2013 Small Group Tours
2013 Small Group Tours It is hardly surprising that La Provence has been such an inspiration for artists, writers, film makers and of course travellers. This should make our job an easy one as over time every secret that Provence has to offer has been found... ...but that is only an impression.
« La Provence dissimule ses mystères derrière leur évidence.» « Provence hides its mysteries in view of all to see. »
Jean Giono The tours that we have designed will take you on a journey through a Provence rich in encounters and discoveries unlike any you will find elsewhere. Many of our guides and scouts live in Provence, and are meeting the people that make Provence the singular paradise that everybody knows and loves. Of course you will discover the vibrant markets, lavender fields, olive groves and all that personifies Provence, but you will also meet goat cheese farmers, rose producers, Camargue manadiers, gardeners, Chefs and many more depending on your chosen journey and where ever possible we have privatised the visits to avoid the crowds, even the Palace of the Popes in Avignon! Our tours include unique experiences where you become more than a simple observer. You will take part picking lavender and perfume roses, creating your own perfume or even your own L'Occitane en Provence product or preparing your own meal in a cooking class. The hotels that we have chosen are either 4* or 5* and privilege the finest in amenities with the most practical locations so that you can start your discovery the moment you set foot outside the door. So if you always dreamed of visiting Provence then read on and if you have visited Provence before read on as well, because we have places and experiences you have never visited. And without us, you never will...
Since its creation L'Occitane has been sharing its passion for Provence, for it is here that its story began and still continues. Their ties with this stunning region have always remained as strong as has their desire to share it with others. L'Occitane has asked Kairos Travel to create unique travel experiences in the form of luxury guided small group tours in Provence. The specifications given by L 'Occitane were to show their Provence, that is the scents, sights and the flavours of course, but also to meet the people who help to make this part of France so unique. Our scouts and guides have been met, tasted and generally experienced every aspect of the tours we have created. Over 25 years of experience and a profound understanding of our clientele have been the keys to the creation of two luxury guided tours. Like all of our tours as well as the discovery and encounters as a group you will have plenty of free time to stroll the streets of some of the most beautiful villages and towns of Provence, knowing that if at any time you require assistance your guides will always be close by. We use two vehicles, certified for passenger transport in France, a legal requirement for all tours in the country, which allows great flexibility for extra trips, last minute shopping and being 9 seater minivans we can reach places that larger vehicles cannot access. The tours we have created embody the world of L'Occitane en Provence and each tour is divided into two parts. The first part is a discovery of "La Haute Provence" where L'Occitane en Provence is based and finds much of its inspiration. Here you will meet farmers, producers, herbalists and discover places and sights, many of which are exclusive and only available due to the implication of L'Occitane. The second part is an extension taking you further afield; here you will continue the journey of tastes, smells and discovery to a more familiar Provence but with privatisations and exclusivities that make these tours unique. The themes we have chosen for 2013 are Lavender, being the emblematic plant of Provence and of L'Occitane, and springtime, including a rare and exclusive visit to a perfume rose garden. You will find full details of these tours in the pages to come.
« La Provence dissimule ses mystères derrière leur évidence.» « Provence hides its mysteries in view of all to see. »
The Village of Gordes
2013 Small Group Tours
Springtime in Provence From La Haute Provence to La Camargue during one of nature's most beautiful seasons. Pick your own perfume roses, create your own perfume, meet a family of real Camargue cowboys and enjoy the unique privatisations of museums and monuments. Wander the streets of picturesque hilltop villages, marvel at the skills of Roman architects and admire the natural splendours of the Camargue with its pink flamingos. Without forgetting the lavish gourmet meals, buffets and picnics throughout.
6 nights and 7 days - June 2013
Lavender and the Luberon La Belle Provence during lavender season to the unspoilt beauty of the Luberon. Follow the footsteps of the lavender pickers and distil your own essential oil. Create you very own L'Occitane en Provence product in their laboratories. See the vast expanses of lavender on the Plateau d 'Albion. Discover Cistercian Abbeys, Provenรงal markets, and stunning villages of Provence. Indulge in the best gastronomic experiences Provence has to offer.
6 nights and 7 days - July 2013
The Unique Provence Experience From Aix to Avignon this is a perfect tour with something for all tastes, including Provenรงale markets, gourmet experiences out of this world, wine tastings in domains ranging from the secret to the world famous, picnics in unique settings, cooking classes in private chateaux, the privatisation of Cezanne 's workshop and an aperitif on the rooftops of the Palace of the Popes.
6 nights and 7 days - May and September 2013
L'Art de Vivre en Provence The perfect gourmet wine tour. Based at Alain Ducasse 's Abbaye de La Celle, experience wine tastings in outstanding domains, visit beautiful Provenรงal villages and dine in the hotels Michelin starred restaurant and even have your own private cooking class in the restaurant 's kitchens in this private group tour for a maximum of six guests.
