Enjoy the wonderfully relaxed and graceful lifestyle of Provence during this three-week immersion program in Aix-en-Provence. Live like a local as you learn about France’s culture, history, cuisine, and language.

Starting at: $4,440 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Iconic lavender fields of Provence  Typical flower market in Provence. Credit: Sundrenched Gardens/Alamy  Fountain in central Aix-en-Provence  Traditional Provencal cheese market  Traditional condiments in Provence  Sunflowers, a common flower of southern France  Traditional French market  Palais des Papes, Avignon  Palais des Papes, Avignon  A town square in Arles  The portal of the Romanesque Church of St. Trophime, Arles  The Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct in Provence  The quintessential Provencal village of Roussillon

Living in France

A Stay in Aix-en-Provence

23 days from $4,440

Enjoy the wonderfully relaxed and graceful lifestyle of Provence during this three-week immersion program in Aix-en-Provence. Live like a local as you learn about France’s culture, history, cuisine, and language.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Smithsonian Journeys offered a once-in-a- lifetime experience with their Living in France program. The hotel/apartment was perfect for a long stay, the tour director was exceptional, provided meals were very good and excursions were hosted by knowledgeable local experts. Although I traveled with a friend this time, this kind of tour makes single travelers very welcome. I will be going on another Smithsonian tour! 

- Deborah W.

If you want one of the greatest experiences of a lifetime take this trip. You will see things you could have never thought possible. It will change your life. It has mine.

- Lynn Marie L.

The Living in France tour gave us the opportunity to get to know a very beautiful and fascinating region. The length of the stay meant that we could set our own pace and have many wonderful experiences without feeling rushed.

- Lawrence R.

Aix-en-Provence captured my heart with its beauty, historical charm, walkability, and friendly people. The Smithsonian Journeys Program is so well organized and well managed that the traveler can relax, absorb and enjoy the culture and language. The hotel is well located within walking distance of everything, with nice accommodations and very friendly staff. 

- Janice S.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Adagio Aix-en-Provence Centre

Aix en Provence, France

A stone's throw from Place de la Rotonde and the famous Cours Mirabeau, the Adagio Aix-en-Provence Centre is located in the very heart of the city, close to shops and entertainment. This first-class, recently refurbished and the fully equipped property has 89 air-conditioned apartments from studios to spacious three-room suites. Each apartment suite features a kitchen with a refrigerator, dishwasher, kitchen utensils, pots/pans, cleaning kit, microwave with grill, coffee maker, and a kettle. Full bathrooms feature fine toiletries, hairdryer, and a shower or bath depending on the apartment selected. Guestrooms also feature an LCD television with more than 35 channels. There is complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the property and (in addition to your Resident Director) a hotel reception staff is at your service. A self-service laundry facility, laundry services (fee) and dry cleaning (fee) are available and there is an iron and ironing board in each apartment suite. A weekly cleaning service* is provided and towels are refreshed twice weekly. A freshly prepared breakfast is available (fee) on-site.

* More frequent cleaning services at an additional charge.

Number of nights: 21



Activity Levels

Activity Level 2: Moderate


Expectations: Three-week-long stay in Aix-en-Provence. This immersion stay features accommodations in a centrally located apartment, within walking distance to shops, restaurants, and program activities. Program includes three full-day excursions outside the city as well as walking tours and museum tours in Aix. In addition, each Cultural Track (optional) involves different walking tours and activities in and beyond the city. Walking tours may entail uneven terrain (e.g. cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators); archaeological sites; and some longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. This program is geared for the independent traveler who will enjoy pursuing their own interests, making meal plans independently (either solo or with other travelers), and finding their way to activities independently. (A Resident Director is always available to assist with plans.) 

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Special Air Rates/Services

FlexAir is designed to provide you with the flexibility and choice you need to personalize your air travel experience. Explore a wide range of flight options in consultation with our experienced travel professionals to select the flights, routing, class of service, and dates of travel that most fit your needs. Our partner tour operator has negotiated contracts with a wide variety of carriers that allow them to hold flight reservations and then issue your ticket close to departure without additional fees. This protects you from the need to purchase published-fare tickets, which must be ticketed within 24 hours of purchase. FlexAir reservations provide the flexibility to adjust reservations without penalty and to accommodate extensions and upgrades right up until ticketing time, usually around 45 days before departure. We look forward to providing you with more choice and the best possible itinerary for your air travel plans.

