Day 1: Paris
Touchdown in the magical city of Paris in the morning. After settling into your hotel, you have the day to relax and take in the sights and sounds of this city. Start your journey in Paris with an incredible food tour. Begin with buttery croissants and crisp baguettes from an award-winning baker, then visit a family-run fromagerie where they age their own small-production cheeses. Stop at a quirky cave à vins to sample and taste a wide array of these cheeses with different wine pairings. In addition to a few other surprises, finish with a blow-out sweets tasting at one of the famous chocolatiers in Paris.
Experiences: Paris food tour
Meals: Tastings included as part of food tour
Day 2: Paris
Already been to Paris and want to try something different? We have found the ultimate souvenir: a photo which will provide a lifetime of memories from your time in Paris. Look fabulous against the iconic Parisian landscapes and monuments while having a unique experience walking the historic streets of Paris. Before your photo session, the photographers will collaborate with you and talk about what kind of experience you’re hoping for. From fun and flirty to candid or romantic, your photos will represent your personality, your relationship, and how you want to remember your time in Paris. In terms of locations, apart from several standard itineraries that include major landmarks, there are also lesser-known places. But if you’ve always wanted a photo by a Paris location other than what is offered, that can be accommodated.
If you’re looking for a little more adventure, follow our directions to an old school absinthe bar where you can choose from about a dozen different brands of absinthe, served in the traditional manner, with your straight absinthe in a glass, your special absinthe spoon and sugar cubes on the side, and a large absinthe fountain on the bar in front of you, with multiple spouts so you and your fellow travelers can simultaneously add water to the absinthe to suit your respective tastes. During the Belle Époque, Absinthe or the Green Fairy – nicknamed after its distinctive colour – was the drink of choice for so many writers and artists in Paris that five o’clock was known as the Green Hour, a happy hour when cafes filled with drinkers sitting with glasses of the verdant liquor. This is one evening you will not forget (or may not remember, depending on how much you drink)!
Experiences: Photo tour of Paris (Add On)| Night at a charming old absinthe bar
Day 3: Paris to Villefranche Sur Mer (6.5 hours by train)
Take an early morning train to Villefranche Sur Mer on the French Riviera (via Nice). The Bay of Villefranche, reputed as one of the five most beautiful bays in the world, is embraced by the Cap of Nice on the right and Cap Ferrat on the left. The charming Old Town of Villefranche cascades down the hillside to the sea, and the sandy kilometer-long beach offers great recreation throughout the year. Rent an electric bike and explore the Old Town or head to Nice or Eze to discover these picture postcard towns.
Experiences: Explore the Riviera on e-bikes (Add On)
Day 4: Villefranche Sur Mer
An amazing underwater experience, snorkelling in the Mediterranean Sea on the Riviera awaits you. You enter the crystal waters of the Villefranche bay to take a peek below the surface and start exploring. Some of the local Med marine inhabitants include sea urchins, octopus, jellyfish, ascidians, coral, sea anemone, sponges, red coral, sea slugs, cuttlefish, lobsters, plus a host of fish we normally see on our plates. On your adventure you will see the striking contrast between the gentle sloping reef on one side where you closely witness the activity, and the sheer drop reef where the divers in your group can go deeper to view its fascinating marine life. The snorkelling and dive spots are also perfect for testing your underwater photography skills. The water is calm and clear with great lighting in and around the reefs. If you have not tried it before, why not pick up a disposable underwater camera in town and try your hand at capturing your adventure on film! Whether you are a beginner or experienced snorkeler, this experience is open to everyone.
Experiences: Snorkeling in the Villefranche Bay
Day 5: Villefranche Sur Mer
Villefranche is the perfect place for romantic walks. There are very well maintained, well signposted footpaths and walks all over the entire country of France. It's something that they do exceptionally well. In this area many are preserved from Roman times, later taken up by hunters and traders and today and maintained for hiking and walking activities. Whatever the reason, take advantage of the opportunity to wander the area by foot. There are two walks circular routes that begin and end in Villefranche, the circuit de la Rade and the tour de Mont-Alban. Later in the evening, watch the sun go down over the Rade de Villefranche. A good spot is the bar in Versaille situated just on the edge of Villefranche on the Basse Corniche towards Nice. The elevated terrace provides a perfect viewing point from which to relax and watch the boats return to port in the evening but there are plenty of other vantage points too.
