Marseille (Provence), France
Information Not Currently Available
Approximately 8 Hours
Meals not included
Enjoy a picturesque motorcoach ride through the stunning Provençal countryside on this guided art and history tour.
First up, you will uncover the ingenuity and the handiwork of the Romans. The world-famous ancient Roman Pont du Gard aqueduct that crosses the shallow Gard River is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This incredible feat of engineering used to carry around 44 million gallons of water a day from Uzes to Nimes along a 30-mile route to the fountains, baths and homes of the citizens of Nîmes. Built around AD 40, it features three impressive levels of recessed arcades, one on top of the other, reaching an overall height of 160 feet. The upper level spans 900 feet, which is why it has resisted the floods of the River Gardon for the past two thousand years. Check out the fabulous work of the Roman architects and hydraulic engineers who designed it -- a technical and artistic masterpiece.
You will then drive to nearby Avignon for a walk through this historic town with its cobblestone streets and narrow stairways. The town itself is still delightfully contained within its 14th-century walls and features beautifully preserved ramparts and pretty bell towers. The city is dominated by the Rocher des Doms, on which stand the cathedral and the Palace of the Popes, home to nine Popes during the Great Schism that lasted from 1309 to 1378. Wander through the vast galleries and great halls of this truly magnificent building.
You will then be free to pick your own location for lunch (at your own expense) -- there are many restaurants and cafés here. Take the opportunity to try some of the local wines and Provençal dishes, many of which feature locally-grown herbs and olives.
Most of Avignon's medieval city streets are closed to vehicle traffic and are lined with boutiques and art galleries, along with craft, jewelry and souvenir shops. You will have time to browse among these for gifts and mementos. The Place de l'Horloge is the town's main square, situated a few yards from the Palace of the Popes.
After exploring this ancient city, you will return to Marseille via the highway, traveling through breathtaking countryside with vineyards, orchards and cypress trees.
This tour involves walking over medium-to-long distances plus stair-climbing. Not advisable for those with mobility limitations. Travel time from Marseille to the Pont du Gard is approximately 1.75 hours; the drive from Le Pont du Gard to Avignon is about 45 minutes, and travel time from Avignon to Marseille is about 1.5 hours. Use of an audio headset (included) will enhance your tour experience.