Soak up the south of France as you explore the colorful landscapes, celebrated art, and culture from the Pyrénées and Languedoc to Provence.

Starting at: $5,496 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The medieval city and castle of Carcassonne, showcasing some of the best preserved fortifications in Europe  The quintessential Provencal village of Roussillon  View of Albi from the Palais de la Berbie  The Pyrénées Mountains near Catalonia  The Salvador Dalí Museum in Figueres  The museum devoted to the work of Salvador Dalí  The delightful seaside village of Collioure  Pont du Gard, France  Palais des Papes, Avignon  The Roman amphitheater of Arles  Landscape of sunflowers in Provence  Typical flower market and charming square in Aix-en-Provence Credit: Sundrenched Gardens/Alamy  Fountain in central Aix-en-Provence  The hilltown of Gordes

Southern France

From Languedoc and the Pyrénées to Provence

13 days from $5,496 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Soak up the south of France as you explore the colorful landscapes, celebrated art, and culture from the Pyrénées and Languedoc to Provence.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

I would recommend Smithsonian Tours to anyone, from the novice to the most experienced traveler. Single travelers will certainly feel at home as well. I feel sure I will travel with Smithsonian again.

- Rosalee C.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL VALUE

This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.

Overview

Come with us to “le Midi”—from Languedoc and the Pyrénées to Provence—for a magical journey featuring evocative landscapes, Roman monuments, medieval villages, celebrated art, and world-famous cuisine and wine. 

Highlights Include

  • Languedoc: Walk along ramparts dating to the Romans at Carcassonne, a medieval town boasting the longest city walls in Europe. View the art of Toulouse-Lautrec in the rose-colored market town of Albi, his hometown (Midi-Pyrénées). Plus, stop at the 11th-century monastic complex Abbaye de Fontfroide, the best-preserved Cister- cian monument in France and a key site in Languedoc. 
  • In the Shadow of the Pyrénées: From your base in Perpignan, dip into Spain to learn about surrealist artist Salvador Dalí and Catalan culture. In Figueres, Dalí’s birthplace, visit the acclaimed museum devoted to his work. Back in France, travel to the charming coastal town of Collioure, the “City of Painters,” immortalized by Dérain, Matisse, and Picasso. You’ll also enjoy a relaxing half-day cruise along the grand tree-lined 17th-century Canal du Midi, one of the waterways connecting the Med- iterranean to the Atlantic, and now a World Heritage site. 
  • Provence: Arriving in this picturesque region, witness the famous Pont du Gard, the striking three-tiered Roman aqueduct that brought water to Nîmes for centuries. Tour Avignon’s historic city center, including the immense medieval Palais des Papes, where seven popes once lived. In Arles, see more of Roman Gaul during a walking tour of its ancient monuments, all World Heritage sites, and imagine the subjects seen by Van Gogh. Continue to the quintessential town of Aix-en-Provence—known for its beautiful tree-lined main boulevard, elegant Roman fountains, and as the birthplace of Cézanne—where you’ll enjoy a walking tour, time at leisure, and a three-night stay. From here, visit picturesque Provençal villages such as Saint-Remy-de-Provence, where Van Gogh once painted; the striking ochre-colored village of Roussillon; and hilltop Gordes. 

I would recommend Smithsonian Tours to anyone, from the novice to the most experienced traveler. Single travelers will certainly feel at home as well. I feel sure I will travel with Smithsonian again.

- Rosalee C.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for Toulouse, France

Day 2 — Arrive Toulouse, Sorèze

Upon arrival in Toulouse, transfer to the Midi-Pyrénées town of Sorèze and your lodgings, a former abbey listed as a historic landmark. Tonight meet your Smithsonian Journeys Expert, Tour Director, and fellow travelers at a briefing about the journey ahead, followed by a welcome dinner at your hotel. (D)

Day 3 — Sorèze and Albi

Today travel to the historic market town of Albi, hometown of Belle Epoque artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. A city tour includes a visit to Palais de la Berbie, an ancient fortress housing a museum devoted to the works of Toulouse-Lautrec. (B,D)

Day 4 — Sorèze, Carcassonne, Perpignan

Travel to Carcassonne, the quintessential medieval town with the longest city walls in Europe. Fortified Carcassonne boasts the longest city walls remaining in Europe, with battlements and ramparts dating to the 1st-century Romans. This afternoon, depart for Languedoc, stopping at Abbaye de Fontfroide, the 11th-century monastic complex that ranks as the best preserved Cistercian monument in France and a key site in Languedoc. Tour the church and its cloisters then continue to your hotel in Perpignan. (B,D)

