The summer sun is lovely, but it’s in mid-winter, when those long dark nights really take their toll, that we need a getaway the most. An escape to Provence in off-season is perfect for enjoying great food, great wine, blue skies, gorgeous villages, historic towns, castles, culture and more. Your Private Provence’s Truffles, Wine and Provencal Cuisine Tour is the ultimate gourmet and cultural retreat we all need come February!
This 8-day excursion is exquisite, so many feel good activities are packed into this winter jaunt. Prepare yourself for gastronomic delights, including an artisanal truffle lunch with truffles freshly picked by your own hands. And moments of pure relaxation such as on a boat ride in the sunny fishing port of the Calanques national park. Visit markets and participate in cooking classes. Indulge in wine and olive oil tastings, all the while soaking up the extraordinary landscape of Provence.
If you feel like your winter is missing some much-needed beauty and adventure, then this fabulous Provence tour will thrill you.
Let’s start with the heart of the tour… What could be more tempting than sampling one of the most luxurious foods in the world – truffles.
Winter in Provence is the perfect time to indulge in the highly sought-after black truffle – the ‘black diamond of Provence’. France produces more truffles than any other country, and the legendary truffles of Provence make up 80% of the exports. The winter season is time for truffle-harvesting, and on this tour, you’ll join truffle farmer Nicolas who will take you through the orchards with his truffle-loving dog to hunt for fresh black truffles. Wrinkled and gnarly, these French truffles are the finest on the market, and you get to eat them for lunch! Pull up a chair at the farmhouse kitchen for a spread of delicious food, all prepared and flavoured to complement the freshly picked black truffles.
Get ready to learn about the terroir of the region. Truffles aren’t the only gourmet ingredient you will sample as your host Emily arranges wine tastings across the famous wine region of Côtes-du-Rhône AOC. Descend upon the wineries of historic Chateauneuf-du-Pape, gorgeous Gigondas and lovely Vacqueyras to taste the wines of the Rhône, famous for its production of full-bodied red wines. Not just wine tastings, you’ll also enjoy an olive oil workshop and sample the piquant flavours of the south of France.
This tour isn’t named Provencal Cuisine for nothing as the gastronomy doesn’t end there. In the medieval city you’ll take a stroll with the chef through Les Halles in Avignon – the city’s market. You’ll select the best produce for the day’s lunch and then spend time in his kitchen to make a sumptuous meal. It’s an ideal opportunity to try your hand at making authentic Provencal cuisine.
The figurative and literal cherry on top of the cake is the patisserie workshop in beautiful Aix-en-Provence. Fling on an apron, wield a piping bag and a rolling pin, and create your own delicate French patisserie and croissants!
Stunning villages and a glorious landscape
The names of villages and cities have been thrown around, but let’s take a closer look at where you will visit and stay. First stop is Gordes, a picturesque medieval village perched on a hilltop. Officially one of the most beautiful villages in France, Gordes looks as though it has dropped out of a fairytale with its rambling buildings of creamy stone. At this time of the year, without crowds of tourists, its labyrinthine cobbled streets are begging to be explored and the views of the Luberon countryside are exquisite. For three nights, your home is in a luxury B&B, a 6-minute walk from the village. The incredible variety of landscapes that surround it are magnificent, simply crying out for country walks.
Travel from town to city in Emily’s comfortable Mercedes people carrier. After a stopover in Avignon to cook your Provencal lunch, it’s onwards to Aix-en-Provence. Here you will soak up the incredible history and wonderful sites. Known as ‘The City of a Thousand Fountains’, the Roman city is built on natural springs and its numerous fountains date back over several centuries. Your home from home will be a beautiful boutique hotel in the city’s centre. Perfect for strolls to explore your surroundings.
Cassis is one of the prettiest coastal villages in France. Here you’ll wander the pretty streets lined with boutiques and cafés. Then hop on a boat to explore the magnificent Calanques, soaring limestone cliffs, a haven of nature and outstanding natural beauty.
Without the summer crowds, the beautiful landscape is hauntingly empty and untouched. Winter in Provence is a break-taking sight.
Culture and Art
Art is a crucial part of the history of Aix-en-Provence. 19th century artist Paul Cézanne had Aix-en-Provence in his blood and was deeply attached to his birthplace’s landscape. His muse was not, as it turns out, a person, in fact it was the mountain of Sainte-Victoire . Over the course of 30 years, the artist produced 44 oil paintings and 43 watercolours of this iconic spot. You’ll visit the mountain and surrounding countryside. You’ll also get to visit the Granet Museum in Aix which houses paintings by Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh, as well as Cezanne. And you’ll visit Cézanne’s own workshop, where he painted during the last years of his life. It’s an atmospheric place. It really feels as if the artist has just popped out to admire the wonderful views from his garden.
Your Private Provence’s Truffles, Wine and Provencal Cuisine Tour is exactly the winter break that will help you start the year in style and with sparkle! Book a spot on this small group tour for February 2024: yourprivateprovence.com/truffles-wine-cuisine