Tailormade tour Provence by car self-drive touring holiday France

12 nights/13 days

Burgundy • Vienne • Luberon • Mont Ventoux • Arles • Champagne

This self-drive touring holiday to Provence allows you to experience three different locations in Provence with myriad sightseeing possibilities in between, including limestone peaks, Roman remains, windmills, olive groves and perched hill villages. In the comfort of your own car, you drive yourself from Calais to Provence and back, with overnight stops and Eurotunnel included.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from £2,820 per person.

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to Provence


Eurotunnel crossing from Folkestone to Calais • Burgundy • Vienne • Bonnieux • Visit Gordes • Visit St Remy de Provence • Visit Les Baux de Provence • Visit the Moulin de Daudet • Arles • Visit Aigues-Mortes • Visit the Camargue

Day by day

You start this self-drive touring holiday of France with the crossing on Eurotunnel for your car and passengers. From Calais to your first night’s stop in Burgundy, north of Beaune, it’s a drive of about 6 hours with the most direct route taking you past Reims and the Champagne region, the mediaeval town of Troyes and the cathedral city of Dijon. You stop in the village of Gilly-les-Citeaux, surrounded by the vineyards of Burgundy and near the famous villages of Vosne-Romanee and Nuits-St-Georges. You spend one night here.

Today’s drive is just 2 and a half hours following the course of the Saone and the Rhone to Vienne, south of Lyon. However, it is going to take you much longer than this to complete the journey today as there is so much to see and do along the way. You can choose to dally a while in Burgundy itself, perhaps visiting Beaune or any of the wine villages nearby, or veer off the main route to visit the Benedictine abbey of Cluny, founded in the 10th century, or take a detour into Beaujolais, with its steep vineyards and villages of golden-brown stone. Enjoy the scenery and continue onwards to Vienne where spend the night. Vienne, in the Rhone valley south of Lyon, was once an important centre of the Roman Empire, and boasts a rich archaeological history. Take time to see the Temple d’Auguste et de Livie and the amphitheatre, still used as a venue today. The gothic cathedral in Vienne, a striking building dating back many centuries, is also not to be missed. You spend one night here.

Today’s journey south still follows the course of the Rhone for much of the way, but again with only 2 and a half hours’ driving time, all sorts of sightseeing diversions beckon along the way. In addition to the nougat-town of Montelimar, you could take a longer detour to visit the Gorges des Ardeches or the Roman town of Orange before striking out into the countryside of the Luberon to reach one of its prettiest and best-known villages. You spend three nights here.

With two days in the Luberon you have plenty of chance to explore the region as well as to relax in the village of Bonnieux. From the hill-top village of Bonnieux enjoy the views of the Luberon, wander its pretty streets, taste regional specialities in its cafes and restaurants, and visit its baker museum and the famous Roman bridge in the valley below. Just 25 minutes from Bonneiux is one of the finest examples of the famous Provencal lavender fields at the Abbaye de Sénanque, just outside the village of Gordes. The former Cistercian monastery dates from 1148 and now guests can take tours of the church and cloisters and feast their eyes on beautiful fields of lavender beyond (the lavender is usually harvested by the beginning of August and is in bloom from the end of June). For a more in- depth view of the history of lavender in Provence why not visit the Musée de la Lavande in Coustellet. Gordes itself is one of the most beautiful villages in Provence and nearby is the curious Village des Bories, an open-air museum of stone dwellings possibly dating as far back as the Bronze Age. About 30 minutes away lie the tranquil turquoise waters of beautiful Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Follow the trail of water exquisite in its clarity and colour through the pools and channels created by this subterranean spring, and water that has inspired poets for hundreds of years. Petrarch lived here in the 14th century and his now is now a museum. There is also a museum of the Resistance, a museum of Provencal ‘santons’, workshops of hand-blown crystal and a mill making paper by hand using 15th century techniques.

