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: $4,290 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 $4,290

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

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

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

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. (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).

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.

2018 Itinerary

Day 1 – Depart the U.S.

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

Day 2 – Aix-en-Provence

Upon arrival in Marseille, Smithsonian Journeys travelers transfer to the Adagio Aix-en-Provence Centre. Settle in and join the Smithsonian Journeys travel director for an orientation walk around your hotel's neighborhood followed by an informative program briefing. This evening, gather for a Smithsonian Journeys welcome reception and dinner at Il Etait Une Fois restaurant. (R,D)

Day 3 – Aix-en-Provence

A continental breakfast will be served this morning. During an engaging lecture on the history of Provence, trace its storied past through its conquest by the Romans and its role as an inspiration for artists and writers from the world over. Explore Aix on a walking tour where in addition to the historical sites, you will also locate shops, pharmacies, and other essential locations. Lunch will be served at a popular local restaurant. This afternoon let your interests be your guide and explore Aix-en-Provence on your own. Get together with new friends in the Smithsonian Traveler’s Corner for lively conversation. (B,L)

Day 4 – Aix-en-Provence

A continental breakfast will be served in the hotel. If you selected Track #1, the Language Option will begin today with a tour of your language school to meet the staff and begin your French lessons. This evening, join fellow Smithsonian Journeys Travelers for a provençal dinner at Le Petit Bout. (B,D)

Day 5 – Aix-en-Provence

The Track #1 Language Option will continue this morning. For Track #3 Art and Culture Option participants there will be an escorted visit to the Granet Museum founded in 1828 and showcasing European painting and sculpture. Track #2 Culinary Option participants will learn about the foundations of French and Provencal Cuisine.

Day 6 – Aix-en-Provence

Track #2 Culinary Option participants will get an understanding of the basics of French Cuisine with demonstration and tasting. In the late afternoon, attend an engaging talk about the Art of Provence. Gather this evening at restaurant La Mado for a dinner featuring local specialties. (D)

Day 7 – Aix-en-Provence

Language lessons continue for those participating in the Track #1 Language Option. For all others, the day is at leisure. This afternoon, gather with your fellow Smithsonian Journeys Travelers for lunch at La Brocherie. (L)

Day 8 – Aix-en-Provence

Participants in Track #1 Language Option will continue their French classes this morning. Participants in the Track #3 Art and Culture Option will explore the history of the remarkable fountains and courtyards of Aix-en-Provence. In the late afternoon, spend some time in the Smithsonian Traveler’s Corner to exchange ideas and experiences.

Day 9 – Aix-en-Provence

Let your interests be your guide and explore on your own today. Try a bike ride into the countryside, rent a car and drive a bit deeper into Provence. Track #2 Culinary Option participants explore the flavors of Provence and enjoy an interactive market experience visiting wine and cheese shops and learn to prepare a picnic.

Day 10 – Aix-en-Provence and the Villages of Les Luberon

Enjoy an excursion to the Luberon Valley, a picturesque mountain region blanketed with forests and vineyards. Visit the antique market at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue then continue to 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 for a visit and wine tasting at a local winery before returning to Aix-en-Provence.

Day 11 – Aix-en-Provence

Language lessons continue for those participating in the Track #1 Language Option. Meet for an al fresco lunch at restaurant J. Amalula. Track #3 Art and Culture Option participants visit the Cezanne studio and home at Lauves. In the early evening, a talk by a local expert will focus on the foods of Provence. Smithsonian Journeys Travelers get together for dinner at a popular local restaurant. (L,D)

Day 12 – Aix-en-Provence

Track #1 Language Option instruction continues. For other travelers, there’s a free day to explore on your own. The Smithsonian Journeys travel director will be able to offer appealing sightseeing suggestions. Dinner will be served at Café Jeanne.​ (D)

Day 13 – Aix-en-Provence

The day is free of planned activities. Track #3 Art and Culture Option participants will travel to Arles to visit historic and cultural landmarks.

Day 14 – Aix-en-Provence

Track #1 Language Option French lessons continue this morning. Track #2 Culinary Option participants will learn about French cheese and wine pairings.

Day 15 – Aix-en-Provence

Track #1 Language Option instruction continues. This evening, gather in the Smithsonian Journeys traveler’s corner at a local café for conversation and camaraderie.

Day 16 – Aix-en-Provence

The entire day is free of planned activities. Today provides a good opportunity to discover one of the small villages found in and around Provence.

