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  • Fly-drive touring holiday of Provence

    Provence

    Hostellerie de Crillon le Brave

    Hostellerie de Crillon le Brave

    Hostellerie de Crillon le Brave

    La Bastide de Tourtour

    La Bastide de Tourtour

    Villa Gallici

    Fly-drive touring holiday of Provence

    8 nights and 9 days
    This Provencal touring holiday begins inland in the Lubéron, a welcoming land of hill-top villages, stone farmhouses, a lattice of olive groves, vineyards and lavender beds. Explore ancient Roman sites and monuments, be inspired by the landscapes of Cezanne and Van Gogh and appreciate the fields of yellow sunflowers and cypress trees before heading into the cosmopolitan cities of Southern France.

    Click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested French touring holidays.

    Having landed in Marseille and collected you hire car, your tour of Provence begins in a golden-stone hilltop village. A three-night stay is planned at Hostellerie de Crillon le Brave, located just outside the mighty city of Avignon which is famed for its awe-inspiring Palais des Papes. From Avignon, there are a veritable myriad of must-see cities, towns and villages which are all within easy access. For example, discover Roman Orange and Nîmes; the beautiful artists’ town of Arles, gateway to the Camargue; and the Alpilles towns of Les-Baux-de-Provence and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, the setting for Van Gogh’s Starry Night. En route between towns, perennial Provence offers superb landscapes to be witnessed from your car – enjoy the marvellous sights of olive groves and cypress trees, yellow fields of sunflowers, mile upon mile of vine-clad fields and fragrant lavender. From here, drive south towards the Mediterranean, to Joucas and your next hotel Le Phebus. Moving on along the western fringes of the Vaucluse, Aix-en-Provence is a cosmopolitan and vibrant city of exceptional character, and the location of your final hotel, Villa Gallici. Adding urban interest to this touring holiday, Aix-en-Provence boasts exceptional cultural highlights, renowned for its annual festival and as home to novelist, Émile Zola and artist, Paul Cézanne. Return to Marseille for the flight back to the UK.

    PRICES
    Prices for this fly-drive holiday from about £2160 per person

    What's included:
    •Three nights’ bed and breakfast at Hostellerie de Crillon le Brave in Crillon-le-Brave
    •Two nights’ bed and breakfast Le Phebus in Joucas
    •Three nights’ bed and breakfast at Villa Gallici in Aix-en-Provence
    •Scheduled British Airways flights (London to Marseille return)
    •Group A car-hire for the duration of the holiday

    If you would prefer to take a ferry and drive all the way to Provence, click to view our Self-drive touring holiday to Provence.

    Fly-drive touring holiday of Provence

    Day-by-Day Itinerary

    DAYS ONE TO THREE
    Arrive in Marseille, and drive to Crillon-le-Brave and stay for three nights

    Perched at the very top of this traditional French village, the Hostellerie de Crillon le Brave is an intriguing and charming hotel. Made up of converted stables, a school, a presbytery, and houses, the hotel sits on multiple levels, and offers fantastic views of the Provence landscape all around. To bask in the attractive character of the building and its setting, not to mention the beautiful Provençal weather, relax by the terrace pool. The hotel itself offers excursions such as truffle hunting in the nearby countryside or, alternatively stay in the hotel and indulge in the various spa treatments. If wine-tasting appeals then venture out to Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Vacqueyras, to taste the best wines of the region. The Côtes-de-Provence is most well-known for its Rosé wines, though the climate of Provence lends itself to a wide range of different grapes, some of which are blended together to create new flavours. The base of Mont Ventoux is clustered with small market towns, which can be reached on the hireable bicycles at the hotel if you want a break from your car. While out-and-about, be sure to explore some of the olive groves and vineyards the region is so famous for. Drive the short drive into nearby Avignon to witness its wealth of impressive ancient and medieval architecture. From the astounding Palais des Papes, the largest gothic palace in the world, to the multiple hidden gardens that are scattered along the old city streets, Avignon is a place of veritable beauty. Plan your tour in the summer in order to visit the Avignon Theatre Festival, founded in 1947 by Jean Vilar and recognised to be one of the greatest in the world. Watch performances of theatre and dance; listen to readings; and indulge in the vibrance and colour of the event. Less than 45 minutes away lie the tranquil turquoise waters of the beautiful Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Follow the trail of water exquisite in its clarity and colour through the pools and channels created by this subterranean spring. Of an evening, eat at the hotel’s restaurant, or find a nearby restaurant that serves the pork and trout that Provence specialises in.

