Provence and the French Riviera
Provence and the Riviera complement each other and yet have marked contrasts : both bathe beneath the shining Mediterranean sun and possess a sparkling coast and hinterland of small medieval villages. But whereas the Riviera has been the playground of the rich and wealthy since the early 1800s, Provence has only known popular tourism since the middle of the 20th cent. The treasures of Provence are predominantly to be found in the hinterland whereas on the Riviera the hinterland remains undeveloped. And whilst the Riviera was born from wealth and grew up with glamour, Provence remained a rural, backward land whose glory peaked during the Roman and medieval eras – before the Riviera even existed.
This itinerary starts with the classic highlights of Provence – the Papal palace in Avignon, Arles with its Roman remains and legacy of van Gogh, the Pont du Gard and medieval citadel of Les Baux. In the Lubéron see the 11th cent Abbey of Sénanque and pretty hill villages before arriving in elegant Aix en Provence, home of the painter Paul Cézanne. En route to the Riviera perhaps stop in glamorous St Tropez with its important L’Annonciade museum. On the Riviera there’s Nice and its delightful old town, Monte Carlo, Cannes – and also the painters’ village of St Paul de Vence and museums dedicated to Matisse and Picasso. En route there’s the chance to meet an artist, taste desserts made from olive oil or have lunch with a farmer. Price on application