Today you should not take the most direct route between the two places but enjoy a detour through the Alpilles, a chain on limestone mountains, full of lots of natural scenery and displaying an authentic Provence. This is the land of the authors Alphonse Daudet (you can see his mill at Fontvieille) and Frederic Mistral and of Van Gogh who lived in St Remy de Provence. The landscape has the limestone peaks, but pine and oak forests, fields of olive trees and avenues of cypress. Dotted around are farmhouse of ancient drystone. St Remy de Provence is the place to head for first, where three civilisations are represented in a single site at Glanum, then to Les Baux de Provence, a mountain-top village with 22 historic monuments and with outstanding views over the countryside below. From Les Baux you are just 8 km from Fontvielle, a pretty village with ancient houses and where Alphonse Daudet wrote his famous ‘Lettres de Mon Moulin’. Arles, your destination for today, is just 7km from here. You stay at Arles for two nights.

Arles is an ancient city on the river Rhone and gateway to the Camargue. Important in Roman times, the amphitheatre is a major landmark of the city today, where plays, concerts and bull flights are held. There is also a Gallo-Roman theatre, an aqueduct and Roman baths. The city and its surrounds inspired Van Gogh when he lived here for 18 months in 1888-1889 and it was here that he developed his swirling style and colour scheme that we now recognise as being quintessentially Van Gogh and painted ‘Bedroom at Arles’ and ‘Starry Night’ amongst others. Arles was also the setting for his collaboration and subsequent disagreements with Gauguin, as well as the famous act of cutting off his own ear. Visit the Foundation Vincent Van Gogh Arles and view Van Gogh’s work in dialogue with more contemporary pieces. As an International Art capital, Arles is the home of a series of exciting and colourful festivals throughout the year. For example, from July to September, the Roman Theatre houses the Festival of Photography, in which live music accompanies open air night projections of the work of local and famous photographers. From Arles explore the nearby marshlands of the Camargue, at the delta of the river Rhone. The Camargue is approximately a third lakes or marshland and home to more than 400 species of birds. Horses and cattle roam the area. It is worth heading for the fortified, walled town of Aigues-Mortes which seemingly rises from the marshes and saltpans of the Camargue, although not officially in Provence as it is in the department of the Gard in Languedoc.

Today follow the course of the River Rhone northwards to the papal city of Avignon, which you could visit before continuing on your way to Mont Ventoux and the village of Crillon-le-Brave. Avignon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is set on the banks of the majestic Rhone river and was the seat of the Catholic popes for most of the 14th century, only coming under French rule in 1791. Its centre, which is surrounded by high mediaeval ramparts, houses the imposing Palais des Papes, the largest gothic palace in the world. The old town of Avignon is home to numerous other architectural gems including the 12th century cathedral, the ramparts, and the famous Pont d’Avignon. You have three nights in the pretty, hill village of Crillon-le-Brave or Mazan.

The base of Mont Ventoux is clustered with small market towns such as Caromb or Carpentras. Nearby are the wine villages of Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Beaumes-de-Venise and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The region also boasts spectacular scenery that can be explored on foot or by bike. For the more adventurous visitor, cycle up the winding path to the summit of Mont Ventoux and look down from the rocky, chalky mountain top over the lush green fields below. Crillon-le-Brave is less than an hour’s drive from Sault and also from Valréas, both sites of more famous lavender festivals, with an opportunity for a tour around some botanical gardens in Sault.

After enjoying breakfast at the hotel travel northwards again, along the valley of the Rhone, towards Burgundy and the small village of Puligny-Montrachet, famed for its white wines, and to the south of Beaune, situated at the heart of the Cote de Beaune.

Drive northwards and arrive in the Champagne region for your final night of this self-drive touring holiday in Epernay. Nestling between the Aisne and Marne valleys, Epernay and its nearby rival, Reims, are well situated to see the champagne vineyards thrive.

