Sacred South of France…The Mystery of Mary Magdalene

June 5 – 12, 2023

Sacred South of France…The Mystery of Mary Magdalene

This trip is not about Mary Magdalene as a religious figure but rather as an archetype of the divine feminine.

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). Although the truth and origins of her accounts are unprovable, we will discover the lore of her journey and immerse ourselves in the beauty, elegance and gastronomy that is France… all in comfort and luxury!

Book your journey with us BEFORE NOVEMBER 30 and take advantage of these opportunities:

  • Save $100 on your booking
  • Pay by cheque to save an additional $300 on your booking
  • And we’ll send you a copy of “The Expected One” by Kathleen McGowan, a gripping thriller of the story of Mary Magdalene set in the very foothills of France that we will visit!

As one of our “French connections”, you are a part of our travel tribe. We’ll send you special invitations to Sacred South of France events and you’ll receive exciting information on France in preparation for our trip of a lifetime!

NEED MORE INFORMATION?

Request a detailed
itinerary

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 rarely travelled to medieval walled city of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • A Different Point of View, special “Bienvenue” evening held privately on the hotel terrace. Enjoy spectacular views, delicious food and bubbly Blanquette wine while the hotel owner shares the history of the hotel and city as the sun sets on the medieval ramparts of this fabulous city steeped in mystery, history and lore.
  • The South of France through the eyes and heart of Mary Magdalene …become entranced by the lore of Mary Magdalene as we meet with local experts in Alet-les-Bains and the hamlet of Rennes-le-Chateau. A beautiful day complete with blessings, meditations, an enchanting lunch and the exploration of Sainte Marie-Madeleine church and castle.
  • Enchanting Encounters with your choice of: the Cathar Castles of Lastours; 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, one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, located within walking distance of beautiful Aix-en-Provence.
  • “La Vie en Rose” evening in the famed rose garden of Le Pigonnet…al fresco dining in the garden complete with the sultry sounds of Edith Piaf to seduce all senses.
  • Exploring the Divine Feminine …with Mary Magdalene 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.
  • Morning walking experience through Aix-en-Provence.
  • “Dinner with the Stars” a Michelin Star restaurant culinary extravaganza – wow!
  • Au Revoir, a gala affair at a a Provence winery Domaine de Fontenille. An exclusive evening of vistas, French vintage wines and other fancies. 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…C’est magnifique!

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

Sacred South of France, Lavender Fields

 

JUNE 5 – 12, 2023

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! Simply divine…

  • DAY 1: MONDAY, JUNE 5, 2023:

    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, air so fresh it revitalizes just to breathe, a light scent of lavender, gastronomy and joie de vivre that we all just yearn for… Your accommodation for the next few nights welcomes, charms and wraps its arms around you as a perfect companion to this vision made a reality…

    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

    Tonight, you are welcomed to Carcassonne with an evening entitled….A Different Point of View, held privately on the hotel terrace overlooking the ramparts of the city. Enjoy delicious Food Stations, Blanquette, the local sparkling wine, as the owner of the hotel shares its history and the connection to the city of Carcassonne. This evening, and its’ setting, elicits a serene and sated sigh as the sun sets on this remarkable city steeped in so much mystery, history and lore.

  • DAY 2: TUESDAY, JUNE 6, 2023:

    After a delicious hot breakfast, your day unfolds as we peek behind the veil of the fabled journey of Mary Magdalene. In true Divine style, we have carefully curated “Mary experts,” Ani & Gerda who will immerse us in all things Mary. Beginning in Alet-les-Bains, our experts will give us context for our journey and discuss symbols and hidden signs and codes as they relate to Mary Magdalene. From here, we visit Rennes-le-Chateau, a small hilltop hamlet that is home to only nineteen residents. Here, we will explore the local church (dedicated to Mary Magdalene) and the nearby tower., We’ll visit Gerda’s private garden for a blessing and reading followed by an enchanting lunch in a nearby restaurant. Our exciting day wraps up with a live piano musical mediation with David Bailey in the nearby castle.

    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 with 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: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7, 2023:

    This morning, rise and throw open your windows to the open air and breathe the freshness kissed every so sensually by sunshine and vineyards! Feel your soul stir…and your belly rumble…Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel.

