Sacred South of France…The Mystery of Mary Magdalene

Just the name evokes a sense of serenity with its picturesque countryside dotted with vineyards and chateaux… Here, fine wines, great food and a “joie de vivre” have attracted and inspired so many throughout time.

Come with us as we trace the fabled footsteps of Mary Magdalene, who is said to have arrived in France after the crucifixion and lived and worked here as teacher and healer. She is regarded by many as an archetype of the divine feminine, an energy that has often been quelled in this world and yet is much needed (now more than ever). On this journey we discover the lore of her journey and immerse ourselves in the beauty, elegance and gastronomy that is France… all in comfort and luxury!

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June 2 - 9, 2020

DISCOVER THE LORE OF MARY MAGDALENE’S JOURNEY AND IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE BEAUTY, ELEGANCE AND GASTRONOMY THAT IS FRANCE…
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR 8 DAY DIVINE ADVENTURE INCLUDE:
  • 3 nights luxury accommodation at the 19th century Gothic style Hôtel de la Cité, located within the medieval walled city of Carcassonne (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
  • A Different Point of View, held privately on the hotel terrace. Views, Food Stations, Blanquette and the owner of the hotel will share the history of the hotel as the wistful strains of a French accordionist serenades and the sun sets on this fabulous city steeped in so much mystery, history and lore.
  • The South of France through the eyes and heart of Mary Magdalene …a day of Mary Magdalene with experts in Alet-les-Bains & Rennes-le-Chateau with a blessing, musical meditation, enchanting gourmet picnic lunch in a private garden and exploration of Sainte Marie-Madeleine church and castle.
  • Enchanting Encounters with a choice of: the Cathar Castles of Lastours; the village and Castle of Montségur; the Lovers Fountain & Isis Chair or a private guided walking & shopping experience in Carcassonne.
  • “A Hint of Italy” evening at La Bourdasso hosted by the Family owners, with a gourmet dinner prepared by an award-winning chef, surprises abound.. More than a hint of charming, welcoming, delightful deliciousness…
  • 4 nights at the breathtaking Hôtel Le Pigonnet, (a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World) located within walking distance to Aix-en-Provence.
  • “La Vie en Rose” evening in the famed rose garden of Le Pigonnet…al fresco dining with the sultry sounds of Edith Piaf to seduce all senses into the sublime.
  • Exploring the Divine Feminine …with Mary experts in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume including a hike to the grotto of Mary Magdalene (where she is said to have spent time in prayer & mediation), a casual lunch in a Monastic Retreat and a visit to the Basilica that is dedicated to Mary.
  • Votre Journée à Votre Façon with a choice of: A day in Marseille with a visit to the St. Victoire Abbey, a walking tour of the city and a gourmet lunch overlooking the harbour; A day in Avignon with a visit to the Palais de Papes and a picnic and wine-tasting at Chateauneuf du Pape Wine Estates; A day en Provence with a visit to the village of Lourmarin on Market Day, a casual lunch and wine-tasting at a small local winery.
  • “Dinner with the Stars” a Michelin Star restaurant culinary extravaganza.
  • Morning walking experience through Aix-en-Provence.
  • Au Revoir, a gala affair at a Private Provence Estate.  An exclusive evening of vistas and fancy. The countryside, gardens and terrace evoke all things South of France while gentle breezes and live entertainment captivate your imagination and leave you longing for more…

HÔTEL DE LA CITÉ within in walls of Carcasonne

 
HÔTEL DE LA CITÉ

The Hôtel de la Cité is an integral part of the history of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the very heart of the medieval city and built on the site of the former bishop’s palace, this 5-star hotel stands next to the Saint-Nazaire Basilica and overlooks the lower town from the ramparts, offering an enchanting view over the city, its gardens, its walls and its stones that have been there for centuries.