Program Includes:

  • Guaranteed transfers between the airport and your overseas accommodations upon arrival and departure (in most cases). We will provide you with all of the details you need to guarantee your transfer.
  • Air schedule change and delay assistance. Book FlexAir to ensure assistance should schedule changes or delays impact your air travel plans.
  • Flight insurance worth up to $250,000, subject to policy terms, is automatically included.
  • Confirmed airline seat assignments at the time of booking (in most cases).
Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Smithsonian Journeys offered a once-in-a- lifetime experience with their Living in France program. The hotel/apartment was perfect for a long stay, the tour director was exceptional, provided meals were very good and excursions were hosted by knowledgeable local experts. Although I traveled with a friend this time, this kind of tour makes single travelers very welcome. I will be going on another Smithsonian tour! 

- Deborah W.

If you want one of the greatest experiences of a lifetime take this trip. You will see things you could have never thought possible. It will change your life. It has mine.

- Lynn Marie L.

The Living in France tour gave us the opportunity to get to know a very beautiful and fascinating region. The length of the stay meant that we could set our own pace and have many wonderful experiences without feeling rushed.

- Lawrence R.

Aix-en-Provence captured my heart with its beauty, historical charm, walkability, and friendly people. The Smithsonian Journeys Program is so well organized and well managed that the traveler can relax, absorb and enjoy the culture and language. The hotel is well located within walking distance of everything, with nice accommodations and very friendly staff. 

