Small group tours for women who love to travel
|Avignon||Avignon is regarded as the gateway to Provence. Inside the ancient city walls are broad tree-lined streets and intriguing passageways leading to picturesque squares, shops, galleries, churches and museum’s. It’s a town full of historical buildings and it’s turn as the papal seat of power has bestowed Avignon with a treasure trove of magnificent art and architecture, none grander than the Palais de Papes.|
|Aix-en-Provence||Aix-en-Provence’s elegant beauty is defined by a stately avenue lined with beautiful plane trees and dotted with grand 17th century mansions, ancient fountains and marvelous architecture. Aix as it is fondly called is to Provence what the Left Bank is to Paris, an enclave of bourgeois-bohemian chic. Dubbed ‘The Paris of the South’, Aix is a city with both grace and pace.|
|Abbey de Senanque||Taking the winding road north of Gordes we proceed to the idyllic Abbey de Senanque, a 12th century Cistercian abbey tucked between hills and surrounded by brilliant fields of lavender.|
|Gordes||Gordes sits spectacularly on the white rock face of the Vaucluse plateau. In the early evenings the village is theatrically light by the setting sun, turning the stone buildings a shimmering gold.|
|Roussillon||Roussillon is famed for its distinctive red-ochre coloured hills, beautifully offset by the vegetation tumbling down its promontory. This hilltop village is a mesmerising red showstopper. After a walk through the picturesque hills we explore the lovely village and it's many boutiques and galleries|
|Uzes||Uzes is characterized by its lofty towers and narrow medieval streets. This elegant town grew fat on the proceeds of three luxurious goods – silk, linen and bizarrely liquorice.|
|Pont du Gard||The magnificent Pont du Gard is a three-tiered aqueduct that was once part of a 50km long system of water channels built around 19BC to transport water from Uzes to Nimes. The scale of this ancient Roman aqueduct is huge, 50m’s high, 275m’s long and graced with 35 precision built arches the bridge was sturdy enough to carry up to 20,000 cubic metres of water per day.|
|Menerbes||The village of Menerbes is a lovely jumble of ancient medieval towers, churches and stone streets. At one end is the Citadelle, a miniature fortress dating from the 16th century and at the other end is the cemetery along with Chateau du Castellet where the painter Nicolas de Stael once lived. There are photo opportunities everywhere however one of the best is through an arch at the top square beside the ancient mairie (town hall).|
|Lacoste||The cobbled village of Lacoste, famous for being home to the Marquis de Sade, the founder of modern day Sadism. The chateau once owned by the Marquis is now owned by none other than Pierre Cardin as is much of the village itself.|
|Lourmarin||Lourmarin is officially classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, known as the village of belfries. Lourmarin is known as a village to lose yourself in for hours, amidst old squares, stone walls, gorgeous stores and clouds of bougainvillea and jasmine.|
|Les Baux||The village of Les Baux was named after its location, perched high on a rocky hilltop; a bauc being a rocky spur and to the aluminium ore (bauxite) that was first discovered there in 1821. The steep cobbled laneways lead off in all directions offering a myriad of wonderful boutiques, galleries, architecture and spectacular views to be discovered.|
|Carrieres de Lumiere||Words alone cannot describe the famous Carrieres de Lumieres, a spectacular vision of images and sound displayed on cave walls inside the huge cavernous quarry. Stepping inside the doors finds you transported to another time and place as the music takes over and your senses are mesmerised by this wondrous hypnotic light and sound show.|
|L'Isle sur la Sorgue||A moat of flowing water encircles the ancient and prosperous town of L’Isle-sur-la Sorgue famous for its antique markets. Known simply as ‘L’Isle by the locals, this pretty Provence village is often dubbed the ‘Venice of the South’. L’Isle is a truly lovely place with curious canals that run through the town – five mini tributaries of the river Sorgue – making it a watery oasis. Look out for the lovely waterwheels scattered around town, some of which still turn.|
|Fontaine de Vaucluse||Fontaine de Vaucluse is a medieval village tucked in a ‘closed valley’ at the southwestern corner of the mountainous Plateau de Vaucluse. This ancient town at the base of high rocky cliffs features a deep pool of seemingly still water that is actually a fully-fledged river gushing up out of the depths.|
|Cassis||Cassis is an ancient fishing port famous for it’s cliffs and the sheltered inlets called Calanques, formed 120 million years ago. Cassis offers a concentrated version of Provence and the Mediterranean. The magic begins to work on the little road that leads to the village, winding between vineyards and pine trees as it meanders down to the port, a bustling hive of activity.|
|La Mott du Rhon||Situated just north of Orange, La Mott du Rhon is the site of a very special event... our very own private perfume creation class were we learn what our personalities are based on the fragrances and essences we choose.|
|Chateauneuf de Pape||The region of Chateauneuf de Pape lies north of Avignon and is one of France's fines wine growing areas originally producing wine for the Pope during the papal occupancy of Avignon.|
|St Remy||Saint-Remy-de-Provence is home to one of the most delightful markets in Provence. You will be dazzled by the colours and tantalised by the frangrances of fruits, olive oils, cheeses and soaps not to mention the wonderful Provencal fabrics. Although the birthplace of Nostradamus who was born here in 1503, most people associate St-Remy with Vincent van Gogh.|
