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 April 29- September 30, 2015 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.
Meet your small group and guide at 8.30am at Hotel Villa Rivoli, 10 Rue de Rivoli, 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.
Later today visit Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, where you will discover its many themed rooms and beautiful gardens, before returning to Nice.
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.
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 take a leisurely drive through charming Provencal villages to Aix-en-Provence, once the home of the artist Paul Cézanne. 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. Admire the Mont Sainte Victoire from a vantage point above town, before you enjoy dinner together tonight.
Today you will relax in the yellow-stoned town of Aix-en-Provence. A walking tour that allows you to follow in the footsteps of Cézanne, passing the hot thermal springs, the Pavillon de Vendôme and the Musée des Tapisseries.
You will also have a chance to visit his studio where dozens of works by the great painter were conceived.
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.
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.
This morning enjoy the local sights as you 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. Before returning to Arles, you will make a final stop at the Carrieres de Lumieres, where images and works of art are projected on to the walls of a former quarry. Tonight you will enjoy your last dinner 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.
Meet your driver for a private airport transfer.
West End (4*) stylish beach front hotel built in 1842, a jewel of the Belle Epoque, is ideally located on the legendary Promenade des Anglais. It is 5 minutes from the old city, 10 minutes from the airport and the Palais des Congrès congress centre. In an enchanting setting, the hotel is a perfect combination of tradition, savoir-faire, and modernity. The hotel has 121 rooms, 50 of which offer a sea view and all rooms and suites are equipped with a minibar, a spacious bathroom with bathtub and some rooms offering private balconies.
Villa Rivoli located in a former unique Belle Epoque (1890) private house, is in the heart of the historical town center of Nice. All the 26 rooms are decorated individually "à la française", they are light full and some offers a small balcony. The majority of the rooms offers a pleasant view of the garden and the very quit surroundings which the habitants of Nice call "the musician's quarter".
Please note that your hotel may be the above, or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
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.
Please note that your hotel may be the above or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
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.
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.
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.
The Newhotel of Marseille (4*) has been built under the Saint Victor Abbey and Fort Saint Nicolas. It is a 5-minute walk away from Marseille's Old Port, the city centre and the beach. Combining originality and style, its architecture boldly brings together a 19th Century building once used as the Institute Pasteur premises with a definitely contemporary extension. Besides its swimming pool, patio and art gallery, its restaurant, the Victor Cafe offers a refined inventive food and lodging. Discover Victor’s vegetable garden and its vineyards that have been created in 2006, when the hotel was opened. For the first time in 2013, an unusual grape harvest is going to take place.
Vanessa Oquendo ,
April 21, 2014
"Melissa Field was extremely helpful! She was courteous, professional, knowledgeable, and friendly! She kept me updated on the status of everything and provided timely correspondence. She took ownership for any problems I had and remedied them. I had the most amazing time of my life in Iceland and Paris! I would not have experienced everything without the help of Kensington Tours."
Marilynn Weaver ,
April 21, 2014
"All of our guides were beyond fabulous! Our time in Dublin was much too short, would have loved to stay there at least one more full day. Would recommend extending this package to 15 days for any future visits. The train to Edinburgh was super! Beautiful scenery and great steak pies!"
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."
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."
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 Westlund ,
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 bent over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangements 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."
Randy Gramlich ,
October 07, 2013
"Thank you for your follow up, we both loved our time in Croatia. It’s really a beautiful place, especially the coast. Your choice of hotels was great. It was an incredible view from the Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik and the Vestibule in Split was in the best possible location. We were able to relax in our room listening to the wonderful singers in the courtyard and its central location made it so easy to walk anywhere we wanted to see with ease. "
Jay Steffan ,
September 24, 2013
"We just returned from a 10 day trip to Paris and Normandy. We spent three nights in Paris and then enjoyed a seven night cruise on the Seine to Normandy with AMA Waterways. The time in Paris was well spent and has piqued our interest to return for a more thorough visit. Guide Wafaa Lankey was superb in our visit to Versailles. The Seine cruise was relaxing and beautiful. So many wonderful little towns and we wished we had more time in each one to explore and enjoy.
We traveled to Croatia and Slovenia using Kensington earlier this year which was a fantastic trip."
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