top of page

A Southern France Luxury House Tour covering the areas
Aquataine, Occitaine and Provence.

With Bastide Towns, Perched Villages, Châteaus, Spectacular Countryside, Vineyards and many of the listed 'Most Beautiful Villages of France'.
April 6th - 21st, 2024

France.jpg
unnamed 3.jpg
unnamed 4.jpg

One of our favourite tours to conduct is our Tuscany House Tour. We love to spend day after day visiting hill towns, vineyards, olive groves and wandering through the spectacular Tuscan countryside. We wanted to offer something similar, but that would take in a slightly different flavour and feel and Southern France instantly came to mind.

This will be our first ever tour in France and we knew would would have to focus on a particular area as the country is quite large, so we finally settled on Aquataine, Occitanie and Provence. Even settling on just these regions meant that it would be impossible to cover the whole regions, so we chose our favourite places within them. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to make this one of our house tours where we take over an entire Château or Mas(traditional farmhouse), so we chose a Château in Aquataine and a Mas in Provence and created an itinerary that would allow us to take day trips from each of these amazing places.

Our days will be spent traveling through the French countryside visiting Bastide Towns(meaning it was founded by the French in the 13th century, at a time when the English ruled much of this part of France.) Perched Villages, thus named as they are perched on a hillside and several of the villages on the list of 'the most beautiful villages of France'. We will also take in a few castles, a few churches and a few vineyards. Although this is just a small part of France we could only put so much into the itinerary and could not fit in everything that we wanted to see and do. Even so, we think we come up with a wonderful itinerary to give you the best of these regions. Come join us on this amazing journey!

This tour is one of our special house tours where you stay in one location for a week and a second location for another week. You will be served breakfast each morning by the Scottish Dream Tours team and take in several Café's for lunch along with a few wine lunch experiences. In the evening we will do dinners in the house and also go out to a Bistros, Brasseries, Auberges and Restaurant along with a few nights on your own to explore the dining options.

We will partake in local delights such as: Soupe au Pistou which is pesto soup with white beans, green beans and tomatoes. Socca, a pancake made from chickpeas. Daube Provençale, a local beef stew cooked in a daubière, which is a heavy casserole pot. Salade Niçoise, which is prepared in different ways, but should always contain black olives, anchovies, long green beans, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and lettuce. Pan Bagnat, a sandwich that is made from bread called pain de Campagne with the ingredients of a Salade Niçoise and balsamic vinegar. Bouillabaisse, a local fish stew that originated in Marseille. Fougasse, a flatbread normally made with olives and anchovies, and sometimes topped with cheese. Tarte Tropézienne, a dessert that originated in St Tropez in the 1950s. Tapenade an apéritif spread made from olives, usually with capers, that is spread on large croutons. Calissons, a sugary sweet that come from the town of Aix-en-Provence made from sweet almonds ground to a paste and mixed with candied local melon and orange peel. The paste is spread onto a wafer and coated in icing. And Pissaladière - Pissala is an anchovy paste from the region that is used on mini pizzas called pissaladières.

This beautiful tour covers two spectacular regions of Southern France where you will relax in luxury accommodations and take in all the breathtaking beauty of the French Countryside along with Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Antibes, Saint-Tropez and Marseille. We have started the Tour in Nice and ended in Toulouse giving you the chance to come in early or stay a day extra to take in these lovely cities. Price includes 16 nights accommodation, all dinners, lunches listed in the itinerary and breakfast each morning, all activities, sightseeing and entrance fees as listed in itinerary, all taxes, fees and service charges. Guided minibus travel with pick up and drop off and luggage handling.

As this tour is our first venture into France and also one of our house tours we ask that you please contact us before signing up for the tour.

 

$8995 per person.

$1295 single supplement.

$500 deposit to book your spot.

Sold Out!

Pre tour - April 5th - Arrive into Nice Côte d'Azur Airport and make your way to our airport accommodation to get rested up and get adjusted to the time change before the tour starts the following morning.

