1. Cassis & the Calanques National Park Tour
Only 30 minutes from Marseille is the most amazing panorama over the coast of Provence.
Cassis is a small fishermen village nested in the rocky coast of Provence. Dominating Cassis is the highest cliff in France: the Cape Canaille. Its climax is 400 meters above the sea. A photo stop or even a picnic upon the Cape Canaille is a must !
Then you will explore Cassis with your guide. Cassis has 2 main attractions. First is the Calanques National Park. Second is its delicious white wine.
There are 3 different ways to enjoy the Calanques.
If you are in good physical condition and if you want to swim into the crystal clear water of the fjords, follow your guide for a hike into the National Park. You can consider a 2 hour hike to see 2 of the Calanques (fjords) and 3 to 4 hours to reach the 3rd and most impressive one called En-Vau.
If you are not ready for such a hike, your guide will invite you for a boat trip into the fjords. The only difference is that you cannot access the beaches with the boat tours.
If you are ready to spend a little bit more money, the must is to board a private yacht in the Old Port of Marseille and to sail along the coast to the Calanques. You will see all the Calanques, go ashore whenever you want and enjoy an unforgettable day.
2. Villages of Provence Tour
Our Villages of Provence Tour invites you to explore the authentic countryside of Provence within the Lubéron Natural Park. This tour allows you to see lavender fields (from June 1st to July 21st).
From Marseille, 1 hour drive is needed to enter the Lubéron Natural Park. The best places to stop are Lourmarin, Roussillon, Gordes, Sénanque Abbey, Fontaine de Vaucluse, L’Isle sur Sorgue and the Lavender Museum.
Touring inside the Lubéron Natural Park is a pure delight. The villages of the Lubéron kept their authenticity from the middle ages. They are nested in small valleys or built at the top hills. Each of them is unique.
3. Van Gogh Tour
Follow the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh in Provence from his arrival in Arles in February 1888 to his leaving of the Asylum in Saint Rémy in May 1890.
From Marseille, 1 hour drive is needed to arrive in Arles, where we recommend to spend 2 hours exploring with your guide. Van Gogh settled in Arles dreaming about creating a painting school. Even if his project broke down after his cut his ear, he painted non stop during his stay in Arles. During your tour you will see the famous Van Gogh Café, the hospital where he was admitted after cutting his ear, the place where he had his bedroom and many other corners of the town where reproductions of his paintings are to be seen exactly where he made them.
From Arles you will arrive in Les Baux de Provence within 20 minutes. In 2019 we highly recommend you to visit the special exhibition about Van Gogh in Les Carrières de Lumières. It is a unique exhibition center developed inside ancient limestone quarries. Paintings of the masters are projected on the walls and brought to life in music. The exhibition center is located in Les Baux. Consider 45 minutes to enjoy the exhibition. Then you can have lunch in Les Baux.
End the tour exploring Saint Paul de Mausole Asylum. From Les Baux a 15 minute drive will take you to Saint Rémy de Provence where Van Gogh decided to enter a psychiatric asylum in 1889. The psychiatric asylum of Van Gogh, officialy called the Monastery of Saint Paul de Mausole, is a magical place where the soul of Van Gogh is touching the visitor.
We recommend 45 minutes to 1 hour in and around the Asylum.
4. Mary Magdalene Tour
The off the beaten track treasure of Provence
Totally off the beaten track is one of the most important place in the history and culture of Provence: Mary Magdalene Grotto, hidden in the Sainte Baume Mountain and Mary Magdalene Tomb into the Saint Maximin Cathedral.
You will start the tour with a panoramic drive in Marseille to go the Saint Victor Monastery. The monastery is built upon vestiges of ancient caves where Mary Magdalene settled when she arrived in Marseille.
From Marseille 1 hour drive will take you by the foot of the Sainte Baume Mountain. You will then follow your guide on a large but steep path through the forest to the Grotto of Mary Magdalene. Consider 45 minutes to 1 hour walk up and 20 to 30 min walk down the mountain.
According to the history of her life, after spending 2 years in Marseille, Mary Magdalene decided to follow the river to go away from everybody and found her asylum in the Grotto. She spent the last 33 years of her life in the Grotto.
After the visit of the Grotto your guide will take you to Saint Maximin la Sainte Baume. This small town is far from the crowd, silent and authentic. At first, no one can imagine that the 3rd most important tomb of the Christian history is here. Follow your guide in the city, in the Basilica of Mary Magdalene and inside the convent to discover the secrets that archaeologists and historians discovered about Mary Magdalene.
5. Aix en Provence, Marseille & Cassis Tour
A perfect tour for first timers in Provence.
Aix en Provence, Marseille & Cassis Tour offers a complete overview of what is Provence and what it offers. The 3 cities are very different and very complementary.
Aix en Provence, 30 minutes from Marseille, is considered by many as the beautiful and elegant city in Provence. It offers a pedestrian historical center where visitors often fall in love with the atmosphere, the architecture, the market and the many local shops. The historical center is full of palaces from the 17th century and the cathedral holds a sarcophagus from the 3rd century and a baptistery from the 4th century: 2 rare jewels. Aix en Provence is a very dynamic town where art exhibitions are always to be seen. You can also follow the footsteps of Cézanne, visit his studio, his family house and the places where he painted.
Marseille is the capital city of Provence. The city is huge. A panoramic tour will show you all its highlights. The most important monument is the Basilica Notre Dame de la Garde. Built at the top of the highest hill in the center of Marseille it offers a gorgeous 360° panorama all over the city and its bay. The panoramic tour of Marseille will also lead you along the coast on the Kennedy Corniche, on the Canebière Street, on the Old Port and by the Major Cathedral.
