Susan Worner Tours

Gardens of Provence – Alpilles to the Luberon

We arrange bespoke tour itineraries for small groups of friends or colleagues wishing to travel together to a special destination or for specialist horticultural groups. The minimum numbers are eight guests who will be accompanied by Susan or her specialist guides. We have the experience, know the good hotels or lodges and the best itineraries to offer. The itineraries below are examples of bespoke tours. Tailor-made programmes can be arranged for your personal preferences.

To know more please contact us on info@susanwornertours.com or +44 (0) 1423 326 300.

 

Gardens of Provence – Alpilles to the Luberon

The Provencal landscape of farmhouses or mas, vineyards and typical unspoilt villages set the scene as we pass along avenues of majestic plane trees. Our visits encompass both traditional farmhouse-style gardens and contemporary, Mediterranean country gardens. Most gardens are privately owned. Wild poppies in the cornfields, roses and lavender abound. The craggy limestone Alpilles are a focal point around St Rémy, while the forested Luberon hills have perched hill-top villages.

We stay for the first few days at the comfortable Château de Mazan on the edge of the medieval perched village of Mazan, moving afterwards to the attractive town of St Rémy-de-Provence at the foothills of les Alpilles to the contemporary Hotel de l’Image. Both are charming with an attractive garden and good pool.

We use a comfortable minibus and the travel distances are short, a little longer to the Camargue.

 

Itinerary

DAY ONE

Flight to Marseille or Eurostar/TGV train to Avignon where you will be welcomed and transferred to the hotel in the village of Mazan. Aperitif and short talk on the programme before dinner together in the hotel summer restaurant on a lovely terrace.

DAY TWO

Leave for the Luberon to the perched village of Menerbes, to visit two private gardens, one completely designed by Nicole de Vesian. Gardens were created on terraces of ancient olive trees under-planted with Mediterranean drought-resistant plants, orchards of cherry trees and a potager. We are invited to a buffet lunch in one of the gardens. In Bonnieux we visit a renowned garden owned by the late Nicole de Vesian. Clipped clouds of Teuchrium fruticans, lavender, santolina and rosemary reflect the garrigue of the surrounding countryside. We return through the Ventoux hills. Dinner together in the hotel summer restaurant.

DAY THREE

Morning visit to a superb private garden high in the garrigue of Les Alpilles designed by the well-known landscape architect, Dominique Lafourcade. Lunch in the village of Eygalières. Afternoon visit to an exceptional contemporary private garden at the foot of Les Alpilles designed by the landscape artists Alain David Idoux and Marc Nucera. Dinner together in the hotel restaurant.

DAY FOUR

Morning visit to the historic centre of Avignon. We continue to a privately-owned bastide and its garden, north of Aix-en-Provence, with magnificent long views to Mont St Victoire, which often featured in Cezanne’s paintings. The house dates from the mid-seventeenth century; the garden was laid out later with box parterre, pools, fountains and a tèze (woodland walk). We enjoy lunch in the garden with the owner. We arrive late afternoon in St Rémy-de-Provence at the welcoming Hotel de l’Image, our base for three days. Evening at leisure.

DAY FIVE

Van Gogh painted extensively during his stay at St Rémy – he came south, drawn by the quality of the light. Morning visit to the attractive cloister and gardens of the clinic where Van Gogh stayed and painted the surrounding landscape. Continue after lunch to the Camargue with its rice fields, tamarisk trees and marshland. Flamingos feed in the lakes, local white horses and black bulls graze in the wild Rhone delta.

DAY SIX

Our morning visit to a spectacular private garden where Tim Rees, a London-based landscape architect, has worked over a number of years. Peter Coates and Rosemary Verey preceded him. An extensive garden, the head gardener gives a superb insight into its development and planting. Return to St Rémy at lunchtime. Our afternoon visit is to a private summer residence where adjacent cottages have been added to the main house. The end result is stunning: a Mediterranean garden with water fountains, columns of cypress trees, and a checkerboard-designed bed opening up into a rural olive grove. Dinner together in the hotel restaurant/garden terrace.

DAY SEVEN

After some free time in St Rémy, we leave in the late morning for Avignon TGV train station and/or Marseille airport for the return journeys.

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Map of France

Tour Costs

Airflight, Hotel and Itinerary Costs £2080
Accommodation based on 2 people sharing
b&b, dinner on 4 evenings, 3 lunches
Supplement superior room at Hotel de l’Image £150
Supplement – single use of double room £350

Activity Level:

Fairly level walking, terraced gardens.

Additional Information:

A particularly good collection of private gardens reflecting innovative garden design in Provence.

If you are interested in finding out more information about one of our bespoke itineraries, please give us a call on 01423 326 300 or email info@susanwornertours.com. Alternatively, click here to use our general enquiry form.