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Provence France Tour of Scenic & Historic Sights


Arles, Les Baux, Avignon, Pont du Gard, & Uzes

Roman Ruins, Medieval Cities, City Walls & Bridges

Ancient Amphitheaters, Theaters, & Aqueduct

Castles, Palaces, Cathedrals, & Churches

Globus, Avalon Waterways, River Cruise, & Rhone River

Roman amphitheater in Arles, France.

Roman amphitheater in Arles.

Tours

We use the best tour operators to book all kinds of tours to France including independent tours, hosted tours, escorted tours, and packages. Contact us to book your travel. We book travel worldwide. Check out our Special Promotions.

River Cruise Monaco/Nice to Paris

We were on a Globus Avalon small-ship river cruise tour that started in the French Riviera and Monaco, where we spent one night on the tour. From Monte Carlo we were taken to Arles, France on the Rhone River to board the Avalon Scenery for our seven-night cruise through Southern France. We were headed north in the Rhone River and then the Saone River. For details of our river cruise including shore excursions go to the different regions in the following order: Provence, which is explained here, Rhone Valley and Alps, and Burgundy. From Beaune we were taken by motor coach to Dijon. From there we took a high speed bullet train to Paris, where we spent two nights. From Paris we did an excursion to Versailles. For details of the ship and onboard activities go to Avalon Scenery. Contact Us for more information.

Arles

Roman theater in Arles, France.

Roman theater in Arles.

We had a walking tour of Arles, which is where we were docked on the Rhone River. The top attraction in Arles is the Roman amphitheater, which was built in 46 BC. We were taken there by our local guide. The amphitheater seats 21,000 people and is still in use today. It is pictured at the top of this page. Nearby the amphitheater is the Roman Theater Antique, which is shown above. After all of these years it is still in use.

Guide explaing about the old town part of Arles, France.

Guide explaining about the old town part of Arles.

In the old section of town the streets are narrow, as was common in ancient times. It was fun to walk them and imagine what happened there years ago. The great artists Vincent Van Gogh lived in Arles from 1888 to 1889, and many of his paintings were done there .

Seen in the entrance to the Church of St. Trophime in Arles, France.

Seen in the entrance to the Church of St. Trophime in Arles.

We also visited the absolutely magnificent Church of St. Trophime. It dates from the the 11th century. The entrance to the church is stunning in its beauty. Note the picture above, which is what appears over the entrance to the church.

Visit to Olive Farm and Tasting

Owner of Moulin des Barres olive farm in their grove of olive trees in France.

Owner of Moulin des Barres olive farm in their grove of olive trees.

We went on an excursion from Arles into the very beautiful hilly countryside where limestone abounds. We were on our way to see a farm and a nearby historic town. This part of southern France is known for its olive oil. The farm we visited, the Moulin des Barres, had groves of olive trees. One of the owners is shown above telling us about their olive trees.

Tasting different kinds of olive oil.

Tasting different kinds of olive oil.

We were shown the equipment that is used to make olive oil. The process is really quite involved. We were also able to taste several kinds of the olive oils that they produce for sale, and which have won a number of important awards. It was an interesting place to visit. Note the above picture where we are tasting the different olive oils.

Historic town of Les Baux

Castle ruins in Les Baux, France.

Castle ruins in Les Baux.

After sampling olive oil we were taken to the attractive village of Les Baux. At you enter the village you pass an old castle which rests prominently on a hill top. But is very much in disrepair and is no longer in use, serving today mainly as a landmark. It is pictured above.

Walking the cobble stone street in Les Baux, France.

Walking the cobble stone street in Les Baux.

We walked with our local guide through the charming narrow cobblestone streets, seen above. This was very important town in the 11th and 12th centuries. Today the buildings that remain make it is a great place to visit a medieval town.

Church in Les Baux, France.

Church in Les Baux.

There is a village church, which is shown below. In a separate building there is also a chapel. The surrounding area contains hills of limestone.

A valley in Les Baux, France surrounded by limestone hills.

A valley in Les Baux surrounded by limestone hills.

Walled City of Avignon

Medieval city wall of Avignon, France.

Medieval city wall of Avignon.

