Visit Aix-en-Provence, Cassis and Marseille on a full-day tour that combines Provence’s artistic heritage with stunning coastal scenery. After setting off from Marseille, you’ll admire architecture on the famous Cours Mirabeau boulevard in Aix and then visit the Cézanne Studio (own expense) – dedicated to the 19th-century French painter Paul Cézanne. Discover rock formations known as 'calanques' on a cruise from Cassis, and then finish your day with a sightseeing tour of Marseille.Numbers are limited to eight on this small-group tour, ensuring you’ll see the sights with personalized attention from your guide.
Meet your guide at Marseille Vieux Port and head off by minivan to Aix-en-Provence. A wealthy Provencal town, Aix is known for its charming narrow streets lined with grand 17th-century houses. See the best examples of its elegant architecture on a stroll along the Cours Mirabeau -- a famous boulevard where private mansions bask beneath leafy trees and pretty fountains adorn the pavement. Continue walking to Aix’s seductive little Old Town (Vieil Aix), and admire its chic boutiques, craft shops and squares, all dotted about the warren of tiny streets.Famous as the birthplace of Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne, Aix is rightly on the map for art lovers from around the world. See how he stamped his mark on the city by visiting the Cézanne Studio where he once worked, creating masterpieces such as Les Grandes Baigneuses. Entrance to the studio is at your own expense, but once inside you can walk in the artist’s footsteps and see countless artifacts in the room that once inspired him. Alternatively, you can choose to continue exploring Aix independently.After a break for lunch in town (own expense), continue your tour to the seaside town of Cassis, stopping on the way to soak up coastal views from Cape Canaille. After a brief look at the picturesque harbor, hop aboard a sightseeing boat for a 45-minute cruise to see three of the region’s famous calanques – spectacular limestone rock formations that form dramatic coves along the coastline. From Cassis, head back to Marseille and finish your day with a panoramic sightseeing tour from the comfort of your minivan. Stop for a photo outside Notre-Dame de la Garde – the city’s eye-catching Neo-Byzantine church – and enjoy breathtaking sea views toward Château d’If – the famous fortress featured in Alexander Dumas’ novel The Count of Monte Cristo. Pass the 11th-century Abbey of St Victor and then end your tour back at Marseille Vieux Port in the early evening.