Meeting point: Marseille airport: 11.00
It’s just a short drive to Marseille for lunch followed by a short tour of the beautiful Old Port.
After lunch we head to Cassis. It’s a pretty fishing village just outside Marseilles with a lovely harbor. You can relax while you enjoy a boat ride in the famous Calanques.
The Massif des Calanques is a wild and rugged terrain stretching from Marseille to the east towards Cassis, a series of inlets with steep walls – the French fjords!
This is one of France's great natural beauty areas and we will offer a choice of ways to enjoy it.
In about an hour and a half we will reach our hotel in Saint Remy for our
Saint Rémy de Provence: one of the "must-sees" in Provence.
One reason is Vincent Van Gogh, who produced more than 150 paintings of the countryside surrounding Saint Rémy. Many of the places painted by the artist can be rediscovered, the wild flowers, olive trees, cypresses, the Alpilles.
St. Rémy has wonderfully restored town houses and lovely shops. It is the birth place of astronomer Nostradamus, of Jewish descent.
And Wednesday is Market Day!! So totally Provence….
We will also visit the institution where Van Gogh spent the last year of his manic life, now used to treat depression with art therapy.
Our picnic lunch will be at the CastelaS estate, famous for its olive oils. No hechsher on the bottles but kosher for all year, including Pesach, as you’ll understand as you see the production process!!
Then it’s just a 10 minute drive to….
Les Baux de Provence: one of the 'most beautiful villages of France'.
The real highlight of Baux is in its great location - nestling in the Alpilles Mountains, it has great views across the plains that stretch to the south, and on to the Mediterranean beyond, as well as the attractive rocky landscape of the Alpilles themselves.
There will be time to enjoy the hotel facilities before dinner …..
Cavaillon: visit to the Synagogue and the museum.
One of the most remarkable synagogues of Provence, the Cavaillon Synagogue, bears the hallmarks of a unique history specific to the Jews of this region. The present structure, built in 1774, features many of the extravagant decorative flourishes and color palette (including pink, gold, green and blue) of the Rococo style that was fashionable at the time.
We’ll stop at the beautiful village of Lourmarin to see real village life as we head south to…..
Aix en Provence: town of water, town of art – the perfect place to start a tour of Provence
Aix is a small, classically Provençal town, famous for being home to Cezanne.
Aix has always been a rich city. It is gorgeous. The city center is mostly pedestrian and, though it is quite small (you can cross the center in 15 minutes by foot), offers plenty to see.
As in all Provençal towns, the city center consists of narrow streets, lined with 17th century buildings and paved plazas, and tempting stores.
Back to the Hotel for dinner …..
Arles: a really beautiful Provencal town, proud of its origins. It is France's largest municipality. Above all, it is a town of the arts: it was a capital in Roman times and became a major religious centre in the Middle Ages. Van Gogh was hospitalized here and the city proudly recognizes its most famous resident.
Lunch will be in a wonderful Kosher winery followed by a visit to the incredible Roman Aqueduct at Pont du Gard.
If you wish we will offer you to go kayaking in the river, beneath the beautiful bridge but ONLY if there is enough water!!!!
Back in good time for candle-lighting, which is LATE!!
A day NOT JUST devoted to prayer, food, rest BUT ALSO a walking tour of the area!!
L'Isle sur la Sorgue: Sunday is market day and this one is famous for its antiques.
Lavender is the most popular of aromatic plants known for its perfume and therapeutic virtues. We'll visit the Lavender Museum.
Fontaine de Vaucluse: The fame of the village is essentially due to the impressive spring which we'll climb up to see. This gigantic source is the most powerful in France and 630 million cubic meters of water flow out every year. The emerald green calm summer waters become spectacular in the autumn spilling into the River Sorgue.
Roussillon: Situated in one of the world's biggest ochre deposits, Roussillon is known for its magnificent red cliffs and ochre quarries. The red, yellow and brown shades of the earth form a striking contrast with the lush green pine trees. The vivid blue of the Provençal sky and the exceptional quality of light make this a magical site.
Gordes: The village has a world wide reputation due to its location on a steep hillside with magnificent views of the Luberon Valley, its famous inhabitants; and Peter Mayle's book A Year in Provence certainly helped the town become known.
Back to the hotel for Dinner!!!
Carpentras: France’s oldest active synagogue.
Jews lived in Carpentras since at least the 12th century, when its scholars and doctors were esteemed in Paris and the rest of France.
The original synagogue dates from 1367 and formed the base for the reconstruction of the synagogue in the 18th century, then restored in the 1950's.
Avignon: visit to the town, famous for its bridges on the river Rhone, the Pope's palace, and the synagogue.
In the 14th Century, France expelled the Jews, but the Pope offered them refuge in Provence, a papal territory in the south. The Jews of Provence became known as the “Pope’s Jews” and there they lived in relative freedom, enjoying the Pope’s protection. You’ll need time to explore this city alone too… and sing the song (Sur le pont d’Avignon….)
After breakfast we will bring you to the airport in time to catch the flights to your destination.
Recommended flights are below, but other options are available – please ask us to research whatever flights you need.
If you spend time in Paris before the tour, you can also come to Marseille by the very fast comfortable TGV trains.
From NY to MRS:
dep Monday May 16 17.30 Delta /AF land 09.20
(or, if you like a day to recover before the tour, fly on Sunday and EITHER stay in Marseille overnight and we’ll meet for lunch!! Or come to Saint Remy and relax)
Return: dep. Tuesday May 24 from MRS 13.45
From TLV to MRS:
dep Monday May 16 DIRECT EL AL landing 21.15 (requires extra night – you can be collected at airport hotel)
Return: dep. Monday May 23 DIRECT night flight
(or, if you don’t want to arrive home in the middle of the night, you can return with very comfortable Lufthansa 11.25 flight on 24/5)
From London to MRS
dep Tuesday July 24: direct from STN
Return: dep. Tuesday July 31 several options