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: $4,890 * 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  Provencal village of Roussillon, the Luberon

Living in France

A Three-Week Stay in Aix-en-Provence

23 days from $4,890

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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Overview

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. (Your Smithsonian Journeys  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).

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.

2020 Itinerary (September 3 and September 24, 2020 departures only)

Day 1 – Depart the U.S.

Depart the U.S. on your transatlantic flight to Marseille, France.

Day 2 – Aix-en-Provence

Upon arrival in Marseille, transfer to the centrally located Adagio Aix Center. Upon arrival at the hotel, each guest will receive customized Welcome Package containing general information about Aix-en-Provence, as well as a map of the city.

Your Smithsonian Journeys Resident Director will be available this afternoon and throughout the program for suggestions regarding touring, restaurants and independent activities. Later, you’ll be invited to join a guided walk of the area including the local supermarket, an opportunity to try your skills at buying groceries and other supplies for your apartment. This evening, gather for a welcome reception and dinner at a local restaurant. (R,D)

Day 3 – Aix-en-Provence

A continental breakfast will be served this morning at the hotel. Later, a local expert will give an engaging talk on the history and cultural heritage of Provence. Explore Aix on a walking tour to see the Fontaine de la Rotonde, and the Fontaine des Quatres Dauphins. Walk through the Old Town where you’ll see the Town Hall and the Cathedral St. Saveur.

After lunch, a guided walk will introduce you to nearby shops where you can buy wine, food, and sundries. (B,L)

Day 4 – Aix-en-Provence

A continental breakfast will be served at the hotel. All participants will depart on an excursion to the Luberon Valley, a picturesque mountain region blanketed with forests and vineyards. Visit the antique market at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue where there’s free time for lunch at leisure before continuing to a winery for a tasting of the local wines. Visit the village of Roussillon, where the buildings are a colorful array of yellows, oranges, browns, and reds. The land that lies beneath the village holds an ancient ochre deposit that provides pigment for the paint used on the houses. Stop to see the hilltop village of Gordes and the surrounding valleys before returning to Aix-en-Provence. (B)

Day 5 – Les Luberon

If you selected Track 1.1, the Language Option you’ll begin the day with a tour of your language school to meet the staff and begin French lessons. Gather this evening for dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 6 – Aix-en-Provence

Particpants not joining an enrichment track may enjoy the day at leisure. Language lessons continue for those participating in the Track 1.2 Language Option. Get together with fellow travelers for lunch.

Track 3.1 Art and Culture Option participants will go on an escorted visit to the Granet Museum that showcases European painting, sculpture, and archaeology. (L)

Day 7 – Aix-en-Provence

Particpants not joining an enrichment track may enjoy the day at leisure. Track 3.2 Art and Culture Option participants will visit remarkable castles and abbeys of Provence including Silvacane Abbey and Lourmarin Castle. Enjoy lunch at leisure in the village of Lourmarin.

Day 8 – Aix-en-Provence

French lessons continue for those in the Track 1.3 Language Option. All participants will gather in the early evening for a presentation by a local expert on The Art of Provence. After the presentation, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 9 – Aix-en-Provence

French lessons continue for those in the Track 1.4 Language Option.

Track #2.1 Culinary Option participants will get an understanding of the basics of French cuisine during an engaging lecture, cooking demonstration and tasting. For all others, the day is free to explore on your own. 

Day 10 – Aix-en-Provence

Track #2.2 Culinary Option participants will see where the locals shop, visit the market and local stores and enjoy tastings along the way. Learn about local cuisine, and enjoy a picnic lunch. All participants will gather this evening for dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 11 – Aix-en-Provence

Today the full group will travel to Avignon, a World Heritage site, located on the banks of the Rhône River. Tour the remarkable Palace of the Popes comprised of two very different style buildings. The austere Old Palace built by Pope Benedict XII; a dour man, and the New Palace built by Pope Clement VI, a jovial Pope and decorated in accordance with his personality. After lunch in Avignon at a local restaurant, continue to see the Roman Aqueduct Pont du Gard, a World Heritage site. (L)

Day 12 – Avignon / Pont du Gard

Track 1.5 Language Option French lessons continue this morning.

Track 3.3 Art and Culture Option participants visit the Cezanne Studio and home at Lauves. See Saint Victoire Mountain, a favorite subject of Cezanne. Travel is by local transport. In the late afternoon, spend some time in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner to exchange experiences.

Day 13 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 1.6 Language Option instruction continues.