  HÔTEL DE LA CITÉ WEBSITE


 

HÔTEL LE PIGONNET

Le Pigonnet appears at first to underwhelm, but as you enter and immerse, you come to understand that you are experiencing something, some place that far surpasses merely enchanting. This magical place is an elegant and transformative escape in the heart of Aix-en-Provence. An 18th century Provençal mansion in beautiful floral gardens, Le Pigonnet (a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World) is a secluded slice of heaven, just a few minutes away from the city centre of Aix-en-Provence.

Relax & settle in. Allow its unprecedented authentic beauty and art of itself wash over you…

  HÔTEL LE PIGONNET WEBSITE

DAY 1: TUESDAY, JUNE 2, 2020: Upon arrival at the Toulouse International Airport you will be met by The Divine Destination Collection and head directly to the medieval walled city of Carcassonne.

Our home for the first three nights is Hôtel de la Cité a beautifully renovated, 19th century Neo Gothic style hotel inside the walled city. The South of France conjures up such visions of whimsy, serenity and air so fresh it revitalizes just to breathe… Your accommodation for the next few nights will welcome, charm and wrap its arms around you as a perfect companion to this vision made a reality…

Tonight welcomes you to Carcassonne with an evening entitled…A Different Point of View held privately on the hotel terrace overlooking the ramparts of the city. Enjoy Food Stations with Blanquette, the owner of the hotel hosts and shares its history and  connection to the city of Carcassonne…the evening and its setting elicits a serene and sated sigh as the wistful strains of a French accordionist serenades and the sun sets on this remarkable city steeped in so much mystery, history and lore.

DAY 2: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, 2020: Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel. The South of France through the eyes and heart of Mary Magdalene…your day unfolds as we peek behind the veil of her fabled journey. In true Divine style, we have carefully curated “Mary experts”, Tobi & Gerdi who will immerse us in all things Mary. Begin in Alet-les-Bain where Tobi will give us context for our journey and discuss symbols and hidden signs and codes as they relate to Mary Magdalene. From here, it’s on to Rennes-le-Chateau, a small hilltop hamlet that is home to 19 residents. Here we will split the group with one half going first to explore the local church and the nearby tower, while the other half will enter into Tobi & Gerdi’s private garden for a blessing and a talk on Mary Magdalene with Irish author, Catherine DeCourcy. Guests will receive a signed copy of her novel, “Montségur”. An enchanting picnic lunch in the garden follows before the groups switch to do the other activity. The afternoon wraps up with a live piano musical mediation with David Bailey in the castle next door. Our souls soothed and our curiosity piqued, we’ll enjoy a signature Blanquette cocktail in the hotel before everyone heads out for dinner at leisure and on their own. The heart of Carcassonne, the walled-in city, beats passionately with bistros, bars, restaurants and shops, their doors open in the evening inviting all who wander the cobblestoned streets to fall into their charm…The Divine Destination private concierge will assist with reservations if required.

DAY 3: THURSDAY, JUNE 4, 2020: Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel. This morning, feel free to lie-in and luxuriate, or join us for a walking adventure through Carcassonne. Our engaging guides will explain the history of the walled city along with how it relates to Mary and the Cathars. Lunch is at leisure and on your own. Optional activities for this afternoon include: Cathar Castles of Lastours; OR Village & Castle of Montségur; the Lovers Fountain & Isis Chair OR a private guided walking & shopping experience in Carcassonne (this personalized addition of local knowledge helps with the language, bargaining and advising of which shops might be better or more suitable than others). Dinner this evening is an expect the unexpected experience as we present a hint of Italy at La Bourdasso. Family run, they make their own buffalo mozzarella and grow their own wheat for their homemade pasta. The owners host the Divine Destination Collection to an evening of mouth-watering cuisine and fine wines that is more than a hint of charming – it’s welcoming, delicious and delightful! We will take you up close and personal while hosting you to an epic epicurean adventure…