    Today, 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 at leisure and on your own.

    Afternoon optional activities: Choice of one:

    Cathar Castles of Lastours

    High above the village of Lastours in Languedoc-Roussillon are the four Cathar castles of Lastours. The castles – Cabaret, Surdespine, la Tour Régine, and Quertinheux are in a seemingly impregnable position – on a rocky spine, with deep ravines on either side, containing the fast-flowing Grésilhou and Orbiel rivers. Although known as Cathar castles, and it is certainly true that the castles here were a refuge against Simon de Montfort and the Albigensian Crusade, the castles we now see were largely built after the crusade, the originals having been destroyed.

    CHÂTEAU LASTOURS WEBSITE


    Lovers Fountain & Isis Chair

    Located in Rennes-les-Bains, originally home to Roman Thermal Baths, we begin with a “scamper” down an overgrown path to the sacred and serene site of The Lovers Fountain “Fontaine des Amours.” This beautiful series of languid pools and waterfalls is said to be where Mary healed and baptised followers. Feel free to take a moment for a brief mediation or immerse yourself in the cold waters of the river.

    From here it is a more rigorous hike to the Isis Chair, a high energy stone “chair” dedicated to the Egyptian Goddess.


    Private guided walking & shopping experience in Carcassonne

    A personalized guide offers local knowledge that will help you with the language, bargaining and providing you with insight of which shops might be better or more suitable than others. Enjoy some retail therapy in a gorgeous setting.

    This evening it is a “Hint of Italy” in the South of France.

    Dinner this evening is an unexpected experience as we present a hint of Italy at La Bourdasso, a fabulous well known eclectic Italian restaurant in the French countryside.

    Family run, they make their own buffalo mozzarella and grow their own wheat for their home-made pasta. The owners will host the Divine Destination Collection for an evening of mouth-watering cuisine and fine wines that is more than a hint of charming, welcoming, delicious, and delightful! We have met the family and they are lovely, charismatic, and extremely passionate and talented. We will take you up close and personal while hosting you to an epic epicurean adventure.

  • DAY 4: THURSDAY, JUNE 8, 2023:

    Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel.

    We depart this morning for Aix-en-Provence.

    Quaint meets quintessential as we take in the lovely French countryside enroute before stopping at the picturesque seaside port town of Sete. Famous for its oysters, we travel by barge to a local oyster farm to see first-hand how they harvested followed by an amazing seafood lunch at Domaine Tarbouriech. Oyster glad that you did this??

    Next stop on our journey is Hôtel le Pigonnet in Aix-en Provence…

    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, one of the 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.

    HÔTEL LE PIGONNET WEBSITE

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

    This evening, join us in the garden for a very Provençal dining experience. We call it “La Vie en Rose” where an Imperial table replete with a gourmet menu of mouth-watering French specialities and vintage rose 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: FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 2023:

    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

    We will depart this morning for Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume. The morning begins with a 50 minute “easy to navigate and well worth it” hike up to the Grotto where Mary was said to have spent much time in solitary 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 just right.

    After lunch, we visit the13th Century Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume dedicated to Mary Magdalene. They claim to have Mary Magdalene’s skull in the Basilica crypt.

    Dinner tonight is at leisure and on own. Divine Destination Collection Private Concierge will be happy to make restaurant suggestions and reservations for you.

    Should you wish to stay closer to home, the restaurant at Le Pigonnet is famous for its’ cuisine.

  • DAY 6: SATURDAY, JUNE 10, 2023:

    Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel.

    It is market day in Aix-en-Provence and the perfect time to explore this lovely city on a guided walking market adventure. Feel like a local as we explore the stalls of local farmers & vendors…the perfect opportunity to pick up a quintessential French market basket for all your purchases!

    Lunch is at leisure and on own.

    This afternoon, enjoy more time in the city or relax in the gardens or pool at Le Pigonnet. For those who wish to continue to explore on their own, there will be several local excursions available for you to purchase and experience.

    This area of France honestly has as many Michelin restaurants as stars in the sky (well not really, but there are a lot!). We label tonight as “Dinner with the Stars” as everyone will have the opportunity to dine at a Michelin Star restaurant. Bon appétit takes on a whole new meaning with tonight’s incredible culinary extravaganza!

