Classic Provence and French Riviera Self-drive

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Day 1:  Provence for 5 nights

Pick up car at Marseille airport Citroen C4 Picasso or similar Midsize Class – Automatic Transmission, unlimited mileage, CDW & theft included no deductible

1 junior suite, breakfast & taxes included at Chateau de Roussan****

Chateau de Roussan is a 17th-century chateau surrounded by a 6 hectare park. It offers 4-star accommodation and free on-site parking. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.

Rooms at Chateau de Roussan feature period furniture and terracotta floors. They are air-conditioned and equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, telephone and private bathroom. Some rooms have a four-poster bed.

A buffet breakfast is served on a morning including seasonal, fresh and local produce.

There is a free shuttle to a spa located 2,625 feet away, where guests can enjoy massages, a hot tub and a hammam at an extra cost. Guests are invited to relax in Roussan’s library with its rare 19th-century books or in the salons featuring 17th-century decoration. One of the salons opens onto a terrace. Guests can also explore the chateau’s garden, greenhouse and ponds and a free valet service is available.

https://www.chateauderoussan.com/fr/

 

Day 2, 3 , 4 and 5

Days at leisure to explore

Aix en Provence, discover its animated life, cafés, and fountains.

Montagne Ste Victoire, painted so many times by  Paul Cézanne.  You can also visit his atelier.

Arles:  visit the roman Arena and  Amphitheatre.  Wander in Arles’ streets to discover its typical Provencal stores and the magnificent St Trophime Roman church.

Avignon:  where tiny, narrow streets cluster around the 14th-century Palais des Papes as if still seeking the protection afforded them when this massive structure represented the supreme Christian authority of the world back in the 14th century.

Don’t miss rue Jean Vialla, and its private mansions, the hotel de Sade, on rue Dorée, the rue du Roi René, at the corner of rue Grivolas, you will find the maison du Roi René, which was the king’s residence when staying in Avignon.  You will also find a remarkable series of four 18th century mansions.

Les Baux de Provence:  heading into the ‘Little Alps’ visit the Huguenot stronghold of Les Baux-de-Provence. Situated on a precipice, the town will reward you with a view of ‘half of Provence.’  The village itself is simply incredible, carved as it’s been almost out of the very rock of the hilltop.  There are few places that truly deserve the description ‘unique’ but this certainly is one of them.

Cassis:  quaint fishing sea side resort.  Summer resort of such artists such as Derain, Dufy, and Matisse, Cassis is a lovely little port.  The coastal area between Cassis & Marseille is known as the Calanques.  The calanques are rocky fjord like inlets with over hanging cliffs, pines forests and grape vines. I would suggest lunch in Cassis, on the pier.  Restaurants are famous for bouillabaisse.

Gordes:  Gordes is a colorful village whose twisted narrow cobblestone streets circle a rocky bluff above the Imergue Valley.

Then visit the Cistercian Abbey of Senanque.

Lubéron villages:  Cross the vine planted plains to arrive at the ochre tinted rock village of Roussillon, continue on to Bonnieux “les portes du Luberon”. Marvel at the breath taking views from the village.

Fountaine of Vaucluse. View the emerald green water springs of the river Sorgue.

 

Day 6:  French Riviera for 3 nights

On your way, you could stop in St.Tropez

1 double room, breakfast & taxes included at Hotel Le Hameau***

Housed in a beautiful 18th-century farmhouse and offering a marvellous view of the valley and the village of Saint Paul, Le Hameau features an outdoor swimming pool and relaxation area.

The building has a hacienda atmosphere with white walls, arcades and a vast garden planted with lemon and orange trees.

Rooms and suites at Le Hameau are spacious and decorated with antique furniture.

After a strenuous work-out in the fitness centre you can unwind with a sauna and hot tub in the relaxation area.

Free parking is provided at Le Hameau, making it easy to explore the Côte d’Azur by car.

http://www.le-hameau.com/fr/

 

day 7 and 8

Monaco: tour of the old Town of Monaco, the Palace area and the Casino Square.
Medieval village of Eze, and Fragonard Perfume Factory
St Paul de Vence: stepped streets, ramparts and art galleries, as well as the famous Maeght Foundation.

Vence:  The Rosaire Chapel by Matisse
Grasse, world capital of the perfume industry.   Visit the world famous Molinard perfume factory
The Alps, valleys and coastline from the Route Napoléon.
Mougins, stroll through the winding old village with its gastronomic restaurants, art galleries and village square.
Nice, Promenade des Anglais, the Flower market in Cours Saleya, the Musée Matisse or Chagall in Cimiez
Cannes and its famous Croisette

Saint Cap Ferrat, chosen holiday home of the rich and famous – of kings, film stars, business magnates. Visit the Renaissance style Rothschild Villa with its impeccably laid out French gardens. Admire the priceless treasures accumulated by Ephrussi de Rothschild during her lifetime. Continue to Beaulieu (Beautiful place) to visit the reconstituted 5th Century B.C. Greek Villa Kerylos. Marvel at the simplicity and classical beauty of its conception, its light, its furnishings and other decorative objects.

Biot:  picturesque village famous for its bubble-flecked glassware.

Vallauris:  potery capital where Picasso spent a lot of time.  Visit the famous chapel where he painted “War & Peace”.

Cagnes sur Mer:  Musée Renoir :  Les Collettes is almost exactly as it was when the artist died.  In the house are ten of Renoir’s paintings, as well as works by his friend Bonnard & Dufy.  Visitors can also explore his beloved olive groves.

Moustiers Sainte Marie:  Moustiers-Ste-Marie sits below a narrow notch at the base of rocky cliffs. Above the village, the Notre-Dame de Beauvoir chapel sits high in the notch, behind the ruins of the ancient defensive walls, and hidden in the shadows for most of the day.  It is a lovely village, in a gorgeous setting.  The purpose of Moustiers is to sell the, admittedly beautiful, “faïence” ceramics, and the village is packed full of Faïenceries shops. The village sits astride a rushing mountain stream that divides the two halves with a narrow rocky canyon. The view of this mini-gorge, with small waterfalls down inside and medieval houses above, is beautiful. The sound of the river, and the running fountains all over the village, give Moustiers the feeling of an Alpine village. The village has narrow medieval streets and vaulted passages, and becomes more “natural” when you get up above the ceramics shops.  The “crown” of the village is the star, suspended high across the Rioul valley by a forged-iron chain. The golden star hangs above the Notre-Dame de Beauvoir chapel, with the chain fastened into solid rock on each side of the gorge. The chain and star project was done as a promise by Sir Blacas, a knight who returned from a long captivity during the crusades.

Georges du Verdon:  The Grand Canyon du Verdon, also called the Gorges du Verdon, is a spectacular canyon that forms a border between the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and the Var. Up to 700 m deep, the 21-km-long canyon varies in width between 6 and 100 m at the bottom and 200 to 1500 m at its rim.   Although it’s much smaller than Arizona’s Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon du Verdon is deep, compact, wild and beautiful. From Castellane to the village of Rougons, the Verdon river flows clear and swift, and the road follows along the banks. At Rougons, by the Point Sublime, the river plunges into the narrow rock walls, and there’s no escape until it comes out the western end before flowing into Lac de Ste Croix.

 

Day 9:

Drop off car at Nice airport

 

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