DAY 4: FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 2020: Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel. We depart this morning for Aix-en-Provence. Quaint meets quintessential today as we take in the lovely French countryside before stopping at the picturesque seaside port town of Sete for a delicious seafood lunch. Famous for its oysters, we will visit a local oyster farm to see first-hand how they are harvested. Oyster glad that you did this?? Next stop Hôtel Le Pigonnet. This evening, join us in the garden under the rose arbour for a very Provençal dining experience. We are calling it “La Vie en Rose”, where an Imperial table replete with a gourmet menu of mouth-watering French specialities and vintage rosé wines awaits amid a backdrop rivalled by none…The moment is al fresco and charming with the sultry sounds of Edith Piaf to seduce all senses into the sublime.

DAY 5: SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 2020: Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel. In the words of the hotel, “if you break your fast outdoors this morning…please know that enjoying the sunshine on your plate on the patio here at Le Pigonnet is a pure moment of pleasure.” Exploring the Divine Feminine…a Day of Mary Magdalene. Depart this morning for Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume. We start with a 50 minute “easy to navigate and well worth it” hike up to the Grotto where Mary is said to have spent much time in prayer and meditation. Once down from the grotto, we will have a delicious hearty lunch in a very spartan Monastic Retreat. The food is sublime and the starkness of the surroundings feels right. After lunch, we visit the 13th Century Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume dedicated to Mary Magdalene. Dinner this evening is at leisure and on your own. We will have shuttles running into Aix-en-Provence and the Divine Destination Collection Private Concierge will be happy to make restaurant suggestions and reservations for you. Also, should you wish to stay closer to home, the restaurant at Le Pigonnet is famous for its cuisine.

DAY 6: SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 2020: Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel. Votre Journée à Votre Façon. Choose between one of the following: 1) A day in Marseille with a guided walking tour, a visit to St. Victoire Abbey (where Mary is said to have preached) and a lovely lunch overlooking the harbour. 2) Full day in Avignon with a guided walking tour, visit to the Palais des Pape (former papal residence) and a casual picnic and wine tasting at Châteauneuf du Pape Wine Estates. 3) A day Provence Experience with a visit to the village of Lourmarin, a stroll through the weekly market, a casual lunch and wine tasting at a small local winery. Honestly, this area of France has almost as many Michelin restaurants as stars in the sky (well not really, but there are a lot!) We are calling tonight “Dinner with the Stars” as everyone will have the opportunity to dine at a Michelin Star restaurant. Truly a culinary extravaganza. Bon appetite takes on a whole new meaning with tonight’s experience.

DAY 7: MONDAY, JUNE 8, 2020: Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel. Afterwards, why not stroll the gardens as Paul Cézanne did? He loved to wander the grounds with his easel to paint the Sainte Victoire mountain in the distance from different angles. Enjoy a late morning Walking Adventure through the town of Aix-en-Provence. Spend the afternoon shopping in town or return to the hotel to sit poolside, take in the sights and smells of the magnificent gardens or try your hand at Petanque. This evening we celebrate our time here in the South of France, the ethereal, the sacred, the breathtaking beauty…join us for…Au Revoir, a gala affair at a Private Provence Estate. An exclusive evening of vistas and fancy. The countryside, gardens and terrace evoke all things South of France while gentle breezes and live entertainment captivate your imagination and leave you longing for more…

DAY 8: TUESDAY, JUNE 9, 2020: Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel. Private transfers to the Marseille International Airport will be provided for your return home.

