Paintings, stories and movies have been created based on the beauty of Provence. This region has it all and you will enjoy it all on this unique, all-inclusive cooking and painting vacation in Provence. The rolling hills, rows of lush vineyards and lavender, towns set along romantic river banks, and villages looking perched high on hilltops; all of these and more will be available for you to capture on canvas during the week’s four painting classes. In addition to the views, you’ll enjoy shopping Provence’s many fragrant markets from which we will create two three-course meals. Stay at a luxury villa in the countryside just outside Aix-en-Provence, your base for experiencing the diversity and beauty of the Provence landscape.
THE COOKING AND PAINTING CLASSES
create two lavish four-course meals together during our market-based cooking classes. Along with the classes, Chef Kathy, will be your private chef for two nights, and will create gourmet Provencal meals and French pastries for you at the villa. You’ll receive a recipe booklet containing all recipes from the class and of those that Chef Kathy cooks for you.
There will be an abundance of painting inspiration! Paint scenes from some of the extraordinary sights and picturesque villages we visit. There will be four painting classes during the week. Professional artist and art instructor, Melanie Brannan, will lead all the classes. No painting experience is necessary to recreate the scenes. The classes are structured to be both educational and enjoyable and accommodate all levels of painters and painting enthusiasts. You’ll be able to take all four of your paintings home with you, a priceless souvenir from your vacation.
THE SIGHTS, ACTIVITIES AND EXPERIENCES
Dine at some of the finest restaurants and sample the best wines of Provence. You’ll enjoy three guided market visits, along with guided visits and tastings to a pastry shop, cheese shop and olive oil farm. Spend an afternoon wine tasting at wineries in the Chateaneuf-du-Pape wine region. Along with the food-focused activities, you will have time to explore and enjoy the diverse landscape that makes Provence such a beautiful and special region of France. You will have guided historical walks with local guides in Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, and Arles.
Cities and towns you’ll explore during the week include Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Arles, Cassis, Sanary-sur-mer, Les Baux, Lourmarin, Roussillon, Fountaine du Vaucluse, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Chateauneuf-du-pape
**Airfare, transportation to Provence (if needed), food at times other than meals or those specified above, and expenses of a personal nature (souvenirs and other personal items), are not included in the vacation package price.
****2016 Dates will be published soon*** NOTE: If you have a group of four or more that would like to book this vacation, it is possible we can add that week to the calendar or we can work with you to make this a private vacation just for your group. Simply complete the contact form with your request.
Price: $3,995 (based on double occupancy)
Single supplement charge: $700
Maximum Group Size: 12 people
Please complete the contact form below and click send. I’ll then email you the booking form for this vacation along with booking instructions. You will need to pay a $1,000 deposit, complete, sign and return the booking form to secure your space. Final payment of the remaining balance is due 90 days prior to the vacation start date.[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
Day 1: Arrival day at the villa with champagne reception and welcome dinner
We’ll meet you at the Marseille airport or Aix-en-Provence TGV station and take you to your luxury villa in the countryside just outside of Aix-en-Provence. A light buffet lunch will be waiting for you. You will have the afternoon to settle into your room and relax poolside.
In the evening we’ll have a champagne welcome reception. We’ll talk about all the fabulous events, tastings and excursions for the week ahead and then enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2: Exploring the villages of the Luberon Valley – Dinner at the villa – Painting class with wine tasting
Start your picture-perfect vacation off with visits to some of the most beautiful spots in Provence, the villages of the Luberon Valley. The first stop is Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a romantic village built on and around the Sorgue River. You’ll have time to wander the huge Sunday antiques market and the streets that wrap around the river. From there, we’ll enjoy a gourmet lunch at one of the best restaurants in the Luberon before heading over to a village that rolls along another river, Fontaine du Vaucluse. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the hilltop villages of Gordes (stopping for a photo op) and the ochre cliffs of Roussillon. If time permits we’ll stop and have an aperitif and appreciate the ultimate in village cafe life on the main square in Lourmarin.