Watch a movie tonight in an atmospheric setting! This might seem like an activity more aligned to rainy nights at home but the summer cinemas or 'Cinema d'Ete' along the French Riviera are an experience to behold. Held outside during the summer months they are usually staged in incredibly scenic or historical settings. In Villefranche, from mid June to mid September, there is an Open Air cinema in the grounds of the Citadel showing original version movies, mostly in English.
Experiences: Outdoor cinema viewing in the French Riviera
Day 6: Villefranche Sur Mer to Avignon (3 hours 45 minutes by train)
The city of Avignon, France, is known for its importance to the Roman Catholic papacy. It is the home of the Papal Palace, which is a tourist attraction in itself as an impressive cathedral. A charming locale with multiple bridges over tranquil rivers and an art museum boasting classic works, Avignon lures visitors from all over the world on a yearly basis. Visit the Palais des Papes was built to accommodate Avignon’s new, very important residents, and in 1995 it was recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site. It is the biggest Gothic palace in Europe, and though the rooms may appear harsh and stark today, they were once decorated with the ultimate in luxury. eside the Palais des Papes is the Romanesque Notre Dame des Doms with its gilded Virgin Mary watching over Avignon. The small cathedral also contains several works of art, and also the resting place of Pope John XXII. Next door, you’ll find a park with plenty of paths to walk and foliage whose shade provide excellent refuge from the sun. Walk out to the many viewpoints, providing sweeping landscapes of Provence.
Experiences: Explore Avignon
Day 7: Avignon
Sample the local wine and olive oil in Les Baux-de-Provence, a beautiful medieval village in France. On this 5-hour tour from Avignon you will visit an olive mill and a wine estate near the Alpilles mountain range and taste some of the best produce from the region.
Experiences: Olive oil and wine tasting in Les Baux-de-Provence
Day 8: Avignon
It’s no secret that the French are expert chefs, and Provence is one of its most famous culinary regions. With signature flavourings such as lavender and Herbes de Provence, and access to fresh, sun-kissed produce, Avignon is home to some excellent dining.
If your budget is more flexible, Cuisine de Dimanche boasts a creative chef who crafts her menu each morning based off ingredients purchased at the local market, an eclectic décor, and a vibrant ambience. If your wallet is smaller, L’Epice and Love dishes up excellent, hearty homestyle dishes in a funky, dimly lit bistro.
Avignon has excellent train service to surrounding villages, perfect for day trips around Provence. Visit Arles, known for being Van Gogh’s home in the late 19th century where he produced over 300 paintings and famously cut off his ear. Take the Van Gogh walk, which posts pictures of Van Gogh’s paintings next to the scenes that inspired them.
Experiences: Day trip to Arles (DIY)| Explore Avignon’s culinary scene
Day 9: Avignon (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)
Every Tuesday through Sunday, Les Halles, the biggest covered market in Avignon boasts 40 merchants selling Provincial food from cheese to meat to fish to jarred sauces and tapenades. On Saturday morning there are free cooking lessons demonstrated by Avignon chefs. Audience members get to eat the final product along with local wine.
After visiting Les Halles, take a taxi to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which is only 10 miles from Avignon. This medieval village on the side of a hill, is guarded by the ruins of an ancient chateau towering above. From the chateau hill you have an outstanding view in all directions, mostly of vineyards. Off to the east and south, the Rhône winds across the fields, and the afternoon sun turns it silver. You will stay in a luxurious chateaux here. This 19th century building, a former marquis' château, overlooks the Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards.
Experiences: The market of Les Halles| Stay in a 19th century chateaux
Day 10: Avignon to Paris (2.5 hours by train)
Head back to Paris by early evening. Make your last night in Paris memorable by driving down the Champs-Elysees on a private tour by Deux Chevaux, a vintage convertible 2CV car!
Experiences: Discover Paris in a vintage convertible (30 minute ride with a private chauffer/guide)
Day 11: Paris return
Say au revoir to Paris and make your way back home, with a bag full of memories
- Meals mentioned
- Accommodation on a twin sharing basis in self catering apartments for 9 nights and 1 night in chateaux near Avignon
- Internal travel by train as indicated against each day (2nd class)
- All tours and activities except those which are optional/Add Ons/DIY
- Flight charges to and from Europe
- Entrance fee at local monuments and museums
- Local transport within the city
- Meals not mentioned
- Personal expenses such as beverages, tips, room service etc.
- Any costs arising from flight delays, change in weather conditions, strikes etc. which are beyond our control
- Visa charges and processing
- Travel insurance
- What is not mentioned in “Inclusions".
*Please note: Activities are flexible and depend on availability