  • DAY 7: SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 2023:

    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 the day at leisure to experience the hotel and gardens or see more of Aix-en-Provence. There’s lots to enjoy or you could even try your hand at Petanque.

    This evening, we celebrate our time in the South of France, a place that is ethereal, sacred with breathtaking beauty. Join us for Au Revoir, a gala affair at a Domaine De Fonteille.An exclusive evening of vistas, French vintage wines and other fancies. 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…C’est magnifique!

  • DAY 8: MONDAY, JUNE 12, 2023:

    Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel.

    Check out and departure. 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 terrace with perhaps a glass (or two), of a perfect rosé…. A perfect time in a perfect place.

Map of France Route


 
June 5 – 12, 2023:  

Book your journey with us BEFORE NOVEMBER 30 and take advantage of these opportunities:

  • Save $100 on your booking
  • Pay by cheque to save an additional $300 on your booking
  • And we’ll send you a copy of “The Expected One” by Kathleen McGowan, a gripping thriller of the story of Mary Magdalene set in the very foothills of France that we will visit!

Double Occupancy: $11,800 CDN
Single Occupancy: $12,950 CDN

BOOK NOW

How is travelling with The Divine Destination Collection different than other travel companies?

The Divine Destination Collection offers our like-minded travellers a carefully curated selection of life-changing travel adventures.

Our mastery is crafting travel experiences that steep you in luxury while unveiling the most unique, unusual and sacred aspects of faraway places…all while creating magical, immersive and uncommon moments…where luxury, adventure and spirituality meet.

We travel in style offering minimal bus travel, delicious dining in unique venues, first-class restaurants and intimate boutique accommodation. You can relax knowing every single detail has been taken care of.

Our co-founders, Deb Niven and Allison Frame, are your hosts for every trip and take especially good care of your every need.  Travelling with them ensures that anything that needs to be decided upon will happen immediately without any calls to Head Office!

Why is the mystery of Mary Magdalene so interesting to experience?

Set in the beauty of the South of France, the lore of Mary Magdalene is the tale of her journey and life after the crucifixion of Christ. It is intriguing not only from a historical standpoint but to learn of her work, her teachings and her role as the archetype of the “divine feminine”. It is a fascinating view into a historically significant time and is certain to pique the interest of all.

What if Mary Magdalene isn’t for me?

Besides peeking behind the veil of Mary Magdalene, The Sacred South of France experience includes an opportunity to enjoy the many breath-taking elements of this glorious region. Experience the magnificent walled medieval city of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stay at two intimate luxurious properties, visit seldom seen sites, enjoy delicious gourmet meals, and revel in the beauty of France.

Is the trip suitable for couples? Who would be on the trip?

This Divine Destination Collection trip is absolutely suitable for couples.  You can expect to travel in a small group (20 – 25) of travellers who include couples, friends and singles. Our like-minded travellers share a sense of curiosity and excitement for seeing and experiencing the world.  Join us on the journey!

Do I need to be with the entire group all the time?

Our trips are designed so that people can choose to spend their time as they wish…you’re free to join in, or not, when you want to.  We leave free time during most days and we are here to help you plan your own adventures “your way”.

What can I expect in terms of safety and support while travelling with The Divine Destination Collection?

Your safety is our number one priority throughout the trip. We are there to ensure that you will be taken care at all times as we rely on our local support team and best-in-the-industry practices to handle any situation.

The French Connection
Before you travel to the South of France, there’s so much to learn and love about France! Here’s some things to get you started…tres bien!

FRENCH CUISINE

There is perhaps no national cuisine more venerated than that of France, and no French region more famous for its culinary prowess than the southeast. Here, the warm sun of the Mediterranean meets French savoir faire. This heady mix of the sun and sea make the local produce in the south of France irresistible. Aside from ratatouille, which the region is famous for, there are other less well-known delights, many of them based around fish or olives. And don’t even get us started on croissants, patisserie and baguettes!

Read More

MORE MARY MAGDALENE

There is a wealth of stories and information about the lore of Mary Magdalene and it is all fascinating.

This article “Mary Magdalene and Rennes-le-Chateau” is a good one…enjoy!

