EXPLORING PROVENCE WITH CHEF BOB WAGGONER
May 19-30, 2020 and May 29-June 9, 2020
12 Nights From $5,840 Per Person; Double Occupancy*
Single Supplement: An Additional $1,500
Based upon 16 people
From Cagnes-sur-Mer, St. Paul de Vence, Nice, and Aix-en-Provence, to Avignon, Saint-Remy-de-Provence, and Gordes … and the many picturesque villages in between, Chef Bob Waggoner will enliven your senses. Partake in wine and olive oil tastings, gaze upon sunflowers and lavender fields, and experience unsurpassed culinary delights throughout your 12-day trip through Provence. Return to Le Mas de Belle Combe to relax in the countryside and gaze upon the Luberon mountains, the experience sunsets over the hilltop village of Gordes, and wander amongst the home's gardens and olive groves as you make your way to the pool.
Enjoy five Chef dinners and two optional cooking classes with Chef Bob, two Chef dinners with curated local French chefs, five wine tastings at some of the finest wineries in the Luberon Region, and an AOC olive oil tasting as highlights of this exclusive Premier experience.
DAY-BY-DAY IN PROVENCE (May 19-30, 2020)**
Day 1: May 19, 2020
Depart United States for Nice, France
Day 2: May 20, 2020 — Cagnes-sur-Mer, France
Arrive Nice International Airport in the morning. Stop for a light lunch in Cagnes-sur-Mer, followed by private transfer to your hotel Chateau Le Cagnard, a Relais & Chateaux hotel. Check-in your hotel with free time to explore the village on your own. Dinner on your own.
Day 3: May 21, 2020 — Nice
This morning following breakfast, you will be transferred to Old Nice for a guided tour, which starts with the Cours Saleya market, a must-see on the French Riviera with its striped awnings protecting the beautiful and delicious produce. Chef Bob Waggoner will guide you through a tasting of local culinary treats, such as traditional socca. You will learn about the local ingredients and products of the south of France and the way they are used in the traditional food. It, of course, will be an opportunity to stroll the famous Marche aux Fleurs Cours Saleya — the flower market — and learn about the long-standing history of Nice as the carnation capital of France. As well, you will enjoy a tasting at the historic Maison Auer, a continuously operating chocolaterie and confiserie that is currently run by the fifth generation of confectioners in the Auer family. You will have time to explore Nice and enjoy lunch before departing for the hotel and a group dinner at Chateau Le Cagnard.
Day 4: May 22, 2020 — Vence - St. Paul de Vence
After breakfast at Chateau Le Cagnard, your guide will pick you up from the hotel to bring you on a guided visit to the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, often referred to as the Matisse Chapel or the Vence Chapel. This beautiful chapel is in the town of Vence on the French Riviera, built and decorated between 1947 and 1951 under a plan devised by Henri Matisse. You will transfer to St. Paul de Vence for a visit to Maison de Parfums Godet to learn about their 100-year history, as well as the art and science of creating perfumes. You will then be at leisure to explore within the medieval walls encircling the narrow streets of St. Paul de Vence, to stroll through its many unique shops, and enjoy lunch at leisure. You will return to the hotel and have your evening at leisure.
Day 5: May 23, 2020 —Aix-en-Provence – Villa Le Mas de Belle Combe, Gordes, France
Following your final breakfast at Chateau Le Cagnard, you will depart Grasse for your lovely villa in Gordes. On your way, you will enjoy the amazing town of Aix-en-Provence, founded by the Romans in 103 BC. Aix-en-Provence has been called the city of a thousand fountains and is known for its colorful market, which will be in full swing on this Saturday. This is market day in Aix, so you will explore the market with Chef Bob, discovering the vegetables and fruits, cheeses, herbs, olive oil, and all the flavors of Provence in the center near Cours Mirabeau. After lunch at leisure in one of the many cafes in Aix-en-Provence, you will have time to enjoy renown shopping and to peruse the many art galleries before transferring to Villa Le Mas de Belle Combe — your home in Provence for the next seven nights. While in Aix, we encourage you to visit a local wine/spirits shop to purchase your beverage of choice for cocktail hours and your general enjoyment — wine will be available with dinner. You will be warmly welcomed home with a champagne toast, hors d'oeuvres, and a traditional Mediterranean paella.
Day 6: May 24, 2020 — Gordes
Wake up to breakfast and an amazing view of the hillside village of Gordes, France. Spend the morning in beautiful, medieval Gordes. On a guided tour, walk through the vaulted, arcaded lanes that reveal the town’s many charms. Visit the Caves du Palais Saint-Firmin a Gordes, which boasts a variety of artistic features, provide evidence of life in Gordes (listed as one of France’s most beautiful villages) from the Middle Ages onwards, and offer visitors a wonderful opportunity to immerse themselves in the history of this mysterious, semi-troglodyte world. Moving from room to room, visitors will learn all about the history of the place and the know-how associated with the oil production process. Late morning, enjoy a nougat tasting from the famed Maison Perrert with an aperitif (Rosé, white or red wine, still and sparkling water, fruit juices, savory bites) served in the gardens (privatized for the occasion). Stop in a café for lunch or have a picnic on your own overlooking the Luberon region before being transferred to the Abbaye de Senanque, a Cistercian abbey renown for its spectacular lavender fields. This evening, Chef Bob will be hosting his first Chef’s dinner that you are welcome to help create.