Day 17 – Marseille

Depart on a full-day excursion to the fascinating Mediterranean port city of Marseille. See the city’s highlights and enjoy the panoramic views from the hilltop Notre Dame de la Garde basilica. Tour the Old Port and spend time relaxing at one of the outdoor cafes. Relax over lunch at a local restaurant. (L)​

Day 18 – Aix-en-Provence

Track #1 Language Option instruction continues this morning. The day is free of planned activities for all other Smithsonian Travelers.

Day 19 – Aix-en-Provence

Track #1 Language Option instruction continues this morning. The day is at leisure for independent discovery. In late afternoon Track #2 Culinary participants will learn how to create a traditional French menu. 

Day 20 – Avignon and Pont du Gard

Travel today 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 man 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 21 – Aix-en-Provence

Track #1 Language Option continues this morning. Track #3 Art and Culture Option participants will visit remarkable castles and abbeys of Provence including the Castle of Lourmarin with its rich history dating back to the 12th century. The balance of the day will be at leisure for other travelers.

Day 22 – Aix-en-Provence

Track # 1 Language Option students conclude their French lessons with a graduation ceremony and a diploma! Your final day in Provence is free for independent activities. Spend the day relaxing or revisiting some of your favorite spots. Tonight, gather with fellow travelers at Le Patio and celebrate during your Smithsonian Journeys farewell reception and dinner. (R,D)

Day 23 – Depart for the U.S.

After breakfast, depart the hotel for the drive to the Marseille Airport for return flights to the U.S. (B)

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

2019 Itinerary

Day 1 – Depart the U.S.

Depart the U.S. on your overnight 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 Kit containing general information about Aix-en-Provence, as well as a map of the city.

The Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be available this afternoon and throughout the program for suggestions regarding touring, restaurants and independent activities. 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 the neighborhood supermarket and other nearby shops where you can learn to buy groceries and other necessities for your apartment. (B,L)

Day 4 – Aix-en-Provence

Breakfast will be served at the hotel. Track 2.1 Culinary Option participants will learn about the foundations of French and Provençal Cuisine. (B)

Day 5 – Les Luberon

Enjoy an excursion to the Luberon Valley, a picturesque mountain region blanketed with forests and vineyards. Visit the antique market at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue then continue to 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.

Get together this evening for dinner at a select restaurant. (D)

Day 7 – Aix-en-Provence

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

Track 3.2 Art and Culture Option participants will visit remarkable castles and abbeys of Provence. Visit the Silvacane Abbey and Lourmarin Castle.

Track 2.2 Culinary Option participants will get an understanding of the basics of French cuisine with demonstration and tasting. 

Day 9 – Aix-en-Provence

French lessons continue for those in the Track 1.3 Language Option. Early this evening, a local expert will speak on The Art of Provence.

This evening, enjoy new friends and dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 10 – Aix-en-Provence and the Villages of Les Luberon

French lessons continue for those participating in the Track 1.4 Language Option. For all others, the day is free to explore on your own.

Day 11 – Aix-en-Provence

Follow your own path today and visit the market on your own. Track 3.3 Art and Culture Option participants visit the Cezanne Studio and home at LauvesSee Saint Victoire Mountain, a favorite subject of Cezanne.

This evening dinner will be served at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 12 – Avignon / Pont du Gard

Travel today 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 Traveler’s Corner to exchange travel experiences. (L)

Day 14 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 1.6 Language Option instruction continues. Track 2.3 Culinary participants will learn how to create a traditional French menu.

Other travelers have the entire 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.​

Day 16 – Aix-en-Provence

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

Dinner will be served at a popular local restaurant. (D)

Day 17 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 1.8 Language Option language instruction continues this morning. The rest of 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. The Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be able to assist with advice on independent travel planning.

Day 19 – Marseille

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 and 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 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, gather in the Smithsonian Travelers Corner. 

Day 21 – Aix-en-Provence

Track 1.10 Language Option continues this morning. Track 2.4 Culinary Option participants will learn about French cheese and wine pairings.

Day 22 – Aix-en-Provence

The day is at leisure so you can explore on your own.

Tonight, gather with fellow travelers and celebrate at your farewell reception and dinner. (R,D)

Day 23 – Depart for the U.S.

After breakfast, depart the hotel for the drive to the Marseille Airport for return flights to the U.S. (B)

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