Read More

Mary Magdalene, stained glass, France

EN FRANCAIS S’il vous plait

Travelling in France to enjoy the culture, history, and gastronomy is so joyful! And things are even better when there we know how to communicate! Learning some of the basics of French language will make your time there even more enjoyable.

This is a great video to inspire you in your learning!

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 rarely travelled to medieval walled city of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • A Different Point of View, special “Bienvenue” evening held privately on the hotel terrace. Enjoy spectacular views, delicious food and bubbly Blanquette wine while the hotel owner shares the history of the hotel and city as the sun sets on the medieval ramparts of this fabulous city steeped in mystery, history and lore.
  • The South of France through the eyes and heart of Mary Magdalene …become entranced by the lore of Mary Magdalene as we meet with local experts in Alet-les-Bains and the hamlet of Rennes-le-Chateau. A beautiful day complete with blessings, meditations, an enchanting lunch and the exploration of Sainte Marie-Madeleine church and castle.
  • Enchanting Encounters with your choice of: the Cathar Castles of Lastours; 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, one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, located within walking distance of beautiful Aix-en-Provence.
  • “La Vie en Rose” evening in the famed rose garden of Le Pigonnet…al fresco dining in the garden complete with the sultry sounds of Edith Piaf to seduce all senses.
  • Exploring the Divine Feminine …with Mary Magdalene 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.
  • Morning walking experience through Aix-en-Provence.
  • “Dinner with the Stars” a Michelin Star restaurant culinary extravaganza – wow!
  • Au Revoir, a gala affair at a a Provence winery Domaine de Fontenille. An exclusive evening of vistas, French vintage wines and other fancies. 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…C’est magnifique!

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

Sacred South of France, Lavender Fields

 

JUNE 5 – 12, 2023

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! Simply divine…

  • DAY 1: MONDAY, JUNE 5, 2023:

    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, air so fresh it revitalizes just to breathe, a light scent of lavender, gastronomy and joie de vivre that we all just yearn for… Your accommodation for the next few nights welcomes, charms and wraps its arms around you as a perfect companion to this vision made a reality…

    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

    Tonight, you are welcomed to Carcassonne with an evening entitled….A Different Point of View, held privately on the hotel terrace overlooking the ramparts of the city. Enjoy delicious Food Stations, Blanquette, the local sparkling wine, as the owner of the hotel shares its history and the connection to the city of Carcassonne. This evening, and its’ setting, elicits a serene and sated sigh as the sun sets on this remarkable city steeped in so much mystery, history and lore.

  • DAY 2: TUESDAY, JUNE 6, 2023:

    After a delicious hot breakfast, your day unfolds as we peek behind the veil of the fabled journey of Mary Magdalene. In true Divine style, we have carefully curated “Mary experts,” Ani & Gerda who will immerse us in all things Mary. Beginning in Alet-les-Bains, our experts will give us context for our journey and discuss symbols and hidden signs and codes as they relate to Mary Magdalene. From here, we visit Rennes-le-Chateau, a small hilltop hamlet that is home to only nineteen residents. Here, we will explore the local church (dedicated to Mary Magdalene) and the nearby tower., We’ll visit Gerda’s private garden for a blessing and reading followed by an enchanting lunch in a nearby restaurant. Our exciting day wraps up with a live piano musical mediation with David Bailey in the nearby castle.

    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 with 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: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7, 2023:

    This morning, rise and throw open your windows to the open air and breathe the freshness kissed every so sensually by sunshine and vineyards! Feel your soul stir…and your belly rumble…Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel.

    Today, 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 at leisure and on your own.

    Afternoon optional activities: Choice of one:

    Cathar Castles of Lastours

    High above the village of Lastours in Languedoc-Roussillon are the four Cathar castles of Lastours. The castles – Cabaret, Surdespine, la Tour Régine, and Quertinheux are in a seemingly impregnable position – on a rocky spine, with deep ravines on either side, containing the fast-flowing Grésilhou and Orbiel rivers. Although known as Cathar castles, and it is certainly true that the castles here were a refuge against Simon de Montfort and the Albigensian Crusade, the castles we now see were largely built after the crusade, the originals having been destroyed.

