DAY ONE | May 26.
Depart for Marseille, France.
DAY TWO | May 27. Aix-en-Provence
Upon arrival, transfer to Aix-en-Provence and the Grand Hôtel Roi René. In the evening, gather with fellow travelers for a welcome reception and dinner.
DAY THREE | May 28. Aix-en-Provence
Educational Focus: An Introduction to Provence. Focus on the history of the Provence region and Aix-en-Provence, one of the most wonderfully preserved of all French cities. Founded by the Romans in 122 B.C., its thermal springs, narrow streets, colorful markets and beautiful landscapes have lured artists, writers, nobles and visitors for ages.
Excursion: Aix-en-Provence. Set out on a walking tour to explore Provence’s historic capital commonly known as Aix. The main avenue, Cours Mirabeau, is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. Along this tree-lined avenue are fountains, cafés and bookshops. If you sit at only one French café outside of Paris, it should be here, where the light is sublime and the sidewalks are alive with activity.
Independent Exploration: Spend some time on your own in Aix.
Local Flavor: Sample local specialties during lunch and dinner at restaurants in Aix.
DAY FOUR | May 29. Le Lubéron
Excursion: Le Lubéron. The Lubéron is well off the beaten path in a protected and picturesque mountain region dotted with hilltop towns, forests, vineyards, castles and abbeys. Stroll through a lively market in Lourmarin before exploring the charming village of Bonnieux. Enjoy some free time in the ocher-red village of Roussillon and delight in its colorful old buildings and narrow medieval streets. Stop in the hilltop village of Gordes on the way back to Aix.
Local Flavor: Savor lunch at a restaurant in Bonnieux.
DAY FIVE | May 30. Arles / Les Baux
Excursion: Arles. With its monuments and Roman ruins, Arles is extraordinary. Begin with a visit to the Museum of Ancient Arles. Then stroll through the old town and see the ancient Roman amphitheater, built around AD 90, and the Cathedral of St. Trôphime’s 12th-century portal, a masterpiece of Romanesque style.
Excursion: Les Baux. Perched on a bare rock spur rising from the land, Les Baux’s winding cobbled streets, tiny squares and ancient fortress offer a glimpse of medieval life. The town is replete with chapels, churches and museums.
DAY SIX | May 31. Avignon
Educational Focus: The Religious and Political History of Avignon. Learn about Avignon and its rise to power during the 14th century. The town was transformed from a sleepy riverside community to the capital of Roman Catholicism that served as the residence of seven French popes.
Excursion: Avignon. Explore the impressive Palace of the Popes a fortress-like medieval masterpiece that bristles with ramparts, towers and turrets situated on the banks of the Rhône River. Then spend some free time in Avignon.
Local Flavor: Savor lunch at a restaurant in Avignon.
Excursion: Pont du Gard. See theremarkable Pont du Gard, built by the Romans in 19 B.C. as part of a 30-mile canal to supply water to the town of Nîmes. This enormous three-tiered aqueduct rises as much as 160 feet above the valley and was used through the ninth century. Its first level carried a road and its third, a conduit; all three levels were built without mortar.
DAY SEVEN | June 1. Aix-en-Provence
Educational Focus: The Art of Provence. The Provençal landscape and the intensity of light have played a key role in the evolution of modern painting. Discover the art and artists of Provence, their passions and their paintings.
Excursion: Walk in the Footsteps of Cézanne. During a short walking tour, discover the numerous sites that this renowned artist frequented.
Local Flavor: Lunch is served at a restaurant in Aix.
Excursion: Cézanne’s Studio and Mont Sainte Victoire. The artist found inspiration for many paintings in and aroundAix-en-Provence. Visit his studio and view Mont Sainte Victoire, his favorite landscape subject.
Local Flavor: Enjoy a wine tasting followed by dinner at a restaurant in the foothills of Mont Sainte Victoire.
DAY EIGHT | June 2. Aix-en-Provence
Educational Focus: Contemporary France. Discuss the political makeup of the French government and other aspects of daily life in France.
Independent Exploration: The rest of the day is at your leisure. In the evening, attend a farewell reception, graduation ceremony and a farewell dinner.
DAY NINE | June 3.
Transfer to the Marseille airport for the return flight to your gateway city.