picasso, Dali, Giacometti, and many others. The Noailles entrusted the construction of the house to the architect Mallet-Stevens. It is a completely modern construction reflecting the new concerns of the wealthy, creating a new way of life. It is now a museum open to visitors. While climbing up the streets to the Villa, you will have great photo opportunities of the spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, the islands, and red tiled rooftops.
Built on the slopes of the hill, Bormes-les-Mimosas is a hilltop village that appears to hang over the valley. It is named after the Mimosas trees (a type of Acacia) that can be found everywhere. The trees are breathtaking when in full bloom during January and February. All year round, the different species of flowers create a burst of colors when you walk through the streets. At the top, you will discover the remains of the medieval castle and enjoy the gorgeous view of the coast.
On request: wine tasting of Côtes de Provence wine and/or a beach stop during the season
Nîmes is the place to go for people interested in the Roman heritage of Provence. Nimes is home to the best preserved Roman amphitheatre (arenas) and best preserved Roman temple, called Maison Carrée, in the world. The town is also interesting in the way that the very old is “chatting” with the very new. Just in front of the Maison Carrée, there is the Carré d’Art designed by the great British architect Sir Norman Foster, the latter being a temple dedicated to contemporary art. The narrow streets are flanked by 17th and 18thcentury private mansions, large squares, and lovely shops selling Provencal specialties. Nearby, the Jardin de la Fontaine also holds interesting Roman remains including the mysterious Temple de Diane. The beautiful 18th century monumental fountain is a refreshing treat during the summertime and a great place for an afternoon stroll.
Uzes is another delightful town to visit with an outstanding architecture, like the Duke’s castle that still stands in the middle of the town, bringing you back to the Middle Ages. In the surrounding streets, you can admire the noble houses built with beautiful local limestone that housed a wealthy community. The town also bears the marks of the religious wars between the Catholics and the Protestants that took place in the 16th century, most notably, its cathedral that was destroyed for the second time during these conflicts and rebuilt afterwards. Fortunately, the cathedral’s beautiful Romanesque bell tower, the Tour Fenestrelle, is still intact and is a famous landmark in the town.
It is particularly enjoyable to visit Uzes on market days, Wednesday and Saturday morning. Merchants are spread out on the main square and all over the town, selling Provencal specialties, fruits, vegetables, cheese, artcrafts, jewelry, soaps, olive oil and even ostrich eggs!
We end the day at the Pont-du-Gard, one of the most well preserved Roman bridges in the world, as well as one of the highest, standing at 49 meters or 160 feet. The Pont du Gard is the most spectacular part of the 50-kilometer (31-mile) aqueduct, built to provide Nimes with water during the first century AD. Preserved in its natural environment and spanning the Gardon River, it is a massive but very fine piece of artwork. Cross the river and walk along the first level of the aqueduct, discover all the architectural details of it, walk along the paths through the bushes where other pieces of the canal are hidden, or take a quick swim in the river if you wish; this is one of the most unique experiences in Provence.
During this guided tour of Aix, your private guide will focus on the painter Cézanne, the Master of Aix-en-Provence who was born, lived, and worked in the town throughout his life.
While touring the town you will learn anecdotes about Paul Cezanne’s life and you will discover the Master’s last studio, l’Atelier des Lauves, a very poetic place. Here, you can strongly feel the presence of the artist and understand his personality since the studio was kept exactly as it was after he died: his coat, paintbrushes, letters, tubes of paint, folding easel, and umbrellas are still in their proper places.
Your guide will also take you to the exact place where his easel rested to paint the last series of Sainte-Victoire from 1902 to 1906.
Depending on weather conditions, you can tour the former Stone Quarry of Bibemus (Carrière de Bibemus), where the geometrical shapes of the rocks inspired Cézanne to complete eleven oil and sixteen watercolor paintings, announcing Cubism. The warm, reddish colors of the sandstone offer an interesting contrast with the green pine trees and the blue sky.
From there you will enjoy a beautiful view of one of Cézanne’s cherished subjects, Mount Sainte-Victoire. While walking around the quarry you will also discover the little house he rented to work, rest and store his painting supplies.
If touring the quarry is not possible, you can go to the Bastide du Jas de Bouffan, the family house his father purchased in 1859. He had a studio at the very top of the house under the roof, where he began to search for his own style.
You will end your tour dedicated to Cézanne with a scenic drive to the south side of the mountain where you will be able to understand the painter’s passion for the majestic and massive Mount Sainte-Victoire. Emblem of Aix-en-Provence, this famous limestone formation is also unfailingly associated with Cézanne, who painted it for almost forty years.
