Provence, The Vaucluse 9 Days - Daily Schedule
NZ$4250 twin share
Arrive in Avignon in the afternoon late afternoon and journey to Pernes-les-Fontaines, a town boasting more than 36 fountains. Our accommodation for the first two nights is in an elegant former manor house, set in an exquisite park with a pool. On this, our first evening, we’ll stroll to a nearby local restaurant for an introductory Provencal feast.
Today we travel by canal path to the splendid market of Carpentras. We explore the tiny back lanes and character-packed buildings of Carpentras, the truffle capital of France. For lunch, a sybaritic picnic feast near the Auzon River, then a chance to explore the countryside of the Comtat Venaissin, looking out for truffières, the closely-guarded stands of oak trees which harbour developing truffles. We’ll visit Venasque, classified among the most beautiful villages in France before taking the chance to learn the sweet secrets of nougat making and visiting the local cave co-operative. Return to Pernes, where you can make your own dining choice at your own expense (some lovely cafes).
Market day at Pernes, busy, bustling, and full of colourful local characters. Mid morning, we take the scenic route to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, where we’ll select a magnificent site near the source of the River Sorgue for another pique-nique. Return along the path beside the canal de Carpentras.
To Provence’s best-known antiques market, held in the picturesque town of Ile-sur-la-Sorgue, with its canals and waterwheels, then to Caromb by canal path, farm tracks and small roads through fields of olives and grapes, with the bulk of Mont Ventoux always visible. Our dinner features local specialities, and wines of the terroir.
To the best provencall market at Bédoin, where the group selects picnic fare, then up le Mont Ventoux, the “giant of Provence”, for our pique-nique. Wonderful views! This is the scene of many epic Tour de France stages, but the majority of us will make our ascent of Ventoux by bus. However, some may like to pit themselves against the upward slope… After lunch, you’ll find the 21 km downhill ride to lavender capital, Sault very satisfying! The descent of the famed Gorges of the Nesque follows........
Bike to Beaumes -de-Venise – where we visit an olive oil mill, and sample the wonderful muscat wines at a nearby winery. We’ll picnic in an olive grove beside an 11th century church, then follow small tracks back to our accommodation. This afternoon, enjoy a provencal cooking school and dine on your creations.
Today to Vaison-la-Romaine, founded during the Roman Empire. We travel there by a choice of routes: we can visit the famous wine town of Gigondas, then continue through the Dentelles to the beautiful village of Séguret; or follow countryside pathways to Vaison-la-Romaine. You’re at leisure to explore this fascinating town which boasts extensive Roman remains, a large medieval quarter, and an excellent shopping centre. Dinner own choice.
A day out kayaking on the Gardon River to the awe-inspiring Pont du Gard. For our final evening together, enjoy our famous au revoir feast of Provençal delights.
A farewell breakfast, and filled with joie de vivre (and not a kilo heavier?) we go our separate ways having savoured a wealth of new experiences, wonderful food, great wine and made new friends.
Tour Dates & Cost
NZ$4250 twin share, a single supplement applies (if you have an individual room)
Included in the cost of the 9-day tour:
- Daily support vehicle (no panniers or backpacks needed!). Luggage and any purchases you make in the markets and antique shops can easily be transferred.
- An experienced facilitator with knowledge of the attractions, the people, and the history of the area.
- Quality accommodation in properties of character, for the most part with private facilities. We stay two to three nights on average in each place, using the base to explore the environs.
- Hire of quality mountain bikes with front suspension.
- Six gourmet dinners featuring the best of regional specialties, four lunches including spectacular picnics — not forgetting the special au revoir feast on our final night. Several times you’ll get the chance to ‘follow-your-own-nose’ for midday and evening meals.
- All breakfasts, including exquisite homemade preserves.
- Our active gourmet tours offer a range of routes from undemanding to taxing, through the very heart of stunning countryside. High fitness levels aren’t essential though reasonable fitness is preferable.
- Pre-trip guidance (and cycle instruction is available if required).
- Tutored wine tasting and special events.
- Rest days and independent exploration possible (we supply very detailed maps which allow a choice of routes).
- Literature, including a detailed itinerary, clothing guide, use of large-scale maps of the area, and general advice on travelling in Europe.
- Daily briefing and guidance.
- Water bottle and hat.
- Luggage transfer between localities.
- A sense of adventure compulsory!
- Chateau and museum entry fees (you choose!).
- Gratuities and drinks.
- Golf club hire and green fees where applicable.
- Fishing tackle hire and lessons where applicable.
- Visas and passports (as necessary).
- Travel Insurance (mandatory).
- Personal items, eg, laundry, telephone, faxes...
Footnote: The organiser reserves the right to change any details in this outline, should this prove necessary.
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