South of France and a dash of Italy

Only 1 spot left!

Rosé wine and lavender fields forever

A once in a lifetime Best Friend’s tour for women with Canadian best-selling author Patricia Sands and American “Barefoot Blogger” aka Deborah Bine.

Best-selling women’s fiction author Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. She spends months each year researching her stories in the south of France, her second home. Her fifth novel, Drawing Lessons, set in Arles and the Camargue, was published October 1, 2017. And a new three-book series, Villa des Violettes has now been released.

Deborah Bine, the Barefoot Blogger, is a solo female who left South Carolina for Uzés, France on a whim and following a dream. She travels and stumbles through France, where she doesn’t speak the language, sharing the fun, adventures and inspiration along the way.

Together Deborah and Patricia will share their contagious love of the South of France guiding you through the region with a spontaneous sense of adventure and ‘joie de vivre’ – an experience that will be sure to create friendships and memories to last a lifetime!

Monday 14 June 2021: NICE
Your adventure begins! From the Nice airport you will transfer by private van to upmarket four star Hotel Villa Victoria. Patricia and Deborah will be waiting to greet you in the lobby. There will be time to freshen up / relax / or explore. Welcome cocktail in the gardens at the hotel before dinner.
Hotel: Villa Victoria ****, Nice
Meal included: cocktail and welcome dinner

Tuesday 15 June 2021 : BIOT, ANTIBES/JUAN-LES-PINS
After the Romans settled in the region in 154 BC, Biot was taken over by pirates, rogues, and thieves in the 1300s. This led to a period where the town was not a place for those looking for a peaceful reception.

However, today there are no pirates in sight, and the town instead has a reputation for the art of glassblowing and ceramics. It is also the home of the Fernand Leger Museum. This picturesque medieval town is located in the hills a short distance from Antibes.

We will tour the famous glass-blowing studio, showroom and museum of La Vererrie de Biot. Glass does not exist without its master glassblower. The master-glassblower is a magician who uses the secrets of earth and fire to create glass! 15 master glassblowers draw the living substance from the fire, blow, create and model unique objects before visitors´ eyes.
We will also have time to stroll around Biot. Patricia’s note: I spent a summer just outside Biot and can’t resist the famous colorful bubble-glass for which it is known. You will love the unique glassware and the village. Bonus: Tuesday is market day! After this visit, you will enjoy some free time in Antibes where you can browse the shops and have lunch.

Mid-afternoon you will head to the iconic Hôtel Belles Rives in Juan-les-Pins, the western part of Antibes. In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, rented the then private Villa Saint Louis during which time he wrote Tender is The Night and some parts of The Great Gatsby. A cocktail will be served in the Fitzgerald piano bar as we enjoy the panoramic view over the Mediterranean. Hotel Belles Rives by Patricia Sands
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Wednesday 16 June 2021: MENTON, MONACO, ROQUEBRUNE
Stephanie will be our local guide for this exciting day. We will depart early by our private coach, approximately 45 minutes to the beautiful town of Menton. “The Lemon Festival Capital of the World” is located just before the border of Italy and in many ways is more Italian than French. It has its own microclimate, generally milder than the rest of the French Riviera, and in the late 1900s was a place where Northern Europeans with TB came to either regain their health or to die.

Relaxed beaches flank the sunny resort town of Menton, known as “the pearl of France”, which receives the most sun on the Côte d’Azur each year. A new museum dedicated to Jean Cocteau, Menton’s adopted artist, writer and film-maker son, opened in a prime position on the quay in 2011. Stephanie will guide us through the museum and the Cocteau chapel St. Pierre.

In the afternoon, our coach will bring us into the hills high above Monaco to Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Overhanging the coast, the colorful narrow streets and arched passages of the old village are bursting with charm! At the top of the village stands a medieval keep from the 10th century. Stephanie is one of the few guides with permission to bring groups to tour the Villa Eileen Gray. Time permitting, we will go to Monaco for a stop at the Palace. For those interested in vintage shopping, this will be an opportunity to shop at nearby “Le Dressing” vintage shop.
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Thursday 17 June 2021 : NICE
Day off in Nice to enjoy your day with friends discovering museums, shopping, going to the beach.
Meals included: Breakfast,