Day 7: May 25, 2020 — Bonnieux – Menerbes
Following breakfast, head out to enjoy the hilltop villages of Bonnieux and Menerbes. In addition to walking tours, you will have free time to peruse each quaint locale before enjoying a wine tasting and lunch at Bastide de la Marie. You will return to the villa for a lovely Chef's dinner with Chef Bob.
Day 8: May 26, 2020
Today you can participate in a morning dessert class with Christine Waggoner or go into Gordes with Chef Bob Waggoner to shop the market for local ingredients for tomorrow's Chef's dinner. Otherwise, you can enjoy the entire day at leisure to relax by the pool, take a hike to enjoy the landscape of the area, or walk on your own into Gordes to visit the shops for gifts to take back home. Dinner will be at leisure -- you can make reservations in Gordes; transportation will be provided at set times.
Day 9: May 27, 2020 — Saint-Remy
In the village of Saint-Remy in the heart of Provence, forever entwined with the legacy of Vincent van Gogh, you will find everything Provençal you desire as you stroll along the boulevards under the shade of century-old trees. Your guided walking tour will take you around the narrow little streets, discovering squares where children play in the fountains, and the attractive boutiques and art galleries that make the town’s historic center so lively. You will enjoy strolling through the local market place, brimming with fresh produce, baguettes straight from the oven, fragrant herbs, and seasonal specialties…taste and select some French cheeses to take back to the villa. Enjoy lunch at leisure at one of the many cafes and restaurants before departing for Moulin du Clos Jeannons, an olive oil mill that favors traditional processes such as using a stone wheel to crush the olives. You will enjoy a tour and tasting as well as an opportunity to meander the beautiful grounds. You will then be transferred back to the villa with time to refresh and relax before the nightly Chef’s dinner.
Day 10: May 28, 2020 — Avignon – Châteauneuf du Pape
After breakfast at the villa, you will depart for the village of Avignon -- one of the most historically significant towns in France. From 1309 to 1377, it was the seat of the Catholic popes. It remained under papal rule until becoming part of France in 1791. This legacy can be seen in the massive Palais des Papes (Popes' Palace) in the city center, which is surrounded by medieval stone ramparts. Your tour of Avignon will of course include Les Halles d'Avignon -- the famous covered market -- at which Chef Bob will lead you through the stalls selecting exquisite local ingredients for future chef's dinners at the villa and a perfect taste of Provence.Following lunch at leisure, you will depart for Châteauneuf du Pape between Avignon and Orange, France. In the 14th century Pope Jean XXII, chose Châteauneuf as the location for their summer residences, and then decided to plant vines on the stony land which surrounded their landholdings. For a long time, the wine production remained a secret but in 1929, it was officially recognized and bestowed with its own appellation: Châteauneuf du Pape. This appellation means that the wine production in Châteauneuf du Pape is subject to strict controls to ensure that the 55 vineyards produce extremely fine wine. In addition to a walking tour of the village, you will enjoy a private wine tasting in the historic and stunning Cave Saint Charles in the heart Châteauneuf du Pape. After the wine tasting, you will be transferred back to the villa for a Chef's dinner at which Chef Bob will incorporate some of the ingredients purchased at market.
Day 11: May 29, 2020 — Gordes
Your last day at the villa you will have the opportunity to participate in a cooking class with Chef Bob at the villa and to enjoy a wine tasting from acclaimed local vineyard, Domaine Chapelle Saint Heyries.
Day 12: May 30, 2020 — Gordes
Breakfast at the Villa. Check-out of Villa Le Mas De Belle Combe and Transfer to Marseille Airport for your flight home.
*PREMIER TOURS & TRAVEL NOTE: Itinerary subject to change. Premier Tours & Travel reserves the right to modify programs and itineraries (including arranged sightseeing, accommodations, dining experiences, aircraft, trains, vessels, and so forth) at any time due to unforeseen circumstances or circumstances beyond Premier Tours & Travel’s control. Every effort is made to operate our itineraries as planned but alterations may need to be made after the final itinerary has been issued. Airfare is not included. Transportation is provided if your flight arrives during the designated time for group transfers; if not, transportation from the airport will be your responsibility. Each passenger is allowed one checked luggage and one carry-on item; if you bring more than the allowed amount of luggage you will be charged for same based on the charges required by our local vendors at the time. One glass of wine is provided with the Welcome lunch and the dinner at the hotel. Wine is provided with the Chef’s dinners at the villa; additional beverages will be the responsibility of each passenger at the time of service unless otherwise noted.
**Itinerary for May 29-June 9, 2020 will go directly to the villa in Gordes and will follow the itinerary beginning Day 5. The final three nights of the tour will be at the Chateau Le Cagnard in Cagnes-sur-Mer.