A walk through Provence to discover the landscape that inspired Van Gogh and Cezanne. We continue our journey in Piedmont a region of Italy with a long history of French influence and the birthplace of the Slow Food movement.
A walk through some of the landscape that inspired Van Gogh and Cezanne, and a walk through the land, so much influenced by France, on the Italian side of the border, Piedmont.
- Avignon - once home to the Popes
- the landscapes of Van Gogh and Cezanne
- marvelous French and Italian cuisine
- charming villages and special wine tastings
- the elegance of Turin and its world-class museums and galleries
- hunting the elusive truffle
- Barolo and Barbaresco, the ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ of wines
- enchanting Lake Orta
USA - Avignon, France
Travel day from the USA to France. Day two of the itinerary is the official start of your journey with Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC.
Avignon & Saint Rémy de Provence
After arrival in Avignon international airport, you meet a Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC at the airport’s international exit. Transfer to the train station in Avignon, from where a 30-minute transfer will take us to the small town of Saint Rémy de Provence, and our first hotel. We'll meet in the early evening to catch up on our news, to talk about our trip, and to have dinner together. Overnight Saint Rémy de Provence.
Van Gogh & Les Baux
Starting from our hotel, we'll walk along quiet roads, where the views that inspired many of Van Gogh's late paintings are clearly marked (he spent the last year of his life here). Our walk climbs to a ridge, from which, on a good day, the Papal Palace in Avignon and the Mediterranean are clearly visible. We'll stop for a picnic lunch in an ancient Roman quarry, before reaching the medieval hilltop town of Les Baux. A private transfer brings us back to Saint Rémy, where we dine together this evening. Overnight Saint Rémy de Provence.
The Luberon & Fort de Buoux
A morning transfer takes us to the foot of the Luberon Mountains. Starting from the southern slope, a two-hour hike takes us to the rounded crest of the mountain, where a typically Provencal picnic awaits! The descent takes us to the ancient Fort de Buoux, which will visit, and then continues through an enchanted forest, to our next hotel. Overnight Bonnieux.
Roussillon & Herbs
A more relaxed day! We start with a short walk to the medieval village of Bonnieux, and then transfer to Roussillon for a light lunch. As you might imagine, Roussillon is red, having been built on a large deposit of ochre coloured rock. Lunch on your own today followed by a transfer back to our hotel. In the late-afternoon, we'll visit the Gerbaud herb farm and enjoy a home-made dinner flavoured with their farm's aromatic produce. Overnight Fort de Buoux.
Gigondas & Les Dentelles
This morning, a transfer takes us to the village of Gigondas. High above the Rhone Valley, Gigondas is noted for its 'grand cru' wine - second only to Chateauneuf du Pape in fame. From Gigondas, we climb to Les Dentelles, a chain of tooth-like mountains, where we'll picnic together. Later, a wine tasting at an estate in the hills will introduce us to the excellent wines of the region. We continue to Séguret, one of France's most charming villages, and then to Vaison la Romaine. Dinner together this evening. Overnight Vaison la Romaine.
We're on the northern slopes of Mont Ventoux, not the highest, but perhaps the most famous mountain in France. Our walk, the most challenging of the tour, takes us to the very peak, from where the Alps, Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco), the Mediterranean, and the Rhone Valley, fingers crossed, should all be visible. Going down to Chalet Reynard, we transfer to Avignon and to our last hotel in France. Dinner together this evening. Overnight Avignon.
From France to Italy
A travel day. We transfer to the train station in Avignon and catch a train to Lyon and then to Italy. The journey will take up to five hours, so a picnic lunch, books/Kindles, and playing cards are highly recommended! When we arrive, we'll be transferred from the Turin train station to our hotel and celebrate our arrival in Italy at a favorite restaurant . Overnight Turin.
Breakfast at the hotel. A morning walking tour of Torino is followed by a short metro ride to the Lingotto, where we visit the Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli. Afterwards, we'll walk on the roof-top testing ramp that was once used by FIAT, then head across the street to Eataly for lunch on your own. We head back to the hotel in the mid-afternoon. Dinner on your own this evening. Overnight Turin.
Racconigi, Cherasco & Monforte
Leaving Turin, our first stop is the castle of Racconigi for a fascinating visit of this Savoy hunting lodge. We continue to the town of Cherasco, where we lunch at a local trattoria. In the afternoon we’ll travel to our hotel in Monforte, home for the next three nights, and then dine together at the hotel’s restaurant. Overnight Monforte.