Our Van Gogh tour will take you in the footsteps of the Dutch painter who spent two and a half years in Provence. If you have seen most of his works, now discover his real canvases: the landscape and sites of Provence. You will be able to stand in the places that deeply inspired Van Gogh from 1888 to 1890 and see what he saw and felt one century ago—a moving experience!
First, your tour guide will take you to Arles, the place where he arrived on a snowy day in February 1888. You will discover most of the places featured in his works, including the “Starry Night over the Rhône” near “the yellow house” where he lived (unfortunately destroyed during WW2). A little further, observe the work he painted after he attended a bullfight in the Roman arena, stroll in the public garden to see another one of his paintings behind the beautiful Roman theatre from the 1st century BC. He was also inspired by unusual places like the Alyscamps, an antique Roman necropolis, cafés (Café terrace at Night), and the hospital he went to after he cut off his ear (Garden of the hospital in Arles). This happened after an argument with his friend Paul Gauguin who joined him in Provence in October 1888. Gauguin, for whom he painted several versions of the Sunflowers, stayed with Van Gogh for only two months.
The last place you will see is the “Langlois Bridge in Arles“, just outside the city.
From Arles he went to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, and stayed in the Asylum Saint Paul de Mausole, a beautiful medieval priory, where he spent a year being treated. There, Van Gogh painted Irises, self-portraits, and one of his most famous paintings, Starry Night, and many views of the Alpilles mountain range. This is a very peaceful place where you can learn a lot about Van Gogh and get a sample his life from the inside. You will have the opportunity to take tons of pictures of two remarkable and very well preserved Roman monuments of Provence: a Mausoleum and a Roman arch. Finally, end your Van Gogh tour with a pleasant walk in the town.
If you are spending days in Paris and want a change of scenery and more sunshine, why not spend A DAY IN PROVENCE?
It is now very easy to connect these two gems of France! If you are staying in Paris, hop on the TGV (High-Speed Train) in the morning and arrive three hours later in the sunny region of Provence, which takes nine hours by car.
You can arrive at the Avignon TGV train station or at Aix-en-Provence TGV station.
Your private driver-guide will be waiting to welcome you when you step out of the train. From there you can relax and in one of our comfortable A/C vans to the sites of your choosing. At the end of the day, your guide will drive you back to the TGV station and walk you to the correct platform to catch your train back to Paris. If one day is too short, ask us about our special 2-day package in Provence, hotel included.
Tours from Avignon
- Avignon and Luberon: In the morning, we will pick you up at the train station for a walking tour through this beautiful city with amazing medieval features including city walls and gates, the 12th century bridge over the Rhône, and the 14th century Palace of the Popes. We will spend the afternoon in the Natural Regional Park of the Luberon, discovering the Provencal countryside and the lavender fields (in bloom from mid-June to July). Visit the hilltop village of Gordes, perched on a rocky spur, and Roussillon, the red village surrounded by ochre cliffs.
- Avignon and the area of les Alpilles: Tour Avignon in the morning or in the afternoon, depending on the season. Visit the South to see the Alpilles Mountains and Les-Baux-de-Provence, a medieval village perched around its castle, and surrounded by olive trees, vineyard, and limestone formations. Tour the picturesque town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, famous in part by Van Gogh, who spent a year in the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole Asylum, which you can also visit. The asylum is actually a beautiful former medieval monastery. Finally, stop at an olive oil farm to taste the different types of olive oil produced in the valley.
Tours from Aix-en-Provence
- Aix-en-Provence and the Southern part of Luberon: Tour Aix-en-Provence, the sumptuous Baroque and Classical city with beautiful private mansions, charming streets, squares, and fountains. It is here that Cézanne was born and spent most of his life. You will be able to enjoy the huge farmer’s market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Afterwards, tour to the southern part of Luberon and discover a few villages; Lourmarin, Cucuron or Ansouis.
- Aix-en-Provence, Cassis, Marseilles: Visit Aix-en-Provence in the morning, followed by the coastal town of Cassis, a charming village built around its harbor. You can see the Calanques (mini fjords surrounded by high limestone cliffs and clear blue water) by boat if weather permits. Drive to the top of the cliff of Cap Canaille for a magnificent panoramic view. We will end in the city of Marseilles, discovering the highlights of this amazing and very scenic city: the road along the coast, the Notre Dame de la Garde church on the top of the hill, Saint-Victor abbey, the Vieux Port, or old harbor, the recently-built MUCEM Museum, and the Saint John Fortress. Your guide will take you back to the Marseilles TGV station for your trip back to Paris.