Provence is situated in the sun-blessed southeast corner of France, edged to the south by the Mediterranean. Formerly it was, to the French, a place of indolent country folk. To tourists, it was an idyllic spot, but one reserved for the rich or artistic. Today, it is, more than any other region, where the French would choose to live and work.
Provencals are the most generous and warmest hosts and there is an all pervading “Frenchness”, which means that people are polite and punctual. Traditions are important to the people and local crafts are not hobbies but well respected and time honored occupations. Relationships span generations in Provence.
Some of the most attractive architectural features of Provence are the perched villages. They rise like jagged summits on the hilltops where they were built for safety in the political turmoil of the Middle Ages. They kept vigil over the hinterland as well as the coast. They were built around castle keeps and wrapped in thick ramparts, a huddle of cobbled streets, steps, alleys and archways.
You will enjoy long trots and canters through the countryside that inspired Cezanne and Van Gogh and each day return to the mas for a warm homemade Provencal dinner served with wonderful French wine and the traditional Pastis.
Dates: April 12-17, April 19-24, April 26-May 1, May 3-8, May 26-31, Aug. 2-8, Aug. 9-14, Aug. 16-21, Aug. 23-28, Aug. 30-Sept. 4, Oct. 18-23, Oct. 25-30
Rates: $1,635.00 USD per person (Single Supplement: $380.00 USD)
- 6 nights accommodation
- 5 days of riding
- Horse and all tack
- All meals
- Wine with meals
- Luggage transfers
- Support Staff
- Guiding services
- All local taxes
- Travel insurance
- Gratuities for the team at the end of the stay
- Beverages outside of meals
- Visits or tips not outlined in the itinerary
After pick up at the airport or train station, riders will gather at the “Mas de Recaute” your lovely French Farm Home late in the afternoon. You will have an introduction to your accommodation, an aperitif in front of the fire place, and presentation of the ride. If you have opted for the French language lesson program, this will mark the start of your practice sessions in Provence as dinner at the host’s table begins with learning a French toast.
In the morning, you will meet your equine partner and “get acquainted” on an introductory trail ride in the vineyards surrounding the Farm.
Enjoy a French lunch on the grounds of the Farm after which, in the afternoon the group leaves for one and a half hour ride in the rolling hills of the Luberon Mountain range. You will see White Oaks, olive trees and the great perfume filled countryside of Provence.
For the language program, two hours of French lessons follow your ride, in the main dining room. A wonderful dinner and accommodation at your French Farm Home puts a warm and lovely end to your first full day in this wonderful area of France.
This morning you will follow in the footsteps of Cezanne by minibus. You will discover the most famous places painted by Cezanne in the Montagne Sainte-Victoire and around the great city of Aix-en-Provence, and visit his work studio (http://www.atelier-cezanne.com/aix-en-provence.html).
You will then spend the rest of your morning in the famous Aix-en-Provence street market: the best place to buy local products and handmade crafts such as homemade soaps, fresh lavender and many textiles showcasing the wonderful colors of Provence. You will be free to have lunch independently in one of the numerous cafés or restaurants in Aix, before meeting everyone again and being driven back to the Mas.
For all interested, there is an optional ride in the afternoon, to keep exploring the surrounding area, among all the quintessential Provence herbs: thyme, rosemary, savory, sage and wild lavender.
Returning back to the Mas you may either relax or meet for your next French lesson.
Dinner and a restful evening at your French Farm Home are the perfect ending to this day. “Jean de Florette” will be shown for you after dinner.
Today, you will ride to the Durance river bank for a lovely picnic lunch with aperitif, cheeses, salads, local pies, local wines and coffee. Riding down the hills, you will discover the entire Durance valley, and catch a glimpse of the village of Lauris, perched on its cliff.
The ride back will be an easy ride through agricultural landscapes. You will discover the rich soil that permits this area to get the best production of : wine, asparagus, olives, truffles, cherries, apricots, melons, ... the Provence treasures!
French lesson after the ride or time to relax before another wonderful Provencal dinner.
This morning is dedicated to the discovery of all the famous local products, and cooking class with our chef Gaël. You will thus exercise your palate at the Mas, around a good fire.
You will taste olive oil and olives, honey, grilled chestnuts in the fireplace (depending on season), fresh goat cheese - and everyone will be able to participate in preparing a good Provencal lunch and making together the famous truffle omelette that you will then enjoy for lunch with local wine.
The afternoon hosts a half day ride up to the crests of the Luberon with a very nice view on the surrounding hills and the Valley. Breathtaking limestone cliffs sheltering you overead offset the plateau of the cedar forest which you will continue to explore on your ride.
You will arrive to the Mas late in the afternoon, in time for your fourth French lesson of the week or a beverage at the bar. “Manon des Sources” will be shown for you in the evening after dinner.
This morning you will visit Provencal villages such as Lauris and Lourmarin, Cezanne’s local market and where Peter Mayle – the Author of “A Year in Provence”, is now living.
In the afternoon enjoy your last ride to a local cellar producing “Cotes du Luberon”. This little family cellar has been promoted by Robert Parker, the famous American Wine Writer. Don’t drink too much, just enjoy your taste, before riding through nice pine tree forests and bringing your horse to the pasture, in the woods, where they will have a weekend rest.
Today will be the last French lesson, and last dinner in this wonderful Provencal atmosphere.
After breakfast, transportation to train station or airport is organized.