Flavours of Provence
Not to be missed - Wine and gastronomy
Gourmets and foodies from all over flock to Provence which has assembled all the ingredients for an exciting culinary journey. In this part of the world, the vineyards along the Cassis wine route graze the Mediterranean Sea. In Aix-en-Provence, the almond scent of calisson sweets mingles with the orange blossom of Navettes de Marseille biscuits. Rouille brings colour to bowls of bouillabaisse while olive oil made in the Alpilles is a staple on every table! Not to forget rice and meat from Camargue. A gourmet tour of Provence promises an epicurean feast.
Day 1 – The Cassis wine route
Your gastronomic journey starts with a tour of the Ferme Blanche and Paternel estates. These are two excellent wineries where you can try some of the region's most famous AOC and AOP wines, in moderation of course! The experience continues with lunch in Cassis. At the foot of Cap Canaille, the Bagnol estate is a chance to sample another exceptional nectar. Wrap up the day with a visit to one of the most unusual sites along the Cassis wine route: the coastal vineyard of Clos Sainte Magdeleine.
Day 2 – Fish and other delights in Marseille
Marseille is your gourmet destination for day 2. Sip your morning coffee accompanied by an orange blossom-scented 'navette' biscuit from the Four des Navettes bakery in the St Victor district. Your next stop is the city's famous fish market where all your senses will be awakened. Since you're at the Old Port, this is the perfect opportunity to savour an authentic bowl of bouillabaisse at one of the restaurants which have signed up to the 'Quality Charter'. Lastly, fill your boots with Provençal specialities from the local patisseries and delis.
Day 3 – A gastronomic tour of Berre lagoon
Day 3 is another flavour-packed day, this time spent around Berre lagoon. The first thing for you to do is meet local producers at Marché de La Fare. Make sure you get to taste poutargue (cured cod roe) from Martigues. Next learn everything there is to know about producing olive oil at Château Calissanne in Lançon-de-Provence. Then it's on to Saint-Chamas where you'll stop for lunch. Last port of call is Istres to taste a local craft beer at the Sulauze brewery.
Day 4 – Flavours of Camargue
It's off to Camargue the next day which is all about new foodies discoveries. After picking out a few bottles at the Mas de Valériol wine cellars, make your way to Arles for lunch. Try local specialities like tellina or bull meat. Not to forget Camargue rice which has its own museum in Arles. In the afternoon, explore Saintes-Maries and the bird park at Pont du Gau by foot. Watching the sun set from the sea wall before dining and spending the night at the Mas de Colverts is a soothing way to end day 4.
Day 5 – On the wine route in the Alpilles
Day 5 begins in the foothills of the Alpilles, a region known for its particularly fruity wines. First stop Mouriès and a tour of the Mas de Gourgonnier where they produce organic AOP Les Baux-de-Provence wines. Then follow the Route de Saint-Rémy for a fascinating visit to the Vallongue estate. Eygalières is an ideal spot to break for lunch. Pleasantly full, head to Orgon to pick up a few foodie souvenirs at the delicatessen at the Valdition winery. Finish your wine trek in Eyguières at the Vallon des Glauges estate.
Day 6 – The Alpilles, wine & olive oil in the Baux valley
For this sixth day, follow the Via Domitia to Saint-Etienne-du-Grès. There you can stretch your legs around the landscaped grounds at the Dalmeran estate before heading to the Mas de Sainte-Berthe for a tasting of Vallée des Baux de Provence wines. Olive oil is just as flowing in the Alpilles. After lunch, continue your gastronomic tour at the oil producing estates: at Moulin Castelas first, for its deliciously fruity AOP oil, then the Moulin Jean-Marie Cornille co-op.
Day 7 – Aix-en-Provence, wine & gastronomy – on the trail of Cézanne
After a lazy morning exploring the gourmet boutiques of Aix-en-Provence, learn the secrets of how calissons are made at Roy René confectioner's. Then it's onward to Rousset for lunch. Start the afternoon with a tour of the majestic Sainte-Victoire, stopping off at Puyloubier's wineries to sample their local production. End the day in Trets with a stroll through the vines at the Mas de Cadenet.
Day 8 – Aix-en-Provence, wine & gastronomy – exploring the Durance
Stay in Aix-en-Provence for final day of your foodie tour, this time exploring the area around the Durance River. Start in the north of town tasting the sweet treats produced at the Chocolaterie Puyricard. Then head to the Puy-Sainte-Réparade vineyards and the cellars at the well-respected Château Paradis. Next hit the road for a fancy lunch in Venelles. Spend the afternoon in Jouques, specifically at the Château Revelette, Chapelle Saint-Bacchi and Domaine Villemus wineries where their experts await.
- Taking a tour of Provence's markets: Arles, Aix-en-Provence, Aubagne…
- Treating yourself to a Provençal cooking class with a top chef
- Meeting passionate producers
- Exploring three regions taking in land and sea
The best time to visit
- In autumn for the olive harvest.
- In summer to sip chilled rosé (in moderation) and participate in the Sardinades festival.
- In November to buy the 13 Provençal Christmas desserts at the Provence Prestige fair in Arles or the 13 Desserts market in Aix-en-Provence.
- In winter for the Oursinades, a festival devoted to urchins.
Not to be missed, Wine and gastronomy
Cassis, Marseille, Arles, Saintes Maries de la Mer, La Fare les Oliviers, Lançon Provence, Saint Chamas, Miramas, Istres, Port de Bouc, Maussane les Alpilles, Mouriès, Eygalières, Eyguières, Orgon, Saint Etienne du Grès, Les Baux de Provence, Aix en Provence, Puyloubier, Rousset, Trets, Le Puy Sainte Réparade, Jouques
All year round
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