Living in France: A Month in Provence
Immerse yourself in the graceful lifestyle of southern France and learn about the region's culture, history, and language during an extended stay in vibrant, historic Aix-en-Provence
- Insights from the West of Ireland
- Fabulous shots from Smithsonian Journeys Expert Kirt Kempter
- Visiting Mount Fuji, by way of rural Japan
- Saturday in Pamplona
Embark on the adventure of living abroad as you spend four weeks in vibrant, historic Aix-en-Provence. An exciting opportunity awaits solo travelers, couples, and friends eager to live the famously relaxed and graceful lifestyle of southern France, while learning about its culture, history, and language.
You’ll fit right into this charming small city, which boasts a 600-year-old university and numerous art and cooking schools, as you attend lectures, workshops, and excursions. Explore greater Provence on included day trips to Avignon, Marseille, and the Luberon Valley, and enjoy a wine tasting at Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Personalize your stay with optional activities such as exclusive painting and cooking classes and special hiking and bicycling excursions. To help support your independence, language lessons (four sessions per week) will feature small classes and a combination of classroom and outdoor instruction, and your resident director will always be available to enhance your experience. Plus, our newly renovated apartment building, centrally located near the shops along Cours Mirabeau, offers individual apartments, each with satellite TV, broadband internet access, and a well-equipped kitchen, plus a 24-hour reception desk and other services.
May 2 — Depart the U.S.
Depart the U.S. on your overnight flight to Marseille, France.
May 3 — Aix-en-Provence
Upon arrival in Marseille, transfer to the Adagio Aix-en-Provence Centre. Settle into your private, furnished apartment and meet your Resident Director, who will be available during the month to handle program management and logistics and will be available daily to assist with sightseeing arrangements, dinner reservations, shopping suggestions, and any other concierge services you may require. Gather for a briefing to ensure you are fully informed about the program and all the latest happenings in Aix. You will be provided with a French cell phone* to use throughout your stay. Enjoy an orientation tour of your neighborhood, to locate the Aix-en-Provence International Language Institute, shops, pharmacies, and other essential services. Bienvenue! Gather at a local restaurant this evening for a Welcome reception and dinner. (D)
May 4 — Aix-en-Provence
During today’s lecture on the history of Provence, trace the storied past, from its habitation by the Ligurians, Celts, and Greeks, through its conquest by the Romans and its role as inspiration for artists and writers from all over the world. Enjoy a walking tour of this beautiful city. Stroll along the Cours Mirabeau, which Peter Mayle declared “the most handsome street in France” in his best-selling book A Year in Provence. See the Fontaine de la Rotonde, which dominates the western entrance to the avenue, and the Fontaine des Quatres Dauphins, the first fountain in Aix to be placed in the middle of a street rather than against a wall. Visit the Old Town, to admire the wrought-iron work above the entrance to the Town Hall, and the mix of architectural styles that create the elaborate Cathédrale St. Saveur. Sample the local cuisine today during lunch and dinner at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)
May 5 — Aix-en-Provence
Meet your Lifestyle Guide and attend your first conversational French lesson at the International Language Institute (IS). This afternoon, visit local markets with your Lifestyle Guide and hone your skills buying groceries and other necessities.
Each Tuesday through Friday, experience Aix through your language lessons and excursions with your Lifestyle Guide, and on your own. In addition, every Thursday, have lunch with local university students who will provide a great opportunity to practice your French and learn more about Provence. Those who elected to participate in cooking or art classes will begin their lessons this week.* Kickoff each three-day weekend with a Friday night mixer at a local café, where you can engage in lively conversation with fellow travelers. (B,L)
May 6 — Aix-en-Provence
Language instruction this morning, at the IS School, and after class exploration with the Lifestyle Guide. This evening, the first of a two-part optional cooking class is held.
May 7 — Aix-en-Provence
Attend language instruction at the IS School, later, practice newly acquired language skills with local residents. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. (L)
May 8 — Aix-en-Provence
Continue language lessons at the IS School. This evening, gather with your fellow travelers at a local cafe to share experiences of your first week in Aix and exchange ideas for your first three-day weekend. Your Resident Director will host the first drink.
May 9 — Aix-en-Provence
Enjoy a day free of planned activities to explore on your own. A guided walk of the city environs is offered today.