Day 1 - April 6th - We will meet at our Nice Côte d'Azur Airport accommodation this morning and then begin our drive to Aix-en-Provence along the Mediteranean with a first stop in Antibes. The old town is very pleasant to explore, with a mass of narrow winding streets lined with pretty houses, designer shops and boutiques, and cafes and bars. The historic centre of Antibes is still surrounded by Vauban's Defensive Ramparts along with traditional fountains and small squares surrounded by ancient houses which provide much of the appeal of Antibes. There is a covered market in the centre of the town where you can buy all manner of fresh produce as well as hand crafted artisan item. From here we make our way to Sainte-Maximim and Sainte-Baume. In the heart of Provence, Saint Maximin spreads out at the foot of the Sainte Baume Massif, in the basin of an ancient dried-up lake. It is equidistant from the first Alpine foothills and the sea. While being very dynamic, Saint Maximin is a town of traditions. This city offers great artistic and historical riches through the visit of the old town and the old medieval Jewish quarters. We then make our way to just near Aix-en-Provence to get settled into our first week's accommodation before a Welcoming Dinner. Overnight Jouques near Aix-en-Provence. (B,L,D)

 

Day 2 - April 7th - This morning we visit Aix-en-Provence with its origins in ancient times when it was a Celtic capital, then becoming an important Roman town in the 2nd century BC. At the end of the 15th century Aix was the capital of Provence under the successful leadership of King René and several of the buildings and highlights of the town date from this period of prosperity. While here we will have a Discover the Charms of Aix-en-Provence Food and Sightseeing Tour. Over the course of 3 hours, you’ll walk the streets of this medieval city and learn about its rich history and culture. Visit sights like the Rotonde Fountain, Cours Mirabeau, Mazarin district, and more. Stop in local shops to sample delicious pastries, cheeses, and other treats, and tour an outdoor market bursting with fresh fish and produce. Then you will have some more itme on your own to further discovery this beautiful city. The main thoroughfare in the town centre, the Cours Mirabeau runs east to west through central Aix-en-Provence, and is lined on both sides with grand houses built during the 17th-18th centuries. You will find that the most imposing houses are on the southern side and most cafes and other activity on the northern side of Cours Mirabeau - and the trees that provide the shade for the cafes stop you seeing both sides together very easily, so you will need to allow time to walk the street in both directions. It's a lovely street (perhaps not quite the Champs-Elysées but certainly one of the most beautiful avenues in the south of France) so you will thoroughly enjoy it. Dinner on your own this evening. Overnight Jouques near Aix-en-Provence. (B,L,D)

 

Day 3 - April 8th - We will spend the next 2 days taking in the lovely towns and villages of Parc Naturel Régionals of Provence. We will start in the perched village(hill towns) of Bonnieux in the Parc Naturel Régional du Luberon and sprawling attractively down the side of a hill. The town is composed of two sections, the lower and the upper. We will explore the lower part of the town, with its quiet narrow streets and arcaded passages running down to the bottom of the valley and stopping for lunch before exploring the upper town. Then we make our way to the perched village of Lourmarin, another on the list of the most beautiful villages of France with over 1000 years of history. With lots of narrow winding Provençal streets, many too narrow or too steep for cars to ever pass, meandering past centuries old houses it is truly delightful. Our final stop is Château Constantin is a family estate nestled between vineyards, forest and olive grove. A little corner of paradise at the gates of the famous village of Lourmarin, in the charming Luberon region. This 20 hectares organic property spans a variety of terroirs, red clay, limestone and rolled pebbles, which gives their wines complexity and freshness! We will have a lovely late afternoon of wine tasting and then we are back home again before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Jouques near Aix-en-Provence. (B,L,D)

 

Day 4 - April 9th - Our second day in Parc Naturel Régionals of Provence will start with the perched village of Roussillon. Roussillon has been inhabited since neolithic times, then later by the Romans who also left their traces and is also well known for being home to Samuel Beckett during the Second World War. This is lovely little Provencal Village with shady squares, fascinating architectural details, faded shutters, cats sleeping on windowsills. Next we visit Gordes, another of those listed among the most beautiful villages in France and one of the perched villages of Provence. This lovely traditional Provencal Village with narrow cobbled streets that wind ever higher through the tall, ancient houses to the church and castle that stand above the village has spectacular views across the Luberon Mountains. We will lunch here before continuing on Menerbes one more of the famous perched villages of Provence. This medieval village spread out along a hilltop in the centre of the Luberon region and in the Vaucluse Department of Provence is also listed as one of the most beautiful villages of France! We then return home before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Jouques near Aix-en-Provence. (B,L,D)

 