Truffles & Wine
We are joined this morning by a local trifulao (truffle hunter) who, accompanied by his faithful dog, guides us through hazelnut woods in search of the elusive truffle - black or white, depending on the season. Following our hunt, we'll have time for lunch on our own before following the Sentiero del Barolo (the Barolo Trail) through the vineyards surrounding Monforte. Free night for strolling in town and dinner on your own. Overnight Monforte.
Serralunga & Barolo
We travel by bus to Serralunga this morning, where the soaring castle provides an amazing lookout. Our route then meanders through vineyards back to the hilltown of Monforte. After lunch on your own, we to the famous wine town of Barolo, where the town’s castle houses a wine museum and an enoteca. We return to our hotel by bus. This evening we’re treated to a delicious meal in a local trattoria. Overnight Monforte.
Neive & Orta San Giulio
Our short walk begins in the charming village of Neive and takes us to Barbaresco, another of the region’s most important wine towns. After lunch we drive north to the Italian Lakes region and the charming town of Orta San Giulio. An optional walk can be taken in the afternoon. Our home for two nights is a hotel in the centre of town. Free night for dinner. Overnight Orta San Giulio
Armeno & Miasino
This morning we travel to the tiny village of Corconio. Our walk follows ancient tracks that connect quiet villages. We stop along the way for a picnic lunch before returning to Orta San Giulio. We dine tonight in the restaurant of a long-time local friend. Overnight Orta San Giulio.
A morning transfer to the Stresa train station for trains to Milan or Switzerland. Arrivederci!
Pricing upon request
No fixed departure dates. You choose when you want to go. There can be just two of you or a group of friend. You can also plan it as a family vacation. Private guide and services throughout the program. We are flexible and able to make adjustments to the program in order for us to meet all your needs and expectations
All participants must be in good physical condition and be well coordinated. Journey requires walking on uneven terrain. The cobblestone streets in the historical hill towns might be steep and narrow. Trails along the vineyard, olive groves and through forests are sometimes on dirt tracks or uneven stone paths and they become slippery when wet. Travelers with health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and weight problems should consult their physician before traveling. It is very important and your responsibility to provide us with accurate information in order to make available to you proper advice. The length of walking activities may fluctuate from 3 to 5 hour walks according to the day activities. We are not participating in a walking competition. Our walks are a combination of exercise, learning and cultural experiences. Always ask your guide before departure what to expect. We will also be walking in the historic hill towns at our own pace.
Before you depart for an extended vacation, you should consult your physician. Make the doctor’s appointment no less then 8 week before departure. You will need some prescriptions, inoculations and perhaps some special advice that relates to your own physical condition.
If you have any special conditions or allergy that might require attention overseas, have your physician write a letter describing the nature of the condition and the treatment. Carry the letter with you. You should be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip.
Important: Be sure to bring enough of the prescription medication that you are currently taking. When you pack, make certain that you have ALL your medication in your carry-on luggage. NEVER pack any of your medications in your checked luggage.
Altitude is not a factor during our journey in France and Italy.
No immunization is required to visit France or Italy but we highly recommend having the following vaccinations current:
- Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling. You are not at increased risk in Northern, Western, and Southern Europe, including the Mediterranean regions of Italy and Greece.
For more information on medical considerations when traveling contact the:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/travel/
It is vital that persons with medical problems or special diet requirements make them known to us well before departure so that land operators are properly informed.
To enter France and/or Italy you must have a passport and it must be valid for at least 6 months after your departure date from Italy.
If you have changed your name make sure that is reflected on your passport. You must always use the name as it appears on your passport for all applications, visas and identification.
If you are getting a passport for the first time, or if your old one expired more than eight years ago, you will need to provide proof of citizenship, two passport photos, and passport fee. Please check the government pages of your telephone book to determine the most convenient location for you.
Photo Copies of Important Documents
It is a good idea to bring with you two photocopies of your passport and two copies of your airline tickets. Having copies is useful in case documents are misplaced or stolen.
For US citizens it is only necessary to bring your valid passport. You do not require a visa.
Getting to France and departing from Italy
International and US airlines operate direct flights to/from mayor cities in France and Italy. Best option for this journey is to arrive in Paris and then take the train from the airport to station in Avignon. At the Avignon train station you will meet a Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC representative. The departure city at the end of the program is Milan.
Once you have the confirmed flights please send us the information and the reservation confirmation code.
Important: The Participant's airline tickets, when issued, shall constitute the sales contract between the airline companies and the Participant.
If for any reason the flight to/from Italy is cancelled because of bad weather or mechanical problems, participant loses the first night in Saint Rémy de Provence
hotel without refund and activity planned for that day. The guest is also responsible for the costs of the additional night or additional expenses where flight originated.