Friday 18 June 2021 VENTIMILLES (ITALY)
You’ll be off early today to shop at the lively Friday outdoor market in Ventimiglia, Italy. This extensive market features purses, scarves, cashmere, and tablecloths as well as Italian products, such as meats, cheeses, dried tomatoes and an array of fresh pasta in varied shapes and sizes with many of the vendors offering samples. Free time for lunch in pizza and pasta heaven.
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Saturday 19 June 2021 NICE – PUY STE RÉPARADE – ST RÉMY
Morning free to sleep in or enjoy your last hours in Nice and have an early lunch.
You will check out and bid farewell to the Cote d’Azur today stopping on the way to St Remy in Puy-Sainte-Réparade at the outstanding Chateau Lacoste winery for a 2-hour guided Art and Architecture tour through the vineyards featuring works by Gehry, Tadao Ando, Calder just to name a few.
Your new home for the next 5 days will be at recently refurbished and renovated boutique Hotel Villa Glanum in the provençal town of St Remy.
Hotel: Villa Glanum***, St Rémy de Provence
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Sunday 20 June 2021 ISLE SUR LA SORGUE
Every Sunday, people travel from near and far seeking to stroll the antique and flea market. You’ll have time to explore the market and the charming historical center town. After lunch, you’ll have some free time to relax at the hotel by the pool and gardens, enjoy a spa treatment, visit Glanum or St. Paul de Mausole monastery (both within close walking distance).
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Monday 21 June 2021 COUSTELLET, VALENSOLE, MÉNERBE
Early start to Sénanque Abbaye to enjoy the lavender fields and have a 1-hour audio guided tour. A stop outside Gordes will be made for a photo op of the stunning town. Another stop will be made at the Lavender Museum in Coustellet for an audio tour. You will have free time for lunch and a stroll in the exceptional village of Roussillon. After lunch, a stop in another stunning village, Menerbe for a one-hour tour of the unique corkscrew museum.
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Tuesday 22 June 2021 UZÈS
It’s time for a tour of the medieval town Uzès that Deborah calls home. You’ll be enchanted by the maze of small streets and shaded plazas, the quaint shops and the views of the royal Place du Duché. After lunch at one of Deborah’s favorite restaurants we will return to our hotel.
Back at the hotel, a private workshop with Elsa will be held, providing you instruction on how to make your lavender wand.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Wednesday 23 June 2021 ST RÉMY
Busy morning market in St Rémy ~ you are free to choose when to go into town and browse as you wish.
After lunch, Patricia and Deborah will take you to visit candied fruit Confiserie Lilamand facility founded in 1866 for a presentation and sampling of their products.
Back at the hotel, an instructor will be offering you an initiation to Pétanque in the petanque alley on the grounds. A tournament will be organized with prizes, apéro and nibbles.
Meals included: Breakfast

Thursday 24 June 2021 : CADENET AND ANSOUIS
Don’t forget your camera today. On a private family run property, your hosts will take you with their dogs for a truffle hunt demonstration, and a tour of their fabulous property to discover the wild herbs of provence, the vineyard, olive grove and beehives. A buffet lunch in the gardens of the private property is being organized just for you, including a tasting of three different hors d’oeuvre with truffles.

After lunch, you will be off to a stunning location near Ansouis for a tasting and chat with the best artisan ice cream maker of the region.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and afternoon treat

Friday 25 June : LES BAUX & FONTVIEILLE
We will travel along a picturesque route to the Carrière des Lumières the cavernous quarry, transformed into a spectacular art gallery and experience the audio-visual masterpiece exhibit that sits below the village of Les Baux de Provence. Remember to bring a jacket!. The show theme will be announced Spring 2021.
Fontvieille is the village where Alphonse Daudet wrote his famous “Lettres de Mon Moulin”. After an easy climb up a small hill, you’ll reach the summit where the “Moulin de Daudet” and its small museum can be visited. From the hilltop, you will have a superb view of the Alpilles and the “Château de Montauban” where Daudet lived from time to time.
In the afternoon, you will be taken for a 1.5 hour guided tour of the family owned Chateau Estoublan followed by a tasting of exquisite olive oils and 3 wines.
Back to the hotel early to pack and get ready for your farewell dinner in a truly special place.
Meals included: Breakfast, farewell dinner

Included

  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Accommodation 12 nights
  • All breakfasts, two lunches and nine dinners
  • Gratuities (tips for guides, drivers, restaurants) and taxes
  • Transportation by air-conditioned coach
  • All private and professional guides, activities and entrance fees as indicated

Not Included

  • Roundtrip airfare
  • Meals and beverages other than those mentioned in the program
  • Travel insurance

Deposit

Due to the Covid 19 related exceptional circumstances, we will be taking reservations to secure  spots on tours without collecting a 30% deposit until February 2021. 

