Walking Tour of Provence with McMaster University Alumni & Friends

10 days
Slow your pace. Breathe in the fresh air. On this walking tour, retrace the footsteps of painters and pilgrims who have long been inspired by France’s natural splendor. From the fields of fragrant lavender to the cliffs of Cape Ferrat, discover a Provence that delights all the senses.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 8 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 1 lunch, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine, 1 wine tasting

  • 5 scenic walks

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Nice today.

French Riviera 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in the French Riviera

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to France! Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travellers at a welcome dinner.

Day 3: Cape Ferrat & Nice

  Included meals: Breakfast

Set out for a series of activities along the scenic French Riviera today.

• Take a cliffside walk on Cape Ferrat, admiring views of the Mediterranean and the Côte d’Azur along the way

• Drive along the famed Promenade des Anglais en route to Nice

• Discover the narrow streets of Nice’s charming Old Town

Enjoy a free evening or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Medieval Saint-Paul-de-Vence & Provençal Dinner $159pp* Details

Saint Paul de Vence landscape

Make your way to Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a celebrity haven and one of the oldest villages on the French Riviera. Upon arrival, your Tour Director will introduce you to its rich medieval history and wonderful art scene on a guided tour. Pass Place du Jeu de Boules, Porte de Vence, Place de la Grande Fontaine, and the Collegiate Church before stopping at Maison Bremond 1830 to sample local culinary specialties. Then, sit down to a meal of delicious Provençal flavors. After sampling tapenade and Pastis, an anise-flavored apéritif, enjoy a three-course dinner served with wine. Please note: This excursion involves difficult walking on uneven terrain, including cobblestone streets with some hills and stairs. We recommend wearing a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $169)

Avignon 3 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Avignon via Verdon Gorge & Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Get to know the Provence region with several visits en route to Avignon.

• Sample fougasse, a typical Provençal bread, at a cafe in Castellane

• Pass the dramatic canyons of the Verdon Gorge area, known as the “Grand Canyon of Europe” to take in the dramatic views from the top

• Walk through the mediaeval village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, known for its blue-and-white ceramics, and see the Notre-Dame de Beauvoir chapel

Day 5: Avignon & Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Get a firsthand look at Avignon, a city on the Rhône River famous for its UNESCO-recognized historic centre.

• Stroll through the mediaeval city

• Enter the opulent Papal Palace, from which Pope Clement V reigned during the 14th century

• Explore the forests and villages of the Luberon Valley by foot with your Tour Director

Tonight, travel to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a region boasting 13 different varieties of grapes. At a local wine cellar, sample several of the region’s most distinctive vintages and sit down for an included dinner featuring Provençal dishes.

Day 6: Arles & Pont du Gard

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Take a walking tour of Arles, the adopted hometown of Vincent van Gogh. Then, journey outside of the city to the Pont du Gard, the region’s famed Roman aqueduct.

Aix-en-Provence Region 3 nights Hotel info

Day 7: Aix-en-Provence via Gordes & Roussillon

  Included meals: Breakfast

Make your way to Aix-en-Provence through the picturesque landscapes that influenced the French masters.

• Visit the hilltop town of Gordes and the Fontaine-de-Vaucluse spring

• Continue on to Roussillon for an hour-long walk through the colourful red rocks of the town’s open-air ochre mines

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Aix-en-Provence

  Included meals: Breakfast

Embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Aix-en-Provence.

• Pass Aix Cathedral, built on the site of the first-century Roman forum

• Enter Paul Cézanne’s studio

• Stroll the beautiful boulevards

Enjoy a free afternoon or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Coastal Cassis: Calanques National Park Walk $69pp* Details

Discover the seaside village of Cassis on the Côte d’Azur today. Ride a small train to the center of the hillside town, where you’ll enjoy free time to explore. Then, set out on a walk along the Cassis harbor promenade to view the stunning calanques, narrow fjord-like inlets carved into the white limestone. Take in stunning views of the Mediterranean as you venture through Calanques National Park all the way to Port-Miou, one of the largest calanques. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $79)

Day 9: Sainte-Baume walk

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel outside of Aix into the Provençal countryside today. You’ll enjoy an invigorating uphill walk to the pilgrimage site of Sainte-Baume, where Mary Magdalene is said to have lived.

Later, celebrate your trip with fellow travellers at a farewell dinner.

Day 10: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to Marseille Provence Airport for your flight home or continue on to explore Annecy.

Add Annecy Starting from $959 pp

Spectacular Alpine beauty, picture-perfect canals and intriguing history await in Annecy. Spend a few days soaking up your stunning surroundings in this quaint French town, situated on the shores of Lake Annecy.