    CHÂTEAU LASTOURS WEBSITE


    Lovers Fountain & Isis Chair

    Located in Rennes-les-Bains, originally home to Roman Thermal Baths, we begin with a “scamper” down an overgrown path to the sacred and serene site of The Lovers Fountain “Fontaine des Amours.” This beautiful series of languid pools and waterfalls is said to be where Mary healed and baptised followers. Feel free to take a moment for a brief mediation or immerse yourself in the cold waters of the river.

    From here it is a more rigorous hike to the Isis Chair, a high energy stone “chair” dedicated to the Egyptian Goddess.


    Private guided walking & shopping experience in Carcassonne

    A personalized guide offers local knowledge that will help you with the language, bargaining and providing you with insight of which shops might be better or more suitable than others. Enjoy some retail therapy in a gorgeous setting.

    This evening it is a “Hint of Italy” in the South of France.

    Dinner this evening is an unexpected experience as we present a hint of Italy at La Bourdasso, a fabulous well known eclectic Italian restaurant in the French countryside.

    Family run, they make their own buffalo mozzarella and grow their own wheat for their home-made pasta. The owners will host the Divine Destination Collection for an evening of mouth-watering cuisine and fine wines that is more than a hint of charming, welcoming, delicious, and delightful! We have met the family and they are lovely, charismatic, and extremely passionate and talented. We will take you up close and personal while hosting you to an epic epicurean adventure.

  • DAY 4: THURSDAY, JUNE 8, 2023:

    Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel.

    We depart this morning for Aix-en-Provence.

    Quaint meets quintessential as we take in the lovely French countryside enroute before stopping at the picturesque seaside port town of Sete. Famous for its oysters, we travel by barge to a local oyster farm to see first-hand how they harvested followed by an amazing seafood lunch at Domaine Tarbouriech. Oyster glad that you did this??

    Next stop on our journey is Hôtel le Pigonnet in Aix-en Provence…

    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, one of the 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.

    HÔTEL LE PIGONNET WEBSITE

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

    This evening, join us in the garden for a very Provençal dining experience. We call it “La Vie en Rose” where an Imperial table replete with a gourmet menu of mouth-watering French specialities and vintage rose 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: FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 2023:

    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

    We will depart this morning for Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume. The morning begins with a 50 minute “easy to navigate and well worth it” hike up to the Grotto where Mary was said to have spent much time in solitary 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 just right.

    After lunch, we visit the13th Century Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume dedicated to Mary Magdalene. They claim to have Mary Magdalene’s skull in the Basilica crypt.

    Dinner tonight is at leisure and on own. Divine Destination Collection Private Concierge will be happy to make restaurant suggestions and reservations for you.

    Should you wish to stay closer to home, the restaurant at Le Pigonnet is famous for its’ cuisine.

  • DAY 6: SATURDAY, JUNE 10, 2023:

    Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel.

    It is market day in Aix-en-Provence and the perfect time to explore this lovely city on a guided walking market adventure. Feel like a local as we explore the stalls of local farmers & vendors…the perfect opportunity to pick up a quintessential French market basket for all your purchases!

    Lunch is at leisure and on own.

    This afternoon, enjoy more time in the city or relax in the gardens or pool at Le Pigonnet. For those who wish to continue to explore on their own, there will be several local excursions available for you to purchase and experience.

    This area of France honestly has as many Michelin restaurants as stars in the sky (well not really, but there are a lot!). We label tonight as “Dinner with the Stars” as everyone will have the opportunity to dine at a Michelin Star restaurant. Bon appétit takes on a whole new meaning with tonight’s incredible culinary extravaganza!

  • DAY 7: SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 2023:

    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 the day at leisure to experience the hotel and gardens or see more of Aix-en-Provence. There’s lots to enjoy or you could even try your hand at Petanque.

    This evening, we celebrate our time in the South of France, a place that is ethereal, sacred with breathtaking beauty. Join us for Au Revoir, a gala affair at a Domaine De Fonteille.An exclusive evening of vistas, French vintage wines and other fancies. 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…C’est magnifique!

  • DAY 8: MONDAY, JUNE 12, 2023:

    Breakfast is included and at leisure in the hotel.