Arrival and Departure

You will be welcomed on arrival by Patricia and Deborah for a briefing cocktail and welcome dinner on 14 June 2021. Your transfer from the airport to the hotel is included on 14 June. At the end of the vacation on 25 June, we will provide transfers to the train station and airport in Marseille.

What to Pack

Please wear comfortable walking shoes as you will be at times walking on cobblestones and uneven sidewalks, sometimes for more than an hour.

Physical Requirements

Our tour is “physically active.” You may be on your feet, walking and standing, for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, rain or shine. That means if you need help climbing in a tour bus or if you are winded after walking 50 feet, you will want to explore other tour options.

Accommodation

You are staying in a well-located four-star hotel in Nice and in a 4 star in St Remy. Temperatures should be pleasant. We expect clear sunny skies with average daytime temperatures between 24C / 75F and overnight lows of 18C / 65F.

Transportation

You will be travelling in a comfortable air- conditioned coach driven by a professional driver as well as in safari jeeps driven by guides who are also professional drivers.

Terms and Conditions

If insufficient numbers of participants or in the event of conditions deemed unsafe for our clients, the tour may be cancelled or postponed. 

Cancellation Policy

This is a package tour and non-refundable with no refunds even in case of injury or illness or personal emergency. Cancellation must be notified by email to nancy@absolutelysouthernfrance.com.

We highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance including medical assistance and cancellation.

Payment

We accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

Additional Services

Nancy McGee of Absolutely Southern France is happy to assist with roommate matching as well as pre and post tour travel planning.

Best-selling women’s fiction author Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. She spends months each year researching her stories in the south of France, her second home. Her fifth novel, Drawing Lessons, set in Arles and the Camargue, was published October 1, 2017. And a new three-book series, Villa des Violettes has now been released.

Deborah Bine, the Barefoot Blogger, is a solo female who left South Carolina for Uzés, France on a whim and following a dream. She travels and stumbles through France, where she doesn’t speak the language, sharing the fun, adventures and inspiration along the way.

Together Deborah and Patricia will share their contagious love of the South of France guiding you through the region with a spontaneous sense of adventure and ‘joie de vivre’ – an experience that will be sure to create friendships and memories to last a lifetime!

Monday 14 June 2021: NICE
Your adventure begins! From the Nice airport you will transfer by private van to upmarket four star Hotel Villa Victoria. Patricia and Deborah will be waiting to greet you in the lobby. There will be time to freshen up / relax / or explore. Welcome cocktail in the gardens at the hotel before dinner.
Hotel: Villa Victoria ****, Nice
Meal included: cocktail and welcome dinner

Tuesday 15 June 2021 : BIOT, ANTIBES/JUAN-LES-PINS
After the Romans settled in the region in 154 BC, Biot was taken over by pirates, rogues, and thieves in the 1300s. This led to a period where the town was not a place for those looking for a peaceful reception.

However, today there are no pirates in sight, and the town instead has a reputation for the art of glassblowing and ceramics. It is also the home of the Fernand Leger Museum. This picturesque medieval town is located in the hills a short distance from Antibes.

We will tour the famous glass-blowing studio, showroom and museum of La Vererrie de Biot. Glass does not exist without its master glassblower. The master-glassblower is a magician who uses the secrets of earth and fire to create glass! 15 master glassblowers draw the living substance from the fire, blow, create and model unique objects before visitors´ eyes.
We will also have time to stroll around Biot. Patricia’s note: I spent a summer just outside Biot and can’t resist the famous colorful bubble-glass for which it is known. You will love the unique glassware and the village. Bonus: Tuesday is market day! After this visit, you will enjoy some free time in Antibes where you can browse the shops and have lunch.

