Welcome to Aix-en-Provence
A pocket of left-bank Parisian chic deep in Provence, Aix (pronounced like the letter X) is all class: its leafy boulevards and public squares are lined with 17th- and 18th-century mansions, punctuated by gurgling moss-covered fountains. Haughty stone lions guard its grandest avenue, cafe-laced cours Mirabeau, where fashionable Aixois pose on polished pavement terraces sipping espresso. While Aix is a student hub,... Read More
Top experiences in Aix-en-Provence
Luberon Villages Day Trip from Aix-en-Provence
Meet your guide in the center of Aix-en-Provence and head out by air-conditioned minibus to discover the charming Luberon area. Peppered with tiny cliff-top villages and windswept vineyards, the gorgeous area exemplifies rural France at its finest! First stop is the picture-perfect village of Isle-sur-Sorque to spend some time at leisure exploring and soaking up its charm. Visit its open-air market and browse its collection of antiques shops that flank its network of canals – known as Venice of Comtat Venaissin.Continue to the nearby hilltop village of Gordes, and during the lavender blooming months (mid June to mid July) stop for photos at Senanque Abbey – a pretty 12th century abbey surrounded by lavender fields. Enjoy some free time for lunch in the village and then continue to the colorful village of Roussillon – known for its rich ochre pigments that are found in its cay soil. Explore the town at your own pace, and admire its distinctive orange-hued cliffs. Travel to the neighboring village of Bonnieux, stopping on the way at Pont Julien – a Roman stone arch bridge that was built from limestone rocks from the nearby Luberon mountains. Visit a 12th-century church in Bonnieux, and relax in the shade of its century-old cedar trees. Follow the scenic river valley of Combe of Lourmarin from Bonnieux.Last stop of the day is in Lourmarin – often considered the quaintest of Luberon’s villages with its narrow streets lined with Mediterranean architecture. Marvel at the Renaissance architecture of the popular Lourmarin Castle on a short photo stop in the pretty village and hear from your guide how it was the first Renaissance castle to be built in Provence.You tour finishes in the late afternoon back at the start point in Aix-en-Provence.
Provence Lavender Fields Tour from Aix-en-Provence
The lavender fields of Provence spring into bloom for the balmy summer months between June and August each year, blanketing the region’s fields with a vivid violet color. Choose from one of three different options to suit the time you have free, and see the best fields and lavender-producing villages for yourself! All tours start from and return to central Aix-en-Provence.Morning Tour:Head to Valensole Plateau – a vast expanse of lavender fields that produce a type of lavender known as Lavandin. Typically larger than the French Lavender plants, Lavandin produces a more fruity, gutsy fragrance that will hit you as soon as you hop off your minibus! Pose for photos in front of the fields, and then visit a lavender farm to see a selection of Provençal lavender produce: French Lavender and Lavandin oils, lavender honey, and even lavender-infused olive oil! Learn about the plant’s cultivation and the properties of the different lavender flowers from your guide before returning to Aix.Afternoon Tour:Travel along picturesque, winding roads to Valensole Plateau and enjoy panoramic views over the golden wheat and blue lavender fields. Pause along the way to capture the colorful crops in bloom through the eye of your camera. Then, stop off at a L'Occitane cosmetics factory to visit the museum and gain insight into the story behind this famous trademark. Enjoy reduced rates on any purchases you make, then return to your departure point to conclude your tour. Full-Day Tour:Tours from mid-June to mid-July: Explore Valensole Plateau in the morning to see its incredible Lavandin fields and visit a lavender farm, and then travel to the hilltop village of Moustiers-Ste-Marie. Famous for its earthenware workshops, the village is a craft-lovers treasure trove, and you’ll have time to explore it independently. Enjoy lunch in the village at your own expense, and then travel by minibus to see the opening of the Gorge du Verdon – a magnificent river canyon. Admire Ste Croix Lake on a panoramic tour, amble through the picture-perfect village of Bauduen and then enjoy a last photo stop in of Ste Croix de Verdon, a village with old-school Provençal charm.Tours from mid-July to mid-August: Discover the delights of Luberon National Park while traveling along the long and winding Combe de Lourmarin – a scenic river valley road – to Pays de Sault. The area is known for its sweeping lavender fields, and is home to the so-called ‘capital of lavender’ – Sault village. Make the most of some free time here, perhaps shopping for oils or flowers to take home and enjoying lunch (own expense), and then meet your guide to travel to three picturesque hilltop villages: Monieux, St Saturnin-les-Apt and Saignon. Return to Aix, passing through the Plateau of Claparèdes.
Luberon Villages Half-Day Tour from Aix-en-Provence
Leave Aix-en-Provence by air-conditioned minibus, and travel north to the gorgeous Luberon region with your guide. Embodying picturesque rural France at its finest, the area is awash with charming little hilltop hamlets and villages peppered around the hills – and you’ll see the best of them on your tour!First stop is Lourmarin for a photo stop against the backdrop of Lourmarin Castle – Provence’s first Renaissance castle. Continue by minivan along the scenic river valley of Combe of Lourmarin, and then arrive in the neighboring village of Bonnieux. Spend time at leisure here, perhaps visiting its 12th-century church or relaxing in the shade of its century-old cedar trees. Travel through more swathes of soft-hued countryside, passing a Roman arched bridge called Pont Julien, and then take a stroll through the village of Roussillon – known for its orange clay cliffs that are tinged from the soil’s rich ochre pigments. Before returning to Aix, visit Gordes, a cliff-top village, to soak up its dramatic view. Head back to Aix and finish your tour at the start point in the early evening.