Day 5 - April 10th - Much of today will be spent in Avignon, a historic town on the Rhone River. This beautifully preserved medieval town is surrounded by the original fortified city walls. Avignon. The central historical part of the city, including the Palace of the Popes, the Saint-Benezet Bridge, and the fortification walls that surround the city are now a protected UNESCO Heritage Site and Avignon is also listed as one of the French 'Secteur Sauvegardé'(historic towns of France). In Avignon you will fall in love with the flavorful French cuisine on a delicious food tour! We will enjoy a selection of 10 food and drink tastings hand-picked by our foodie local host, just for us. From yummy must-tries like Cherry Clafoutis to unique dishes typical of the city such as French cheeses; you’re in for a treat, so bring your appetite. As we enjoy authentic local bites ranging from savory, sweet as well as drinks, we’ll also discover the city and its highlights. After our food tour we will have a tour that will take us inside the Palace of the Popes. The Palace of the Popes stands as the mighty symbol of the church’s influence throughout the western Christian world in the 14th century. Construction was started in 1335 and completed in less than twenty years under the leadership of two builder popes, Benedict XII and his successor Clement VI. The Popes’ Palace is the biggest Gothic palace in all of Europe - the size of 4 Gothic Cathedrals Combined! We will visit over 20 rooms and see scenes of historic events, in particular the Pope’s Private Chambers and the frescoes painted by the Italian artist Matteo Giovannetti. You can then wander a bit before we head back home before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Jouques near Aix-en-Provence. (B,L,D)

Day 6 - April 11th - This morning we make our way back to Aix en Provence to meet Chef Gilles and experience the Provence way of life through its Cuisine with a Cooking Class. Food and cooking are at the core of the culture and that brings people together to share great moments in life. Through selecting the appropriate recipes and ingredients to preparing and tasting its typical dishes, share a unique day with our chef at the Aix en Provence local food market and in his countryside home. We will be immersed in an authentic Provencal atmosphere on real foodie Aix en Provence experience. This afternoon we will spend some time in Jouques in the north-west of the Bouches-du-Rhône department, Jouques is a small, typically Provençal village and a true haven of peace. Located between the Sainte-Victoire mountain and the Luberon, it will amaze you with its architectural beauty. The walk in the heart of the village will delight lovers of old stones. They will be able to admire fountains, seigniorial pavilions, a monumental portal,A clock tower, majestic staircases and sumptuous residences from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, built by the former lords of the village. Jouques was once the summer residence of the archbishops of Aix-en-Provence. The Notre-Dame-de-la-Roque chapel, from the 12th century, dominates the roofs of the village. The view is breathtaking! Dinner and Overnight Jouques near Aix-en-Provence. (B,L,D)

 

Day 7 - April 12th - Today will be spent in and around Mas De La Quietude, the 8 Bedroomed Authentic Pravencal Mas(traditional farmhouse) we are staying in which is set within 500 acres of grounds in La Provence Profonde in the middle of lavender fields and olive groves. This authentic mas combines high comfort with modernity along with sensational views of the Aix countryside and famous Sainte-Victoire mountain. Remodeled by a Belgian architect, this beautiful stone house of 6500 square feet combines high comfort, modernity and authenticity. Its 50 foot long swimming pool and its numerous shaded terraces also offer superb views over the Aix countryside and the Saint-Victoire mountain. This property is the ideal place for nature lovers looking for the gentle Provencal way of life and sunshine. We will have a lovely Wine, Canapé, Fruit and Salad Lunch on the terrace and then the rest of the afternoon is yours to explore the lavender fields, olive groves and whatever else you may find in the 500 acres that sourround the farmhouse. You may want to take a swim in the pool or just admire the views from poolside. This evening we will gather for a leftovers dinner as our last night in Provence. Dinner and Overnight Jouques near Aix-en-Provence. (B,L,D)

Day 8 - April 13th - This morning we make our journey to the Lot-et-Garonne department of the Aquataine Region. Following breakfast we will make our way to Marseille Provence Airport where we will take a 1 hour and 10 minute flight to Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport where we find our driver waiting to transport us to our villa for our second weeks stay where we get settled in before dinner ahead of another wonderful week in France. As this is a travel day we will use the local pizzeria to provide our dinner. Dinner and Overnight Serres-et-Montguyard. (B,D)

