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Hidden Provence

October 1 - 8, 2017

Come along with Tour de Forks to experience and explore the essence of Haute Provence in the Var, an untouristed part of Provence with spectacular scenery. This is a journey about breathing in your surroundings…the places, the people, meeting the chefs, touring their kitchens and uncovering their passion for food and wine. Discover the French art de vivre - - it’s an uncommon epicurean adventure.

Day 1: October 1

Our journey begins in an elegant country home filled with the esprit de Provence. Located a short walking distance from the vibrant spa and market town of Aix, it's a haven of peace. Stroll in a gorgeous rose garden surrounded by 100 year old chestnut trees, where Cezanne found inspiration. You'll be welcomed by our local guide and meet your traveling companions with a glass of champagne, followed by a welcome dinner in a gastronomic restaurant.(D)

Day 2: October 2

Breakfast at the hotel.
Today we’re headed for an organic farm that produces wine and olive oil. Listen to traditional harvest stories of the region, learn traditional French drinking songs and about the different local grape varieties. A gourmet picnic lunch which includes the farm’s wine, with an olive oil tasting.

After lunch depart for a private tour of the L’Occitane factory where products are developed with local essential oils and natural fragrances from the region of lavender. Go behind the scene and stroll the Mediterranean garden of ingredients used in making their products. Overnight at 5 star hotel. (B,L)

Day 3: October 3

Breakfast at your hotel.
Tuesday is market day in Aix whith many Provencale products to taste, fabrics to touch, lavender and soap to take home. Or, if you'd like, enjoy a treatment in the spa of the hotel or in the ancient Roman spa in the city of Aix. After lunch with your guide at a local bistrot, follow in the footsteps of impressionist painter, Paul Cezanne, a native of Aix-en-Provence. Then visit a calisson shop to learn about the sweet almond specialties made only here in Aix-en-Provence. A delicious tasting follows. Overnight at 5 star hotel. (B,L)

Day 4: October 4

Breakfast at your hotel and checkout.
Drive to Riez for the morning market to select our food for today’s picnic lunch in the Gorges du Verdon. Our picnic spot has a view over the canyon, as we enjoy a glass or two of local rose (weather permitting). Tonight, enjoy a world-class dinner and spend the night at the childhood home of Michelin-starred Chef Alain Ducasse. Overnight at 5 star hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 5: October 5

Breakfast at your hotel and checkout.
A leisurely morning visit to one of the most beautiful hilltop villages in France, Moustiers Saint Marie where the captivating waterfalls rush down the center of the village. Hike to the small chapel for more breathtaking views. Moustiers is a great shopping village, where local shops are filled with artisanal faience (pottery), perfect souvenirs of this magical place. Visit Abbey Thoronet, a jewel of Abbeys, built in the 12th century. Before heading back to your countryside hotel, experience a unique wine tasting experience with a carriage ride through the vineyards. Overnight in hotel. (B)

Day 6: October 6

Breakfast at your hotel.
Our first stop today is at the Puyicard Chocolate factory, one of only a few artisanal chocolateries which continues to make chocolates by hand.The passionate creation of the bonbons is why the quality and taste of this chocolate is remarkable. Today's lunch, at a vineyard, is where wine, art and architecture live harmoniously. Walk at your leisure alongside the olive groves, vineyards, almond, peach, red plum and cherry trees. Enjoy the kitchen garden (potager) composed of aromatic herbs, vegetables and flowers. Learn about the making of local wine and taste the wine directly from the barrel.
Stroll through Lourmarin, a typical Provencale village nestled in the middle of vineyards, olive groves and almond trees at the foot of the Luberon mountains.
Farewell Dinner at hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 7: October 7

Breakfast at your hotel and check out. A short drive to Marseille, to meet Chef Gilles at the market and choose products for today's cooking lesson and lunch. Enjoy free time on your own in Marseille or a walking tour through the old town of Marseille with your guide. Check into the 5 star hotel where your luggage will be waiting for you.

Day 8: October 8

Breakfast at your hotel.
Time to say au revoir! Transfers to TGV station, or to Marseille Airport.

Hotels

Hotel Le Pigonnet
Bastide de Sainte Moustiers
Les Lodges Sainte Victoire
Hotel Intercontinental, Marseille