Cassis is a lovely fishermen port 30 minutes from Marseille. You will love to picture yourself upon the cliff of the Cape Canaille. The highest cliff in France dominates the port 400 meters above the sea level. Follow your guide in Cassis for a tour of the village.
6. Avignon, the Popes Palace & Châteauneuf du Pape Tour
A tour combining UNESCO Heritage & wine tasting
1 hour from Marseille is the UNESCO city of Avignon. Avignon benefits from an impressive middle age heritage which master piece is the Popes Palace. The city stands next to the Rhône river and was before an important market and cross road since the only bridge to cross the river was there. The historical bridge is known as the Pont d’Avignon that your guide will invite you to visit.
Then you will follow your guide for a complete exploration in the historical center starting with a private visit of the Popes Palace. You will learn all the details of the complicated history explaining why the Popes left Rome to settled in Avignon.
After the Popes Palace take some time to explore the Popes Gardens offering the best view over the Rhône river and its valley. Do not miss the cathedral where 2 popes are buried and continue to the Opera square.
Located 15 kilometers from Avignon Châteauneuf du pape is a village fully dedicated to wine. A stop by the ruins of the former Newcastle of the Pope is perfect for the view over the vineyards entirely surrounding the village settled on a small hill next to the Rhône river.
Châteauneuf du Pape is famous for its strong red wines but do not miss its delicious dry whites. White wine production in Châteauneuf du Pape is only 5 percents next to 95 percents for red. You can taste wines in the many wineries of the village or in one of the 80 wine estates.
7. Le Pont du Gard Tour
Le Pont du Gard is the most impressive piece of Roman engineering left in the world. It was part of a 50 kilometer long aqueduct built to bring water to the city of Nîmes.
Since Le Pont du Gard is part of the UNESCO World Heritage, the site is perfectly organized to receive visitors. After a walk on the bridge you will enjoy to explore its museum. The museum is perfectly explaining the engineering techniques that the Romans used to build the bridge.
For a perfect tour in Provence we recommend to couple your visit to Le Pont du Gard with Arles, Avignon or Les Baux de Provence.
8. Aix en Provence, Cézanne & Wine Tasting Tour
Aix en Provence is considered by many to be the most beautiful city of Provence. Visitors always fall in love with its elegant atmosphere and its perfectly conserved 17th century city center full of old palaces.
Aix en Provence is worth a full day tour. We recommend to start with a complete exploration of the city and then give a visit to Cézanne Studio. Cézanne studio is a magical place where you can feel the soul of the artist. To complete your footpath of Cézanne in Aix en Provence your guide will show you the other houses where he lived and will invite you to visit the Granet museum where some of his paintings are part of the regular collection.
A must see on Cézanne footpath is the Carrières de Bibemus where he painted a lot. The site is only opened if weather conditions permit and only allows small groups. Another must see is the wind mill of Cézanne where he also painted so much. Your guide will be pleased to bring you to those places.
To complete your day in Aix en Provence we invite you to explore its countryside planted with fields and vineyards down the Sainte Victoire Mountain. Your guide will invite you for a wine tasting in one of the numerous wine estates surrounding the city.
9. Le Castellet, Sanary & Bandol Wine Tasting Tour
1 hour from Marseille, Le Castellet is a charming hilltop village from the Middle Ages. Located in the middle of the Bandol appellation vineyards it offers beautiful views over the vineyards to the sea.
After a tour in Le Castellet your guide will invite you for a wine tasting in one of the many wine estates offering Bandol AOC wines around the village. You will explore the estate, visit their cellar and learn all the details of their wine making process.
After the wine tasting you will visit Bandol. It is a lovely fishermen port and seaside resort. In Bandol, you can also give a visit to the Bandol Wine House.
20 minutes from Bandol, following the coast, is Sanary sur Mer. This authentic village is also a fishermen port. Here fisherman are selling fresh swordfish and tuna every day on the market. Enjoy a walking tour in Sanary exploring its narrow streets full of little local shops and delicious pastries.
10. The Camargue Natural Park Tour
The Camargue is the name given to the delta of the Rhône river. The biggest river in france divides itself into two branches by the city of Arles.
It is located 1 hour west from Marseille. Once you enter the delta, the landscapes totally change. You are inside a wildlife park known for its bull raising tradition and its bird colonies.
Your guide will invite you to visit a ranch. You will learn about the life of those unique french cowboys. Here they raise their bulls in the wildness of the park in order to participate in the local bull runs.
After your tour in the ranch your guide will invite you to have a tour in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. This little town built by the sea is famous for its history about Mary Magdalene. Indeed the history says that she landing ashore in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer after sailing across the Mediterranean from Judee. A fascinating history that your guide will explain to you inside the church.
Your next destination is the Bird Sanctuary of Pont de Gau. Thanks to its many lakes within the delta, Camargue is hosting a large variety of superb birds. Many colonies of birds are living here year round such as flamingos.
2 thoughts on “10 Best Tours in Provence from Marseille”
Thank you for the great article.
We are a group of 17 people and we would like to know if we can have a tour from Marseille to Les Baux and Saint Remy to visit Van Gogh Asylum and exhibition. We will be on Oasis of the seas so can we make this tour in 7 hours ?
Hi Mr John,
Thank you for your message.
We will be glad to provide your tour in Les Baux and Saint Rémy.
7 hours are good for this tour. The drive from Marseille to Saint Rémy takes 75 minutes. The same back from Les Baux to Marseille. The connection from Saint Rémy to Les Baux is 20 minutes.
You can spend 1 hour in Van Gogh’s Asylum and eventually have a walking tour in Saint Rémy.
Van Gogh’s exhibition requires 45 min to 1 hour. Than you can explore the village of Les Baux and eventually visit the castle with your guide.
Please mail me at email@example.com to tell me about the day of the tour.