Annecy 3 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Travel to Annecy

  Included meals: Breakfast

Travel north to Annecy today. Then, get to know the lakeside town surrounded by stunning Alpine scenery with your Tour Director leading the way.

• Walk through Annecy’s historic Old Town

• Stroll the cobblestone streets, passing the open-air market

• Take in the surrounding views of the Alps

Day 11: Annecy

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Spend a free morning in Annecy or add an excursion.

This evening, take a scenic cruise on Lake Annecy and take in views of the surrounding countryside with the picturesque Alps in the distance. After your cruise, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Annecy.

Optional Excursion - Haute-Savoie: Fier Gorge & Secret Gardens $109pp* Details

Travel just outside of Annecy to Fier Gorge, which has been carved out by the River Fier over thousands of years. Walk through the narrow canyon on a footbridge, viewing the stunning rock formations and unique geological features that surround you. Then, continue on to the village of Vaulx, where you’ll take a guided tour of the Secret Gardens. Stroll through the gorgeous gardens, galleries and patios before enjoying lunch amongst the flowers. Please note: The terrain you will be walking on during this excursion is mostly flat with a few steep steps.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $119)

Day 12: Chamonix walk

  Included meals: Breakfast

Make your way to Chamonix, a picture-perfect village at the base of Mont Blanc.

• Ride the famous Montenvers cog railway up the mountain

• Enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Alps and Mer de Glace, a massive glacier, during an hour-long walk

• Take time to explore the village on your own

Day 13: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to Geneva Airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • French Riviera, France
  • Avignon, France
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa requirements

  • In order to enter France, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.

  • We recommend having at least one blank passport page for entry stamps.

  • There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.

  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact your destination country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Tour pace

  • You will walk for about 2 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including paved roads, unpaved trails and sandy paths, with some steep hills.

  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.

  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times.

  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.

Walks on this tour

  • Depending on local weather conditions, seasons and trail closures, the activities and sequence of your included walks may change.

  • Cape Ferrat – 5.6 kms / 1.5 hours. A challenging trek along the rocky peninsula’s promenade, past beaches and extravagant villas to the lighthouse. Depending on the season, bring a swimsuit to take a dip in the harbor.

  • Luberon Forest – 3.2 kms / 1.5 hours. An easy stroll through the flat paths of the cedar forest atop the Luberon Mountains. Take in views of the lowlands stretching toward Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.

  • Rousillon Ochre Mines – 1.6 kms / 45 minutes. Explore the Martian landscape of the red and yellow ochre mines on packed sand paths. Some uphill walking and stairs, with little or no shade.

  • Sainte-Baume – 4 kms / 2 hours. A difficult climb up a rocky mountain path to see the Mary Magdalene Grotto at the peak.

Transportation & arrival information

  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in Nice and depart from Marseilles (or Geneva on the tour extension). A Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.

  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead for an additional cost.

  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.

Baggage allowance

  • Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.

  • Contact your airline for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.

  • One carry-on bag of 45 total inches (length + width + height) is also permitted.

  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication and documents in your carryon bag.

Clothing & packing tips

  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.

  • Light hiking boots or sturdy sneakers are recommended for the cobbled stones and uneven terrain.

  • You may want to consider packing a collapsible walking stick for more challenging walks.

  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.

  • It is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

  • There are no major health risks associated with traveling to any of the countries on this tour.

  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.

  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.

  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to goaheadtours.com and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.

Cuisine

  • Throughout France, you’ll find endless opportunities to sample wonderful food at every price range.

  • For a picnic with French flair, stop at a small grocery store for cheeses, pâtés, cured meats, fresh-baked bread and fruit. In the cities, sidewalk vendors are known for their steaming crepes, while mouthwatering pastries and hot café au lait beckon from cafes. In restaurants, the prix fixe option is a popular way to enjoy a set three- or four-course menu for a good price.

  • Although lunch is generally served from noon until 2pm, dinner is served from 7:30pm onward. Those wishing to eat earlier can stop at a cafe, where light entrées and sandwiches are available throughout the afternoon and evening.

Electricity & air conditioning

  • France operates on the European standard 220-240 volts and uses Types C, E or F plugs with two small, round pins.

  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other electrical device without a builtin converter.

  • The majority of the hotels on this tour will have air conditioning. The strength of the air conditioning in European hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.

  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.

  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.

  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.

Time zones

  • France is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).

  • When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm in Paris.

Currency

  • You will use the euro in France.

  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.

  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.

  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.

  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.

Tipping

  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.

  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD/ CAD to $10USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver.

  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide.

  • Tips can only be paid in cash.

Purchasing excursions on tour

  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.

  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for excursions.

  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.

  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.

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