Take a journey through the scents, sounds, and sights of rural France.
Beaune - A beautiful walled town located in the heart of Burgundy’s famous vineyards.
Cluny Abbey - Discover the remains of the largest Medieval monastic order in Western Europe.
Avignon - A city set on the Rhône River and the home to 'Le Palais des Papes', the world's largest Gothic edifice.
Sénanque Abbey - Discover the history of the abbey and the community of Cistercian Brothers.
Vallon-Pont-d’Arc - A spectacular natural stone arch created by the flowing Ardèche River.
Verdon Gorge - The deepest gorge in France has been carved by the turquoise water of the Verdon River.
Plateau de Valensole - This 800km² plateau is devoted to growing blue, violet and purple-coloured fields of lavender.
Alpes-Maritimes - Home to some of the most popular mountains and coastal resorts in France.
The fragrances of France are unforgettable.
The purple lavender fields of Provence are sweet and floral; the Medieval monasteries are cool and still; and the traditional recipes are so aromatic that you’ll spend every moment munching on another meal.
On this trip, we take you out of Paris and into rural and rustic France.
You voyage through timber-framed villages and valleys packed with vineyards; explore the dreamlike landscapes of the Ardèche; admire the sturdy peaks of Alps of Haute Provence; and see time-worn châteaus and abbeys that seamlessly harmonise with the hills.
Your journey of the senses finishes with the scent of a fresh, Mediterranean Sea breeze in Nice, the belle of the French Riviera.
You depart the cosmopolitan city of Paris and watch the lowlands turn into the landscapes of northern Burgundy.
Your first stop of the day is historic Auxerre. This rural town boasts one of the best restored medieval quarters in northern Europe. You’ve got time here to stretch the legs and discover the narrow lanes, lovely open squares, and half-timbered houses.
You then travel to the remote village of Vézelay. Perched on a hill in the sea of greenery, this commune clustered around a UNESCO basilica is a perfect stop for lunch.
Once you’ve tried the local specialities, you travel through the unspoiled forests of the Morvan Regional Nature Park. The scenes of lakes and rivers make you feel far away from the Parisian metropolis.
In the early evening, you arrive for your overnight stay in Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy. It’s time to indulge yourself in two great French passions, food and wine.
Bonjour! Today you travel through Burgundy to the dignified Cluny Abbey. In its heyday, this religious centre was one of the most powerful Christian capitals in medieval Europe. You’ve got time to explore the quiet cloisters of this stunning monastery and ponder over its former glory.
Then you head to Vienne, a town steeped in Gallo-Roman heritage. Its old quarters hide spectacular ruins of a Roman temple and theatre. Enjoy your lunch here and discover more of the town’s fascinating past before you continue your journey.
In the afternoon, it’s time to delve into the wine region of Côte-Rôtie to appreciate some of the best local vintages in a charming winery.
After you’ve satisfied your taste buds, you venture south to the famous Ardèche area. In the evening, you arrive in Tournon-sur-Rhône, a welcoming little town sitting upon the river Rhône. You spend two nights here.
It’s time for something more majestic. It’s time to discover the rugged heart of Ardèche.
In the morning, your driver takes you along the scenic roads of a regional natural park to Aubenas, a city full of architectural treasures. But that’s just the beginning of today’s highlights.
Next, you follow the serpentine of the Ardèche river to Pont d’Arc where the water’s torrents etched an iconic natural stone arch in the limestone.
Once you’ve feasted your eyes on this natural wonder, you can choose what to do next. A little down the road, you can visit Grotte Chauvet 2; a replica of a cave decorated with prehistoric art that gives you a glimpse into the life of Palaeolithic people. Alternatively, you can enjoy more of the natural landscapes carved out by the adamant river.
You head back to Tournon-sur-Rhône in the late afternoon.
Provence has many dreamy and seductive faces. And today you’re going to discover more of this inspiring region.
First on your agenda is Avignon. You have time to explore the historic centre and the soaring Palace of the Popes. This fortress was the hub of the Roman Catholic world when the popes fled the political pressures of Rome. Grab a bite to eat, stroll through the streets, and discover the youthful vibe of the city before we move on.
In the afternoon, we head east to Sénanque Abbey nestled among the Luberon hills. If you’re searching for an iconic shot of a medieval monastery surrounded by fragrant lavender fields, you’ve come to the right place. Explore the quiet cloisters, meet the monks who still live here and continue your journey deeper into the hills.
Next, get a taste of traditional Provençal life in Gordes, one of the most beautiful villages in France. This honey-coloured hamlet clinging to the edge of a hill is a perfect place to admire the grand vistas of the Luberon valley.
After a day of savouring the charms of the region, you head to Sisteron for two nights.
