* France – Mediterranean shores from Marseille to Saint-Tropez – a DMC destination!
Period : April, May, June, July, August, September, October
Reference : 13P009
Prix : 825€ Ask for a quote
The pastels colours of Provence abound as you meander along Mediterranean shores, myriad hues of blue from the seaside to the isles, green slopes forested with Mimosa and fragrant umbrella pines, not forgetting the warm ochre walls and pink tinged roofs of the coast’s legendary villages: Cassis, Saint-Tropez, Bormes… A DMC destination!
Day 1 Toulon-Hyères (airport)
Arrive at Toulon-Hyères airport in the afternoon where you will be welcomed by your coach and driver. Set off for Hyères, the palm tree capital. Free time to visit the old town and St Bernard Park whose terraced gardens run down to the town’s roof tops, offering a superlative view over Toulon harbour and bay and her three isles. Dinner and overnight in the region.
Day 2 Toulon Harbour and the Isle of Embiez
Guided boat tour around Toulon harbour, an important French Naval base home to the Mediterranean Squadron and numerous other sites of interest: Fort Aiguillette and Balaguier, which together with the Royal Tower made up the main defence, the mussel beds of Tamarisk bay, and the main sea wall protecting the harbour. There’s a unique panorama of Toulon itself, tucked between the sea and the mountains behind. Lunch then on via the lovely fishing village of Sanary, Six Fours and its military fortress to Le Brusc to catch the ferry to the isle of Embiez. Hop aboard a tourist train to take in the varied scenery, where beaches and rocky coast rub shoulders with salt marshes, pine forest and vineyards, and then visit Paul Ricard’s Oceanographic Institute. Dinner and overnight.
Day 3 Bormes-les-Mimosas and the Maures Forest
Our route takes us through the Maures massif to Collobrières, the chestnut capital. Here you can taste some locally made ‘marrons glacés’. Continue, passing the salt marshes of Hyères, to La Londe for lunch. Enjoy an afternoon stroll in Bormes-les-Mimosas, the air heavy with the scent of eucalyptus, cypress, oleander and mimosa. This beautiful, old mediaeval village has been classed as one of France’s most flower-filled and with its old, pink-tiled roofs, blossom filled lanes, castle ruins and city walls it is often compared to a Provencal nativity scene. Enjoy the views too out over the plain and to the isles beyond. Dinner and overnight.
Day 4 Isle of Bendor, vineyards of Bandol and the hilltop village of Le Castellet
Time at leisure to enjoy Bandol promenade and marina before taking the small ferry boat to Bendor for lunch (bouillabaisse lunch on option). Explore this tiny isle belonging to Paul Ricard, who decided to make it his “paradise isle, a colourful little flower-filled dream isle”. Return to Bandol and continue to Le Castellet, a mediaeval village dominating the surrounding wine-growing hills and plains. Sample some of the Bandol wines and local focaccia in a wine cellar amidst an olive grove. Dinner and overnight.
Day 5 Marseille and the Calanques of Cassis
Sightseeing tour of Marseille taking in the old port and the Abbey of St Victor on the site of a Christian necropolis. A tourist train ride up to the church of Notre Dame de la Garde is optional. Lunch on the old port. The road to Cassis crosses the Col de la Gineste where there are exceptional viewpoints over the Mediterranean. The delightful little fishing port of Cassis sits snug between the towering Cap Canaille on the one side, one of Europe’s highest buffs, and the fabulous fjord-like rocky inlets of the Calanques on the other. A boat tour of the Calanques provides for some spectacular sightseeing, the sheer limestone cliffs rising vertically from translucent waters. The Calanques massif covers some 4000 hectares and is now a protected site, a paradise for climbers, divers and nature lovers alike. Dinner and overnight.
Day 6 Corniche des Maures / Gulf of St Tropez
A fabulous drive through the rocky Maures cornice road, lapped by the crystalline waters of the Mediterranean. First stop is the fishing village and artists’ paradise of St Tropez where you are free to roam. A boat trip around the St Tropez Gulf, Canoubiers bay and its famous private villas is optional. Lunch then on to Port Grimaud, the little Venice of Provence, choc-a-bloc with colourful houses lining the canals, narrow alleys and dainty little bridges. Time to see briar pipes being made in Cogolin before dinner and overnight.
Day 7 Provence – history and traditions
Thoronet Abbey, oldest of the three Cistercian churches in Provence, has been a moral beacon since the twelfth century. Lying amidst oak forested hills and the wild Provencal countryside, it is a symbol of righteousness, purity and serenity. Enjoy a Provencal style lunch then continue via Carcès and its lake to the village of Barjols. Dating from the same period, the village was built here due to the presence of the nearby rivers Argens, Fauvery and Eau Salée, as well as a natural spring feeding the village and surrounding district. A guided visit takes in the old fountains and wash houses, then go on to the collegiate church of Notre Dame des Epines whose animated creche, in a cave, presents the village in miniature during the 19th century. End the day at a local wine producer’s and sample some of the best local vintages. Dinner and overnight.
Day 8 Isle of Porquerolles
Boat trip to Porquerolles, the largest of the ‘îles d’Or’ or Golden Isles. Here you’ll find a patchwork of stunning sandy beaches, pine forest and heath land, as well as the island’s delightful, typically Mediterranean fishing village and harbour. After lunch transfer to Toulon-Hyères airport.
Your tailor made holidays:
Luxury coach transport (9h – 18h) as per itinerary
Accommodation on full board from dinner on day 1 to lunch on day 8, 3* hotel in the Toulon-Hyères region
Boat trips: Toulon harbour (1h), Calanques de Cassis
Return ferry: isle of Embiez, isle of Bendor, isle of Porquerolles
Guided tour of Barjols (1h30)
Tourist train on Embiez isle (40 mn)
Entrance fees: Oceanographic Institute, Thoronet Abbey
Visits: pipe factory, 2 wine cellars and chestnut confectioner’s including tasting
Single room (7nts): €203
Tourist train in Marseille (1h): €8
Bouillabaisse lunch in Bendor: €22
Boat trip around St Tropez Gulf (1h30): €1.15
Tour guide 1/2 day: €180 /group
Tour guide full day: €310 /group