The Cote d’Azur & Provence : A cultural immersion

May 31- June 9, 2022

Sights and senses that inspired the greatest literary and artistic personalities – Iconic tour for women to the Cote d’Azur and Provence

This trip is designed to take you back in time in order to soak up the atmosphere, museums, boardwalk strolls, literary haunts and the spirits of literature’s greatest talents plus some of France’s best artists as well. This literary and artistic tour is a very luxurious trips that spans the most famous and beloved regions of France starting in the South and headquartered in Nice, traveling up to Arles with a stop in Aix-en-Provence.

Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” ~ Ibn Batuta
Join us for the pen-ultimate journey to the French Riviera & Provence which has been frequented by the world’s elite for the past 100 years. Frolick in the sun as we retrace the footsteps of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda in Nice and surrounds. Learn why writers, artists and celebrities like Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, Rod Stewart, Samuel Beckett, Jean Michel Basquiat, Tina Turner and Vladamir Nabakov flocked to the south of France for the light, the beauty and for inspiration.

We’ll climb the hill up to the picture-perfect Medieval village of Eze, visit the pretty in pink Rothschild villa, and get a tantalizing whiff of the Fragonard Perfume factory in Grasse. Perhaps the coup d’etat will be dining at the world famous La Colombe D’Or and seeing those Picasso’s up close!

Your tour leader for this exceptional experience is Canadian Nancy McGee, a long time travel pro and resident of the South of France for the past 20 years. Her French is perfect and her knowledge extensive. You will be in good hands with the lovely Nancy.

This women’s-only tour is designed to take you back in time in order to soak up the atmosphere, museums, boardwalk strolls, literary haunts, and feel the spirits of some of France’s best artists as well as some more recent celebrities who have summered here. This is a luxurious trip that spans the most famous and beloved regions in the South of France starting in Nice, traveling up to Arles and making a stop in Aix-en-Provence. Simply the best of the best!
This trip has been designed in collaboration with Girls Guide to Paris.

Day 1 – May 31, Tuesday 

After checking in at your leisure at our 4-star boutique hotel in the center of the historical old town of Nice which back in the day was a favorite of Matisse, Fitzgerald, Nietzsche & Chekov, enjoy a rest in your room or stroll along the iconic Promenade des Anglais and gaze out to the majestic Mediterranean Sea, a few feet from our hotel.

At 7:00pm we will meet in the hotel courtyard for a welcome drink before heading out for dinner at the iconic Negresco hotel.

Day 2 – June 1, Wednesday

This morning we will discover the hidden secrets of some famous writers’ haunts in Nice. We’ll then head up to the charming ancient hill town of nearby Èze where we will enjoy a leisurely lunch before exploring the incredible Villa Ephrussi at Rothchild mansion, and its magical gardens.

We’ll return to Nice in the afternoon, for some rest and relaxation before having dinner at a gourmet local treasure,

Day 3 – June 2, Thursday 

On arrival in St Paul de Vence, the Jewel of the Riviera and celebrity playground you’ll visit the delightful Fondation Maeght whose permanent collection includes paintings and sculptures by Giacometti, Ellsworth Kelly, Pierre Bonnard, George Braque as well as countless other luminaries.

While in St Paul de Vence you’ll have the opportunity to roam on your own and visit local artisans, shops and ateliers.Today’s lunch will be at the Uber-famous la Colombe d’Or where Picasso, Matisse, Leger, Miro, Calder and Chagall have all dined before you.

You’ll want to walk around the place between courses because nearly all of these artists’ original work is shown at this legendary establishment, they often donated it to the owner in exchange for dinner and a stay at his place.

Then we’ll head to enjoy an initiation tour of  a perfume factory in Grasse, the flower and perfume capital of France.

Afterwards we will have tea at a fabulous seaside hotel where Fitzgerald of Great Gatsby fame stayed for some time back when it was a private villa.

In the evening will enjoy a scrumptious dinner in the bustling historical district of Nice.

