Prepare for your Roman Holiday in the South of France in a classic Mercedes-Benz SL!
Côte d’Azur’s hinterland, stretching from the Rhône basin to the vineyards of Luberon and the limestones of Alpilles, is the perfect scenery for an exciting expedition in a vintage car gleaming with chrome. Impressive Cistercian abbeys surrounded by fields of blossoming lavender, endless cork oak forests, military roads boldly carved into the rock dating back to the Napoleonic era, numerous villages in which time seems to be standing still – Provence is as French as it gets! If you find Haute-Provence too picturesque to bear, head for the Roman arenas in Arles or the flamingos and wild horses in Camargue.
Your travel highlights.
Day 1: Hidden Gems
Far from the glamorous but crowded seaside resorts you are in for an authentic experience of Southern France. The routes are scenic with little traffic, so driving is still a lot of fun. Upon your arrival in the courtyard of a historic mansion we will show you the Mercedes-Benz SL models that will be yours to drive over the next few days. You will meet your fellow travelers and get a comprehensive instruction – and off we go. Our road book will assist you during your trip across rural roads through pine forests to picturesque Maussane-les-Apilles at the foot of the 'little Alpes', as the French call the nature reserve with the characteristic white sandstone rock. You continue your journey to Saint-Remy-de-Provence and its Roman excavations of Glanum. This is where astrologer Nostradamus was allegedly born and Vincent van Gogh spent the last years of his life. On your drive back to the hotel you will take a particularly scenic route.
Day 2: Driving on the most picturesque roads of Provence
Today you will experience Provence at its best on picturesque routes across Southern France. We cross Alpilles, pass by Saint-Michel de Frigolet Abbey and reach the Rhône river. Late in the morning we arrive at Avignon, the famous pontifical seat during the Western Schism from 1309 to 1423. On a guided tour we learn intriguing details about the 'city of the popes'. In the afternoon we head north-east to Haute-Provence and its blossoming lavender fields. There are plenty of opportunities for you to stop wherever you wish, as the route is lined with typical villages and medieval citadels. One of the most beautiful is Gordes, overlooking Luberon from a towering rock like a guardian.
Day 3: In the footsteps of the Romans in Arles
Today you will enjoy the diversity of Provence. You start out with a picturebook route to Arles: characteristic French villages, scenic avenues, solitary farmsteads, street cafés and boules or pétanque players, as they are called here in Provence. On our stroll through Arles on the Rhône river we stumble upon relics from the ancient Romans. The former military colony used to be Gaul’s capital under Emperor Constantine. The gigantic amphitheatre is certainly the most impressive monument from Roman times. Just a 30-minute drive away we find ourselves in the Camargue natural reserve with its unique flora and fauna. From one of the wooden observation decks you will get to see the native wild horses bearing the same name grazing in the marshes next to thousands of pink flamingos. On our way back, we pass Montmajour, a fortified monastery high up on a rock in the marshlands, where people sought shelter from Saracens and Normans and where some soldiers of Emperor Charlemagne have allegedly been buried.
Day 4: The scent of lavender
Your fourth and last day on the road has a number of highlights in store: You cross the Durance river, which was respectfully dubbed one of the three scourges of Provence for its extreme unpredictability. We continue our trip via Lourmarin along the Castle Road of Luberon with its numerous curves and spectacular views. From Bonnieux we drive to Apt where the Luberon natural reserve begins. Here you will see some of the most beautiful lavender fields – definitely a great photo opportunity. Our journey then takes us to Mallemort via La-Tour-d’Aigues with its impressive castle ruin from the 12th century. You will reach your hotel, the final destination of your trip, in the late afternoon. From here your transfer is arranged to Marseille airport.
After our week of culture, music, food, art, poetry and fun in the sun, we will take a drive to the sophisticated princedom of Monaco where in Monte Carlo, we visit the studio of Blake Ward and learn about his sculptural process.
More to come....
Dates and Cost of trip to TBA
Barcelona/Mallorca summer 2019
Ancient/Modern Turkey Autumn 2019
INDIA: Ladakh/Zanskar/Himalayas, Summer 2020
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