May 10 — Luberon Valley
The Luberon Valley is in a picturesque mountain region covered with forests and vineyards. Visit the renowned antique market in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue before continuing to Roussillon, where the buildings are a harmonious mélange of yellows, oranges, browns, siennas, umbers, pinks, and reds. The ground underneath the village contains an ochre deposit, which supplies the pigment for the paint and stain used on the houses. Stop at the hilltop village of Gordes before returning to your apartment.
May 11 — Aix-en-Provence
Enjoy a day at leisure. Discover on your own today and use new language skills. An accompanied hike of the environs will be offered. A late afternoon lecture on the Art of Provence and Paul Cezanne will be offered. Dinner this evening will be enjoyed at a local bistro. (D)
May 12 — Aix-en-Provence
Continue your immersion into the language of Provence. This evening, a presentation on the history of wines is given along with samples of regional red, white and rosé vintages.
May 13 — Aix-en-Provence
Language lessons continue this morning. The afternoon will be free of planned activities. For those at leisure, try a visit to a museum such as the Atelier Cezanne. For those who elected to participate, cooking classes will continue their lessons throughout the week.
May 14 — Aix-en-Provence
Language instruction continues. A stop will be made for lunch at a local restaurant. (L)
May 15 — Aix-en-Provence
Language instruction, at the IS School continues. Gather again this evening with your fellow travelers at a local café for drinks with new friends.
May 16 — Aix-en-Provence
The entire day is free of planned activities. Today provides a good opportunity to visit one of the fascinating museums in Aix.
May 17 — Aix-en-Provence
The day is at leisure to enjoy as you wish.
May 18 — Avignon and Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Journey to Avignon nestled on the banks of the Rhône River. Visit the impressive Palace of the Popes, made up of two distinct buildings: the austere Old Palace, built by the severe Pope Benedict XII, and the ornate New Palace, build by the lighthearted Pope Clement VI. Enjoy lunch then continue to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The name Chateauneuf-du-Pape means “new castle of the Pope” and refers to the fact that the town – located just north of Avignon – was chosen as the new home for the Pope's court in the early 14th century when the popes of Avignon planted the first vineyards. Visit the winery of Domaines de Mousset, where you will enjoy a sampling of the local wines followed by a county buffet dinner. (L,D)
May 19 — Aix-en-Provence
Language instruction at the IS School is scheduled this morning. This evening, attend a presentation on the history of Provencal wines along with sampling of red, white and rosé vintages of the area.
May 20 — Aix-en-Provence
Language instruction classes will continue at the IS School. The balance of the day will be free of planned activities.
May 21 — Aix-en-Provence
Language instruction at the IS School is held this morning. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. (L)
May 22 — Aix-en-Provence
Language classes continue, with the balance of the day is free for independent exploration. Gather again this evening with your fellow participants at a local café for drinks and camaraderie.
May 23 — Aix-en-Provence
Enjoy a day at leisure. You might want to rent a car today for a drive into the countryside. The Resident Manager can offer suggestions for an interesting and enjoyable drive.
May 24 — Marseille
Marseille is one of the most important and historic ports in the Mediterranean. Drive to this vibrant French city and take in the panoramic views from Notre Dame de la Garde, the highest natural point of the city. Continue through the city center to the Old Port. There is some free time for independent exploration. Enjoy a lunch at a local restaurant before returning to Aix. (L)
May 25 — Aix-en-Provence
Enjoy a day at leisure. This afternoon, an optional guided hike through the environs of Aix is planned.
May 26 — Aix-en-Provence
Language instruction at the IS School, and then a walk-about to use your skills on the streets of Aix. Join friends this evening for dinner at a local restaurant. (D)
May 27 — Aix-en-Provence
Language classes continue at the IS School. The balance of the day will be at leisure.
May 28 — Aix-en-Provence
Language instruction continues in class and around Aix. Enjoy lunch and practice your French with local university students at a local restaurant. (L)
May 29 — Aix-en-Provence
Language classes conclude today at the IS School. The afternoon is at leisure. Gather again this evening with your new friends and travelers at a local café for drinks and camaraderie.
May 30 — Aix-en-Provence
Celebrate your French adventure, and all you have experienced and accomplished, with this evening’s Graduation Ceremony, Farewell reception and dinner. (D)
May 31 — Depart for the U.S.
Depart the hotel for the drive to Marseille Airport for the flights to the U.S. (B)
Meals appropriate to the time for day will be served in flight.
*Provided French cell phone will have a EUR 10 credit that can be used for local or international calls. You may purchase additional time as needed.