France Vacations by Umfulana: Custom France Tours to Paris, Provence, Côte d'Azur
Provence
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France Vacation: From Paris to Provence

This leisurely tour of southeast France is ideal for travellers who love both culture and nature. After starting in beautiful Paris you will take the fast train south, heading for the incredible landscapes of fragrant Provence and sunny Côte d'Azur.

This trip will be customized according to your wishes.

Paris

Paris

35 km | 37 minutes
A

Paris

Glamorous metropolis

Paris is more than just a city – the name itself is legend. From the late Middle Ages to the nine­teenth century the focus of the entire country was on Paris, the center of western culture and a major influ­ence on western history.

The city's layout and build­ings reflect its cultural and polit­ical signif­icance: the Champ-Elysées and the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Place de la Concorde and Notre Dame. Paris is also consid­ered by many to be the most beau­tiful city in the world. The museums of the French capital are unpar­al­leled. From the Louvre to the Orsay, from the Centre Pompidou to the Rodin to the Cité des Sciences, each museum offers a unique aesthetic expe­r­i­ence. More­over, names like Faubourg, Saint Honoré and the Avenue Montaigne are remin­ders that Paris is famous for fashion. A shopping excur­sion with a stop for pastries at a picturesque street café is a must in Paris. Whether you prefer the opera, a ballet, clas­sical music, jazz, a night club or a dance revue, the word Paris is synony­mous with night-life. In the surrounding local­i­ties you can expe­r­i­ences aristo­cratic Paris: Versailles, Fontainebleau, Saint-Germain and Vaux-le-Vicomte. Here trav­elers are invited to escape to the glitter of the Louis XIV era.

Accommodation: A small inn near the Louvre

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

This enchanting little hotel is situ­ated in the heart of Paris, in the shadow of the Louvre. It is so close to St. Germain l'Auxerrois that you can hear the hymns from the former “King's Church” and see the Gothic windows from your bedroom.

In the cellar there is an old printing press that was used to print illegal leaflets during the French Revo­lu­tion. It is said that the recep­tion area was once the Café Momus (a debating club of the revo­lu­tion­aries) and it was here that Puccini allowed parts of his opera “La Boheme” to be played. Breakfast, true to Parisian custom, is served in your suite. The hotel is air condi­tioned. Sophie Aulnette has managed the hotel for the past 10 years and person­ally attends to her guests' comfort. Tickets to local museums and other attrac­tions can be purchased at a shop near the hotel.

Île-de-France

Cradle of today's France
The metropol­itan area of Paris is like an island between the rivers Seine, Marne, Oise and Beuvronne. However, the name does not derive from the insular posi­tion, but from the Old Frankish name “Liddle Franke”, which means some­thing like “Little France”. The Île-de-France was the nucleus of today's France, as evidenced by magnif­i­cent castles, churches and gardens. The French language of today goes back to a dialect in this region. Today it is by far the most densely popu­lat­ed re­gion in France. Nearly 20 percent of all French resi­dents live in the “Paris agglom­er­a­tion”.

Louvre

From a royal palace to the most visited museum in the world
For centuries, the Louvre served as the palace of the French kings and was the largest construc­tion site in France. Almost every king made changes to it. In the 12th century it was still a proud castle but was expanded over the course of the next two centuries to become a symbolic resi­dence. The four wings around the square court­yard are what remain of the orig­inal palace. When Louis XIV moved his resi­dence to Versailles, the building was left to dete­r­i­o­rate. The Louvre did not become a museum until after the French Revo­lu­tion when the National Assembly decided to use it to collect and exhibit the artistic treasures seized from the nobility. Today, the Louvre receives around ten million visitors every year and is the largest museum in the world. Its collec­tions include over 380,000 pieces, and only about a tenth of them are on display. Its most famous painting is prob­ably the Mona Lisa, which Leon­ardo da Vinci painted around the year 1503.