5 days and 4 nights - September and October 2013
Springtime in Provence Tour Itinerary Day 1 Bienvenue en Haute Provence Welcome to Haute Provence and to your hotel, the Couvent des Minimes. Settle in to your room before taking a stroll around the hotel grounds or the narrow streets of the hilltop village of Mane en Provence, or enjoy the hotel 's L'Occitane en Provence Spa . After an aperitif and maybe a game of Petanque you will dine this evening in the hotels Bancaou restaurant.
Day 2 Roses, Farms and Moustiers Sainte Marie The Valensole plateau is today's destination, famed for its lavender fields, which though not yet in flower, still have a magical appeal. We will meet Emmanuelle and her fields of perfume roses where whilst you discover the history you will also join the rose pickers yourself! Lunch today is at the Ferme des Molans a working farm for a rustic, but no less gastronomic meal. After lunch Moustiers Sainte Marie, famed for its potteries or Faienciers where you are free to discover this historical town. You will have some time at the hotel before we head to the Eco Musée de l'Olivier, a museum dedicated to the culture of the Olive Tree created by Olivier Baussan, the founder of L 'Occitane en Provence. You will also be able to visit the museum, which we have privatised for the evening, and after an olive oil tasting and aperitif, your chef for the evening, Virginie will present you with a tantalising buffet of local produce.
Day 3 Forcalquier Market, distillation and perfume creation. This morning is market day in Forcalquier, bicycles are available for those who wish to cycle into town. The Market of Forcalquier is one of the biggest in Provence and you have all morning to browse the colourful stalls and take in this unique atmosphere. Lunch today is a picnic in the gardens of the Couvent des Cordeliers during which we will be distilling the roses picked the day before, following this you will create your very own bespoke perfume with a master perfumer from Grasse. The rest of the afternoon is for relaxing, maybe indulging in the L 'Occitane Spa at the hotel, and for those who wish, an optional visit to the summit of the Montagne de Lure offering one of the most spectacular views in Provence is available. Tonight a gourmet dinner in the hotel's Le Cloitre restaurant heralds the last night in La Haute Provence.
Day 4 The Journey to Arles We bid farewell to the Couvent des Minimes and La Haute Provence and begin our journey to Arles. On the way we will discover the Gardens of the Abbey de Valsaintes, the town of Apt where the market is winding down and you are free for lunch and the mysterious Ochre Mines mines of Bruoux. We arrive at the legendary hotel Nord Pinus in the centre of Arles where your bags await you in your rooms. Once you have settled in and taken a stroll through the town, we will dine at the hotel « Al Fresco », overlooking the Café de Nuit made famous by Van Gogh.
Day 5 The Camargue : Cowboys and Pink Flamingos The Camargue National Park is famed for its black bulls, wild horses and pink flamingos, and today you will see them all! We will meet the Laurent family on their 1000 acre « Manade » the name given to farms in the Camargue. Here they produce Camargue rice, raise Camargue Horses and Camargue Cattle. We will have a full tour of the farm. A horseback option is available for the visit. We leave the Manade stopping off at La Chasagnette. This Michelin starred restaurant run by Chef Armand Arnal produces all of its own vegetables in an extraordinary organic garden. We will meet the gardener as well as the Chef himself before sitting down for gourmet lunch unlike any you have ever experienced. After lunch, a leisurely walk around the lakes of the Camargue to discover the wealth of the Flora and Fauna that is found here, we can hope to see Pink Flamingos, ducks, herons, egrets, hoopoes, bee eaters to name but a few. Again a horse back option is available here. This evening for dinner, you are free to choose from the plethora of restaurants on offer in the town of Arles.
Day 6 Arles, Les Baux de Provence and the Grand Finalé This morning we visit Arles, notably the Roman Arena and the Church of St Trophime. You will have plenty of free time for lunch and shopping as well. We will depart later in the afternoon for Les Baux de Provence, one of the most beautiful villages in France. After a trip through history in the streets of Les Baux we have a rendez-vous at the Carrières de Lumières a disused quarry where you will be immersed in the world of the painters who found their inspiration in the Mediterranean. This show is open to the public, but tonight you will have it all to yourselves, as we have privatized it completely, and armed with a glass of Champagne you can take it all in at your own leisure without the crowds. After this exclusive experience we will drive the short distance to the Michelin starred Cabro d'Or restaurant for our final gourmet extravaganza of the tour.
Day 7 Au Revoir et à Bientôt After breakfast we bid farewell. Transfers to the Avignon TGV station or a hotel in Avignon.
Springtime in Provence
« Les sentiers battus n'offrent guère de richesses. Les autres en sont pleins.» « Well-trodden paths offer few riches. The others are overflowing.»