Depending on the time of your Eurotunnel crossing from Calais to Folkestone, you may want to linger amid the Champagne houses of Epernay and Reims. We can give you suggestions of Champagne houses to visit. Laon and Arras are two historic towns that you also might want to call in at on the way back to Calais.

Special offers for this holiday>

Excellent. So much easier coming to you than trying to book accommodation ourselves. Will certainly come to you again, especially for a self-drive holiday.
Mr D, Sep 2023

Holiday price guide Prices from £2,820 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room with the Phebus and Chateau de Mazan combination or from £3,590 with Domaine de Capelongue and the Hotel Crillon le Brave combination.

Holiday Code FRSD02

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to Provence

Special offers for this holiday>

Excellent. So much easier coming to you than trying to book accommodation ourselves. Will certainly come to you again, especially for a self-drive holiday.
Mr D, Sep 2023

Holiday price guide Prices from £2,820 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room with the Phebus and Chateau de Mazan combination or from £3,590 with Domaine de Capelongue and the Hotel Crillon le Brave combination.

Holiday Code FRSD02

Our prices include ● Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais return for car and passengers
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Tradition room at the Chateau de Gilly in Burgundy
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Deluxe room at the Hotel la Pyramide in Vienne
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Charme room at the Domaine de Capelongue in Bonnieux or a Garrigue room at Le Phebus in Joucas
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic room at the Jules Cesar in Arles
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic room Hotel de Crillon-le-Brave, in Crillon-le-Brave or a Superior room at the Chatau de Mazan
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Standard room at Le Montrachet in Puligny-Montrachet
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Classic room at Hostellerie La Briqueterie in Epernay, Champagne
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, usually between Euros 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel

Additional information Driving times for this touring holiday to Provence
Calais to Gilly-les-Citeaux 5 hours 30 minutes
Gilly-les-Citeaux to Vienne 2 hours 30 minutes
Vienne to Bonnieux/Joucas 2 hours 30 minutes
Bonnieux/Joucas to Arles 1 hour 30 minutes
Arles to Crillon le Brave/Mazan 1 hour 45 minutes
Crillon le Brave/Mazan to Beaune 4 hours 30 minutes
Beaune to Epernay 3 hours 30 minutes
Epernay to Calais 3 hours

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to Provence

Expressions Holidays includes these hotels in this touring holiday as suggestions, but they can be substituted by others in the same region, if you have a preference to stay elsewhere.
Hotels included in this tour
Chateau de Gilly

Château de Gilly is a 5-star hotel a former Benedictine Priory in the heart of the Burgundy wine region. The hotel retains many of its original features and serves excellent cuisine for a luxurious experience.

Tradition room

Hotel la Pyramide

Hotel La Pyramide is a modern 4-star Relais & Châteaux hotel which is set in the fascinating historical location of Vienne. The hotel boasts an unmissable 2 Michelin-starred restaurant.

Deluxe room

Le Phebus

Le Phebus is a boutique 5-star hotel in a beautiful countryside location. Michelin-starred cuisine and excellent spa facilities, alongside the stunning natural vistas surrounding the property make this a secluded haven of relaxation.

Garrigue room


Capelongue is a charming, boutique hotel in a beautiful countryside location. Gourmet cuisine, excellent spa facilities and stunning gardens and views afford guests a truly relaxing and indulgent experience.

Charme room

Grand Hotel Nord Pinus

Grand Hotel Nord Pinus is an exclusive 4-star hotel in an excellent city centre location. Stylish interiors and delicious cuisine afford guest a tranquil retreat after a day spent exploring the historical and cultural delights of Arles.

Classic room

Near Mont Ventoux
Chateau de Mazan

The Château de Mazan is a luxury, 4-star hotel in a beautiful natural location. Luxury accommodation, gourmet cuisine and unique artistic touches afford guests a truly relaxing and tranquil experience.