Mid-afternoon you will head to the iconic Hôtel Belles Rives in Juan-les-Pins, the western part of Antibes. In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, rented the then private Villa Saint Louis during which time he wrote Tender is The Night and some parts of The Great Gatsby. A cocktail will be served in the Fitzgerald piano bar as we enjoy the panoramic view over the Mediterranean. Hotel Belles Rives by Patricia Sands
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Wednesday 16 June 2021: MENTON, MONACO, ROQUEBRUNE
Stephanie will be our local guide for this exciting day. We will depart early by our private coach, approximately 45 minutes to the beautiful town of Menton. “The Lemon Festival Capital of the World” is located just before the border of Italy and in many ways is more Italian than French. It has its own microclimate, generally milder than the rest of the French Riviera, and in the late 1900s was a place where Northern Europeans with TB came to either regain their health or to die.

Relaxed beaches flank the sunny resort town of Menton, known as “the pearl of France”, which receives the most sun on the Côte d’Azur each year. A new museum dedicated to Jean Cocteau, Menton’s adopted artist, writer and film-maker son, opened in a prime position on the quay in 2011. Stephanie will guide us through the museum and the Cocteau chapel St. Pierre.

In the afternoon, our coach will bring us into the hills high above Monaco to Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Overhanging the coast, the colorful narrow streets and arched passages of the old village are bursting with charm! At the top of the village stands a medieval keep from the 10th century. Stephanie is one of the few guides with permission to bring groups to tour the Villa Eileen Gray. Time permitting, we will go to Monaco for a stop at the Palace. For those interested in vintage shopping, this will be an opportunity to shop at nearby “Le Dressing” vintage shop.
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Thursday 17 June 2021 : NICE
Day off in Nice to enjoy your day with friends discovering museums, shopping, going to the beach.
Meals included: Breakfast,

Friday 18 June 2021 VENTIMILLES (ITALY)
You’ll be off early today to shop at the lively Friday outdoor market in Ventimiglia, Italy. This extensive market features purses, scarves, cashmere, and tablecloths as well as Italian products, such as meats, cheeses, dried tomatoes and an array of fresh pasta in varied shapes and sizes with many of the vendors offering samples. Free time for lunch in pizza and pasta heaven.
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Saturday 19 June 2021 NICE – PUY STE RÉPARADE – ST RÉMY
Morning free to sleep in or enjoy your last hours in Nice and have an early lunch.
You will check out and bid farewell to the Cote d’Azur today stopping on the way to St Remy in Puy-Sainte-Réparade at the outstanding Chateau Lacoste winery for a 2-hour guided Art and Architecture tour through the vineyards featuring works by Gehry, Tadao Ando, Calder just to name a few.
Your new home for the next 5 days will be at recently refurbished and renovated boutique Hotel Villa Glanum in the provençal town of St Remy.
Hotel: Villa Glanum***, St Rémy de Provence
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Sunday 20 June 2021 ISLE SUR LA SORGUE
Every Sunday, people travel from near and far seeking to stroll the antique and flea market. You’ll have time to explore the market and the charming historical center town. After lunch, you’ll have some free time to relax at the hotel by the pool and gardens, enjoy a spa treatment, visit Glanum or St. Paul de Mausole monastery (both within close walking distance).
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Monday 21 June 2021 COUSTELLET, VALENSOLE, MÉNERBE
Early start to Sénanque Abbaye to enjoy the lavender fields and have a 1-hour audio guided tour. A stop outside Gordes will be made for a photo op of the stunning town. Another stop will be made at the Lavender Museum in Coustellet for an audio tour. You will have free time for lunch and a stroll in the exceptional village of Roussillon. After lunch, a stop in another stunning village, Menerbe for a one-hour tour of the unique corkscrew museum.
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Tuesday 22 June 2021 UZÈS
It’s time for a tour of the medieval town Uzès that Deborah calls home. You’ll be enchanted by the maze of small streets and shaded plazas, the quaint shops and the views of the royal Place du Duché. After lunch at one of Deborah’s favorite restaurants we will return to our hotel.
Back at the hotel, a private workshop with Elsa will be held, providing you instruction on how to make your lavender wand.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Wednesday 23 June 2021 ST RÉMY
Busy morning market in St Rémy ~ you are free to choose when to go into town and browse as you wish.
After lunch, Patricia and Deborah will take you to visit candied fruit Confiserie Lilamand facility founded in 1866 for a presentation and sampling of their products.
Back at the hotel, an instructor will be offering you an initiation to Pétanque in the petanque alley on the grounds. A tournament will be organized with prizes, apéro and nibbles.
Meals included: Breakfast

Thursday 24 June 2021 : CADENET AND ANSOUIS
Don’t forget your camera today. On a private family run property, your hosts will take you with their dogs for a truffle hunt demonstration, and a tour of their fabulous property to discover the wild herbs of provence, the vineyard, olive grove and beehives. A buffet lunch in the gardens of the private property is being organized just for you, including a tasting of three different hors d’oeuvre with truffles.