2013 Tour Dates June 1 - 7 June 8 - 14 June 15 - 21 Tour Price 4 610€ Single Supplement 720€ Maximum group size 14 guests Included in the tour : Ÿ 3 nights at the 5* hotel Le Couvent des Minimes Ÿ 3 nights at the 4* hotel Nord Pinus Ÿ 5 full touring days Ÿ 6 full breakfasts Ÿ 4 Gourmet dinners including the Michelin starred Cabro D'Or Ÿ 1 Provençal buffet dinner Ÿ 2 Gourmet lunches including the Michelin starred La Chassagnette Ÿ I picnic of the finest local fare Ÿ All wines and mineral waters during meals mentioned above Ÿ Fully bilingual English speaking guides Ÿ Transport in our air-conditioned mini bus Ÿ 1 hour of treatments in the L'Occitane Spa Ÿ Exclusive visit to a working Perfume Rose Garden Ÿ Exclusive distillation of the roses you picked Ÿ Private Perfume making workshop Ÿ Privatisation of the Eco-Musée de L’Olivier Ÿ Private visit of a working Manade in the Camargue Ÿ Privatisation of the Carrières de Lumières Ÿ Separate baggage transfers between hotels Ÿ All visits and entrance fees mentioned on the itinerary
Lavender & the Luberon Tour Itinerary Day 1 Mane en Provence and the Couvent des Minimes Welcome to Haute Provence and to your hotel, the Couvent des Minimes. Settle in to your room before taking a stroll around the hotel grounds or the narrow streets of the hilltop village of Mane en Provence, or enjoy the hotel 's L'Occitane en Provence Spa . After an aperitif and maybe a game of Petanque you will dine this evening in the hotels Bancaou restaurant.
Day 2 In the Footsteps of the Lavender Pickers Today you will experience one of the most original experiences concerning lavender on offer today. Accompanied by Tachka, your herbalist guide, you will relive a day as an 19th century Lavender picker. Your morning will be spent picking and also discovering a historical site, as you will be surrounded by the ruins of the ancient village of Ongles. The lavender you have harvested today will be distilled whilst you have lunch in the village of Ongles during a spectacular buffet lunch prepared by today's Chef. We return to the hotel for a lazy afternoon by the pool or in the L'Occitane Spa. For those who wish, a tour to the Prieuré de Salagon an Ethno-Botanic museum and gardens in the village of Mane is available, for those that would like to cycle there, bicycles are available. Tonight we dine in Forcalquier.
Day 3 Forcalquier Market, Olive Oil tasting and L 'Occitane en Provence This morning is market day in Forcalquier, bicycles are available for those who wish to cycle into town. The Market of Forcalquier is one of the biggest in Provence and you have all morning to browse the colourful stalls and take in this unique atmosphere. For today's lunch we will be going to the Eco-Musée de L'Olivier, a museum dedicated to the culture of the Olive Tree created by Olivier Baussan the founder of L 'Occitane en Provence. After a visit of the museum we will have an olive oil tasting. Your chef for the day Virginie has prepared a special Provençal buffet of salads, charcuteries and local cheeses and sumptuous desserts for lunch in the small restaurant adjoining the museum. After lunch we continue south to the L'Occitane factory. After a private factory tour, you will have the exclusive opportunity to make your very own L'Occitane product in their laboratories. Back at the Hotel, if you haven't done so already, you have a last chance to indulge in the L'Occitane Spa before our final gourmet dinner in Haute Provence.
Day 4 Lavender fields and Saint Remy de Provence We leave Mane en Provence on a journey across some of the most stunning landscapes in Provence. We start by driving towards the hilltop village of Banon, and already you will see lavender fields here and there. After Banon we drive up onto the Plateau d'Albion and here the main feature of the landscape is the lavender. Lavender with the famous Mont Ventoux forever present in the background. From the moment we leave the hotel we will be stopping a lot as each mile we drive yet another stunning photo opportunity appears. We will stop in Sault to buy a few supplies for our lunch today which is a simple picnic of local produce, salads, homemade tarts, cold meats and charcuteries, local cheeses and patisseries. We continue on our way stopping for stroll through the streets of the iconic hilltop village of Gordes. We will arrive at the Hotel de L'Image in St. Remy de Provence where your luggage awaits you in your room. Tonight we dine in the hotel's gourmet restaurant.
Day 5 The Luberon by electric bicycle A perfect way to see the Luberon region in the open air by bicycle without the effort, the electric version is simply wonderful! Today we will start from the beautiful village of Bonnieux and cycle past the villages of Lacoste, Menerbes and Oppede le Vieux. On our way we will make stops to visit châteaux, vineyards and of course have lunch. This is an easy activity, but should any guests rather not pedal, then our minibus is on the ready to take them along the route so they miss out on nothing. After lunch we will do one of the coolest visits in the region. That is cool temperature, as we will be inside the ancient ochre mines of Bruoux, whose cathedral like galleries are a perfect place to be in mid-summer in Provence! Back at the hotel you can relax by the pool after your day's efforts, and later wander into town to choose a restaurant for your evening meal.