We’ll paint one of the scenes from the day during our first painting class together. Dinner will be a picnic-style buffet of typical Provencal dishes. Wine, cheese and French pastries will be available during painting class.
Day 3: Arles – Hilltop village of Les Baux-de-Provence – Olive oil tasting – Painting Class
We’ll visit Arles, the city where Van Gogh spent much of his time and used much of the scenery in his paintings. We’ll take a guided walking tour of the city, its Roman ruins and the sites of many Van Gogh paintings, particularly Cafe at Night. After our walking tour, we’ll have a gourmet three-course lunch together at a restaurant in Arles.
In the afternoon, we’ll make our way to the hilltop village of Les Baux-de-Provence and take in the breathtaking views from high above Provence. After some free time to explore Les Baux on your own, we’ll visit a nearby olive oil farm and learn to expertly taste olive oils.
In the evening, we’ll have another painting class at the villa, painting one of the lovely scenes from our day. Chef Kathy will prepare a typical Provencal dinner for you.
Day 4: Market Day in Aix – Pastry shop visit and tasting – Market-to-Table cooking class
Spend the day in Aix-en-Provence, a city with a rich and ancient heritage, thousands of years old. Wander the tree-lined streets with 17th and 18th-century mansions and see the many fountains that fill the historic city center. Chef Kathy will give you a guided tour of the big Tuesday market in Aix and a guided visit to a pastry shop, with several tastings along the way.
After our walking tour, you’ll have time to wander the market before our market-to-table cooking class in the center of Aix. During the cooking class, we’ll create a lavish 4-course meal, which will include the all-important French cheese course, using the best ingredients from our day at the market.
In the afternoon, you’ll have another hour or so to explore Aix-en-Provence on your own before heading back to the villa for an evening to relax. You’ll have a light dinner at the villa.
Day 5: Seaside Villages along the Mediterranean Coast – Boat tour of the Calanques – Painting Class
We’ll spend the morning together at one of my favorite coastal villages in Provence, Sanary-sur-Mer, and visit its huge Wednesday market, one of the biggest and best of the region. Enjoy shopping or stroll the port and check out the colorful array of pointu (pointed) boats along the harbor.
We’ll head over to Cassis for lunch along the port, where you might want to try a seafood platter or the famous Provencal dish, bouillabaisse. After lunch, we’ll take a boat ride along the Calanques (French for Fjords). You’ll have some free time for a stroll through the cozy town Cassis.
In the evening, we’ll have our third painting class together painting a scene from one of the villages along the sea. Your private chef will create a Provencal dinner with local wines at the villa.
Day 6: Morning at the Market in Aix – Market-to-Table Cooking Class – Thermal waters at the Spa in Aix – Painting Class
Today we’ll spend the day in Aix-en-Provence. You’ll be able to explore the market and Aix-en-Provence at your leisure. Then, we’ll create another 4-course gourmet meal from ingredients at the market.
You’ll have the afternoon free to wander Aix-en-Provence or take in the thermal waters of Aix at the spa in town. After your relaxing afternoon, we’ll return to the villa for our fourth and final painting class together. Dinner will be a picnic-style buffet before class.
Day 7: Morning in the walled-city of Avignon – Wine tasting in Chateauneuf-du-Pape – Farewell Dinner
We’ll spend the morning in the walled-city of Avignon, visiting the old city center, Les Halles market, Palais des Papes and the famous bridge Pont Saint Benezet. You’ll have time to explore and shop in Avignon before lunch at a gourmet bistro.
Our afternoon will be in the Southern Rhone Wine Valley. We’ll visit two wine chateau in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine region. We’ll learn about and taste some of the wines of the area.
Our farewell dinner together will be at one of the best restaurants in Aix-en-Provence.
Day 8: Perfectly French Breakfast and Farewell Provence
We’ll end the week, with breakfast of pastries, baguettes and cheese together before your departure. Then we’ll transport you to either the Marseille Airport or Aix-en-Provence TGV station and say our au revoirs. Along with the memories from your dream vacation, you’ll leave with new friends, your paintings and recipes from the week.