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

Sacred South of France…The Mystery of Mary Magdalene

DISCOVER THE LORE OF MARY MAGDALENE’S JOURNEY AND IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE BEAUTY, ELEGANCE AND GASTRONOMY THAT IS FRANCE...

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…

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, air so fresh it revitalizes just to breathe, a light scent of lavender and a 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 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, Blanquette, the owner of the hotel, hosts and shares its history of the hotel 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.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020:

…After a delicious hot breakfast, 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-Bains 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 with Tobi to explore the local church (dedicated to Mary Magdalene) and the nearby tower, while the other half will enter into their 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 switching. 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 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.

Thursday, June 4, 2020:

This morning, rise and throw open your windows to the open air and breathe the freshness of this France air, 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:

1) Cathar Castles of Lastours

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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

CHÂTEAU LASTOURS YOUTUBE VIDEO

2) Lovers Fountain & Isis Chair

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Located in Rennes-les-Bains (originally home to Roman Thermal Baths) we begin the day 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.

3) 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).

This evening it’s a “Hint of Italy” in the South of France.
Dinner this evening is an expect the 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 host the Divine Destination Collection to 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 charming, charismatic and extremely passionate and talented about their food… we will take you up close and personal while hosting you to an epic epicurean adventure…

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 stop into a local oyster farm to see first-hand how they harvested. Oyster glad that you did this??

Next stop Hôtel le Pigonnet in Aix-en Provence…

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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.

HÔTEL LE PIGONNET WEBSITE

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

This evening, join us in the garden under the rose arbor 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 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.

Saturday, June 6, 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 Abbaye Saint-Victor (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.

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

Sunday, June 7, 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. The morning begins 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 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 at leisure and on 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.

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…

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

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 terraces and perhaps a glass (or two) of a perfect rosé…. A perfect time in a perfect place…

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

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