Day 4 – June 3, Friday

Today we will transfer to Arles with a stop on the way in charming Aix-en-Provence where Peter Mayle enjoyed people watching and having a café on the Cours Mirabeau. A light lunch in the courtyard of a mansion and art center will be followed by an audio tour.

In the afternoon we will visit Cezanne’s atelier up in the hills, where you’ll swear he just left for a walk as everything is still in-tact. He painted the St. Victoire mountain in this studio over 60 times.

In Arles you will be staying in a 5 star hotel which has been renovated and decorated by haute couture fashion designer Christian Lacroix. Upon arrival and check-in, you’ll have time to go to the spa or relax by the pool.

Arles was Van Gogh’s home in the South of France as well as home to a number of writers including American poet and novelist Jim Harrison.

“I’d have often thought that if I received an early warning that I would pass on sooner than later, I’d get myself to Lyon and eat for a solid month….maybe I’d swim all the way downstream to Arles for my last supper.”

Dinner will be at a casual Mediterranean bistro

Day 5 – June 4, Saturday 

You’ll have some time this morning to stroll one of the most interesting and vibrant markets in the south. and it will be at the doorstep of your hotel.  You’ll enjoy lunch in the gardens of a family-owned mansion in the vineyards where you will be welcomed by the owner who will share their passion for the wines of Provence. Here we’ll enjoy a wine tour, tasting and picnic lunch under the fig tree in a private family-owned vineyard. Then we’ll stop on the way back to the hotel for a tour of an olive oil mill.

Time off for dinner on your own tonight.

HOTEL: Jules Cesar

In the evening we will have diner at the stunning  Arlatan.

Day 6 – June 5 , Sunday

Today after breakfast we’ll head out for a walking tour with Heather Robinson an American blogger and writer of @lostinarles.

After lunch we’ll visit the Musée Mistral and take a tour of the French Provençal writer, Frederic Mistral’s home filled with original items celebrating his life, friendships, and other surprising encounters.

Then we’ll head over to St Remy to visit Van Gogh Saint-Paul Asylum and the Moulin de Daudet.

You’ll enjoy some free time after this visit for some last minute shopping in charming St. Remy

For your farewell it’s time to toast new friendships with cocktails followed by dinner at the renowned Lou Marques restaurant at our hotel.

HOTEL: Jules Cesar

 

Day 7  – June 6, Monday

After a leisurely moment shared with croissants and café au lait, we will part ways, but the memories will last a lifetime!

 

 

Nancy McGee, director of Absolutely Southern France, designed the itinerary in collaboration with Doni Belau, trip planner of Girls Guide to Paris.  Nancy will there to great you remain with you during your entire stay to ensure all goes smoothly during your ultimate journey.

What’s Included?

  • Everything stated in itinerary above including all meals + wine with dinner
  • All guides and tastings
  • Museum or other entry fees
  • All in-country transport including transfers to and from the train station, pick up and drop is in Dijon

What’s Not Included?

  • Roundtrip airfare to France
  • Transfers to and from hotels
  • Train to the South of France
  • Any Spa Treatments desired
  • Any personal souvenirs or purchases
  • Additional wine, beer or spirits beyond what is offered at meals
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended) and trip medical coverage (required for travelers over 50 years of age).

CONTACT US

To reserve your spot or request additional information,  please fill out the form below. Nancy will then contact you to discuss the tour details and arrange your booking.

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Tour Details

Dates: May 31- June 6, 2022
Duration: 7 days, 6 nights
Cost: 5195 euros in single occupancy *
Participants: 8

Tour HIGHLIGHTS

Enjoy tea the former home of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda
Visit the Villa Ephrussi, a gorgeous Rothschild Mansion
Walk in the footsteps of the great African American writer James Baldwin in St. Paul de Vence
Visit Cezanne’s Atelier where he painted until his last days
Dine at one of the most celebrated restaurants in the south of France surrounded by Picasso’s and other
Tour the French writer Frederic Mistral’s home in Provence
Wander through the market-rich streets of Nice with your tasting guide
Explore Arles with an American blogger to discover its ancient secrets
Stay in a 5-star hotel w/ spa decorated by non other than Christian LaCroix

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