The Avalon Scenery moved to and docked in Avignon. It became an important city in the 14th Century when the popes made this their residence after fleeing from a more dangerous Rome. The city is highly fortified with a medieval city wall, as seen above.

Papal Palace in Avignon, France.

Papal Palace in Avignon.

We went on a walking tour of the city with local guide Isabelle Martres. The top attraction in Avignon is the Popes Palace, which is massive in size. It was the papal residence for 7 popes from 1309 to 1377 rather than Rome.

Guide describing the Papal Palace in Avignon, France with the aid of a model.

Guide Isabelle describing the Papal Palace in Avignon with the aid of a model.

In the picture above guide Isabelle is using a model of the Papal Palace to describe it. Today the palace is largely devoid of furnishings since they were either taken back to Rome or removed during the French Revolution.

Bridge of St. Benezet with Saint Nicholas Chapel in Avignon, France.

Bridge of St. Benezet with Saint Nicholas Chapel.

The Bridge of St. Benezet, which is said to date from the 12th century, used to span the Rhone River. But in 1669 the Rhone River flooded destroyed all but the portion of the bridge that remains today. What is now a ruin has attractive arches and the Chapel of Saint Nicholas in the middle of the bridge. The bridge is a prominent feature in Avignon.

Pont du Gard

The Roman Aqueduct at Pont du Gard, France.

The Roman Aqueduct at Pont du Gard.

We went on a shore excursion from Avignon with a local guide to see the amazing Roman aqueduct that was built in the 1st century AD. The aqueduct was built to carry water to nearby Nimes from a spring at Uzes. The aqueduct is 31 miles (50 kilometers) long.

Rebecca and Sunny with the Roman aqueduct in Pont du Gard, France.

Rebecca and Sunny with the Roman aqueduct.

The Roman aqueduct is so impressive that you want your picture taken with it. We are pictured above.

Roman aqueduct with reflection in the Gardon River, France.

Roman aqueduct with reflection in the Gardon River.

Another view of the aqueduct is shown above with its reflection in the Gardon River, which this section spans. The aqueduct bridge has three levels. In the picture below a Roman script is seen in a stone in the middle counting three down from the top. The Romans included inscriptions on some of the stones with messages and instructions. No mortar was used as the blocks were cut to perfectly fit together and are held in place by friction.

Aqueduct stones and one with an inscription in France.

Aqueduct stones and one with an inscription.

Uzes

Street in medieval city of Uzes, France.

Street in medieval city of Uzes.

After visiting the Roman aqueduct we were taken with our local guide to visit the charming old city of Uzes. It is a walled city with the typical narrow streets that are always fascinating to walk through and view the old buildings.

The Fenestrelle Tower and the Saint-Theodorit Cathedral in Uzes, France.

The Fenestrelle Tower and the Saint-Theodorit Cathedral in Uzes.

The Saint-Theodorit Cathedral was once the seat of Bishops of the Catholic church. It is now a parish church. The Fenestrelle Tower dates from the 11th century.

Duche Palace in Uzes, France.

Duche Palace in Uzes.

The impressive and large complex of the Duche Palace is occupied by the Duke and Duchess of Uzes, and cannot be visited. However, it is a photo opportunity.

Market in Uzes, France.

Market in Uzes.

Uzes is known for its market where crafts and local produce were on display for those wanting to shop.

River Cruise Monaco/Nice to Paris

We were on a Globus Avalon small-ship river cruise tour that started in the French Riviera and Monaco, where we spent one night on the tour. From Monte Carlo we were taken to Arles, France on the Rhone River to board the Avalon Scenery for our seven-night cruise through Southern France. We were headed north in the Rhone River and then the Saone River. For details of our river cruise including shore excursions go to the different regions in the following order: Provence, which is explained here, Rhone Valley and Alps, and Burgundy. From Beaune we were taken by motor coach to Dijon. From there we took a high speed bullet train to Paris, where we spent two nights. From Paris we did an excursion to Versailles. For details of the ship and onboard activities go to Avalon Scenery. Contact Us for more information.

 

Photos by Sunny Breeding. Photo of Sunny & Rebecca by Alan Schwartzman. We sell images and prints.