Track #2.3 Culinary Option participants learn to create a traditional three-course menu featuring popular French and Provençal specialties. Afterward, sit down to enjoy the meal you’ve created. Travelers not taking part in one of the enrichment tracks will have the day at leisure.

Day 14 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 3.4 Art and Culture Option participants will travel to Arles to explore the historic and cultural landmarks including the Roman Amphitheater, the Musée d’Arles and the Romanesque Cathedral of Ste. Trôphime. Lunch will be at leisure during the tour. All other participants will have the day at leisure to explore on their own.

Day 15 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 1.7 Language Option instruction continues.

The balance of the day is free to follow your own path. All participants will gather for dinner at a popular local restaurant. (D)

Day 16 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 1.8 Language Option language instruction continues this morning. For all other participants, the day is at leisure to explore on your own.

Day 17 – Aix-en-Provence

The entire day is free of planned activities. Let your interests be your guide and explore on your own. Your Smithsonian Journeys Resident Director will be able to assist with advice on independent travel planning.

Day 18 – Aix-en-Provence

All participants will depart on a full-day excursion to the fascinating Mediterranean coastal port city of Marseille. See the city’s attractions and marvel at the panoramic views from the hilltop Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica. Tour the Old Port area and spend time relaxing with an espresso or a glass of wine at one of the outdoor cafes. Gather for lunch at a local restaurant. (L)

Day 19 – Marseille

Track 1.9 Language Option instruction continues this morning.

All participants gather for lunch at a local restaurant.

Track 3.5 Art and Culture Option participants will explore the many fountains and courtyards of Aix-en-Provence. These fountains have a story to tell and grace the squares, courtyards of private mansions and the Cours Mirabeau.

This evening, all participants will gather in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. (L)

Day 20 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 1.10 Language Option continues this morning.

Track #2.4 Culinary Option participants will learn how to pair a variety of French cheese and wine.

Participants not taking part in an enrichment track may enjoy the day independently.

Day 21 – Aix-en-Provence

The day is free so that you can follow your own path and explore on your own.

Day 22 – Aix-en-Provence

The day is yours to enjoy at your leisure. Tonight, gather with fellow Smithsonian Journeys participants to celebrate your time in Provence at a festive farewell reception and dinner. (R,D)

Day 23 – Depart for the U.S.

After breakfast, depart the hotel and transfer to Marseille Airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)

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

2021 Itinerary

Day 1 & Day 2 - Depart the U.S. and arrive in Marseille

Depart the U.S. on your transatlantic flight to Marseille, France. Upon arrival in Marseille Provence International Airport, transfer to Aix-en-Provence and your centrally located apartment/hotel, the Adagio Aix Center. Upon arrival at the hotel, each guest will receive customized Welcome Package containing general information about Aix-en-Provence, as well as a map of the city. Your Smithsonian Journeys Resident Director will be available this afternoon and throughout the program for suggestions regarding touring, restaurants and independent activities. Later, you’re invited to join a guided walk of the neighborhood surrounding the hotel. This evening, gather for a welcome reception and dinner at a local restaurant. (R,D)

Day 3 – Aix-en-Provence

A continental breakfast will be served this morning at the hotel. Later, a local expert will give an engaging introduction to Aix-en-Provence and the history and cultural heritage of Provence. Later, explore Aix on a walking tour to see the historical and cultural sites, shops, pharmacies and other essential locations. Join fellow travelers for lunch at a popular local restaurant. (B,L)

Day 4 – Aix-en-Provence

A continental breakfast will be served at the hotel. Spend the day independently to explore Aix-en-Provence.

Track 2.1 Culinary Option: See where the locals shop, visit the market and local stores, with tastings along the way. Learn about the local cuisine, and enjoy a picnic lunch. (B)

Day 5 – Les Luberon

All participants will depart on an excursion to the Luberon Valley, a picturesque mountain region blanketed with forests and vineyards. Visit the antique market at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue where there’s free time for lunch at leisure before continuing to a winery for a tasting of the local wines. Visit the village of Roussillon, where the buildings are a colorful array of yellows, oranges, browns, and reds. The land that lies beneath the village holds an ancient ochre deposit that provides pigment for the paint used on the houses. Stop to view the hilltop village of Gordes and the surrounding valleys before returning to Aix-en-Provence.

Day 6 – Aix-en-Provence

If you selected Track 1.1, the Language Option you’ll begin the day with a tour of your language school to meet the staff and begin French lessons.