- Janice S.
Reading List
The Road from the Past: Traveling through History in France
By: Ina Caro
Caro takes us on an unforgettable driving tour of France, from Provence to the Loire Valley to Paris. With Caro as an epicurean, knowledgeable, and delightfully opinionated guide, we can always be sure to find the most breathtaking vistas, the most extraordinary châteaux, the most inspiring cathedrals, and the very best meals.
A Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France by Brennan, Georgeanne (2008) Paperback
By: Georgeanne Brennan
A Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France by B...
Insight Guides Provence and the French Riviera
By: Insight Guides
With its fabulous artistic heritage, glorious light, glitzy resorts and mouth-watering food, it's little wonder that the Provence-French Riviera region is the second most-visited in France after Paris. And Marseille, the rejuvenated 2013 European Capital of Culture, can now claim to be one of the Mediterranean's most vibrant cities. Be inspired by this thoroughly updated edition of Insight Guide Provence and the French Riviera, a detailed full-colour guide to this glamorous region.Inside Insight Guide Provence and the French Riviera:A thoroughly overhauled edition by our expert authors.Stunning photography brings this stunning region and its people to life. Highlights of the region's top attractions, such as stunning perched villages, arty Avignon and the awe-inspiring Pont du Gard. Descriptive area-by-area accounts cover the whole region from rejuvenated Marseille to glitzy St-Tropez.Detailed, high-quality maps throughout will help you get around and travel tips give you all the essential information for planning a memorable trip.About Insight Guides: Insight Guides has over 40 years' experience of publishing high-quality, visual travel guides. We produce around 400 full-colour print guide books and maps as well as picture-packed eBooks to meet different travellers' needs. Insight Guides' unique combination of beautiful travel photography and focus on history and culture together create a unique visual reference and planning tool to inspire your next adventure.
Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary
By: Lonely Planet, Michael Janes, Jean-Bernard Carillet, Jean-Pierre Masclef
Lonely Planet: The world's #1 phrasebook publisher* Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful French phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Ask about tucked-away vineyards, bargain with local famers at the market or order wine like a professional; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now! Get More From Your Trip with Easy-to-Find Phrases for Every Travel Situation! Feel at ease with essential tips on culture, manners, idioms and multiple meanings Order with confidence, explain food allergies, and try new foods with the menu decoder Save time and hassles with vital phrases at your fingertips Never get stuck for words with the 3500-word two-way, quick-reference dictionary Be prepared for both common and emergency travel situations with practical phrases and terminology Meet friends with conversation starter phrases Get your message across with easy-to-use pronunciation guides Inside Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary: Full-colour throughout User-friendly layout organised by travel scenario categories Survival phrases inside front cover for at-a-glance on-the-fly cues Convenient features 5 Phrases to Learn Before You Go 10 Ways to Start a Sentence 10 Phrases to Sound like a Local Listen For - phrases you may hear Look For - phrases you may see on signs Shortcuts - easy-to-remember alternatives to the full phrases Q&A - suggested answers to questions asked Covers Basics - time, dates, numbers, amounts, pronunciation, reading tips, grammar rules Practical - travel with kids, disabled travellers, sightseeing, business, banking, post office, internet, phones, repairs, bargaining, accommodation, directions, border crossing, transport Social - meeting people, interests, feelings, opinions, going out, romance, culture, activities, weather Safe Travel - emergencies, police, doctor, chemist, dentist, symptoms, conditions Food - ordering, at the market, at the bar, dishes, ingredients The Perfect Choice:Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary , a pocket-sized comprehensive language guide, provides on-the-go language assistance; great for language students and travellers looking to interact with locals and immerse themselves in local culture. Looking for just the basics? Check out Lonely Planet's Fast Talk French, a pocket-sized, essential language guide designed to get you talking quickly; perfect for a quick trip experience. Looking for an auditory guide to pronunciations? Check out Lonely Planet's French Phrasebook & Audio CD. Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Michael Janes, Jean-Pierre Masclef, Jean-Bernard Carillet. About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet is the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, and has been connecting travellers and locals for over 25 years with phrasebooks for 120 languages, more than any other publisher! With an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community, Lonely Planet enables curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves. The world awaits! *#1 phrasebook publisher. Source: Nielsen Bookscan UK, US & AUS
A Traveller's History Of France
By: Robert Cole
Millions of travellers visit France each year. The glories of the French countryside, the essential harmony of French architecture, the wealth of historical relics, the myriad of cultural opportunities - all make the country a perennial and irresistible attraction. A Traveller's History of France takes the reader from the first conquests of ancient Gaul through the Renaissance, the turmoil and triumph of the French Revolution, and on through the 20th century of French history all the way to the present.
Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe
By: Nancy Goldstone
Four Queens is a rich pageant of glamour, intrigue, and feminine power at a time when women were thought to have played limited roles. In thirteenth-century Europe, four sisters from a single family-Marguerite, Eleanor, Sanchia, and Beatrice of Provençe-rose from obscurity to become the queens of, respectively, France, England, Germany, and Sicily. All four were beautiful, cultured, and ambitious, and their stories offer a window into the era of chivalry, crusades, poetry, knights, and monarchs that will appeal to fans of Alison Weir and Antonia Fraser.
M.F.K. Fisher's Provence
By: M. F. K. Fisher, Aileen Ah-Tye
The book highlights her strong sense of place - Fisher’s Celtic eye for detail - with a comparison of Aix-en-Provence, a university town, the site of an international music festival and the former capital of Provence, and Marseille, the port town. Fisher’s description of the sights and smells belonging to an Aix bakery shop window is her Platonic ideal of a bakery shop to be found anywhere in France, for example, with its “delicately layered” scents of “fresh eggs, fresh sweet butter, grated butter, vanilla beans, old kirsch and newly ground almonds.” Then, there is her portrayal of the sounds of Aix’s fountains mixed with the music of Mozart during the town’s festival, leaving her bedazzled. She would return again and again to stroll the narrow streets of Aix with two young daughters who “seemed to grow like water-flowers under the greening buds of the plane trees.” It is the quality of Fisher’s writing that inspired photographer Aileen Ah-Tye to look for her Provence. In a letter to Fisher, Aileen would report back from Marseille: “The eels and the prickly rascasse were exotique to my San Francisco eyes, the smells as pungent as you can get, and . . . miracle of all miracles . . . the men and women on the docks were exactly as you described them.” Thus, began a collaboration that illustrates Fisher’s passion for life and all its sensual pleasures that nourish the soul.