Day 6 Glanum, Les Baux de Provence and the Grand Finalé This morning a wine and olive oil tasting to start your day and after you are free to discover the streets of St Remy de Provence on your own, maybe to catch up on a bit of last minute shopping! Your guides are never far if you require any assistance. After lunch we will depart for the site of Glanum. Once a Roman city, this impressive archaeological site never ceases to amaze with its triumphal arch and mausoleum having stood the test of time. We continue on to Les Baux de Provence, one of the most beautiful villages in France. Tonight we take our aperitif overlooking Les Baux de Provence on a privatised terrace of the Château des Baux de Provence. We return the short distance to the hotel to freshen up before leaving for the Marc de Passorio's Michelin starred restaurant at the Vallon de Valrugues not far from the hotel for our final gourmet extravaganza of the tour. Day 7 Au Revoir et à Bientôt After breakfast we bid farewell. Transfers to the Avignon TGV station or a hotel in Avignon.
Lavender & the Luberon
« Il ne fait pas bon travailler quand la cigale chante» « It's no use working when the cicada is singing»
2013 Tour Dates June 29 - July 5 July 6 - 12 July 13 - 19 Tour Price 4 790€ Single Supplement 870€ Maximum group size 14 guests Included in the tour : Ÿ 3 nights at the 5* hotel Le Couvent des Minimes Ÿ 3 nights at the 4* Hotel de L’Image Ÿ 5 full touring days Ÿ 6 full breakfasts Ÿ 5 Gourmet dinners including the Michelin starred Vallon de Valrugues Ÿ 1 Gourmet lunch Ÿ 2 Provençal Buffets Ÿ I picnic of the finest local fare Ÿ All wines and mineral waters during meals mentioned above Ÿ Fully bilingual English speaking guides Ÿ Transport in our air-conditioned mini bus Ÿ 1 hour of treatments in the L'Occitane Spa Ÿ Exclusive visit and workshop at the L ’Occitane en Provence ’s factory Ÿ Exclusive Lavender distillation Ÿ Electric bicycle rental Ÿ Privatisation of the Château des Baux de Provence Ÿ Separate baggage transfers between hotels Ÿ All visits and entrance fees mentioned on the itinerary
The World is a book, and those wh
ho do not travel read only a page. Saint Augustine
The Unique Provence Experience Tour Itinerary Day 1 Aix en Provence and the Hotel Le Pigonnet After your transfer from the Aix en Provence TGV station, settle into your room at your sumptuous hotel Le Pigonnet. Only a ten minute walk from the centre of town, take a stroll or relax in the tranquil gardens before we meet up for dinner back at the hotel, where your guide will present the days to come. Day 2 Paul Cezanne and a glass of wine We set off for Le Tholonet for a hike (easy) to admire the St Victoire Mountain that provided so much inspiration for Paul Cezanne, along the Crête du Marbre trail. After our walk it's off to the Domaine des Masques for a wine tasting before a picnic lunch on the cliff's edge. After lunch we will continue our tour of the St Victoire and of the vineyards of the Coteaux d'Aix en Provence with a tasting in one of the appellation's most prestigious domains, Château Vignelaure. Tonight you are free to dine in Aix en Provence. Day 3 Market day, cooking and Cezanne Today it is market day in Aix en Provence, and the town is alive with the colours and smells and the unique atmosphere of a Provençal market. Accompanied by Marc Heracle, your Chef and teacher for this morning's activity you will purchase the necessary ingredients for today's cooking class. A short drive takes us to Marc's Chateau where you will learn some of his best kept secrets and create, under his watchful eye, you very own Provençal lunch. This afternoon you are free to enjoy the city of Aix, although your guides are never far away if you need any help! You will have tickets to enter the Musée Granet which houses an art collection with permanent exhibitions including works by Ingres, Granet, Picasso, Balthus and of course Cezanne as well as numerous temporary collections throughout the year. You can also admire the gallery of sculpture as well as the archaeological section. Return to the hotel to freshen up before the exceptional privilege of being able to visit L'Atelier de Cezanne after the doors are closed to the general public. During this fully privatized visit you will discover the master's workshop and we will have this evening's aperitif in the garden. Tonight we will dine at the hotel for a gourmet farewell to Aix en Provence and our hotel Le Pigonnet. Day 4 Aix to Avignon following the Luberon We leave Aix en Provence for Avignon following the Southern side of the Luberon Mountain, stopping at some of the most picturesque villages of Provence on the way including Cucuron and Lourmarin where after a visit of the 15th century Château you are free for lunch. Our journey towards Avignon continues with a stop at L'Isle sur La Sorgue. The town is built on an island formed by the River Sorgue where it splits in two, hence its name. The presence of the crystal clear water in the picturesque town centre gives a bucolic atmosphere that is an invitation to discovery. This delightful town is known far and wide for its huge number of antique shops which you will discover as you stroll. It is only a short distance to Avignon now and the hotel La Mirande where your luggage awaits you in your room. Tonight we will enjoy a gourmet dinner at the hotel. Day 5 Châteauneuf-du-Pape The vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape were revived by the Avignon popes in the 14th century and produced the Papal wine. Since that time they have become one of the most famous vineyards in the world producing rich and spicy full bodied reds and remarkably complex whites. We will start with a visit to the Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, one of the most famous estates of the