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 Aix-en-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

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.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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Overview

As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. Details regarding how you may access these options will be provided in your trip confirmation packet.

Program Includes:

  • Low fares
  • Travel dates to fit your schedule
  • Optimal air routing
  • Confirmed airline seat assignments, as offered by participating carriers (subject to availability at time of booking)
  • Ability to adjust your reservations (up to 60 days prior to departure) without penalty, including trip extensions and upgrades. Does not apply to Instant Purchase tickets.
  • Guaranteed transfers in most cases between the tour arrival airport and your hotel
  • Passenger Service Assistance in the event of a flight cancellation or delay
  • Flight insurance, up to $250,000 (Subject to policy terms)

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.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

2017 Itinerary

Day 1 – Depart the U.S.

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

Day 2 – Aix-en-Provence

Upon arrival in Marseille, travelers transfer to their hotel. After taking time to relax and unpack, attend a welcome briefing to ensure you are fully informed about your program and all the latest happenings in Aix. Afterward there will be an orientation walk of Aix-en-Provence. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner at a local restaurant or bistro. (D)

Day 3 – Aix-en-Provence

Breakfast will be served this morning at the hotel. During an engaging talk on the history of Provence, explore the past, through its conquest by the Romans and how the region inspired artists and writers from all over the world. Explore Aix on a walking tour to see the Fontaine de la Rotonde, and the Fontaine des Quatres Dauphins. Walk through the Old Town, and see the Town Hall and the Cathedral St. Saveur. After lunch at La Bastide du Cours, let your interests be your guide and explore Aix-en-Provence on your own. (B,L)

Day 4 – Aix-en-Provence

Breakfast will be served at the hotel. Track #1 Language Option will begin today with a tour of the school to meet the staff and begin your French lessons. This evening, join fellow travelers for a Provençal dinner at Petit Bout. (B,D)

Day 5 – Aix-en-Provence

The Track #1 Language Option will continue this morning. For Track #3 Art and Architecture Option participants, there will be an escorted visit to the Granet Museum founded in 1828 and focusing on European painting and sculpture. This evening, half the group will learn about the wines of Provence at a fascinating presentation and tasting at a local wine shop.

Day 6 – Aix-en-Provence

The morning is at leisure. Gather with fellow travelers for lunch at La Bastide du Cours. An engaging late afternoon talk and tasting has been arranged for the second half of the group at a local wine shop featuring the wines of Provence. (L)

Day 7 – Aix-en-Provence

Language lessons continue for those participating in the Track #1 Language Option. For all others, the day is free to explore on your own.

Day 8 – Aix-en-Provence

Language lessons continue for those in the Track #1 Language Option. Enjoy a day free of planned activities to explore on your own. In late afternoon, spend some time in the Smithsonian traveler’s corner to exchange ideas and enjoy an aperitif.

Day 9 – Aix-en-Provence

Follow your own path and explore on your own today. Try a bike ride into the countryside, rent a car and travel a bit further afield or visit Paul Cézanne’s beautifully preserved home and studio just a short distance from Aix. 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 the beautiful hilltop village of Gordes before returning to Aix-en-Provence.

Day 11 – Aix-en-Provence

Language lessons continue for those participating in the Track #1 Language Option. In early evening, a talk will focus on the art of Provence. This evening, join fellow travelers for dinner at the Restaurant La Mado. (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 resident manager will be able to offer appealing sightseeing suggestions.

Day 13 – Aix-en-Provence

The day is free of planned activities. Track #2 Culinary Option participants will attend a morning French cooking demonstration that includes a tasting.

Day 14 – Aix-en-Provence

Track #1 Language Option French lessons continue this morning. Smithsonian Journeys travelers will get together for lunch at La Boucherie. (L)

Day 15 – Aix-en-Provence

Track #1 Language Option instruction continues. This evening gather in the Smithsonian Journeys traveler’s corner for a drink at La Mado.

Day 16 – Aix-en-Provence

The day is free to follow your own path. There are many interesting and charming towns in Provence you might want to explore.

Day 17 – Aix-en-Provence

Enjoy a free day to explore and discover. Take the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh to visit the region of Provence where he lived and painted.

Day 18 – Aix-en-Provence

Track #1 Language Option language instruction continues this morning. This afternoon, join a group of local students for lunch at L’Alcove. (L)

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 Option participants will learn how to create a traditional French menu and meal.

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 Architecture Option participants will visit Cézanne’s studio and Lauves where he went to view St. Victoire Mountain and paint.

Day 22 – Aix-en-Provence

Track #1 Language Option participants continue language instruction. After a free day, get together with fellow travelers for a drink in the Smithsonian Journeys traveler’s corner at Le Grillon Café.

Day 23 – Aix-en-Provence

The day is free planned activities. Explore on your own with visits to places like Grasse, the Camargue Delta, and towns along the French Riviera.

Day 24 – 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.

Day 25 – Aix-en-Provence, Arles and Les Baux

Track #1 Language Option instruction continues this morning. Join Smithsonian Journeys friends for lunch at Le Jardin d’Amalula. (L)

Day 26 – Aix-en-Provence

Track #1 Language Option participants continue language instruction. For others, the day is free to explore on your own. This evening, dinner will be served at Café Jeanne. (D)

Day 27 – Arles and Les Baux

Arles, a World Heritage Site, is a timeless monument to the power and reach of ancient Rome. Visit the Roman amphitheater of Les Arenes, still in use today. Explore the remarkable Musee d’Arles that showcases exhibits and artifacts of early times in Provence. Visit the Romanesque Cathedral of St. Trophime. After lunch on your own, continue to Les Baux and step back in time to discover how life was lived in medieval times. See the chapels, churches, museums and the remains of a 13th-century citadel.

Day 28 – Aix-en-Provence

Today is the final French language lesson for those who selected the Track #1 Language Option. Celebrate your accomplishment during a graduation ceremony. Track #3 Art and Architecture Option participants will visit the Castles and Abbeys of Provence. The balance of the day will be at leisure for other travelers.

Day 29 – Aix-en-Provence

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 and celebrate during your farewell reception and dinner. (D)

Day 30 – Depart for U.S. Gateway Cities

After breakfast, depart the hotel and transfer to Marseille for your trans-Atlantic flight to the U.S. (B)

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

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 each morning during your stay. 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. 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)