Day 9 – April 14th - After the long day yesterday, today will be spent in and around Château Lacanaud where we are staying. This 18th Century Château is surrounded by beautiful, unspoilt countryside with vibrant vines and sunflowers and is just five minutes from the picturesque and popular Bastide town of Eymet. The serene grounds include formal gardens, multiple terraces, an enchanting lake and wonderful woodland walks. Showcasing a careful, curated and stylish restoration, the château boasts meticulous attention to detail throughout, complimented by beautiful, French furniture and its luxurious, chic home-away-from-home ambience. There is a formal Dining Room as well as a Drawing Room and more relaxed Living Room. The Coach House is linked to the Chateau and has stunning views over the lake complete with a beautiful Living Room which opens up to a Large Terrace and an Orangery. Nine ensuite bedrooms spread across the main château and neighbouring converted coach house. It is set in 20 acres of grounds including formal gardens with over ten dedicated terraces, lakes and woodland walks. You will have a packed lunch today that you can collect from the kitchen whenever the mood strikes. This afternoon you can lounge the rest of the day away basking in the glorious sunshine beside the heated saltwater infinity pool. Dinner and Overnight Serres-et-Montguyard (B,L,D)

 

Day 10 – April 15th - Today we visit more of the loveliest villages of France with a first stop in the quaint village of Villereal, founded in 1269 by Alphonse de Poitiers as a French Bastide Town, although the town was occupied by the English during most of the Hundred Years War. Although not on the official list it is well worth exploring with its large central square surrounded by medieval arcades and ancient houses, and a second square that contains the village church. with a stop just a short distance north to Monpazier, with the origins dating from the end of the 13th century when it was founded as a Bastide Town in 1284 by King Edward I of England. You will find several cafes here where you can find some lunch on your own and then explore the various shops selling arts and crafts. This afternoon we visit Château Michel de Montaigne where we will first have a picnic lunch follwed by wine tasting and then a tour of the castle. The castle’s Tower is where, from 1572, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne spent “most of the days of his life, and most hours of the day” meditating and reflecting on his famous essays. During the visit you will learn various anecdotes from the life of this great man, his work and philosophy as you explore the different parts of his Tower: the Chapel, the Room with the thick walls, the closet and study. Opposite the Tower sits a 19th century Château designed in a medieval and Gothic Revival style by Pierre Magne, a lawyer who served as Finance Minister under Napoleon III. The current owners, the Mähler-Besse family, offer visitors a warm welcome to their home and its period furniture.Dinner and Overnight Serres-et-Montguyard. (B,L,D)

 

Day 11 – April 16th - This morning we make our way to Château Feely near Saussignac, a village located just north of Château we are staying in. Our experience includes a one-hour guided tour of the vineyard to understand in detail the organic and biodynamic viticulture and the local terroir. Afterwards, we will be introduced to 4 of their wines with food and wine pairings around a plate of organic and local cheeses, accompanied by a selection of organic and local breads, seasonal fruits and vegetables and organic chocolate. After our visit we make our way to the pretty village of Limeuil, officially classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France at the confluence of the two most important rivers in the region, the Dordogne and the Vézère. We will stroll along the river front, cross the road and pass through the old stone gateway into the historical old town. The village is still partly surrounded by its original fortified walls, and is a very lovely Dordogne village, with cobbled streets winding up the hill between honey-coloured houses with pretty little gardens. On the way home we stop in Eymet, founded 1270 by Alphonse of Poitiers, like many of the French bastide towns, as part of a defensive strategy against the English. Eymet is a very attractive and unspoiled town with a thriving central square, and a pretty location on the banks of the Dropt River. As a transport link along the Dropt, this originally enabled Eymet to flourish. We then stop for dinner before making our way home. Dinner and Overnight Serres-et-Montguyard. (B,L,D)

 

Day 12 – April 17th - This morning our first stop today is Le Château et Jardins des Milandes to visit the gardens. The current garden was designed by Jules Vacherot, a great landscape architect of the 20th century, it is a French garden that spreads out over several terraces with fountains, boxwood, lawns and flowerbeds give it all its relief, it is listed as a historical monument.The large park contains many species of trees including Atlas cedars, a beautiful beech, cork oaks, hackberry, tulip trees, a beautiful set of dogwoods and beautiful umbrella pines. We then make our way to another of the most beautiful villages of France, Pujols. We will enter the walled village through an archway called the Saint Nicholas. This stone arch brings you straight into the main square in Pujols, with the church to one side, a 19th century market hall, a bar and a couple of small galleries. We will enter the village through an archway called the Saint Nicholas. This stone arch brings you straight into the main square in Pujols, with the church to one side, a 19th century market hall, a bar and a couple of small galleries. You can follow the main street in either direction to enjoy looking at the ancient houses, often with hanging baskets of flowers, the small gardens and the views. Here on Rue Citadelle you can see several impressive houses from the 16th century. We then visit Penne d'Agenais, a small village on the River Lot and a very pretty place to visit and was once a stopping point on one of the pilgrim paths to Santiago de Compostella. The village consists of two parts, the historic village, entered through one of the medieval gateways that pass through the ramparts that still surround Penne d'Agenais, and a grassy area on the hill above the village where you can see the basilica and the remains of an ancient castle. Then back home before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Serres-et-Montguyard. (B,D)