region, here we will discover this legendary vineyard and taste the award winning wine that are produced there. After our tasting, we have a lunch date at La Mère Germaine, a restaurant whose renown reaches far and wide, and is a favourite with winemakers, artists and celebrities when they come to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. After lunch we return to Avignon with the possibility of another tasting en route for those that desire to do so. You are free for the rest of the day, maybe for a spot of shopping in Avignon and dinner in town. Day 6 Les Baux, St Remy and the Papal Palace to yourself Today a trip to Les Baux de Provence for a walk through this village whose streets and buildings seem to blend into the rock it is built on. For many, such as the Church of St Vincent des Baux, this is in fact the case. We will also admire the spectacular views from the top of the village, and in doing so understand why the strategic position of Les Baux has drawn settlers through the ages, from as long ago as 6000BC. Our journey continues to St Remy de Provence, birthplace of Nostradamus and also the town where Vincent Van Gogh was interned at his own request, here you are free to browse the shops and art galleries and find a bistro for your lunch. After lunch we will continue on our way stopping off for an olive oil tasting on the way. We return to Avignon where we will visit the Papal Palace starting the visit just around closing time. As our visit unfolds, we will find ourselves alone in this monumental palace where our guide will lead us to rooms unavailable to the public, and finally to the rooftops overlooking Avignon. What better place could there be for our final night's aperitif! After this unique exclusive visit we return to the hotel for a final gourmet meal at the « Table d 'Hote » where the Chef will accompany and entertain us throughout the meal to herald the end of our tour.
Day 7 Au Revoir et à Bientôt After breakfast we bid farewell to Saint Remy and to La Belle Provence. Transfers to the Avignon TGV station or a hotel in Avignon.
The Unique Provence Experience
« Les jours sont des fruits et notre rôle est de les manger » « Each day is like a fruit and our duty is to eat them»
2013 Tour Dates May 5 - 11 May 12 - 18 May 19 - 25 September 1 - 7 September 8 - 14 September 15 - 21 September 22 - 28 Tour Price 5 280€ Single Supplement 1 220€ Maximum group size 14 guests Included in the tour : Ÿ 3 nights at the 5* Hotel Le Pigonnet Ÿ 3 nights at the 5* Hotel La Mirande Ÿ 5 full touring days Ÿ 6 full breakfasts Ÿ 4 Gourmet dinners Ÿ 2 Gourmet lunches Ÿ I picnic of the finest local fare Ÿ All wines and mineral waters during meals mentioned above Ÿ Fully bilingual English speaking guides Ÿ Transport in our air-conditioned mini bus Ÿ Private cooking class Ÿ Privatisation of the Atelier de Cezanne Ÿ Privatisation of the Palace of the Popes Ÿ Separate baggage transfers between hotels Ÿ All other visits and entrance fees mentioned on the itinerary
L’Art de Vivre en Provence Tour Itinerary Day 1 - Arrival and welcome. Transfer to your hotel L ’Abbaye de La Celle. After you have settled into your rooms, a welcome cocktail with your guide Brendan Moore who will reveal the programme for the days to come. Dinner at the Hotel. Day 2 - Château Marguï and Barjols This morning we set of to Château Marguï, an estate belonging to former CEO of Yahoo France Philippe Guillanton, and his wife Marie. This vineyard, set in a 2000 acre estate, is an experience we had to share with our guests. Marie Guillanton's passion for nature and maintaining its delicate balance is the quintessence of this estate. Following this doctrine she has produced deeply aromatic whites deep in floral aromas, with notes of pear, dried fruit and liquorice lingering on the palate, expressive reds, whose beautifully balanced notes of red fruit and subtle tannins are contained in a velvety body, and the rosé's crisp and yet complex structure has earned them a place on the Wine Spectators Top 100 list. We will spend a morning here in the company of the owners, discovering the wines (all organic), and the estates olive groves and vegetable gardens, home to hundreds of ancient varieties. Lunch will be in the nearby village of Barjols. After lunch a digestive stroll through Barjols, once the world capital of the leather industry. The town is famed for its 30 fountains due to the numerous natural springs here, the plane tree on the town square, the biggest in the world! and its numerous art galleries in the converted tanneries. We return to the hotel taking the scenic route through the villages of Cotignac, Montfort sur Argens and Le Val, stopping for photo opportunities on the way. Before dinner an optional wine tasting at the Château de L’Escarelle, a 5 minute drive from the hotel, is possible. Dinner at the Hotel. Day 3 - L ’Art de la Table - Cooking chez Alain Ducasse Aside from tasting the wines, now we need a meal to honour them. Enter Benoit Witz, Chef at L'Abbaye de la Celle. Benoit Witz joined Alain Ducasse in 1987. He was the chosen chef when he opened his first country Inn at the Bastide de Moustiers, and so it was normal that he would take the reins of L ’Abbaye de la Celle when it was opened. His skill, charm and pedagogic approach are all important factors for today’s activities, as you will be participating in a private cooking class with him in the restaurant kitchens. Starting first thing in the morning, you will don your aprons and under the watchful eye of the Chef you will participate in this unique opportunity for passionate cooks and gourmets alike, presenting a fascinating insight into the hive of activity of a Michelin starred kitchen. Benoit Witz will teach you recipes and techniques which you will be able to recreate in