Fall in love with Paris, the City of Light, as you visit the Notre Dame, Louvre and Versailles. Take a cruise on the Seine and a culinary gourmet walk through the Left Bank, then live it up with dinner atop the Eiffel Tower. Then travel to a luxury villa in Provence and visit Avignon, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, Pont du Gard, Provencal villages and vineyards. Take a wine appreciation class and a private cooking lesson.
The City of Lights
From the ornate architecture and glamorous French couture, to the heady aroma of café au lait and warm croissants wafting on the breeze, Paris defines the nuances of living art. Paris is the city of love, of fine food and fine perfume. It is the city of museums, galleries, arts and fashion, but above all, it is the City of Lights. Paris has the quality of light that makes it seem like an image floating in the midair on invisible waves and currents.
The Parisian Chic
Fashion has been an important cultural export of France since the 17th century, and modern "haute couture" originated in Paris in the 1860s. Today, Paris is considered one of the world's fashion capitals, and the city is home to many of the premier fashion houses. Historically, many of the world's top designers have been French, including Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Guy Laroche and Yves Saint Laurent.
For the French, cooking and eating is a philosophy, a way of life and an expression of self. French cuisine is a unique, cultural experience. Preparing and savoring French food is an art that takes a lifetime to master, yet requires that time stand still to appreciate its splendor. It is a pure, nearly religious, sensory experience. What once was subsistence is now an object of daily, living art.
Provence evokes images of sun-drenched fields, fragrant lavender, and rustic villages. Famous for dishes such as bouillabaisse and ratatouille, this serene region of southern France is also a food lover's paradise. With it's strong emphasis on fresh ingredients from the countryside such as olives, tomatoes, zucchini eggplant, and lemons, Provencal cuisine has earned the nickname "la cuisine du soleil" (cuisine of the sun). One bite and you'll understand why.
The Scent of Lavender
One cannot really separate Provence from images of purple lavender fields, the heady lavender scent in the air and the distinctive taste of lavender infused dishes. Provencal chefs have been incorporating lavender into their cuisine for many centuries. It lends a floral, slightly sweet and elegant flavor to many dishes, from ice cream to roast chicken.
Avignon, one of the most beautiful cities in France, is ancient, full of history, life, youth, art, music and activity. Thanks to its architectural and artistic heritage, Avignon is also one of the most important Gothic ensembles in Europe.