Superior room

Hotel Crillon le Brave

Hôtel Crillon le Brave is a 5-star luxury boutique hotel in a village of the same name in the Provence countryside not far from Mont Ventoux. This is an excellent point for exploring the Rhône wine country. Gourmet local cuisine, spa facilities, beautiful surroundings and wonderful views ensure a luxury experience here.

Classic room

COMO Le Montrachet

COMO Le Montrachet is a boutique 4-star hotel in the superb wine village of Montrachet. Excellent cuisine and comfortable accommodation make this property a relaxing haven and an excellent spot to explore the Burgundy wine region.

Standard room

Hostellerie La Briqueterie

Hostellerie La Briqueterie is a 5-star boutique hotel, perfectly situated for exploring the wineries of the Champagne region, including some of the most prestigious champagne houses. Delicious cuisine and excellent spa facilities afford guests a truly tranquil experience.

Classic room

Special offers

Call to make your booking and save an extra £50 per adult Call us instead of emailing us when you are thinking of booking a holiday and save an extra £50 per adult (in addition to any special offers that might be available). We want to talk to you to discuss your requirements and a phone call is usually the best way for you to define what you want enabling us to respond more accurately. We want to talk to you and you save an extra £50 per adult.

Excellent. So much easier coming to you than trying to book accommodation ourselves. Will certainly come to you again, especially for a self-drive holiday.
Mr D, Sep 2023

Holiday price guide Prices from £2,820 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room with the Phebus and Chateau de Mazan combination or from £3,590 with Domaine de Capelongue and the Hotel Crillon le Brave combination.

Holiday Code FRSD02

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to Provence

Highlights of Burgundy

Cultural highlights include Burgundy wines and marcs, local wine festivals, the Beaujolais vineyards, and the Romanesque architecture.

Climate of Burgundy

Average air temperatures in centigrade: Jan: 6.1, Feb: 5.9, Mar: 10.3, Apr: 15.3, May: 15.8, Jun: 23.8, Jul: 25.8, Aug: 26.1, Sep: 21.2, Oct: 15.5, Nov: 9.1, Dec: 6.2. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France.

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to Provence

Highlights of Champagne

Champagne cellar visits in Reims, Epernay and in vineyards along the Aube; the old town of Charleville Mezieres, capital of the Ardennes department; Charles de Gaulle's country residence and burial site, Colombey les Deux Eglises; Reims, with one of the finest medieval cathedrals in France, once the coronation place of French kings, now with one of the best son-et-lumieres in France; Reims' magnificent Roman triumphal arch; Lac du Der, the biggest reservoir in Europe, one of the most important migration routes for Europe's waterfowl, sheltering vast flocks of cranes, passing through in their thousands in spring and autumn; the fortified hill town of Langres, ‘Carcassonne of the North’ - minus the crowds; la foret d'Orient near Troyes and Montagne de Reims, both Regional Natural Parks; river trips along the Seine, the Marne, and the Aube; the 13th century gothic cathedral of Troyes, with its spectacular stained glass windows; autumn wine festivals.

Travel around the Champagne region

The Champagne region is reached very easily from the UK by air and rail. With the most extensive rail network in Western Europe, France is a great country to explore by train. The nationally owned SNCF (Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer) runs fast, efficient services between the main towns. Buses cover the rural areas, but services can be rather sporadic, with departures often at awkward times. To visit Champagne's cellars - the main reason for being here - by far the best option is to rent a car.

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to Provence

Highlights of Provence

Cultural highlights include santons, Souleiado Provençal fabrics, herbs and lavender, wine and olive oil, melons and pastis, boules and berets.

Provence Climate

Average air temperatures in Centigrade: January: 12.2, February: 11.9, March: 14.2, April: 18.5, May: 20.8, June: 26.6, July: 28.1, August: 28.4, September: 25.2, October: 22.1, November: 16.8, December: 14.1. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France.

Other holidays you might be interested in...