The South of France

Essentials of Provence:

ProvenceIn all of France, few regions are as beautiful as Provence or have the power to conjure up such blissful images. Its countryside of sprawling lavender, lush vineyards, olive groves, and villages of stark red soil has inspired artists and writers for centuries. The bright landscapes in the famous paintings of Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne provide a glimpse into the wonders of Provence.

ProvenceAs you cycle through the back roads of this very distinctive region, beauty and history reach out to greet you. Red-roofed farmsteads, where life continues at an unhurried pace, are nestled alongside Roman ruins. Exploring the cathedrals, plentiful vineyards, and medieval villages from the seat of a bicycle, gives a unique and intimate perspective of the area featured in Peter Mayle's book, A Year in Provence, as well as the film, A Good Year, with Russell Crow.

Cuisine: Meals feature the many Provencal specialties, wonderfully enhanced by the great vintages of the Cotes du Rhone, Cotes du Luberon and Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines.

Highlights: Avignon and the Palais des Papes, Pont du Gard – the Roman aqueduct built in 19 BC, Uzes, the 13th century hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence, St. Remy de Provence, the Luberon, gorgeous Gordes, ravishing red Roussillon, Fontaine de Vaucluse, Mazan, and the moonscape of Mont Ventoux - a Tour de France favorite.