    DAYS FOUR TO FIVE
    Travel across Provence to Joucas and stay for two nights

    Travel across the Provencal countryside to your next stop in Joucas, immersed in the verdant landscape of the Luberon Natural Park. Spend your time here exploring the neighbouring villages made from traditional dry-stone walls. Just 20 minutes from the hotel is one of the finest examples of the famous Provencal lavender fields at the Abbaye de Sénanque, just outside the village of Gordes. The former Cistercian monastery dates back to 1148 and now guests can take take tours of the church and cloisters and take in the beautiful fields of lavender beyond. For a more in- depth view of the history of lavender in Provence why not visit the Musée de la Lavandre in Coustellet. Explore along the Sorgue River and the surrounding countryside by bike or on foot. Slightly further afield, but still just under an hour drive away, is the city of Avignon, with its impressive Palais des Papes, combination of ancient and medieval architecture, and the numerous hidden gardens around the town centre. The Avignon Theatre Festival, founded in 1947 by Jean Vilar, is believed to be one of the greatest in the world, featuring a colourful explosion of dance, theatre, and various readings. Perhaps head just over an hour south-west to Arles, the city that inspired Van Gogh after his 18-month stay between 1888-1889, where he developed his distinctive style. Visit the Foundation Vincent Van Gogh and view his art work alongside some more contemporary pieces. As an international art capital Arles is definitely highly recommended.

    DAYS SIX TO EIGHT
    Head south to Aix-en-Provence and stay for three nights

    Recognised as a cosmopolitan hub of the south of France, the streets of Aix-en-Provence are lined with boutique shops specialising in art, jewellery, and fashion. A number of exclusive cafés and Michelin-starred restaurants are also available for your enjoyment. Yet, it is the historical heritage of the town that really makes its chic cosmopolitan side come to life. A haven for Paul Cézanne, his ‘Atelier’ is available for viewing, recreating the artistic and productive space in which he used to work. A short walk from the ‘Atelier’ is Les Lauves, the spot from which Cézanne developed his love affair with Mont Sainte-Victoire. To explore the mountain at closer range, follow the paths lined with dry stone walls that spiral up its sides. Pass, on your ascent, the 17th century Sainte-Victoire Priory, the Saint-ser Hermitage buried in a cave and dedicated to a 5th century hermit, before reaching the Cross of Provence on the western tip. From the Pic des Mouches, the highest point on the mountain, you can see across all of Provence. On a clear day, you will be able to make out the outline of the Alps on the horizon. Back in Aix-en-Provence, a number of bustling Farmer’s Markets take place every Saturday morning where even the locals are drawn to hunt for treasures. The imposing Cathédrale St. Sauveur, arguably the architectural centre-point of the town, has remained almost untouched since the middle-ages, and so retains much of its historical intrigue. To experience a different side to French culture, perhaps visit the unique Musée du Calisson, and watch the candle-making process, or purchase some of their singular works. In the evenings return to the quirky but elegant Villa Gallici and sit out in the fragrant air beside the pool.

    DAY NINE
    Return to Marseille for your flight home

    From Villa Gallici, take the very short drive to Marseille for your return flight to England.

    Driving times for this touring holiday of Provence:
    Marseille to Crillon-le-Brave: 1 hour 25 minutes
    Crillon-le-Brave toJoucas: 45 minutes
    Joucas to Aix-en-Provence: 1 hour 15 minutes
    Aix-en-Provence to Marseille: 40 minutes

    Tour of Provence v2

    Hotel Information

    Below is some information regarding each of the hotels featured in this touring itinerary. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations - please contact us for full details.