front of your friends upon your return home, and the experience is one you will treasure always. The cooking class will be followed by lunch, which if you make the grade, will have partly been prepared by you! After lunch we recommend relaxing in the hotel gardens. Later in the evening an aperitif cum winetasting with the restaurant sommelier and Brendan in the « carré des vignes » a garden within the hotel grounds containing 83 different grape varieties. We will taste the different wines of Provence accompanied by some « amuses bouches » (literally things to amuse the mouth) prepared by the chef. Dinner at the hotel. Day 4 - Domaine des Masques and Aix en Provence This morning we visit an extraordinary vineyard, Le Domaine des Masques, owned by Carl et Sophie Mestdagh, set at the foot of La Montagne St Victoire. The striking setting of this vineyard, on a plateau with the rock vessel of La St Victoire to the North, towering over the vines, that inspired Matisse and so many other artists, and to the South a sheer cliff offering stunning views over the Coteaux de Aix en Provence have also served a inspiration to Sébastien Ballester the "maitre de chai" who's avant garde approach has produced spectacular results especially with the whites and rosés. The implication of Yves Cuilleron, award winning wine producer from the Rhone Valley, where he produces Côte Rotie, Condrieu and St. Joseph to name but a few, has also had an important influence, notably on the reds. Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon are treated individually, the only blend of grape varieties is to be found with the rosé, with the classic Syrah and Grenache. Sébastien and Brendan will guide you as you taste your way through the unique offerings of this domain. After our visit and tasting we continue on our way to Aix en Provence for lunch, Brendan has many a recommendation for you if you need. In this city, one of the most beautiful in France, every street corner offers a new discovery, it could be a shop front, an old advertisement painted on a wall, or rosé wine cooling in a fountain, as seen on our last visit! You will have plenty of free time, allowing you the opportunity to roam the pedestrian streets, maybe catching the market on the Place des Prêcheurs or on the Cours Mirabeau. You may wish to take in one of the many museums, including the famous Musée Granet where you will discover some of the works of one of Aix en Provence's most famous sons, Paul Cezanne, or alternatively engage in one of the favourite local activities, and watch the world go by from one of the many bistrots. Return to the hotel for yet another gastronomic discovery from Benoit Witz, the last of the trip. Day 5 - Departure After breakfast regional* transfers to your next hotel, airport or train station.
L’Art de Vivre en Provence
« Une journée sans vin est une journée sans soleil » « A day without wine is like a day without sunshine»
2013 Tour dates : 23th September - 27th September 30th September - 4th October 7th October - 11th October 14th October - 18th October Tour Price 4 750€ Single Supplement 940€ Group size : 6 guests Included in the tour : Ÿ4 nights in superior rooms at L ’Abbaye de la Celle Ÿ4 Evening meals in the hotels Michelin * restaurant including wines Ÿ1 Lunch in the hotels Michelin * restaurant including wines Ÿ1 Lunch in a selected retsaurant including wines ŸAperitifs before meals ŸWine tasting with the hotel sommelier ŸPrivate cooking class with Benoit Witz Ÿ3 Private vineyard visits ŸProfessional native English speaking, bilingual guide and bilingual chauffeur ŸAll entrance fees ŸTransport in our air-conditioned minivan ŸTransfers at the begining and end of the tour from and to one destination within a 150km radius of the hotel
About the Hotels Le Couvent des Minimes Set in the walls of a 17th Century convent in the heart of La Haute Provence, the 5* Hotel and Spa Le Couvent des Minimes came to be in 2008. As a base for the discovery of this lesser known part of Provence, you could dream of no better. Ideally positioned between the Montagne de Lure and the Valensole Plateau the refined luxury of the hotel juxtaposes the rustic charms of this fascinating region on your doorstep. Upon your return from a day of touring you the finest amenities await you to wind down and relax, including the hotel's Spa by L'Occitane en Provence. http://www.couventdesminimes-hotelspa.com
La Mirande Literally across the road from the Papal Palace of Avignon, this is another perfectly positioned hotel. Elegant, sophisticated whilst remaining incredibly welcoming, the 5* La Mirande delights all that stay there. The glamorous gourmet restaurant will take you on a trip to the finest that Provence has to offer whilst the “Table d'Hôte” is the setting for a convivial but no less gourmet discovery. http://www.la-mirande.fr
Le Pigonnet The 5* Le Pigonnet is ideally situated at a 10 minute walk from the centre of Aix en Provence. Set in an elegant Bastide, Le Pigonnet combines 18th century sophistication with modern luxury chic. The rooms are comfortably appointed each with its individual touch. The lavish and impeccable gardens are an absolute delight and a perfect place for our evening aperitifs, and the gastronomic restaurant will tantalise your taste buds. http://www.hotelpigonnet.com
About the Hotels L'Abbaye de La Celle In the village of La Celle you can find L'Abbaye de La Celle, an Alain Ducasse Inn, adjoining a 12th century Benedictine Abbey. This haven of peace is to be your base for a discovery of some of the best kept secrets of the region. The hotel has only 10 rooms ensuring an intimate atmosphere, some with their own private garden area and the Michelin starred restaurant will enchant and amaze you with each meal. http://www.abbaye-celle.com/
