The South of France has been one of the most fashionable tourist destinations for more than a century. Enjoy as many days as you wish on the French Riviera, enjoying private guided tours, relaxing on the beach, exploring the quaint towns and villages along the coast or simply doing some exploring on an independent basis. Then join a small, fully guided multi- day group tour as you discover many of the jewels that this region has to offer, from quiet provincial towns to glamorous cities where you can enjoy local wines, delectable food and discerning culture. Experience the attractions of Nice, Cannes and the mountain villages that overlook the azure Mediterranean to Monaco, with its famed gambling capital Monte Carlo. Then there is Provence, the inspiration of a thousand artists and writers from bygone to contemporary times including Van Gogh and Cézanne. Even the shortest stay illustrates the magnetic pull of this region; its history, unspoilt towns and villages, chic Riviera resorts, gastronomic delights and scenic diversity.
Small group tours depart typically twice a month (on Wednesdays) from May 7th, 2014 - October 15, 2014 and are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 participants. In general, the maximum group size is 18.
Consider adding additional days to your trip with the services of a private guide and/or driver to see more of the country - your time on either side of your small group tour can be customized to suit your needs (and private guided tours can be added throughout your small group experience as desired.
Be met at the Airport arrivals hall by a professional English speaking Driver and take a panoramic tour of the city of Nice. The tour end up at Nice City center.
Spend some time today exploring the city of Nice. Should you feel in any way active, you should head down to the boardwalk which parallels the azure waters of the Mediterranean. The temperature of the water is often warm enough to swim in year-round.
Splendid Hotel & Spa (4*) is a boutique hotel ideally located in the heart of Nice city and only 7 km from the airport. The hotel boasts 85 harmony rooms, 28 deluxe rooms and 15 suites which are an invitation to relaxation. Tastefully decorated in Mediterranean style which will remind you of the Côte of Azur, most rooms feature a balcony and some have a balneo bathtub. All of them have large openings allowing spaces to be flooded with daylight. The "Chez Hugo " Restaurant offers Mediterranean cuisine and panoramic views of the city and the sea. On the eight floor is a spectacular heated swimming pool with impressive views, a sunny terrace and Jacuzzi.
Meet your small group and guide at 8.30am at Hotel Splendid, 50 Boulevard Victor Hugo, 06000 Nice and depart for your Provence and French Riviera tour.
Today is dedicated to Monaco, the playground of the rich and famous. Spend time exploring Monte Carlo, known for its dazzling harbour and lively entertainment. Stroll through the narrow streets of the old town, packed with boutique shops and galleries, sit in a street café and watch the world go by or wander around Port Hercule, famous for its superb yachts, its glamorous lifestyle.
In Menton, a delightful seaside town close to the Italian border, you will enjoy a welcome dinner together.
The Splendid hotel & Spa (4*) Nice is ideally located in the heart of Nice city and at only 7 km from the airport. The hotel features 128 charming old style rooms and suites, a panoramic restaurant and bar, a swimming pool, a spa and a private garage.
Please note that your hotel may be the above or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
Your first visit today is to the beautiful village of St Paul de Vence, famous for its herbs, perfumes and picturesque narrow streets. Explore the many boutique shops and contemporary art galleries lining the alleyways before you make your way to the neighbouring town of Vence, known as the ‘City of Art’. This lovely medieval town is home to numerous painters and sculptors, who live and work here. Wander through its small streets and squares which date from the 12th century or admire the 11th century cathedral of St Véran with its mosaic by Marc Chagall, and Chagall’s chapel. Tonight’s accommodation will be in the charming coastal region near Cap d’Antibes.
Overnight in the Hotel La Garoupe-Gardiole tonight. The property is located in the heart of a pine forest close to Antibes and Juan les Pins. The 40 room hotel is furnished with a flowered patio, swimming pool and in a calm and peaceful environment.
Today you will get to spend some time in Cannes, the jewel of the Riviera and world-famous for its film festival, glitzy hotels, shopping, beaches and old port. Walk down the famous 'Croisette' or down the Rue d'Antibes. Wind your way through the narrow and hilly roads to the delightful old town of Antibes with its pretty squares, narrow streets, wonderful beaches and outdoor cafes before returning to your hotel.
