immersion-culturelle-au-coeur-de-la-provence

A cultural immersion in the heart of Provence

In the natureHistory and heritageAround the art

The best variety of scenery in France is found in Provence. The lavender fields, vineyards, olive groves and pine forests thrive in gorgeous natural settings to the delight of visitors. Esprit de France will show you around the coast and mountains of the South.

We recommend staying at Bastide du Calalou in the Verdon region - the ideal place to relax during this tour in southern sunshine.


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  • 3 days
    3 nights
  • Stages: 
    3
    364 km
  • From
    435€
    (double
    occupancy)
  • Spring Summer

Step by step

  • D1

    From Toulon to la Bastide du Calalou

    Km to Km

    The tour starts at Toulon where the famous French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is anchored. Explore the naval base and take the 10-minute cable car ride up to Mount Faron (1,900 ft). Enjoy the panoramic view of Toulon, the Hyères iles and the stunning Eagle's Beak rock at La Ciotat from the top. The D-Day Memorial on is also up there with the Saint-Louis Fort, built during Louis XIV's reign. The fort was originally built to protect Toulon from attacks. Today it is a listed historical monument mainly used by the Navy. Next off to Thoronet Abbey, one of the three Cistercian abbeys left in Provence (Sénanque and Silvacane are the others) built in the 12th century by a community of 20 monks from Mazan led by Fredérick I (known as red beard). Although the abbey struggled after the 1789 French Revolution, it became a listed historical monument 1840, prompting the state to buy it in 1854. A church, a cloister and other out-buildings surround the abbey such as the chapter house where the monks lived.

    Book your 1st night at the Bastide du Calalou, a magnificent country house in Verdon Nature Park.

  • D2

    From the Verdon Gorge to the Bastide du Calalou

    Km to Km

    The Verdon Gorge deserves an entire day. The nature site has been protected since the 1990s and is listed as one of the most beautiful canyons in Europe. It is home to many little villages nestled in the hills such as Castellane where the Moyen Verdon museum and the Mermaid and Fossil museum are located at the nature & heritage office (la Maison Nature & Heritage). They respectively retrace the history and evolution of the region's culture and heritage as well as the origin of our first ancestors 40 million years ago. Make the most of this journey into ancient times to stop at the Pont du Galetas and enjoy the impressive view of the mountains from the bridge. Then up to Moustier Sainte-Marie for the afternoon. Monks from the Lérin îles occupied caves here in the 5th century and decided to build a monastry (Monastère de Ségriès) to which they gave their name. This where Louis XIV had his gold and silver dishes melted down to finance his wars. The village boasts two listed historical monuments: Notre Dame de l’Assomption church (listed in 1913) and Notre Dame de Beauvoir chapel (listed in 1921), illustrating the important role Catholic religion played in history. A star hangs between two hills recalling the Morning Star (Venus) to protect the village inhabitants. 

    Book your 2nd night at the Bastide du Calalou, a magnificent country house in Verdon Nature Park.

  • D3

    In the heart of the Verdon Gorge

    Km to Km

    We suggest spending the last day in Draguignan, the Capital of the Dracénois region, nick-named the Gate of the Verdon due to its proximity to the canyon. First stop, the Fine Arts museum located inside an old convent (Ursulines of the Roman Union) where historical works such as a self-portrait and Dream by the fireplace (1903) by Camille Claudel (1864-1943) and even armour belonging to François de Montmorency, Marshal of France during the 16th century are on show. Next on to the Chapelle de L’Observance, a spacious gothic chapel originally a place of worship for the Franciscan monks (for prayers and stables, etc,.) before becoming a rallying point during wars between the 16th and 19th centuries (the French wars of Religion in 1576 and the military hospital for the Spanish allies in 1742). It is now an exhibition hall for photographs, Modern Art and conferences on literature and culture. On to the village of Fréjus in the Pays de la Provence Verte region in the afternoon to see Art, history and heritage by following the Art workshop circuit. Watch artisans at work, making pottery and sculptures (35 workshops to visit) to show visitors the ancestral crafts which allowed the village to thrive. 19th and 20th century social and cultural archives can be found the Local History museum (founded in 1990) and several other museums. The Chapelle Notre-Dame de Jérusalem is nearby, also known as the Cocteau Chapel as it was designed by Jean Cocteau in 1963 and showcases a religious universe with bright mosaics and frescos illustrating the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus.

    Book your 3rd night at the Bastide du Calalou, a magnificent country house in Verdon Nature Park.