    Check out and departure. 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 terrace with perhaps a glass (or two), of a perfect rosé…. A perfect time in a perfect place.

MAP

Map of France Route

DATES & PRICES


 
June 5 – 12, 2023:  

Book your journey with us BEFORE NOVEMBER 30 and take advantage of these opportunities:

  • Save $100 on your booking
  • Pay by cheque to save an additional $300 on your booking
  • And we’ll send you a copy of “The Expected One” by Kathleen McGowan, a gripping thriller of the story of Mary Magdalene set in the very foothills of France that we will visit!

Double Occupancy: $11,800 CDN
Single Occupancy: $12,950 CDN

BOOK NOW

FAQ

How is travelling with The Divine Destination Collection different than other travel companies?

The Divine Destination Collection offers our like-minded travellers a carefully curated selection of life-changing travel adventures.

Our mastery is crafting travel experiences that steep you in luxury while unveiling the most unique, unusual and sacred aspects of faraway places…all while creating magical, immersive and uncommon moments…where luxury, adventure and spirituality meet.

We travel in style offering minimal bus travel, delicious dining in unique venues, first-class restaurants and intimate boutique accommodation. You can relax knowing every single detail has been taken care of.

Our co-founders, Deb Niven and Allison Frame, are your hosts for every trip and take especially good care of your every need.  Travelling with them ensures that anything that needs to be decided upon will happen immediately without any calls to Head Office!

Why is the mystery of Mary Magdalene so interesting to experience?

Set in the beauty of the South of France, the lore of Mary Magdalene is the tale of her journey and life after the crucifixion of Christ. It is intriguing not only from a historical standpoint but to learn of her work, her teachings and her role as the archetype of the “divine feminine”. It is a fascinating view into a historically significant time and is certain to pique the interest of all.

What if Mary Magdalene isn’t for me?

Besides peeking behind the veil of Mary Magdalene, The Sacred South of France experience includes an opportunity to enjoy the many breath-taking elements of this glorious region. Experience the magnificent walled medieval city of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stay at two intimate luxurious properties, visit seldom seen sites, enjoy delicious gourmet meals, and revel in the beauty of France.

Is the trip suitable for couples? Who would be on the trip?

This Divine Destination Collection trip is absolutely suitable for couples.  You can expect to travel in a small group (20 – 25) of travellers who include couples, friends and singles. Our like-minded travellers share a sense of curiosity and excitement for seeing and experiencing the world.  Join us on the journey!

Do I need to be with the entire group all the time?

Our trips are designed so that people can choose to spend their time as they wish…you’re free to join in, or not, when you want to.  We leave free time during most days and we are here to help you plan your own adventures “your way”.

What can I expect in terms of safety and support while travelling with The Divine Destination Collection?

Your safety is our number one priority throughout the trip. We are there to ensure that you will be taken care at all times as we rely on our local support team and best-in-the-industry practices to handle any situation.

FUN FACTS

The French Connection
Before you travel to the South of France, there’s so much to learn and love about France! Here’s some things to get you started…tres bien!

FRENCH CUISINE

There is perhaps no national cuisine more venerated than that of France, and no French region more famous for its culinary prowess than the southeast. Here, the warm sun of the Mediterranean meets French savoir faire. This heady mix of the sun and sea make the local produce in the south of France irresistible. Aside from ratatouille, which the region is famous for, there are other less well-known delights, many of them based around fish or olives. And don’t even get us started on croissants, patisserie and baguettes!

Read More

MORE MARY MAGDALENE

There is a wealth of stories and information about the lore of Mary Magdalene and it is all fascinating.

This article “Mary Magdalene and Rennes-le-Chateau” is a good one…enjoy!

Read More

Mary Magdalene, stained glass, France

EN FRANCAIS S’il vous plait

Travelling in France to enjoy the culture, history, and gastronomy is so joyful! And things are even better when there we know how to communicate! Learning some of the basics of French language will make your time there even more enjoyable.

This is a great video to inspire you in your learning!

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Sacred South of France…The Mystery of Mary Magdalene

This trip is not about Mary Magdalene as a religious figure but rather as an archetype of the divine feminine.

France Images and Videos

Unique travel experiences... where luxury, adventure and spirituality meet!

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