Provence and the Cote d'Azur: Discover the Spirit of the South of France
By: Janelle McCulloch
Take a journey through the dreamiest regions of France: the enchanting villages of Provence and the magnificent coastline of the Côte d'Azur. From the author of Paris, this gorgeous lifestyle guide steers readers away from crowded tourist destinations to reveal hidden gems at every turn: overflowing markets, chic ateliers, quaint cafés, cobblestone streets, sweeping vistas, and exceptional galleries. The accessible writing provides history and context for each stop on the adventure, and the vibrant, color-soaked photographs capture the spirit of this popular place. Packaged as a flexi-bound paperback with a ribbon page marker, Provence and the Côte d'Azur is a must-have for lovers of style, food, travel, design, and, bien sûr, France!
Provence A-Z: A Francophile's Essential Handbook (Vintage Departures)
By: Peter Mayle
The ultimate “dictionary” for lovers of Provence: Peter Mayle's personal selection of the foods, customs and words he finds most fascinating, curious, delicious, or just plain fun.Though organized from A to Z, this is hardly a conventional work of reference. In more than 170 entries, Peter Mayle—bestselling author of A Year in Provence—writes about subjects as wide-ranging as architecture and zingue-zingue-zoun (in the local patois, a word meant to describe the sound of a violin). And, of course, he writes about food and drink: vin rosé, truffles, olives, melons, bouillabaisse, the cheese that killed a Roman emperor, even a cure for indigestion. Provence A-Z is a delight for Peter Mayle's ever-growing audience and the perfect complement to any guidebook on Provence, or, for that matter, France.
The Most Beautiful Villages of Provence (The Most Beautiful Villages)
By: Michael Jacobs
A place apart, a land of outstanding beauty and distinction, Provence is nothing less than an earthly paradise. From one of the most famous coastlines in the world, the Cote d'Azur, to the hills and mountains of the Luberon, the variety and culture of its villages are astounding. It is in such small communities as those so beautifully photographed by Hugh Palmer that the true spirit of Provence is to be found. Brilliant sunlight slants across jostling terra-cotta roofs, and great plane trees cast velvety shade across ancient squares where the only sound is that of a moss-covered fountain. The Most Beautiful Villages of Provence stunningly evokes the beauty and spirit of Provence, which has drawn visitors to it from ancient times to the present day. Its enduring charm is here celebrated in Palmer's magnificent photographs of such gems as Riez and its fields of lavender or the mysterious cobbled paths of Crestet. These entrancing places, and many others, make this book a lasting tribute to a magical world. Featuring a special listing of hotels, restaurants, festivals, and markets, this book celebrates a part of the world that has entranced millions. 300 full-color photographs
The Popes of Avignon: A Century in Exile
By: Edwin Mullins
This narrative history masterfully weaves together the sweeping events surrounding the so-called “Babylonian captivity” of the popes into the broader story of 14th-century Europe, a turbulent time of transition between Middle Ages and Renaissance when seven successive popes resided in Avignon in the south of France.
The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Provence
By: Martin Gayford
The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Provence
Art of the Middle Ages (World of Art)
By: Janetta Rebold Benton
A general introduction to the art, and architecture, of medieval Europe from the Early Christian to Late Gothic period. Arranged chronologically and regionally, the text is full of illustrated examples, with particular emphasis on France.
Paul Cézanne: Painting People
By: Mary Tompkins Lewis
A concise, accessible introduction to Paul Cézanne's portraitureThis beautifully illustrated book features twenty-four masterpieces in portraiture by celebrated French artist Paul Cézanne (1839–1906), offering an excellent introduction to this important aspect of his work.Arranged chronologically and spanning five decades, featured portraits range from the artist’s earliest surviving self-portrait dating from the 1860s to paintings depicting family and friends, including his uncle Dominique, his wife Hortense, his son Paul, and his final portrait of Vallier, the gardener at his house near Aix-en-Provence, completed shortly before Cézanne’s death.Art historian Mary Tompkins Lewis contributes an illuminating essay on Cézanne and his portraiture for general readers, alongside an illustrated chronology of the artist’s life and work.
Cezanne and Provence: The Painter in His Culture
By: Nina Maria Athanassoglou-Kallmyer
In 1886 Paul Cézanne left Paris permanently to settle in his native Aix-en-Provence. Nina M. Athanassoglou-Kallmyer argues that, far from an escapist venture like Gauguin's stay in Brittany or Monet's visits to Normandy, Cézanne's departure from Paris was a deliberate abandonment intimately connected with late-nineteenth-century French regionalist politics.Like many of his childhood friends, Cézanne detested the homogenizing effects of modernism and bourgeois capitalism on the culture, people, and landscapes of his beloved Provence. Turning away from the mainstream modernist aesthetic of his impressionist years, Cézanne sought instead to develop a new artistic tradition more evocative of his Provençal heritage. Athanassoglou-Kallmyer shows that Provence served as a distinct and defining cultural force that shaped all aspects of Cézanne's approach to representation, including subject matter, style, and technical treatment. For instance, his self-portraits and portraits of family members reflect a specifically Provençal sense of identity. And Cézanne's Provençal landscapes express an increasingly traditionalist style firmly grounded in details of local history and even geology. These landscapes, together with images of bathers, cardplayers, and other figures, were key facets of Cézanne's imaginary reconstruction of Provence as primordial and idyllic—a modern French Arcadia.Highly original and lavishly illustrated, Cézanne and Provence gives us an entirely new Cézanne: no longer the quintessential icon of generic, depersonalized modernism, but instead a self-consciously provincial innovator of mainstream styles deeply influenced by Provençal culture, places, and politics.
The Letters of Vincent van Gogh (Penguin Classics)
By: Vincent Van Gogh
"If ever there was any doubt that Van Gogh's letters belong beside those great classics of artistic self-revelation, Cellini's autobiography and Delacroix's journal, this excellent edition dispels it." —The Times (London)"Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all."Few artists' letters are as self-revelatory as Vincent Van Gogh's, and the selection included here, spanning the whole of his artistic career, sheds light on every facet of the life and work of this complex and tortured man. Engaging candidly and movingly with his religious struggles, his ill-fated search for love, his intense relationship with his brother Theo and his attacks of mental illness, the letters contradict the popular image of Van Gogh as an anti-social madman and a martyr to art, showing instead that he was capable of great emotional and spiritual depths. Above all, they stand as an intense personal narrative of artistic development and a unique account of the process of creation.The letters are linked by explanatory biographical passages, revealing Van Gogh's inner journey as well as the outer facts of his life. This edition includes the drawings that originally illustrated the letters.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh
By: Irving Stone
Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh by Jean Stone. Plume,1995
My Father's Glory & My Mother's Castle: Marcel Pagnol's Memories of Childhood
By: Marcel Pagnol
Bathed in the warm clarity of the summer sun in Provence, Marcel Pagnol's childhood memories celebrate a time of rare beauty and delight.Called by Jean Renoir "the leading film artist of his age," Pagnol is best known for such films as The Baker's Wife, Harvest, Fanny, and Topaze, as well as the screen adaptations of his novels Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs (North Point, 1988). But he never forgot the magic of his Provencal childhood, and when he set his memories to paper late in life the result was a great new success. My Father's Glory and My Mother's Castle appeared on the scene like a fresh breeze, captivating readers with its sweet enchantments. Pagnol recalls his days hunting and fishing in the hill country, his jaunts about Marseilles, his schoolboy diversions, and above all his family: his anticlerical father and sanctimonious uncle, his mild and beautiful mother, and many others. This bright and lively book sparkles with the charm and magic that were Marcel Pagnol's own.
Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste
By: Luke Barr
Provence, 1970 is about a singular historic moment. In the winter of that year, more or less coincidentally, the iconic culinary figures James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones found themselves together in the South of France. They cooked and ate, talked and argued, about the future of food in America, the meaning of taste, and the limits of snobbery. Without quite realizing it, they were shaping today’s tastes and culture, the way we eat now. The conversations among this group were chronicled by M.F.K. Fisher in journals and letters—some of which were later discovered by Luke Barr, her great-nephew. In Provence, 1970, he captures this seminal season, set against a stunning backdrop in cinematic scope—complete with gossip, drama, and contemporary relevance.
Provence (Millennium Ford)
By: Ford Madox Ford
A cross-genre evocation of a writer's life in the Mediterranean, this account documents the happy years Ford Madox Ford spent living in the South of France with his young artist lover, Biala.. Blending fiction, history, memoir, travel, and cookery writing, this tome charmingly evokes Ford and Biala's ramshackle, bohemian life in their villa on the Mediterranean coast. From social encounters with Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse to the delights of growing vegetables, this spontaneous and entertaining book is a true love letter to the Provençal lifestyle.
Two Towns in Provence: Map of Another Town and a Considerable Town
By: M. F. K. Fisher
This volume brings together two delightful books—Map of Another Town and A Considerable Town—by one of our most beloved food and travel writers. In her inimitable style, here M.F.K. Fisher tells the stories—and reveals the secrets—of two quintessential French cities. Map of Another Town, Fisher’s memoir of the French provincial capital of Aix-en-Provence is, as the author tells us, “my picture, my map, of a place and therefore of myself,” and a vibrant and perceptive profile of the kinship between a person and a place. Then, in A Considerable Town, she scans the centuries to reveal the ancient sources that clarify the Marseille of today and the indestructible nature of its people, and in so doing weaves a delightful journey filtered through the senses of a profound writer.
Death at the Chateau Bremont (A Provençal Mystery)
By: M. L. Longworth
The first installment in the beloved, sumptuous mystery series set in Provence, featuring chief magistrate Antoine Verlaque and his old flame Marine Bonnet, who must team up to solve a pair of murdersThe newest book in the Provençal Mystery series, The Secrets of the Bastide Blanche, is available now from Penguin BooksWhen local nobleman Étienne de Bremont falls to his death from the family château, it sets the historic town of Aix-en-Provence abuzz with rumors. Antoine Verlaque, the charming chief magistrate of Aix, suspects foul play, and when he discovers that Bremont had been a close friend of Marine Bonnet, his on-again off-again girlfriend, Verlaque must turn to her for help.The once idyllic town suddenly seems filled with people who scould have benefited from Bremont's death—including his playboy brother François, who's heavily in debt and mixed up with some unsavory characters. But just as Verlaque and Bonnet are narrowing down their list of suspects, another death occurs. And this time, there can be no doubt—it's murder.A lively mystery steeped in the enticing atmosphere of the south of France and seasoned with romance as rich as the French cuisine that inspires it, this first installment in the acclaimed Verlaque & Bonnet Provençal Mystery series is as addictive and captivating as Provence itself.“Longworth’s voice is like a rich vintage of sparkling Dorothy Sayers and grounded Donna Leon. . . . Bon appétit!” —Booklist 
In a Dark Wood Wandering: A Novel of the Middle Ages
By: Hella S. Haasse
In this novel, set in the 15th century during the Hundred Years War between France and England, Hella Haasse brilliantly captures all the drama of one of the great ages of history.
Joy of Man's Desiring
By: Jean Giono
"Peasant civilization possesses as a gift human qualities which philosophical civilizations spend centuries first defining, then desiring, and finally losing." —Jean GionoA true forebear of magical realism, French author Jean Giono created men and women rooted in the folklore of provincial France. In this beautiful new edition of the original Que Ma Joie Demeure—literally, That My Joy Remain—he tells the tale of a farmer couple in Haute Provence who find that the spark has somehow gone missing from their lives. One day, a stranger arrives who helps them discover how to rekindle their connection. The stranger tells them, "Youth is neither strength, nor a supple body, nor even youth as you conceive of it. Rather, youth is the passion for the impractical, the useless." The couple, with this guidance from the stranger, include friends and neighbors on their journey back to individual and collective happiness. They plant fields of flowers, a meadow of grain just for the birds, and they set their horses free. With a poet’s grace and imagination, Giono weaves a grand story of the earth and of passion, of men and women, animals and weather, of the magic we now call the "laws of nature."
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • The assistance of a Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director and local guides throughout the tour
  • All gratuities for your resident Travel Director, on tour guides, and drivers
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only excluding Puerto Rico)
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
  • For tours that include  round-trip international airfare: Airfare to/from your departure city, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees are included