 

Day 13 – April 18th - The Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region of France along the River Dordogne is full of beautiful villages and we will see a few of them this morning! Our first stop is Domme, a very attractive Bastide town, founded in 1283 and situated in an exceptional hilltop location and of course one of the most beautiful villages of France. The town is entered by a large fortified gate at the bottom of the main street and it is unusual for a Bastide Town to retain its fortifications as Domme has done. The huge towers either side of the entrance called La Porte des Tours once served as prisons and you can still see the religious symbols scratched like graffiti on the walls by the Templar prisoners during the 14th century. The town of Sarlat-la-Canéda is situated in the heart of the Dordogne department, in the region referred to as the 'Perigord Noir'. There are more than 250 listed buildings in the old town, typically built in the 15th and 16th centuries. Sarlat is listed as a 'Secteur Sauvegardé' to restrict future development and the town is also officially listed as a 'Town of Art and History'. Our next stop is Beaumont-du-Périgord, founded in 1272 it has undergone significant transformation down through the centuries. It has preserved a myriad of outstanding heritage treasures that will take you back in time to the Middle Ages. Discover its imposing fortress-church, Luzier’s Gateway, a listed Historical Monument, and enjoy a leisurely stroll along its alleyways. We will stop in Eymet for you to find some dinner on your own before we return home. Overnight Serres-et-Montguyard. (B,L)

 

Day 14 – April 19th - Today we will take a picnic lunch with us as we explore more of the area with a first visit to Issigeac. The village has been  occupied since the 6th century by a monastery and with prehistoric habitations that were occupied thousands of years ago. Issigeac does not have a central squar , but is more of a warren of medieval houses that beg to be explored as you admire the details on the houses, and the numerous half-timbered properties. Then we make our way to Château de Monbazillac where we will have our picnic lunch before we start our visit. Here we will enjoy various interactive and collaborative experiences of this ‘Noble Wine’ exhibition that will set out the regional and winemaking identity of Monbazillac across various themed areas through which we can stroll at our leisure. A large-scale wall projection showcases the beauty of the vineyards at a glance and brings the Monbazillac landscape to life in harmony with nature. We will be fully immersed in the heart of the Dordogne on a journey to experience the rhythm of the seasons and surrender to the wonderfully slow processes of contemplation and discovery. After this experience we will move to the courtyard's aroma pavilion that makes tasting the central experience. We will be offered three wines with a guided explanation from a team of professionals, offering us the keys to the secrets of the wines being tasted. A perfect opportunity for a more in-depth exploration of their wines! This is a true experience that calls on the senses: eyes for the yellow colour of the wine, nose for the subtlety of the aromas, and the palate for flavours to delight the taste buds. Dinner and Overnight Serres-et-Montguyard. (B,L,D)

 

Day 15 - April 20th - This morning we start our journey to Borxeaux for our last night together. Along the way we stop in Sainte-Foy-le-Grande, an attractive 13th century bastide town, along the Dordogne river. This will be our last bastide town and the town centre has all the characteristics you expect in a medieval bastide such as half-timbered houses, a central square with stone arcades around the edges, and a lovely church. The lively weekly market takes place in the centre each Saturday morning. Our next stop is Saint Emilion, known all around the world for its splendid wine but it is also one of the most beautiful villages around Bordeaux. Important historical monuments can be found in abundance in this medieval town, some of which date back as far as the 11th and 12th centuries. One of the most famous monuments is the 11th-century Monolithic church, carved from a limestone cliff, it’s the largest underground church in Europe. Its picturesque center, densely filled with wine shops and fancy restaurants makes this the perfect stop for lunch. Next we make our way to Château Ambe for a Gourmet Wine and Chocolate Tour. Our guide will take us to the vineyard to discover or wine origins, then through the vinification room to have a clear presentation of all the different step for vinification and finally learn about ageing in the heart of the barrel cellar. After our tour we are ready for the tasting of three wines paired with three chocolates. We then make our way to our accommodation near Bordeaux Airport to get settled in before a Farewell Dinner. Dinner and Overnight near Bordeaux Airport. (B,D)

 

Day 16 - April 21st - This morning we are off to the Bordeaux Airport for the return home.

bottom of page