All participants will gather this evening for dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 7 – Aix-en-Provence

Participants not joining an enrichment track may enjoy the day at leisure. Language lessons continue for those participating in the Track 1.2 Language Option. Gather for lunch at a local restaurant. Get together with fellow travelers for lunch.

Track 3.1 Art and Culture Option participants, there will be an escorted visit to the Granet Museum that showcases European painting, sculpture, and archaeology. (L)

Day 8 – Aix-en-Provence

Participants not joining an enrichment track may enjoy the day at leisure. Track 3.2 Art and Culture Option participants will visit remarkable castles and abbeys of Provence including Silvacane Abbey and Lourmarin Castle. Enjoy lunch at leisure in the village of Lourmarin.

Day 9 – Aix-en-Provence

French lessons continue for those in the Track 1.3 Language Option. All participants will gather in the early evening for a presentation by a local expert on The Art of Provence.

After the presentation enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 10 – Aix-en-Provence

French lessons continue for those participating in the Track 1.4 Language Option. Track 2.2 Cooking Class will provide an understanding of the basics of French cuisine during an engaging lecture, cooking demonstration, and tasting. For all others, the day is free to explore on your own.

Day 11 – Aix-en-Provence

Follow your own path and explore the market on your own. Track 3.3 Art and Culture Option participants visit the Cezanne Studio and home at Lauves. See Saint Victoire Mountain, a favorite subject of Cezanne. Travel is by local transport.

All participants will gather this evening for dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 12 – Avignon / Pont du Gard

Today the full group will travel to Avignon, a World Heritage site, located on the banks of the Rhône River. Tour the remarkable Palace of the Popes comprised of two very different style buildings. The austere Old Palace built by Pope Benedict XII; a dour man, and the New Palace built by Pope Clement VI, a jovial Pope and decorated in accordance with his personality.

After lunch in Avignon, continue to see the Roman Aqueduct Pont du Gard, a World Heritage site. (L)

Day 13 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 1.5 Language Option French lessons continue this morning.

Everyone is invited to meet for lunch at a local restaurant. In the late afternoon, spend some time in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner to exchange experiences. (L)

Day 14 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 1.6 Language Option instruction continues. 

Track #2.3 Culinary Option participants will learn to create a traditional three-course menu featuring popular French and Provençal specialties. Afterward, sit down to enjoy the meal you’ve created.

Travelers not taking part in one of the enrichment tracks will have the day at leisure.

Day 15 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 3.4 Art and Culture Option participants will travel to Arles to explore the historic and cultural landmarks including the Roman Amphitheater, the Musée d’Arles and the Romanesque Cathedral of Ste. Trôphime.​ All other travelers will have the day at leisure to explore on their own.

Day 16 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 1.7 Language Option instruction continues. The balance of the day is free to follow your own path.

All participants will gather for dinner at a popular local restaurant. (D)

Day 17 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 1.8 Language Option language instruction continues this morning. For all other participants, the day is at leisure to explore on your own.

Day 18 – Aix-en-Provence

The entire day is free of planned activities. Let your interests be your guide and explore on your own. Your Smithsonian Journeys Resident Director will be able to assist with advice on independent activities planning.

Day 19 – Marseille

All participants will depart on a full-day excursion to the fascinating Mediterranean coastal port city of Marseille. See the city’s attractions and marvel at the panoramic views from the hilltop Notre Dame de la Garde BasilicaTour the Old Port area and spend time relaxing with an espresso or a  glass of wine at one of the outdoor cafes. Gather for lunch at a local restaurant. (L)

Day 20 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 1.9 Language Option instruction continues this morning. 

Track 3.5 Art and Culture Option participants will explore the many fountains and private courtyards of Aix-en-Provence. These fountains have a story to tell and grace the squares, courtyards of private mansions and the Cours Mirabeau.

This evening, all participants will gather in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. 

Day 21 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 1.10 Language Option continues this morning. 

Track 2.4 Culinary Option participants will learn how to pair a variety of French cheese and wine.

Travelers not taking part in an enrichment track may enjoy the day independently.

Day 22 – Aix-en-Provence

Your final morning and afternoon in Aix-en-Provence are free of planned activities so you can explore on your own. Tonight, gather with fellow Smithsonian Journey Travelers to celebrate you’re your time in Provence at a festive farewell reception and dinner. (R,D)

Day 23 – Depart for the U.S.

After breakfast, depart the hotel and transfer to Marseille Provence International Airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)

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