As you board your flight and buckle in, relax into your seat, stretch into your body and reflect on your time in the Sacred South of France. Through the fabled footsteps of Mary Magdalene, you experienced a light here that is truly indescribable. Depending on the time of day, you were either bathed in a brilliant white light, the result of a cloudless cerulean sky, or a warm golden almost sepia tone that washed over you at dusk.  Recall with a heart that has swelled so open, that this surreal light attracted the likes of Cezanne, Van Gogh and Matisse who tried to capture its transient beauty! There is a pace of life here that lulled you and lured you in…to long languid outdoor lunches on shady terraces and perhaps a glass (or two) of a perfect rosé…A perfect time in a perfect place…

Map of France Route


 
June 2 – 9, 2020:

$11,550 CDN per person based on double occupancy
$13,275 CDN per person based on single occupancy

Book Now
 

HIGHLIGHTS

HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR 8 DAY DIVINE ADVENTURE INCLUDE:

  • 3 nights luxury accommodation at the 19th century Gothic style Hôtel de la Cité, located within the medieval walled city of Carcassonne (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
  • A different point of view, held privately on the hotel terrace. Views, Food Stations, Blanquette and the owner of the hotel will share the history of the hotel as the wistful strains of a French accordionist serenades and the sun sets on this fabulous city steeped in so much mystery, history and lore.
  • The South of France through the eyes and heart of Mary Magdalene …a day of Mary Magdalene with experts in Alet-les-Bains & Rennes-le-Chateau with a blessing, musical meditation, enchanting gourmet picnic lunch in a private garden and exploration of Sainte Marie-Madeleine church and castle.
  • Enchanting Encounters with a choice of: the Cathar Castles of Lastours, the village and Castle of Montsegur; the Lovers Fountain & Isis Chair or a private guided walking & shopping experience in Carcassonne.
  • “A Hint of Italy” evening at La Bourdasso hosted by the Family owners, with a gourmet dinner prepared by an award-winning chef, surprises abound.. More than a hint of charming, welcoming, delightful deliciousness…
  • 4 nights at the breathtaking Hôtel Le Pigonnet, (a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World) located within walking distance to Aix-en-Provence.
  • “La Vie en Rose” evening in the famed rose gardens of Le Pigonnet…al fresco dining and a la charming with the sultry sounds of Edith Piaf to seduce all senses into satiation.
  • Exploring the Divine Feminine …with Mary experts in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume including a hike to the grotto of Mary Magdalene (where she is said to have spent time in prayer & mediation), a casual lunch in a Monastic Retreat and a visit to the Basilica that is dedicated to Mary.
  • “Votre journée à votre façon” with a choice of: A day in Marseille with a visit to the St. Victoire Abbey, a walking tour of the city and a gourmet lunch overlooking the harbour; A day in Avignon with a visit to the Palais de Papes and a picnic and wine-tasting at Chateauneuf du Pape Wine Estates; A day en Provence with a visit to the village of Lourmarin on Market Day, a casual lunch and wine-tasting at a small local winery.
  • “Dinner with the Stars” a Michelin Star restaurant culinary extravaganza.
  • Morning walking experience through Aix-en-Provence.
  • Au Revoir, a gala affair at a Private Provence Estate.  An exclusive evening of vistas and fancy. The countryside, gardens and terrace evoke all things South of France while gentle breezes and live entertainment captivate your imagination and leave you longing for more…

HOTELS

HÔTEL DE LA CITÉ within in walls of Carcasonne

 
HÔTEL DE LA CITÉ

The Hôtel de la Cité is an integral part of the history of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the very heart of the medieval city and built on the site of the former bishop’s palace, this 5-star hotel stands next to the Saint-Nazaire Basilica and overlooks the lower town from the ramparts, offering an enchanting view over the city, its gardens, its walls and its stones that have been there for centuries.

  HÔTEL DE LA CITÉ WEBSITE


 

HÔTEL LE PIGONNET

Le Pigonnet appears at first to underwhelm, but as you enter and immerse, you come to understand that you are experiencing something, some place that far surpasses merely enchanting. This magical place is an elegant and transformative escape in the heart of Aix-en-Provence. An 18th century Provençal mansion in beautiful floral gardens, Le Pigonnet (a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World) is a secluded slice of heaven, just a few minutes away from the city centre of Aix-en-Provence.