Quartier Latin

From a student district to a tourist center
The tradi­tional student district in Paris is located near Sorbonne Univer­sity and is known as the Quartier Latin, because Latin had been the language of scho­l­ar­ship for many centuries. Numerous writers lived in the area, including Honoré de Balzac, Gabriel García Márquez and Klaus Mann. During the student riots in 1968, the quarter became the scene of heavy fighting in the streets. Thou­sands of students were arrested and hundreds were seri­ously injured by the police during the “Night of the Barricades.” When the trade unions called for a national strike in support of the students, Pres­i­dent de Gaulle stepped down. Not many students live here today since the rent is unafford­able and they have given way to popular restau­rants and boutiques.

From Paris to Marseille by rail

Your train tickets will not be booked by Umfu­lana. Please book online on www.sncf.com/fr.

Alterna­tively you can book on www.raileu­rope.com, where prices will be displayed in most currencies, but tend to be more expen­sive than on the the local provider's website. Another option is to purchase your ticket on arrival at the station.

B

Marseilles

From a Greek port to a multicultural metropolis

The city on the Gulf of Lion is the oldest and 2nd largest city in France. The orig­inal settle­ment was founded by Greek traders in the 7th century BC, and quickly grew into a colony along the mouth of the Rhone River.

The port lost its signif­icance, however, after the collapse of the Roman Empire, only to return to strategic importance 500 years later during the crusades. Marseilles grew into a true multi­cultural metropolis during France's colo­niza­tion of northern Africa. Worth seeing is the Old Port (Vieux Port), which includes most of the orig­inal Greek settle­ment and is now an exclu­sive marina.

Accommodation: a Hotel near the Harbour

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

The small 4-star hotel on the Quai du Port is a bit quaint – with furni­ture in the style of the 1950's. Howev­er ­standing on the balcony in one of the upper floors, you will be overwhelmed by the magnif­i­cent view of one of Europe's oldest ports.

Almost every­thing in the historic town can be reached on foot. Although the hotel is located in the middle of the hustle and bustle, the rooms are quiet – thanks to good windows and quiet air condi­tioning. The staff is friendly.

Côte d’Azur

Holiday destina­tion par excel­lence: Côte d'Azur
The name “Azure Coast” goes back to Stéphen Liégeard's book enti­tled La Côte d'Azur, published in 1887. At that time the southern coast of France had just been discov­ered by wealthy Brits who liked to spend the winter between Menton on the Italian border and Saint-Tropez. The abun­dance of colors and shapes attracted many painters: Renoir, Matisse, Chagall and Picasso are only the well known among them. They left behind a number of museums, which are best visited during winter, when they are less busy. For many, the French Riviera is a holiday destina­tion par excel­lence because of its sun, beach and sea combined with a picturesque hinter­land and a few sophis­ticated cities.

Calanques near Cassis

Vertical cliffs, stunning views
The stretch of coast­line near Marseille is one of the most beau­tiful landscapes that France has to offer. Wildly romantic coves, some of them cutting deep into the country like fjordes, are dominated by enor­mous, almost vertical cliffs. Inside the coves with the bottle-green water are small sailboats. Walks through the white lime­stone rocks will be rewarded with forever changing, breathtaking views. In summer, hiking is prohibited. Then one has to resort to a boat tour.

Marseilles

Rental car pick-up

Marseilles

2 km | 5 minutes

Rental car pick-up

Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: Alamo
Vehicle: Opel Astra or similar (CDMR)
Loca­tion: Marseille (Railway Station)

From Marseille to Beau­caire

111 km | 1:30 h

Aix-en-Provence

Magnif­i­cent boul­evards, legendary cafes
The former capital of Provence is consid­ered one of the most attrac­tive cities in France. Founded by the Romans in 122 BC, the ancient city is known for its elegant palaces in Italian Baroque style, its magnif­i­cent tree-lined avenues and its vibrant atmo­sphere. The city is split in half by the Cours Mirabeau, a wide thor­ough­fare lined by fountains, cafés and histor­ical build­ings. One of the most famous cafes in all of France is Les Deux Garçons, once frequented by the likes of Cézanne and Hemingway. The city orig­inally famous for its hot springs boasts 300 days of sunshine a year.