    Hostellerie de Crillon le Brave
    Crillon-le-Brave
    Hostellerie de Crillon le Brave near Avignon in Provence is named after its hilltop hamlet setting in the foothills of Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail. Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, this Relais & Châteaux property symbolises the essence of boutique luxury in an authentic and charming environment. Comprised of seven village buildings – former houses, stables, a school and presbytery - this unique hotel offers 32 beautifully and individually-appointed rooms and suites, each connected by secret courtyards and quiet alleyways, which add to the charming atmosphere and character. Most rooms overlook Mont Ventoux or the Rhône Valley and feature high-quality amenities such as Bose Wave sound systems, Italian linens and luxurious bathrooms. Just a stone’s throw from some of the greatest names in wine – Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Châteauneuf du Pape to name but a very special few – Crillon le Brave provides the perfect base for those looking to spend their days touring the excellent vineyards of this rich wine-growing region. Naturally, the restaurant features a wine list bearing the names of the finest Rhône vintages to accompany an elegant and refined menu, packed full of locally-sourced, regional cuisine. Al fresco dining on the terrace in the warmer months exploits the magnificent Mont Ventoux backdrop. The Hotel Crillon Le Brave has an inviting outdoor pool, mini-spa, boules court and guests can explore the area by bike.
    Find out more here.

    Le Phebus & Spa
    Joucas
    Le Phebus & Spa is a five-star, Relais & Chateaux property, located in Joucas and immersed in the picturesque Provencal landscape. The façade of the hotel is both charming and traditional, featuring golden-stone and terracotta roofs. A boutique property, with just 29 rooms the Le Phebus offers guests a quiet and intimate atmosphere in which to relax. The rooms are all individually decorated in a classical style with tiled floors and ornate furnishings and some of the higher rooms categories even boast private terraces. During the days explore the local area or relax at the hotel and indulge in the excellent spa facilities available, including treatments inspired by the lavender for which Provence is famous. Undoubtedly a highlight of the hotel, guests can dine at the Michelin-starred restaurant which uses seasonal ingredients to create delicious local specialities. Wine and cheese- tasting and cookery classes are also available at the hotel and complete the culinary experience offered. A beautiful hotel in an excellent location, Le Phebus is an excellent choice for a stay in Provence.
    Find out more here.


    Villa Gallici
    Aix-en-Provence
    The five-star Villa Gallici lies just a stone’s throw from the centre of the spa town of Aix-en-Provence, set at the foot of the Sainte Victoire hillside which provided inspiration to the notable likes of Cézanne and Zola. This atmospheric, 18th-century Provençal house was voted the world’s 7th best hotel in the 2012 Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Travel Awards and it is easy to see why. Set amidst seven acres of dense, verdant Florentine gardens infused with the smell of lavender and shaded by century-old plane and cypress trees, Villa Gallici, a Relais & Châteaux property, exudes charm and sophistication in abundance, from its interiors, richly decorated in sumptuous French fabrics and flamboyant, lavishly-styled bar to its opulent restaurant. Here, a flavoursome menu that infuses the traditional with the exotic is served on the romantic candlelit terrace under the plane trees in fine weather. Individually and immaculately appointed, the 22 rooms and suites at Villa Gallici offer refined and elegant accommodation, some decorated in soft, subtle tones, others offering a bright and bold palette, yet all absolutely beautiful. With the soothing fragrance of lavender drifting up from the garden, the rooms offer a most comfortable environment in which to stay. Villa Gallici also offers an inviting outdoor swimming pool and makes for the perfect base from which to explore the many delights of Aix and the surrounding region. Villa Gallici is deservedly Aix-en-Provence’s first five-star hotel.
    Find out more here.

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  • France

    Find out more about France

    France FAST FACTS

    Capital

    Paris
    Airport
    Main airports are in Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon, with scheduled and low cost airlines flying into the country from all over the UK.
    Currency
    Euro (£1 = Euro 1.24)
    Size
    Roughly 600 miles wide and 700 miles long
    Population
    66 million
    Average temperature
    Varies dramatically, from about 8 degrees in winter in Brittany to 26 degrees in summer in Corsica, with snow on the Alps and Pyrenees year-round

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