We are now celebrating in the French Riviera and reminiscing how prefect everything was!
In almost all our bespoke France tours, we encourage you to explore the country’s rich living heritage through meetings with locals–the true authors of French history and culture. Discover France through its everyday people, those whose talent and creativity have long made the country and its culture shine: winemakers, chefs, cheesemakers, craftsmen, farmers. People who have dedicated their whole lives to creating and sharing France’s most-cherished products and traditions. They are willing, wanting and waiting to share with you, like no one else ever could, their excitement and vision for their specific craft or trade. Designing totally authentic French tours focused on local encounters, we encourage you to engage more deeply with our culture– and go home with experiences you’ll remember for a lifetime to come.
Need a little inspiration? Browse through our suggestions for authentic cultural encounters below to decide what sorts of experiences intrigue you the most or “spark joy” in you. Then contact us to make your “experiential” travel dreams a vibrant reality!
Forever in search of something new, I love wandering through France to uncover hidden treasures. Epicurian by nature, I am enthralled by culture in every form, wine (with a special affinity for those from Bourgogne and Rhone valley), gastronomy and anything out of the ordinary.
When: All year round.
For who: Perfume lovers.
Why: Craft your own fragrance to represent your individual preferences and personality.
Description: Who hasn’t dreamed of a perfume that perfectly corresponds to your personality– that’s totally unique? A fragrance whose heady, distinctive notes really get at your personal essence, spirit, and personality: one that allows you to express yourself in all the ways you wish to?
Your ideal bespoke scent would become a genuine extension of your personality and perfectly express your identity. Working closely with a top French perfumer renowned for his or her passion and expertise, you’ll embark on an olfactory journey that you won’t soon forget. Whether in Paris or Grasse, we’ll take you on a luxurious adventure filled with jasmine, amber, rose, white musk, or your own favourite scents–initiatiing you to the joy, creativity, and scientific precision that fuel French perfume-making. In the process, you’ll find a new way to express yourself– and come away with a creation that’s exclusively your own.
For who: Provence and lavender lovers.
Why: Bring a little bit of Provencal beauty back home
Description: Everyone knows that lavender is the symbol of Provence. These intensely aromatic, blue-violet flowers with their haunting perfume will make you marvel at the natural beauty of Provence. Lavender spreads its aroma mainly over the Pays de Sault at the foot of Mont Ventoux and in the Pays d’Apt in the Luberon, but also in the Enclave of Valréas. The tradition in France is to perfume home linens or even bath water with “blue gold”. Lavender fields also offer delights to the discerning palate, and some of the best tables in the region use the flower as an ingredient in their gourmet dishes. In summer, farmers and distilleries open their doors and invite you to visit the enchanting perfume! If you wish to embark on a private tour of Provence with us, consider a summer excursion to the haunting lavender fields.
When: All year round
For who: Curious; families.
Why: Observe the expertise and joy that informs the creation of beautiful, colourful Basque fabrics.
Description: Over a century ago, in 1910, Calixte Lartigue founded a cloth mill for espadrilles in Oloron-Sainte-Marie. Four generations later, Philippe Lartigue continues his family’s savoir-faire by breathing creativity and modernity into traditional fabrics. You will be able to visit the Tissages Lartigue cloth mill, enter the machine room and immerse yourself in the cloth-weaving trades, in a world of warp and weft threads, and admire the virtuosity of the wrappers and weavers. Then, you will be able to observe the fabric’s nearly magical transformation into a multitude of colorful products for home and table: tablecloths, napkins, aprons, curtains, bags, etc. These typically Basque creations are treasures to behold– and to bring home as a fine souvenir or gift.
When: All year round
For who: Those interested in culture and traditions; music-lovers.
Why: Discover a traditional craft; attend an unusual concert.
Description: What do you think is the common thread between the Sacré Coeur, Taipei University Hall, and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall? Their bells! Wonderful bells from this foundry located on the shore of Lake Annecy. The owner will share with you the unique history of this family foundry, created more than 220 years ago. You will learn more about the moulding and presentation of the bells, before basking in a concert featuring…bells, of course! Their cheerful, rich sound will resonate with you for a long time to come.
When: All year round
For who: Gourmets, especially oyster lovers.
Why: Taste some of the best French oysters in the world
Description: Enjoy a boat trip from Arcachon to Cap Ferret and discover this amazing place with wonderful coloured landscapes and a colossal sand dune of 114 m, the highest in Europe. The regular-shaped peninsula creates a stunning sight to behold all along the coast. The famous oysters from the Arcachon Lagoon, meanwhile have long been a sought-after delicacy. The Roman poets, Ausonius and later Rabelais praised the excellent qualities of the mollusks in their writings. Numerous small oyster-breeding harbours are located all along the perimeter of the Arcachon lagoon, and you will find many waterside restaurants that serve almost nothing but oysters. This should be an essential part of any luxury tour along France’s stunning West Coast.
When: Spring; summer
For who: Enthusiasts of artisanal customs and products
Why: Discover fast-disappearing traditions and help to preserve them
Description: Walk through the doors of a small family workshop in Basque Country and enjoy an unforgettable encounter with the very last French “chistera” manufacturer: a famous wicker glove originating in the region. This craftsman will show you how ancient traditions continue, reassuringly enough, to be passed down from one generation to the next– contributing to the unique beauty of Basque culture.
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