Jewish Heritage in Provence:
July is lavender and sunflower season - the perfect time of the year to experience Provence in her full glory, as you meander through the fragrant purple hills and bright yellow fields that have made Provence landscapes legendary.
Traveling with Discover Provence you will be treated as one of the family. Chandri has been taking guests to this region for over 20 years, and will bring you into her friends’ homes and businesses. You will experience Provence as if it were your own home.
Your accommodations are in a fully equipped Provence mas complete with swimming pool and kitchen, where you can choose to have your morning breakfast, or join the group at the main house for lively conversation. Your home is in the beautiful village of Rustrel, “The Colorado of France”, known for her beautiful red clay panoramas. Here, we will be joined by local experts in the fields of food, wine, art , and the history of the region.
Your stay includes all breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners, all local transportation, entrance fees, and excursions as listed below. Excursion dates are flexible due to festival schedules.
1000 Years of Jewish History.
Explore a thousand years of Jewish history in Provence, a land that has attracted emperors, artists, and religious pilgrims since pre-roman times.
France has the third largest Jewish population in the world after Israel and the United States. The Jewish community in Avignon has roots that go back as far as the first century after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (70 AD).
During the middle ages, when Jews in Europe were severely persecuted, facing severe restrictions including where they could live and what jobs they could hold, one of the few places where they found refuge was in Provence. The Talmud was interpreted with uncommon skill here, and Jews from all over Europe sought out scholars from this religious heritage region in France on matters of Jewish law.
Under the protection of the Avignon Popes in the 14th century, the Jewish community flourished. Jews were permitted to live in the Arba Kehilot (four holy communities) including Avignon, Carpentras, Cavaillon and L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. With the exception of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, these old French cities still contain fine vestiges of their old Jewish quarters.
Traveling with Discover Provence, we will visit these heritage cities with an expert in Jewish history and law, while enjoying their present day culture, beauty and art.
Your exclusive intimate Jewish Heritage program will include:
Travel to Avignon where the “Pope’s Jews” lived under the pope’s protection directly across from the Pope’s palace. We will visit Jewish Heritage sites and experience the Avignon Theatre Festival, the largest most prestigious theatre festival in the world.
A visit to Carpentras and the oldest synagogue in France dating back to the 14th Century, which is still in service today.
Travel to the synagogue of Cavaillon, no longer active, which is smaller that of Carpentras but no less ornate. It overlooks the old carrière. On the basement level is the Musée Judéo-Comtadin, with remnants of a matzo bakery plus Torah scrolls and other historical artifacts.
L’Isle sur la Sorgue, the Venice of France
Built on a the banks of a river and the antique center of the region, L’Isle sur la Sorgue is known as the Venice of France. Little remains of the medieval Jewish quarter, although its presence is marked by street names like Rue Hebraique (Hebrew Street.) Original wrought-iron balconies still decorate some of the buildings of the old carrière. The Jewish cemetery can be seen outside of town. We will visit the Sunday Antique Market and meander through the village.
Fontaine de Vaucluse: Museum to the French Resistance
We will travel on to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorge’s sister village on the river, Fontaine de Vaucluse, site of the world’s deepest natural spring. Here we will visit the Call of Freedom a museum dedicated to the French Resistance during World War II. Here you will have the option of taking a kayak down the scenic and crystal clear river, ending back at L’Isle sur la Sorgue
Stop at Chateau LaCoste, with its huge vineyards and incredible international sculpture garden.
Voyage on to Aix-en-Provence where you are free to stroll down le Cours Mirabeau, one of the most beautiful boulevards in the world. You can choose to stop at Les Deux Garcons café , where you will become part of history joining artists and celebrities as diverse as Cezanne, Picasso, Churchill, Edith Piaf, Jean Paul Belmondo, and Jean Cocteau.
Visit to the Musee Granet including works by Cezanne, Giacometti, Picasso, Leger, and Mondrian.
Travel to the Roman city of Arles with its Coliseum and Roman Amphitheatre.
Attend the spectacular Arles Photo Festival.
Visit the Van Gogh Foundation., where many of the artists works are on display.
Finally enjoy a drink at the Van Gogh Café, preserved today exactly as existed in Van Gogh’s time.
Saint Saturin Les Apt, Le Domaine des Andeols.
Lunch in the local spectacular, and yet still undiscovered by tourists, four star resort and restaurant in Saint Saturin Les Apt, Le Domaine des Andeols.