Upon arrival you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel. You will meet the rest of the group for a welcome talk and dinner in the early evening. Sleep in Nice
Today you will visit some of the most charming villages in the South of France. Some of the icons of contemporary art have worked and lived in this area. You will enjoy this legacy with St. Paul de Vence’s world famous Maeght Foundation and later the amazing Matisse’s Chapelle du Rosaire in Vence. A beautiful stroll in medieval Haute de Cagnes will take you back in time, and a visit to Renoir’s Museum in Cagne-sur-Mer will be an unforgettable end to this very special “art” day. Sleep in Nice
This morning you will say goodbye to Cote d’Azur and will start your journey to Provence. Your first stop will be an amazing lunch at a very special estate, where you will start to discover the richness of the nature and culture of Southern France’s countryside. You will then reach Les Baux de Provence, one of the most scenic villages in the Provence region. Set atop a rocky outcrop of the Alpilles mountains and crowned with the ruins of a castle overlooking the plains to the south, it really offers awesome scenery! Your hotel is a charming countryside resort, with a great outdoor area and pool . . . so enjoy some relaxation and a couple of good glasses of the organic wine produced in the area. Sleep in Les Baux de Provence
This morning you will visit timeless Arles. You will be amazed by its ancient Roman character, its lovely markets and quaint streets. A quiet moment is best enjoyed here with a glass of the area's Costiere de Nimes wine in the very square where Van Gogh painted in his unforgettable “Cafe’ Terrace on the Place du Forum”. Later today you will enjoy a great olive oil tasting at a family owned mill and then will have time to enjoy Les Baux at the best time of day. Its tiny streets, castle and breathtaking landscapes are absolutely unforgettable when the sun starts to set, glowing pink on the white ancient stones of the village. Sleep in Les Baux del Provence
The Camargue area is famous for both its gypsy traditions and its biodiversity, including pristine lakes, plant life and numerous bird species. We will start our explorations with a visit to the natural reserve of the Camargue. We will then stop to have lunch in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, where we will learn about the lasting traditions of the gypsies and their black saint, Sara. We will then visit Aigues-Mortes, the imposing fortified village, which was the embarkation port for the French army during the seventh and eighth crusade. Sleep in Les Baux de Provence
You will start your day with a visit to Pont du Gard, a really impressive Roman bridge, which was part of a 2000 year-old aqueduct built to supply water to the nearby town of Nimes. Today it is still standing, 150 feet tall, with three ranges of arches that overlook the Gardon river. You will then reach the ancient settlement of Uzes, a quaint town full of bistros, cafes and small pretty shops. You will end the day with a visit to the Pope’s Palace of Avignon – stunning architecture that recalls a powerful past inside the city’s walled historical center. Sleep in Avignon
This morning you will first drive to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. With its many canals and water wheels, it is one of the most unforgettable villages in Provence. Today you will be blown away by its famous weekly market, arguably the best in Provence. After lunch you will hit the road one last time to reach the ethereal ochre-colored village of Roussillon. Wear your walking shoes today because you will have the option of walking into Roussillon’s enchanting ochre rock quarry. Sleep in Avignon
This morning we will say good-bye to Avignon and will drive to Carcassonne, a beautiful French medieval city surrounded by a double-walled defense system and 53 towers! Due to its unique fairytale-like appearance and character, Carcassonne was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997. En route we will stop and visit Beziers, a lovely small town which will be our introduction to the history of the Cathars and the Albigensian crusade. One of the most ancient cities in France, Beziers hosts every year a very famous feria and is well known for its beautiful cathedral. Sleep in Carcassonne
Today we will first visit the impressive fortified walls of Carcassonne and will then explore the incredible countryside of Langue d’Oc. We will learn more about the wines of the region as we attend a very informative and beautifully organized wine class taught by a famous Master of Wine. Sleep in Carcassonne
This morning we will say good-bye to France and enjoy a very scenic drive over the Pyrenees from Carcassonne to Barcelona. We will spend the afternoon exploring Barcelona. Experience the architecture of Antoni Gaudí, as your tour stops at Park Güell, a garden city right out of a fairy tale, and the Sagrada Família, the most famous attraction in Barcelona. The Sagrada Família is the most famous attraction in Barcelona, and remains a work in progress. You can wander around its base, gazing at the enormous statues of saints, or climb one of the towers for a magnificent view of the city. We will enjoy a great dinner of local specialties tonight. Sleep in Barcelona
With its bustling streets, magical architecture, array of tapas restaurants, and gorgeous beaches, Barcelona is truly a festival for the senses. Today you will get the chance to explore some more of it with a visit to La Boqueria - the very lively market on the Ramblas. You will then explore the amazing gothic quarter, or Barrio Gòtico, with its little alleyways, many monuments, and impressive cathedral, and will have time on your own to just soak in the city’s great atmosphere or visit Museo Picasso or Palacio de la Musica Catalana. Tonight you will experience Flamenco, the beautiful and sensual dance of Southern Spain! Sleep in Barcelona
This morning we will head out of town to visit one of the most impressive sights in this part of Spain - Montserrat. This very scenic mountain hosts a very impressive Benedictine Abbey overlooking breath taking views and rock formations. You will see the famous Moreneta - the black Virgin shrine so famous in the area - and will listen to the Escolania de Montserrat - one of the most famous boys’ choirs in the world. You will then get back to Barcelona in time for relaxation, shopping and packing. Tonight you will enjoy a delicious farewell dinner. Sleep in Barcelona
This morning you will be driven to the airport for your departure to the US - or will be transferred to the train station in time to catch the AVE - the high speed train that will take you to Madrid. This afternoon you will visit one of the most important and comprehensive museums in the world, El Prado. Sleep in Madrid
This morning you will visit the amazing Rastro open air Sunday market, and will then enjoy a visit to the Royal Palace and a city tour. You will have time to visit the Reina Sofia contemporary art museum on your own - where you will be able to enjoy Picasso's masterpiece: El Guernica. Sleep in Madrid
This morning you will be taken to the airport for your flight back to the US.
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