Relax & settle in. Allow its unprecedented authentic beauty and art of itself wash over you…

  HÔTEL LE PIGONNET WEBSITE

ITINERARY

DAY 1: TUESDAY, JUNE 2, 2020: Upon arrival at the Toulouse International Airport you will be met by The Divine Destination Collection and head directly to the medieval walled city of Carcassonne.

Our home for the first three nights is Hôtel de la Cité a beautifully renovated, 19th century Neo Gothic style hotel inside the walled city. The South of France conjures up such visions of whimsy, serenity and air so fresh it revitalizes just to breathe… Your accommodation for the next few nights will welcome, charm and wrap its arms around you as a perfect companion to this vision made a reality…

Tonight welcomes you to Carcassonne with an evening entitled…A Different Point of View held privately on the hotel terrace overlooking the ramparts of the city. Enjoy Food Stations with Blanquette, the owner of the hotel hosts and shares its history and  connection to the city of Carcassonne…the evening and its setting elicits a serene and sated sigh as the wistful strains of a French accordionist serenades and the sun sets on this remarkable city steeped in so much mystery, history and lore.

DAY 2: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, 2020: Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel. The South of France through the eyes and heart of Mary Magdalene…your day unfolds as we peek behind the veil of her fabled journey. In true Divine style, we have carefully curated “Mary experts”, Tobi & Gerdi who will immerse us in all things Mary. Begin in Alet-les-Bain where Tobi will give us context for our journey and discuss symbols and hidden signs and codes as they relate to Mary Magdalene. From here, it’s on to Rennes-le-Chateau, a small hilltop hamlet that is home to 19 residents. Here we will split the group with one half going first to explore the local church and the nearby tower, while the other half will enter into Tobi & Gerdi’s private garden for a blessing and a talk on Mary Magdalene with Irish author, Catherine DeCourcy. Guests will receive a signed copy of her novel, “Montségur”. An enchanting picnic lunch in the garden follows before the groups switch to do the other activity. The afternoon wraps up with a live piano musical mediation with David Bailey in the castle next door. Our souls soothed and our curiosity piqued, we’ll enjoy a signature Blanquette cocktail in the hotel before everyone heads out for dinner at leisure and on their own. The heart of Carcassonne, the walled-in city, beats passionately with bistros, bars, restaurants and shops, their doors open in the evening inviting all who wander the cobblestoned streets to fall into their charm…The Divine Destination private concierge will assist with reservations if required.

DAY 3: THURSDAY, JUNE 4, 2020: Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel. This morning, feel free to lie-in and luxuriate, or join us for a walking adventure through Carcassonne. Our engaging guides will explain the history of the walled city along with how it relates to Mary and the Cathars. Lunch is at leisure and on your own. Optional activities for this afternoon include: Cathar Castles of Lastours; OR Village & Castle of Montségur; the Lovers Fountain & Isis Chair OR a private guided walking & shopping experience in Carcassonne (this personalized addition of local knowledge helps with the language, bargaining and advising of which shops might be better or more suitable than others). Dinner this evening is an expect the unexpected experience as we present a hint of Italy at La Bourdasso. Family run, they make their own buffalo mozzarella and grow their own wheat for their homemade pasta. The owners host the Divine Destination Collection to an evening of mouth-watering cuisine and fine wines that is more than a hint of charming – it’s welcoming, delicious and delightful! We will take you up close and personal while hosting you to an epic epicurean adventure…

DAY 4: FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 2020: Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel. We depart this morning for Aix-en-Provence. Quaint meets quintessential today as we take in the lovely French countryside before stopping at the picturesque seaside port town of Sete for a delicious seafood lunch. Famous for its oysters, we will visit a local oyster farm to see first-hand how they are harvested. Oyster glad that you did this?? Next stop Hôtel Le Pigonnet. This evening, join us in the garden under the rose arbour for a very Provençal dining experience. We are calling it “La Vie en Rose”, where an Imperial table replete with a gourmet menu of mouth-watering French specialities and vintage rosé wines awaits amid a backdrop rivalled by none…The moment is al fresco and charming with the sultry sounds of Edith Piaf to seduce all senses into the sublime.