Hotel de L'Image Located on the main Boulevard facing the old town of Saint Remy de Provence, the 4* Hotel de L'Image is another perfectly located establishment. The 4 acre grounds facing the Alpilles are a perfect place to take a moment to relax and perhaps cool off by the pool. This hotel has recently been completely refurbished, offering the all the modern amenities you could need. The hotel is regularly involved in artistic events in St Remy de Provence. http://www.hotel-image.fr
Le Nord Pinus This legendary 4* hotel in the centre of Arles has seen the likes of Hemingway, Picasso, Cocteau and many more pass through its doors. This is a hotel that has character and history oozing through its walls. The decoration combines a certain eccentricity with homeliness, the posters of the past Corridas of Arles, the Matadors costumes, everything here has its place. The hotel is on the Place du Forum in the centre of town alongside the ÂŤ Cafe de Nuit Âť made famous by Van Gogh, for your evening strolls the location couldn't be better. www.nord-pinus.com
Frequently Asked Questions
What will the Weather be like? Generally great! We benefit from over 300 days sunshine a year in Provence, and although it is rare to have more than two consecutive days of rain, it can happen. The summer months (July and August) can get very hot, but the nights are cool. What clothes should I bring? All depends on when you come. From May to October the weather warms up considerably, but evenings can be cool. Winter is cold in Provence, especially Haute Provence. As far as dining in some of the finer restaurants is concerned, smart casual is generally the rule, although if you wish to dress up more, that is no problem at all. Can you help with my travel arrangements to France? Yes. Kairos Travel is a fully licensed travel agent and can take care of your travel to France as well as transfers and transport when you are here. Do all the guides speak English? Yes. All our guides speak English, and often are native English speakers. Do I need to take any form of insurance? Insurance and evidence of insurance is mandatory before joining a Tour. In their own interests, clients are strongly recommended to take travel insurance through a reputable company. The policy should cover personal accident and sickness, accidental loss of baggage and money, loss of deposit, payment or cancellation fees and curtailment expenses. How do I book? Once you have chosen your tour, fill out the information and availability request form. We will confirm by return email the availability. If you choose to book, we will send you an online booking form to fill in. After you send it back we will send you our invoice. The deposit can be paid online via a secure password protected link, or by bank transfer. I’m a fussy eater! Don’t worry. We all have our likes and dislikes. As the date approaches we will send you our guest information form. This form allows us, amongst other things, to get to know your likes and dislikes regarding food, art or pretty much anything you wish to share with us. Any special events like a wedding anniversary or birthday that will be celebrated on tour or any special dietary requirements. Is wine included in the meals? Yes, all our meals include mineral water and wine. The wines are preselected with the sommelier of the restaurants, to best accompany the food. Do I need to reserve early? We highly recommend early booking. Most of our tours run on very specific dates. These are due to climatic conditions, seasonality of certain tour themes or availability of our tour experts. However there are sometimes last minutes places available so don’t hesitate to ask. Can I reserve my tour through my travel agent? Of course you can. Many people have a privileged relationship with their travel agent who knows their tastes and habits, so it is perfectly understandable. Just ask your travel agent to contact us. How do you choose the hotels on your tours? Using our very well established network new hotels are discovered regularly. Once the hotel seems to correspond to our criteria, we call and arrange a visit. The main criterion is authenticity, and it doesn’t take very long to establish our verdict. Afterwards during the season each hotel is visited and revisited. There are so many labels and rating systems that it is very easy to get taken in by a list of impressive credentials which are only as valuable as the paper they are written on. If you need advice on choosing a hotel, call us and we will be happy to help. What type or room is included during the tours Unless otherwise stated the rooms are standard, however upgrades to superior rooms or suites are possible on request. What do you mean by “Private” group tour? Private group tours are for 2, 4 or 6 guests. The Private aspect means that all the guests know each other, and purchase the tour for themselves. It is possible to enlarge the group, depending on hotel availability, however some exclusive visits are limited to 6 guests. Can I change the itinerary of a tour? All our private tours are customisable, so concerning these the answer is yes. In fact it is very rare that some form of “tour tweaking” doesn’t take place on these tours. Our small group tours however (for 8 to 14 guests) cannot be changed, but often certain elements of flexibility are available during the tour. Is it possible to privatise a small group tour? Yes it is. The minimum group size is 6 guests, however a surcharge will incur. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information. Where do tours start? The initial meeting point for small group tours is often a major train station or hotel. Private groups have a bit more flexibility however, and can choose anywhere (the same meeting point for all) within a 150km radius of the first hotel.