Verdon Gorge Day Trip from Aix-en-Provence
You’ll be picked up from central Aix-en-Provence in the morning by your guide. Traveling by air-conditioned minvan, travel 45 minutes north from the French Riviera through the Alpes de Haute-Provence region to your first stop, just outside Manosque. The largest and liveliest town in the region, Manosque is home to the L'Occitane factory, a high-end cosmetics company famous around the world. Take a guided tour of the factory to discover the steps involved in the production of perfumes, which are made with local flowers and plants. This fragrant experience lets you trace the key steps in the history of the L'Occitane brand, and you’ll end with a chance to purchase products at preferential prices.Afterwards, continue your drive across the Valensole plateau, arriving in Moustiers Ste-Marie after about an hour. This lovely village is in a gorgeous setting, at the base of rocky cliffs along a rushing mountain stream that divides the village with a narrow canyon. The view of this mini-gorge, with small waterfalls down inside and medieval houses above, is quite beautiful. Enjoy free time to have lunch and explore Moustiers Ste-Marie on your own. Wander the narrow medieval streets and vaulted passages, visit ceramics shops – for which the village is known – and enjoy a relaxing lunch at a terrace café (own expense). Don’t miss the centerpiece of the village, Notre-Dame de Beauvoir chapel, which sits high above the village behind the ruins of the ancient city walls. Built in the 8th century and restored in the 12th century, this church has layers of history, and offers fantastic views of the village’s red-tiled roofs, the expanse of the Maire valley, the far hills and the Lake of Sainte-Croix, which you’ll visit later. Your next stop is the Verdon Gorge (Gorges du Verdon), considered to be one of the most beautiful canyons in Europe. Named for the Verdon River’s striking turquoise-green color, the gorge draws many visitors for its scenic rim drive and great hikes. Admire awe-inspiring views from the rim before descending to the end of the canyon, where the river flows into Lake of Sainte-Croix (Lac de Sainte-Croix). Enjoy free time to lounge on the beach and soak up the views of the magnificent turquoise water. Sitting on the open Plateau de Valensole and the Grand Plan de Canjuers, this man-made lake has a feeling of endless space and light.After your time here, it’s time to hit the road back to the French Riviera. Travel through the village of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon overlooking the lake on the drive back to Aix-en-Provence, about 1 hour and 45 minutes away.
Best of Provence Day Trip from Aix-en-Provence
Meet your guide in central Aix-en-Provence and head by minibus to Les Baux de Provence. Perched atop of a craggy rock overlooking the countryside, this medieval village boasts views that have graced a thousand postcards, and is home to some impressive history, as well. Hear all about it from your guide as you travel, and then spend time at leisure in the village, soaking up its ambiance and perhaps paying a visit to its old fortress ruins (admission at your own expense).Continue north by minibus and stop for photos by Pont du Gard, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed Roman aqueduct that once supplied the ancient city of Nimes with water. A short distance away is the city of Avignon, which you’ll visit next on a walking tour. Known as the City of Popes (Cité des Papes), Avignon was once home to a succession of 14th- and 15th-century French popes who lavished the city with grand architectural gestures. While exploring with your guide, see several such monuments, like the Pont St-Bénezet – a striking medieval bridge – and the impressive Popes’ Palace (Palais des Papes) which you can visit (own expense).After a break for lunch in town (own expense), head to Châteauneuf-du-Pape village, in the heart of the country’s Rhône Valley. The name ‘Châteauneuf-du-Pape’ also applies to the appellation (wine-making region) in which the village lies, and you’ll taste several of its famous wines on a tour of a wine estate here. See the vineyards and cellars while learning about the region’s viniculture from your guide.Having soaked up the delights of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, meet your guide for your journey back to Aix-en-Provence. Your tour finishes back at the start point in the early evening.
Provence Wineries and Luberon Villages Day Trip from Aix-en-Provence
Leave Aix-en-Provence in the morning, and travel east by minivan to the foothills of St-Victoire Mountain, a stunning peak that rises some 3,317 feet (1,011 meters), dominating the Provencal landscape. A popular winemaking region, the softly sloping hills are home to countless vineyards that thrive with the temperate climate and fertile soils. In turn, this produces some of Provence’s best wines – full bodied with abundant minerality.Visit two of the renowned Côtes de Provence St-Victoire wineries, and sample glasses of their prized reds and rosés during wine-tasting sessions with your guide. Learn about the region, the different wines and their subtle complexities that afford their winning flavors.Return to Aix-en-Provence for lunch (own expense), and then meet your guide at the pre-arranged time for your afternoon in the Luberon region. Embodying picturesque rural France at its finest, the area is peppered with hilltop hamlets and villages – and you’ll see the best of them!First stop is Lourmarin for a photo stop against the backdrop of Lourmarin Castle – Provence’s first Renaissance castle. Continue by minivan along the scenic river valley of Combe of Lourmarin, and then arrive in the neighboring village of Bonnieux. Spend time at leisure here, perhaps visiting its 12th-century church or relaxing in the shade of its century-old cedar trees. Travel through more swathes of soft-hued countryside, passing a Roman arched bridge called Pont Julien, and then take a stroll through the village of Roussillon – known for its orange clay cliffs that are tinged from the soil’s rich ochre pigments. Before returning to Aix, visit Gordes, a cliff-top village, to soak up its dramatic view. Head back to Aix and finish your tour at the start point in the early evening.