DAY 5: SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 2020: Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel. In the words of the hotel, “if you break your fast outdoors this morning…please know that enjoying the sunshine on your plate on the patio here at Le Pigonnet is a pure moment of pleasure.” Exploring the Divine Feminine…a Day of Mary Magdalene. Depart this morning for Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume. We start with a 50 minute “easy to navigate and well worth it” hike up to the Grotto where Mary is said to have spent much time in prayer and meditation. Once down from the grotto, we will have a delicious hearty lunch in a very spartan Monastic Retreat. The food is sublime and the starkness of the surroundings feels right. After lunch, we visit the 13th Century Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume dedicated to Mary Magdalene. Dinner this evening is at leisure and on your own. We will have shuttles running into Aix-en-Provence and the Divine Destination Collection Private Concierge will be happy to make restaurant suggestions and reservations for you. Also, should you wish to stay closer to home, the restaurant at Le Pigonnet is famous for its cuisine.

DAY 6: SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 2020: Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel. Votre Journée à Votre Façon. Choose between one of the following: 1) A day in Marseille with a guided walking tour, a visit to St. Victoire Abbey (where Mary is said to have preached) and a lovely lunch overlooking the harbour. 2) Full day in Avignon with a guided walking tour, visit to the Palais des Pape (former papal residence) and a casual picnic and wine tasting at Châteauneuf du Pape Wine Estates. 3) A day Provence Experience with a visit to the village of Lourmarin, a stroll through the weekly market, a casual lunch and wine tasting at a small local winery. Honestly, this area of France has almost as many Michelin restaurants as stars in the sky (well not really, but there are a lot!) We are calling tonight “Dinner with the Stars” as everyone will have the opportunity to dine at a Michelin Star restaurant. Truly a culinary extravaganza. Bon appetite takes on a whole new meaning with tonight’s experience.

DAY 7: MONDAY, JUNE 8, 2020: Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel. Afterwards, why not stroll the gardens as Paul Cézanne did? He loved to wander the grounds with his easel to paint the Sainte Victoire mountain in the distance from different angles. Enjoy a late morning Walking Adventure through the town of Aix-en-Provence. Spend the afternoon shopping in town or return to the hotel to sit poolside, take in the sights and smells of the magnificent gardens or try your hand at Petanque. This evening we celebrate our time here in the South of France, the ethereal, the sacred, the breathtaking beauty…join us for…Au Revoir, a gala affair at a Private Provence Estate. An exclusive evening of vistas and fancy. The countryside, gardens and terrace evoke all things South of France while gentle breezes and live entertainment captivate your imagination and leave you longing for more…

DAY 8: TUESDAY, JUNE 9, 2020: Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel. Private transfers to the Marseille International Airport will be provided for your return home.

As you board your flight and buckle in, relax into your seat, stretch into your body and reflect on your time in the Sacred South of France. Through the fabled footsteps of Mary Magdalene, you experienced a light here that is truly indescribable. Depending on the time of day, you were either bathed in a brilliant white light, the result of a cloudless cerulean sky, or a warm golden almost sepia tone that washed over you at dusk.  Recall with a heart that has swelled so open, that this surreal light attracted the likes of Cezanne, Van Gogh and Matisse who tried to capture its transient beauty! There is a pace of life here that lulled you and lured you in…to long languid outdoor lunches on shady terraces and perhaps a glass (or two) of a perfect rosé…A perfect time in a perfect place…

MAP

Map of France Route

DATES & PRICES


 
June 2 – 9, 2020:

$11,550 CDN per person based on double occupancy
$13,275 CDN per person based on single occupancy

Book Now
 

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Sacred South of France…The Mystery of Mary Magdalene

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