Today you will travel to the cultural town of Aix-en-Provence, once the home of the artist Paul Cézanne. Visit his studio where dozens of works by the great painter were conceived, including his famous Bathers. The old town of Aix has an amazing network of narrow streets lined with a number of shops, restaurants and cafes and is famous for its superb architecture and magnificent monuments. In the afternoon discover the sites of Aix as you wonder through the old town, seeing Saint Sauveur Cathedral and the site of the ancient Roman town.
Situated in the center of Aix-en-provece, a town with a thermal springs, art and history, next to the famous Cours Mirabeau, the Hotel des Augustines is inside the walls of the convent of the Grands Augustins since the XII century. The Hotel has 29 soundproofed bedrooms, all are spacious and air-conditioned, and each one has a different style and unique decoration.
Today you will relax in the yellow-stoned town of Aix-en-Provence. A walking tour takes you in the footsteps of Cézanne, passing the hot thermal springs, the Pavillon de Vendôme and the Musée des Tapisseries.
This afternoon relax and enjoy the town at your own pace.
Traverse through spectacular landscapes, timelessly animated by Peter Mayle in A Year in Provence. The highlight today is our stop in the 14th century city of Avignon, once home to Catholic Popes. The imposing Palais des Papes dominates the old historic centre and the St Bénézet Bridge is a must-see.
Hotel Gounod is located in the heart of Saint Remy de Provence, in front of Saint Martin Church. The hotel has 34 rooms equipped with air conditioning, safe, flat screen TV, hairdryer, bathrobe, magnifying mirror, WiFi. The hotel also has a tea room and a swimming pool.
Today you will meander through the vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône, one of the most famous wine producing regions in France. Your first stop is the magnificent Roman Theatre at Orange, dating from the reign of the Emperor Augustus. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is extraordinarily well-preserved and its Roman arch is particularly beautiful.
And now a real highlight... after your visit of the Roman theatre in Orange, you'll be brought to a very special private vineyard, where you will get to sit on the terrace in the sunshine looking out over the ripening grapes and enjoy a tasty Provençal lunch, complemented beautifully by the wines from those very vines.
Start the day with another stunning classical icon today – the mighty Pont du Gard aqueduct. Built by the Romans in the 1st century to carry water to the citizens of Nîmes, it is one of the region’s most famous landmarks. Colossal and quite beautiful in its simplicity, this great masterpiece of construction dominates the landscape around.
From the Pont du Gard, the next destination today is to the south to the Camargue area, Western Europe’s largest river delta and one of France’s most important areas of natural history. The first stop is the fortified village of Aigues-Mortes, famous for its striking, walled medieval town. Then travel to Van Gogh’s Arles, whose narrow winding streets inspired paintings and drawings by both Van Gogh and Picasso. Arles has over 2000 years of history to discover and is noted for the wealth of its Roman and Romanesque heritage.
Hotel du Forum embodies peaceful living and the charm of a beautiful restored old house in the heart of ancient Arles: a short walk from the Arenas and the Roman Theatre, facing the Van Gogh café, which the artist used as inspiration as "Le cafe, la nuit". Calm, tranquillity, comfort and friendly service are staples in this family residence. The swimming pool, unusual for a location in the center of town, is a haven of peace under the beautiful skies of Provence.
This morning enjoy the local sights as we walk through the narrow streets of Arles, seeing scenes painted by Van Gogh himself, including the famous 'Starlit Café'. The local market and the Roman amphitheatre are not to be missed. The afternoon is yours to spend as you wish.
The afternoon can be spent at leisure, and there are interesting shops selling regional goods and souvenirs. Alternatively why not sit at a pavement café and sip a glass or two of the local wine.
Heading into the “Little Alps”, you will explore the Huguenot stronghold of Les Baux-de-Provence. Situated on a rocky precipice in the heart of Alpilles, the town rewards you with remarkable views and has been painstakingly restored, boasting over 22 historical listed buildings including its medieval castle and the Romanesque and Renaissance Saint Vincent's Church. Discover this remarkable town before you will make your way back to Arles for your last evening together.