Day 5 — Perpignan and Figueres, Spain

Today’s excursion showcases the beauty of art and of nature, on a journey through the majestic Pyrénées. Stop in Figueres, Spain, birthplace of surrealist artist Salvador Dalí, for a visit to the acclaimed museum he designed to exhibit his work. Reconstructed on the site of what had been the town’s theater in Dali’s youth, the museum itself, fittingly, forms the world’s largest surrealistic object. Enjoy free time and lunch on your own in the pedestrianized old town before returning to your hotel for dinner. (B,D)

Day 6 — Perpignan and Collioure

This morning travel along the Catalan coast to Collioure, France, the “City of Painters” immortalized by such artists as Dérain, Matisse, and Picasso, among other Fauvists. Explore this charming town with its impressive castle, medieval streets, and Mediterranean bay and enjoy lunch on your own. Return to Perpignan for an afternoon to explore as you wish. Dine together tonight at the hotel. (B,D)

Day 7 — Perpignan, Canal du Midi, Nimes

Embark on a half-day cruise aboard a traditional flat-bottomed boat on the grand 17th-century Canal du Midi, one of the waterways connecting the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. Once a channel of kings and commerce, the canal today is a World Heritage site and a prime draw for boaters and tourists. Disembark midday then continue by coach to Provence. (B,L)

Day 8 — Nimes and Avignon

This morning visit Pont du Gard, the 1st-century Roman aqueduct with three tiers of arches spanning the Gardon River. Skillfully engineered and artistically designed, the aqueduct, now a World Heritage site, carried water to Nimes residents for almost 500 years. After time for lunch on your own explore Avignon, the ancient Roman city that in the Middle Ages was the capital of Christendom. Visit the historic city center, a World Heritage site, with its cathedral, half-finished Saint-Bénézet Bridge, and the Palais des Papes (Papal Palace), one of Europe’s largest and most important Gothic structures. Tour the palace, where seven successive popes lived during the 14th century. Tonight join a local chef for a cooking class followed by dinner. (B,D)

Day 9 — Nimes and Arles

Explore more of Roman France today in Arles, once part of Roman Gaul, then a clarion of Christianity. A walking tour takes you to some of Arles’ ancient Roman monuments, all World Heritage sites, including the two-tiered amphitheater (c. A.D. 90) itself. After free time for lunch and to wander through the labyrinthine streets, return to the hotel late this afternoon and dine there together tonight. (B,D)

Day 10 — Les-Baux-de-Provence, St-Remy-de-Provence, Aix-en-Provence

This morning set out for Les-Baux-de-Provence, a gem of a medieval village nestled atop a rock spur in the Alpilles range. Continue on to the picturesque village of St-Rémyde-Provence. Here visit St Paul de Mausole, the monastery to which Van Gogh was confined while suffering mental illness. Then take a walking tour of the ancient Gallo-Roman city center with its maze of winding streets and fountain-filled squares. Following a visit to the weekly market, enjoy free time for lunch on your own. Mid-afternoon depart for your hotel in the heart of the university town of Aix-en-Provence (“Aix”). Tonight enjoy dinner and a wine tasting at a local winery. (B,D)

Day 11 — Aix-en-Provence, Roussillon, Gordes

Discover the “most beautiful village” of Roussillon, in the heart of one of the world’s richest ochre deposits. With its red-hued cliffs, red-stone buildings, and red-tiled roofs, Roussillon poses a striking image against the blue Provençal sky and deep green pine forests. Walk the narrow medieval streets then have time for lunch and to explore on your own. Next visit the medieval hilltop village of Gordes, another of France’s “most beautiful villages” and known for its tightly-packed beige stone buildings and 12th-century castle. Return to your hotel late this afternoon. Tonight dinner is on your own. (B)

Day 12 — Aix-en-Provence

Today enjoy a walking tour of Aix-en-Provence (“Aix”), known for its beautiful Cours Mirabeau, the tree-lined main boulevard; elegant Roman fountains; and as the birthplace of artist Paul Cézanne. Admire the city’s rich architectural heritage and the “Vielle Ville” (Old Town) then the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure for independent exploration. Tonight celebrate your sojourn through Southern France at a farewell dinner at the hotel. (B,D)

Day 13 — Depart for the U.S.

This morning transfer to the Marseille airport and your connecting flights to the U.S. (B) 

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)