GMT/UTC +1 (+2 in summer)
Start: On the last Sunday in March
End: On the last Sunday in October
Currency, Banks and Credit Cards
The Euro is the official currency in France and Italy. The new monetary currency is the Euro which is divided as follows: bills of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500; coins of 1, 2 Euros; 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents.
The visitor can change money/traveler checks at banks, currency exchange offices and most major airports. Credit cards are widely accepted at most restaurants, hotels and stores.
The ATM’s (Automatic Teller Machines) in Italy and France are readily available in the large cities and even in small towns. The machines operate just as they do in the U.S.; at the beginning of the transaction, it prompts the user for the preferred language.
Using a credit card, or even better, a debit card or your local bank ATM card is very easy. One must first locate either the Cirrus or BankMate symbol (on the ATM machine and on your card) to insure the card is usable on that particular unit. Cirrus and BankMate are the two most popular and widespread banking systems in the world so they are the best to have. If you are unsure about the compatibility or the banking systems, contact your Credit Card Company or local bank.
After discovering the system is compatible, simply withdraw money as you would at home. Of course, in France and Italy the money will be dispensed as Euros, but when you return home, your bank will have converted the Euros into dollars using the best exchange rate possible. Be careful though when using credit cards, as many banks are now charging large fees of 2.5% to 4% for cash advances which negate any advantage of using the Bancomat in the first place. One's best bet is to use your regular ATM card and simply withdraw money from your account just as you would do at your local bank.
It is highly recommended to leave at home all jewelry and expensive watches. If you do bring valuables, most hotels will provide our clients with a safe deposit box located in the hotel management office. High-end hotels provide clients with a safety deposit box in the rooms. A fee may be charged for this service. MVE is not responsible for lost or stolen items
Electricity – Charging photo/video batteries
Electric Plug Details
European plug with two circular metal pins
A visitor carrying electrical appliances to France and Italy should have a transformer, either obtained before leaving your country or bought at an electrical appliance shop in Italy. Plugs have round prongs, not flat; therefore an adapter plug is required.
Access to telephones and fax is available at your hotels. Our hotels provide clients with access to Internet and most towns have Internet cafés that are open late at night. Before departing for Europe contact your cell phone service provider in the USA and ask them about an international plan for Europe and the cost.
Italy and France’s climate is as varied as its culture and cuisine. From north to south and from sea level to mountain hill towns, temperatures can vary dramatically. In general the ideal times to visit Provence and Piedmont are during the spring or fall months.
We highly recommend that our clients visit a weather website to get the latest weather information before departure.
Casual wash and wear clothing is most appropriate during your journey. Lightweight rain gear is useful for brief showers (waterproof plastic rain ponchos, not Gore-tex, are ideal). Light long-sleeve shirts/blouses and sweater and well-insulated windbreaker is necessary for cool nights.
- Lightweight, sturdy hiking boot/trail running shoe with good ankle support and tread if you have difficulty walking on uneven terrain. Other option: Good pair of walking shoes if ankle support is not necessary. Comfortable shoes for the evening.
- Gore-Tex Jacket/wind-breaker/Fleece jacket
- Rain poncho/ umbrella
- Padded socks
- Comfortable pants for walking
- Quick dry, washable shirts, Polo style shirts, long sleeves.
- Hat with brim, sunglasses, sunscreen
- “Daypack”-type backpack to carry water, camera, snacks etc.
- Sweater for cooler days/evenings
- Prescription medicines, film, band-aids, sunscreen, hat
Slacks, sweaters, casual/dress-up shirts, skirts. Dinners are generally casual during our program but French and Italians like to dress up for dinner. So if you want to dress up it is totally appropriate. No shorts to dinner. Black and other dark colors are the best colors to pack for evenings.
We recommend that you pack at least some clothing that can be easily hand-washed, rinsed, and dried overnight.
Note: Our space for baggage in the bus is not infinite. Please limit your luggage to one medium-sized suitcase per person, plus a small carry-on and your backpack.
Conditions & Responsibilities
MVE and/or their employees act only as agents for the passenger in regard to travel, whether by car, boat, or airplane and assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or irregularity that may be caused either by reasons of defect in the vehicle or for any reasons engaged in conveying the client or carrying out the arrangements of the tour. They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, quarantine, or other causes. All such expenses will have to be borne by the passenger.
- Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC (MVE) is not responsible for extra costs caused by delays or cancellation of air, road, lake, river or trail travel due to bad weather conditions, civil or government strikes or sickness.
- Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC (MVE) HIGHLY recommends that our clients protect themselves with travel insurance to prevent any financial losses.
Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC, HIGHLY recommends that our clients protect themselves with travel insurance to prevent any financial losses.
From Italy to France