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Enrichment Tracks
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Airline baggage and other airline fees and associated taxes, unless noted in Tour description
  • Communication Charges (e.g.: phone, the internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
  • Airfare to/from your departure city is not included. Optional airfare may be available at an additional cost.

Registration 

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Reservations Specialist, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time). Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour.  You will be notified by a Reservation Specialist of your status once your request has been received and processed. 

To complete your reservation, the following information is required.

In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, for all international tours, passport information is required, including the following:   Full name as it appears on your passport, Date of birth, and Gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov).

For tours that include round-trip international airfare: If you provide incorrect information to the ticketing agent, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments

A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation or $1,000 for a cruise reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments may be made by credit card or check to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price.

Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card, or by check sent by overnight mail to the tour operator, before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

For additional information, please contact a Reservations Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Monday - Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note About Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of written notice to Smithsonian Journeys. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking:  Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking:  Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before departure:  No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight.  If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense.  For tours that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements.

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers

A designated group flight is not included on most tours. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights. Airport transfers (when applicable) are complimentary for both Flex Air participants and participants who are able to meet the scheduled group departure times. Reservations are required.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. 

We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance- Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation.  Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. The U.S. Department of State will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports beginning January 1, 2016. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards. Beginning January 1, 2016, applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov.  For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Tour Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, experts, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used.  Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants, however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.

The Smithsonian Journeys staff will make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the parties may agree to use a method of non-binding Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve the dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to agree on the method of Alternative Dispute Resolution to use, or in the event that either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of that alternative dispute resolution method, such efforts shall not constitute a waiver by either party of the right to file suit.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties.  This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

 For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.