Camargue

At the mouth of River Rhône, the Camargue is the largest river delta in Europe. The wetlands are mainly suit­able for vegetable, fruit and rice culti­va­tion. In the south of the Camargue there is a 13,000 hectare nature reserve located around the Etang de Vaccarès, which is one of the typical shallow lakes with count­less water birds. Wild horses and large herds of Camargue bulls live in the reserve. On the coast, the town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer boasts a forti­fied church from the 9th century.
C

Provence

Eldorado for painters and artists

The center of the former Roman “Provincia Fallia Narboniensis” forms the Bas Provence around the city of Avignon. It is one of the oldest cultural landscapes of Europe and has written world history more than once.

During the schism of the medieval church, along­side the Pope in Rome there was another one, residing in Avignon and shaping the city and region. Ancient towns nestle in the mountain wilder­ness, deserted villages are being reclaimed by nature. In addi­tion to cities such as Arles, Nimes or Aix visitors can find almost untouched landscapes: Mont Ventoux, the highest massif of the Provence or the endless oak forests of the Luberon. Consid­ering the pleasant Mediterranean climate, it is under­stand­able that this land has always attracted trav­elers, painters and artists.

Accommodation: A country estate near Beaucaire

3 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

The large, friendly estate is situ­ated among fruit trees and vine­yards between Arles and Nimes where the regions of Provence and Camargue meet.

The bedrooms on the top floor are simple yet elegant with white washed walls, cast iron beds and period furni­ture. The over­hanging roof provides welcome shade on hot summer days. A swimming pool is avai­l­able.

Avignon

City of Popes
Today, the city east of the Rhone has less than 100,000 inhab­i­tants. In the Middle Ages Avignon was a city of interna­tional standing. From here seven popes have reigned the Occi­dent during the schism from 1309-1376. At that time the town was a brilliant art center. The “City of Popes” was able to keep its city walls around the old town, the Palace of the Popes, the Bishops' complex and the bridge of Avignon undam­aged to the present day. The old town of Avignon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was Euro­pean Capital of Culture in 2000.

Arles

One of the oldest cities in the Rhone Delta, Arles was founded by the Greeks in the 6th century BC, then captured by the Romans in 123 BC, who turned the settle­ment into an important city. Arles enjoyed its greatest period of influ­ence during the 4th and 5th centuries, when it served as the head­quar­ters for Roman emperors conducting military campaigns. The numerous Roman and medieval remains in the city center have been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Van Gogh painted many of his most famous pictures in Arles, which is also consid­ered the gates to the Camargue Delta, the habitat of the Greater Flamingo and the white Camargue horses.

Nîmes

Roman area that became a medieval slum
Dating back to 121 BC when it was in Roman hands, the city's importance as a trading center derives from its loca­tion on the route between Italy and Spain. Tucked away in the hills of Cevennes, Nimes boasts are large number of histor­ical build­ings. The most signif­icant of these is the amphithe­ater, the best-preserved – albeit not the largest – Roman arena in exis­tence today, despite the fact that it was used for other purposes during its long history. The Goths converted the struc­ture into a fortress, in the Middle Ages it was a knight's castle and later it served as living quar­ters for 2,000 people. Just 25 km north­east of Nimes is the Pont du Gard, one of the ancient wonders of the world. This amazing construc­tion is part of the Roman aqueduct which spans the Gard valley. Water flowed through the 45 m high aqueduct for more than 500 years.

From Beau­caire to Saint Laurent du Verdon

174 km | 3:00 h
D

Grand Canyon du Verdon

Mighty canyon in the Alpes Provençal

The River Verdon is a trib­utary of the River Durance. Along its 175 kilometer route it has dug a huge canyon into the Alps which is the deepest valley in Europe and one of its most impres­sive natural wonders.

The canyon is 21 km long, 700 m high and only 6 m wide in some places. It repre­sents a constant chal­lenge for climbers, white water rafters and well-equipped hikers. There is a road around the edge of the gorge which leads to splendid view­points.

Accommodation: A former oil mill belonging to a château

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

In the hills of Haute Provence, where lavender fields reach down to the steep bank of the Verdon, lies the former oil mill of the castle of St-Laurent-du-Verdon.

Edith and Nicolas, a couple from Switz­er­land, have transformed the vener­able 17th century building into a Mediterranean paradise with ten rooms. The idyllic surround­ings, peace and quiet and a strong organic cuisine char­ac­terize the house, which belongs to the Slow Food network and can be counted among the “Hôtels au Naturel” because of its constant commit­ment to sustain­able tourism.
Bicycles are provided; hiking trails lead directly past the prop­erty. Just as well, one can enjoy the peace and quiet in the shade of the olive trees and read or play boules or billiards.