|St Paul's Asylum||Vincent van Gogh who found great inspiration here after admitting himself to the Saint-Paul asylum from May 1889-1890 where he produced close to 150 of his superb works inspired by the light, hills, buildings and flowers he saw.|
|Cabriere d'Aigues||The tiny village of Cabriere d’Aigues is saturated with history and we partake in a 2 hour wine tasting / history experience like none other and is something not to be missed. It is also the site of a centuries old olive oil mill a short walk up the hill with delightful with views out over the valley between stone walls.|
|Cucuron||The beautiful village of Cucuron was also elevated into the limelight by Peter Mayle's 'A Good Year' with the famous pond scene taking place in the heart of the village.|
|Ansouis||Ansouis is another of the Luberon's beautiful hilltop villages with a magnificent chateau overlooking the valley and picture postcard perfect cobbled streets everywhere you look.|
|Terontola||Terontola is situated in Tuscany near the border with Umbria, close to Lake Trasimeno and the hills of Cortona. It lies on a main rail link and has frequen train services to and from Florence and Rome. It is only a short distance from Cortona and has easy access, which makes it ideal as our pick up and drop off point for our tours.|
|Cortona||Cortona is sited on the hills of Southern Tuscany, overlooking Lake Trasimeno and the Val di Chiana. As well as being one of the oldest towns in Tuscany, with settlement dating to Etruscan times, it is also one of the most vibrant. It is home to many artists and is a thriving cultural centre rich with traditions.
Cortona is also the setting for Francis Mayes' book 'Under A Tuscan Sun' which was brought to life as a movie of the same name starring Russell Crowe that was filmed on location.
|Assisi||Assisi is located in Umbria, the green heart of Italy, and is one of the most visited religious pilgrimages in Italy. Once home to Saint Francis, the city is still very much in love with its Saint.
The magnificent Duomo and the surrounding piazza offer spectacular views over the valley below, while back in the city there is a rich blend of architecture and archaeology that is fascinating.
|San Biagio||Lying at the foot of the hills just outside Montepulciano is a beautiful example of a late Renaissance Greek cross central plan church designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder using the works of Filippo Brunelleschi.|
|Montepulciano||The medieval hilltop town of Montepulciano is famous for its winemaking which dates back many centuries with evidence that the early Etruscan settlements in the area cultivated vines. Today, Montepulciano exhibits a blend of Renaissance and Gothic architecture and has many exceptional wines to offer visitors.|
|Pienza||Overlooking the Val d'Orcia is the picture perfect village of Pienza. Apart from spectacular views, Pienza is also famous for its produce, notably its pecorino cheese made fro sheeps milk as well as specialities like truffles, saffron and olive oil.
It's also worthy to note that Pienza was built on the flat top of the hill rather than the steeply sloping side, which makes for easy meandering through the village streets.
|Monteriggioni||Monteriggioni is a small village with a thriving love of medieval history. Built on a hilltop that offers spectacular panoramic view from the fortified walls of the village, Monteriggioni provides a fascinating look back into history and a pleasant stroll through the village.|
|San Gimignano||San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Heritage listed medieval city famous for the lofty towers built by competing wool merchants to display their status and wealth. Entering the walled city is like taking a journey back to the 13th century with many buildings well preserved from that time; 14 of an original 72 towers still survive today.|
|Arezzo||Arezzo is the closest large commercial centre to Cortona and is a thriving centre that holds an excellent weekend market as well as having many fine architectural and artistic examples.|
|Perugia||The compact hilltop city of Perugia is the capitol of Umbria and dates back to the 6th century BC and is rich with history and culture with many well preserved archaeological sites including the city gate and walls.|
|Castellnuovo||Located in the southern part of the Chianti wine growing region, Castellnuovo is all about wine estates, and rolling hills covered with vineyards. There are many boutique wineries that are now producing the world class Chianti Classico as well as the equally impressive Super Tuscan blends in this area.|
|San Gusme||The tiny village of San Gusme is simply exceptionally pretty, with residents rightly proud of their efforts. It's a quiet little town but well worth a visit.|
|Siena||Located at the very heart of Central Tuscany, Siena is a vibrant city filled with history and culture where the landscape has remained identifiable for hundreds of years. Formerly a long time adversary of Florence during medieval times, the hilltop city of Siena has a proud tradition of independence.|
|Valiano||Valiano lies just outside Montepulciano amidst fields of vineyards and rolling hills. It is also the site of the famous Avignonesi Winery.|
|Castiglione del Lago||Castiglione del Lago is located on the southwest corner of Lake Trasimeno at the northern end of Umbria not far from the border with Tuscany. The delightful old town has many lovely shops selling wines and local produce and on the headland is an old fort with an interesting museum attached. During summer months, the grounds outside the fort are turned into an outdoor cinema.|
|Isola Maggiore||The second largest island in Lake Trasimeno is Isola Maggiore, which supports a small community engaged in fishing and servicing the tourist industry. This is a quiet little island in the middle of a placid lake and can be truly regarded as picturesque. As such it is frequented by locals and tourists for a pleasant day out.|