Today you follow the trail of quaint villages and lavender fields as you delve into the Verdon Regional Nature Park.
The first stop is at a village that literally clings to a cliff face, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Here, there are a few of options to choose from. You can take in the spectacular views, visit ateliers selling the local pottery, or climb 262 steps leading to a beautiful chapel perched above the village.
Then you travel to the shores of the immense lake of Sainte Croix and the village of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon. The water looks tempting here, so pack your swimwear and try some water sports or bask in the sunshine.
Next, head to Valensole and the Valensole Plateau where lavender, ‘the soul of Provence’, grows. These fields of ‘blue gold’ and sunflowers are some of the most famous in the world. And they stretch as far as the eye can see. If you’ve got a soft spot for this aromatic flavour, try some of the local dishes.
Intoxicated with today’s experiences and sights, you arrive in Sisteron in the evening.
Impressive canyons, magnificent mountains, idyllic villages and the French Riviera. This is today’s exciting journey through Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Alpes-Maritimes.
Your first stop is the commune of Castellane, the gateway to the Verdon gorges. Stretch your legs and wander through the maze of picturesque narrow lanes. And if you’re keen on history, you can visit a place where Napoleon stopped for lunch on his return from Elba.
Next, you travel to the Point Sublime of Gorges du Verdon. Brace yourself, because this spectacular view will make your heart race. It’s the best viewing point for admiring the sheer cliffs, the vastness of the canyon, and the turquoise colour of the river Verdon.
Then, you travel onwards through the mountains, forests, and hillside vineyards until you reach Saut du Loup Waterfalls where you have a short walk. And just before you leave the mountains and plunge down to the glamorous French Riviera, you visit your last idyllic village, Tourrettes-sur-Loup. Take some photos of this hamlet that’s affectionately called the ‘city of violets’ and say au revoir! to the lush countryside.
In the early evening, you arrive in Nice.
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You stay one night in Beaune, two nights in Tournon-sur-Rhône, and two nights in Sisteron.
To get more information about your accommodation, please contact our friendly team 3 weeks prior to departure.
A good night’s sleep is often needed for a good day of travel.
So, we’ve hand-picked three to four-star hotels in remote coastal villages, bustling towns, and mountain valleys.
Your accommodation is included in the tour price; and when you book your trip, you can choose whether you want double rooms, twin rooms, or single rooms.
The price you see is for all your tour's accommodation and for the tour itself. This figure is based on shared accommodation. When you're booking your tour and select a single room, an additional single room supplement will be added to the price.
You may need a Schengen Visa to travel throughout Europe. Check the official tourism website of the country you’re visiting for up-to-date and reliable information. Travel between countries is easy because there are no passport checks at the borders.
Europe's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure and avoid contributing to congestion issues, we only start our trips from the airport hotel specified in your departure information.
Our friendly team will send you more information about your departure location closer to your departure date.
Arrive at the hotel lobby 15 minutes before your departure time. Unfortunately, we’re unable to wait for you if you’re late due to vehicle restrictions. But depending on your situation, we may be able to help you catch up with your tour.
We have a cancellation period of 42 days for our Europe tours. If you cancel your trip before this period, we give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this timeframe, you’re liable for the cost of the tour package.
We understand how disappointing it is when you have to cancel a trip with us, so please contact our friendly team who will try their best to resell your ticket and refund you.
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It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.
Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable mini-coaches have huge windows, So you always get a good view.
We like to keep our coaches small, nimble, and odour free. This means we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you frequently stop in local towns and villages for comfort breaks.
Most people can comfortably enjoy our tours, but it's worth bearing in mind that we often include optional short walks in scenic locations. Please also be aware that many of the old European towns are built on steep hills with cobbled lanes, and you may have to carry your own luggage at times.
So that we can ensure you're comfortable travelling with us, please let us know about any special requirements or needs at the time of booking. If you have any more questions, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Unfortunately, we’re unable to have children under the age of five on our Europe tours.
You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.
We want you to enjoy your trip to Europe. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of stops to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.
We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.
You don't need to pack or bring along food on the mini-coach. We stop in small European towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.
It’s more enjoyable to travel with light luggage. You can take less by cleaning clothes along the way. Most hotels provide affordable laundry service.
But if you're travelling with more than 20kg, don't worry! There are left luggage facilities close to all our departure points, and courier companies who could ship your excess luggage on to your chosen destination. Our team are happy to help if you need any suggestions or recommendations.
Let's be honest, our drivers and guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.
We highly recommend you take out travel insurance, so you can enjoy a stress-free journey.
You're protected by ABTOT when you choose to let us book your accommodation on a multi-day tour. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we run into any issues. Read our terms and conditions for more information.
Our packages are covered by the Package Travel Regulations. For full details of your key rights please click here.
Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer
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