Our sojourn begins in Provence, an idyllic region that has long been an inspiration for good living—from Roman generals to painters, poets, writers and gourmands of all stripes. From our base in the lovely 5-star Hotel d’Europe in the medieval town of Avignon, home of the Papacy during the 14th century, we will savor it all— Roman monuments, charming hill towns, picturesque landscapes, and of course, outstanding food and wine.
After visiting the city of Arles, with its splendid Roman remains and traces of Van Gogh, we head farther south to the fascinating and little-known region of Camargue. Our home for two nights is Aigues-Mortes, an ancient fortified city marked by the crusades and the Templar Knights. Few areas of France are as distinctive as the spectacular landscape of the Camargue, one of Europe’s major wetlands. Nestled between the Rhône River and the Mediterranean, the Camargue is home to boggy lagoons, pink salt marshes, flamingoes, and remote beaches where the Camargue horse, an ancient indigenous breed, still roams semi-wild. Each spring and fall, a UNESCO designated biosphere reserve attracts hundreds of thousands of migrating birds.
As we wind our way southeast along the Riviera, the breathtaking rugged coastline and deep blue waters of the Mediterranean beckon, as for decades it has for renowned artists and the beau monde. Three nights in the elegant city of Nice give ample time to relax and breathe in the fresh sea air, stroll the famous Promenade des Anglais, and explore a storied villa on Cap Ferrat with spectacular seaside gardens. Our final jaunt to the glamorous independent microstate of Monaco, where 32% of residents are millionaires, gives a glimpse into another world.
Deluxe accommodations, fine dining, and special local wines in some of the region’s top restaurants await us along the way.