After breakfast you will be transferred to Marseille where your tour comes to an end.
Your small group tour finishes at approximately 12:00pm at The Old Port, 13002, Marseille, France.
Transfer to your hotel using a local taxi. Please note that this is not included in trip price and is payable locally.
New Hotel Bompard (4*) located in a residential area in southern Marseille, a 15-minute walk from the beaches. Near Théâtre Sylvain, beaches of Prophet and Catalans, the Circle of swimmers and the picturesque area of EndoumeIt. Hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, a sunbathing terrace and a solarium. Rooms are individually decorated and offer a Nespresso coffee maker and a minibar. Some rooms have a balcony all have a bathroom with a bathtub. Le Lautrec restaurant served Mediterranean-inspired cuisine in the restaurant featuring a large chandelier or on the terrace.
Meet your driver for a private airport transfer.
February 19, 2014
"Lynne Pettit is a particularly good tour planner and contact person because she is knowledgeable, patient, and thorough. She makes sure she understands exactly what you want to get from your trip and plans the tours accordingly. In my case, she was right on the mark!"
Ann Saxon ,
November 06, 2013
"Our trip was fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things. Lianne worked with our exact dates and time frame beautifully.Our drivers were prompt and friendly. The private guides were so knowledgeable. We left with an appreciation of the history, the culture, and the beauty of Andulasia. We were very pleased and will certainly recommend your company to friends and family."
Edwards Family ,
November 28, 2013
"People do not know what they are missing by not going to Romania. The landscape: beautiful, clean, untouched. The people: People exceeded friendly! Super safe. Wherever we went, we received the reception of "Welcome, welcome! You are our guest", by everyone. Food & Drink: Everything had such incredible flavor! They use only the freshest ingredients and everything is organic. Every meal was a new, exciting experience to our palettes. Architecture: The beauty, intricacy, history. One cannot help but appreciate the abundance of castles, churches and buildings boasting such incredible architecture. Experience Romania sooner than later! You’ll be so glad you did! Once again, Kensington Tours, and special thank you to Claudia.
Coby Scherr ,
November 05, 2013
"Everyone involved in our Portugal trip made it terrific. Exactly as advertised. Every event on time and most pleasant. Guides were well-informed, courteous and friendly. Really made for a great journey every time. Each hotel was clean, upgraded and staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Breakfasts were complete -- almost too much to eat. It will always be a wonderful memory thanks to Kensington Tours."
Mike Mikkelsen ,
November 15, 2013
"Lianne Kim did a great job for us (on our tour of Spain). Most enjoyable - thanks for all you did."
November 09, 2013
"My trip to Holland and Belgium was a lifelong dream and Kensington Tours made it greater than my dream. I was treated like royalty, even when I missed some of my connections. They quickly solved any problems that U had. All the drivers were courteous and helpful. My accommodations were top notch. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a better tour experience. Thanks to Richard Racicot for booking the best fo me."
Couples Dellinger & Hubbell ,
November 06, 2013
"We've been raving to everyone about the food, the friendliness of the people and the amazing history and sites in Turkey. Yes, we want to go back."
John Edstrom ,
October 22, 2013
"Overall, our tour in Spain was very enjoyable, and well planned and executed. Our private tour of the Alhambra was excellent. Virginia, tour guide for royal palace ruins outside of Cordoba, was also excellent. In Seville, we went to the Flamenco Show/dinner, and the Flamenco was outstanding!"
Kevin Wilshere ,
October 19, 2013
"Great trip to Spain! Thanks again for all your help, Lianne. The destinations, hotels, guides and everything were all top notch."
Chery lWestlund ,
November 07, 2013
"My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to southern Europe and North Africa and had a great time. All the guides were very knowledgeable and bend over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangement made by Kensington went off without a hitch. This is our second trip with Kensington (we went to Peru in 2009) and we will certainly book with them again."
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