After lunch, you will be off to a stunning location near Ansouis for a tasting and chat with the best artisan ice cream maker of the region.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and afternoon treat

Friday 25 June : LES BAUX & FONTVIEILLE
We will travel along a picturesque route to the Carrière des Lumières the cavernous quarry, transformed into a spectacular art gallery and experience the audio-visual masterpiece exhibit that sits below the village of Les Baux de Provence. Remember to bring a jacket!. The show theme will be announced Spring 2021.
Fontvieille is the village where Alphonse Daudet wrote his famous “Lettres de Mon Moulin”. After an easy climb up a small hill, you’ll reach the summit where the “Moulin de Daudet” and its small museum can be visited. From the hilltop, you will have a superb view of the Alpilles and the “Château de Montauban” where Daudet lived from time to time.
In the afternoon, you will be taken for a 1.5 hour guided tour of the family owned Chateau Estoublan followed by a tasting of exquisite olive oils and 3 wines.
Back to the hotel early to pack and get ready for your farewell dinner in a truly special place.
Meals included: Breakfast, farewell dinner

Included

  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Accommodation 12 nights
  • All breakfasts, two lunches and nine dinners
  • Gratuities (tips for guides, drivers, restaurants) and taxes
  • Transportation by air-conditioned coach
  • All private and professional guides, activities and entrance fees as indicated

Not Included

  • Roundtrip airfare
  • Meals and beverages other than those mentioned in the program
  • Travel insurance

Deposit

Due to the Covid 19 related exceptional circumstances, we will be taking reservations to secure  spots on tours without collecting a 30% deposit until February 2021. 

Arrival and Departure

You will be welcomed on arrival by Patricia and Deborah for a briefing cocktail and welcome dinner on 14 June 2021. Your transfer from the airport to the hotel is included on 14 June. At the end of the vacation on 25 June, we will provide transfers to the train station and airport in Marseille.

What to Pack

Please wear comfortable walking shoes as you will be at times walking on cobblestones and uneven sidewalks, sometimes for more than an hour.

Physical Requirements

Our tour is “physically active.” You may be on your feet, walking and standing, for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, rain or shine. That means if you need help climbing in a tour bus or if you are winded after walking 50 feet, you will want to explore other tour options.

Accommodation

You are staying in a well-located four-star hotel in Nice and in a 4 star in St Remy. Temperatures should be pleasant. We expect clear sunny skies with average daytime temperatures between 24C / 75F and overnight lows of 18C / 65F.

Transportation

You will be travelling in a comfortable air- conditioned coach driven by a professional driver as well as in safari jeeps driven by guides who are also professional drivers.

Terms and Conditions

If insufficient numbers of participants or in the event of conditions deemed unsafe for our clients, the tour may be cancelled or postponed. 

Cancellation Policy

This is a package tour and non-refundable with no refunds even in case of injury or illness or personal emergency. Cancellation must be notified by email to nancy@absolutelysouthernfrance.com.

We highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance including medical assistance and cancellation.

Payment

We accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

Additional Services

Nancy McGee of Absolutely Southern France is happy to assist with roommate matching as well as pre and post tour travel planning.

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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Only 1 spot left!

Tour Details

Dates: June 14-25, 2021
Duration: 13 days, 12 nights
Cost: €4600 euros in single occupancy * approx 5460 US dollars
Participants: 13

Tour HIGHLIGHTS

  • Travel with soulmates Patricia Sands and Deborah Bine
  • Lavender immersion photo ops and workshop
  • Sip cocktails in the footsteps of Fitzgerald
  • Shop til you drop ! Visit bustling lea market, antique market, provençal market, Italian market
  • Keep up with your hunting dog dashing for truffles
  • Live life “à la francaise” playing pétanque beneath plane trees, with a glass of pastis at hand
  • Delve into the rich art and cultural scene of the south of France

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