From Saint Laurent du Verdon to La Croix-Valmer

99 km | 2:30 h
E

Saint Tropez

From a fishing village to the playground for the rich and famous

Named after an early Chris­tian martyr, the harbor town on the Cote d'Azur was a simple fishing village until the 20th century.

The boom began in the 1950s when “St Trop” became a meeting place for the rich and famous. Wealthy vaca­tioners from all over the world spend their summers in the famous beach clubs: Tahiti Plage, Club 55 or similar. Saint Tropez is known for its exclu­sive marina and the Baie de Pamplonne, the longest sand beach on the Cote d'Azur. The numerous shops and gourmet restau­rants are priced for their special clientele.

Accommodation: A hotel at La Croix Valmer

3 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

Those who want to sleep quietly in the proximity of Saint-Tropez and seek relaxa­tion without many frills, are in good hands in the former monastery in La Croix Valmer.

The pastel-colored building from 1900 has lost none of its charm. All 33 rooms have wing windows, four meter high ceil­ings and a great view across the large park to the bay. Breakfast is decent, the pool refreshing and the peace total.

Iles d'Hyères

Archipe­lago between Marseille and the Côte d'Azur
The archipe­lago between Marseille and the Cote d'Azur is located a few kilome­ters off the French coast. Because of its reddish colored rocks, the three islands are also known as the Îles d'Or – islands of gold. The largest of them, Porquerolles, is 7.5 km long and 3 km wide. Espe­cially in the north, near the capital of the same name, one can find a few pretty beaches with crystal clear water. From there, hiking trails lead through the orig­inal macchia to a fort, a vine­yard or to Sémaphore, with its 142 meters the highest mountain on the island. From there one can look far across the sea, to the other islands and to the main­land. Porquerolles is easily acces­sible within minutes from the Giens peninsula by passenger ferry. During high season it runs every half hour. The car can be left in the car park at the ferry terminal over night.

From La Croix-Valmer to Nice

Rental car drop-off

From La Croix-Valmer to Nice

119 km | 2:30 h

Antibes

French flair and luxury yachts in Port Vauban
The port city with 75,000 inhab­i­tants is one of the oldest on the Côte d'Azur. “Antipolis” was founded around 340 by Greek merchants and became a bishop's seat in late antiq­uity. The seaside resort Juan-les-Pins was opened in 1882 and has since been incor­po­rated. At the beginning of the 20th century, writers and artists settled there, including Picasso, to whom a museum is dedicated at Château Grimaldi. Port Vauban is now one of the largest marinas in Europe, with up to 1700 luxury yachts anchoring here. The best view is from the fortress Fort Carré.

Vence

Prealpine Town behind the coast
Tucked away in the mountains between Nice and Antibes is the charming town­ship of Vence. Its splendid loca­tion and medieval city center attracted many artists in the 19th century. There is a lot to discover in the surrounding mountains: St-Paul-de-Vence with its old city wall, Haute-de-Cagnes, a picturesque village, and Tourettes sur Loup. Although the Côte d'Azur is one of the most popular tourist destina­tions worldwide, there are still plenty of places off the beaten track where you can enjoy the beauty of this unique region.

Rental car drop-off

Loca­tion: Nice Airport (Desk at Airport)

13 days
from € 1,979.00
per person based on two people sharing a double room
Services
  • Accommodation in a double room
  • Meals (as listed above)

An- und Abreise: Flüge zum Selberbuchen finden Sie im Internet. Falls Sie mit der Bahn anreisen möchten, buchen wir gern das Ticket für Sie.
You can start this tour on any date.
Best Travel Time: April–October

The prices can vary depending on the season.
Your Consultants
Jessica Parkin

Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-23


Leslie Jalowiecki

Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-67


Melissa Nußbaum

Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-57

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1. Your Tour Specifications
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2. Consulting + Itinerary
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4. Payment + Travel Documents
After completion of the booking process, you will receive a confirmed itinerary. The complete travel documents will be forwarded to you on receipt of the remaining balance following payment of the deposit.

5. Tour
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