Terms & Conditions
Deposits The payment of a deposit is required in order to reserve a tour or any service proposed by Kairos Travel. All services and tours require an initial deposit of 50% of the costs. The payment of the remaining amount must be made 30 days before the date of the tour or service purchased. A payment of a deposit indicates an acceptance of all the conditions below by the purchaser and/or Client. Cancellation Policy A handling fee of 10% of the tour cost will be imposed if you cancel 90 - 60 days prior to the departure of your selected tour, irrespective of the deposit already paid. A fee totalling 50% of the total cost of the reserved tour will be retained if cancellation takes place 60 - 30 days prior to the tour. Less than 30 days before departure, no refund of the total cost of the tour is available. Refunds No refund will be issued to those failing to join their tour, or for tour accommodation or any other services not utilised, or for a partially completed vacation. Kairos Travel reserves the right to cancel any departure in which case no liability shall fall upon Kairos Travel. In this case, participants' payment will be refunded in full. Travel Documents All travellers require valid passports with at least six months validity remaining. Travellers are also responsible for necessary visas, and must meet all costs incurred to comply with such requirements. Single Supplements A single supplement may be imposed when one person is travelling alone by choice or circumstance, as all costs presume twin share occupancy. Airport Departure Taxes Departure taxes, where levied, are the direct responsibility of the client. Costs/Exchange Rates Prices and tariffs quoted for Tours are subject to change without notice in the event of unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, such as currency fluctuations, Government taxes, fuel costs etc. Itinerary We reserve the right to vary or cancel the itinerary, accommodation, or services nominated in the Tour descriptions should circumstances warrant that such changes would be in the best interest of the client, or for any other operational reason. The commencement of each Tour is subject to sufficient numbers booking a tour, and the right is reserved to cancel any Tour, should there not be sufficient bookings, in which case deposits will be refunded. However, travel costs already incurred CANNOT be refunded. Insurance Insurance and evidence of insurance is mandatory before joining a Tour. In their own interests, clients are strongly recommended to effect travel insurance through a reputable company. The policy should cover personal accident and sickness, accidental loss of baggage and money, loss of deposit, payment or cancellation fees and curtailment expenses. Responsibilities In all matters relating to travel, accommodation and other associated services,Kairos Travel acts as a tour organiser for the Client who reserves and pays for such services and cannot be held liable for any other person, firm or corporation who provides such services. Kairos Travel will take all reasonable care to ensure that the Client obtains travel, accommodation and other specified services and in making those arrangements does so as a convenience to the Client. However, Kiaros Travel accepts no responsibility or liability for death, injury, sickness or accident to any person or loss of or any damage to any property or otherwise, or any cancellation, delay, detention, irregularity, deviation, substitution arising out of or in connection with any accommodation, transportation, conveyance or any other services provided by hotels, restaurants, airlines, coach companies or any other services. Kairos Travel is under no obligation or liability to any person as a result of any inaccuracy, misdescription or changes to any Tour or itinerary or for the losses or additional expenses due to delays, strikes, war, quarantine, acts of God, improper documents, or any other cause. Neither Kairos Travel, or subcontracted guides or employees shall be or become liable or responsible for any additional expense or liability sustained or incurred by any tour member as a result of any of the foregoing causes. Prices are quoted in Euros are subject to change without notice. Baggage and personal effects are at the client's own risk at all times. Unused services cannot be exchanged or refunded. Kairos Travel reserves the right to cancel a tour or modify the itinerary in any way it thinks desirable or substitute services in any way, and further reserves the right to decline to accept or retain any person as a member of the Tour
Tours operated by Kairos Travel : 7, place du Bourguet 04300 Forcalquier Tel : + 33 (0) 9 81 48 24 24 Email : email@example.com Web : www.unique-provence.com www.kairos-travel.com unique-provence.blogspot.com Atout France registered travel agent NÂ°IM004120002
Photo credits : P.Haslett - D.Bordes - F.X Emery - Manade Laurent - Couvent de Minimes - La Mirande ImprimĂŠ par: www.lesgrandesimprimeries.com