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Philip Haslett

Philip Haslett

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Cruise Ship Excursions

Unique Provence is renowned for its luxury custom made itineraries covering the South of France and beyond. Our intimate knowledge of the region allows us to offer made to measure programs designed for each of our clients.

The same care and attention is applied to the private day tours that we organise for guests arriving in the South of France aboard cruise ships. With over 1,5 million passengers arriving each year in Marseille alone, we have created a network of the best local driver guides, including our own of course, to be able to offer a one stop booking point for day tours across Provence and the French Riviera. 

Cooking classes, history tours, city tours, active touring in Marseille, Cannes, Nice, St Tropez and Monaco

City tours, wine tours, cooking classes, hiking and biking, the choice is yours. From Monaco, Nice, Cannes, Toulon, St Tropez, Marseille and Sete we have a selection of itineraries, activities and experiences to suit every taste. 

If you want to know more or would like to book a day tour with Unique Provence write to us using our contact form here

 

 

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Les Voiles de St Tropez

Join us on a unique day experiencing the Voiles de St Tropez on board the 100ft Gaff Rigged Cutter "Le Don du Vent".

Les Voiles de St Tropez is one of the most prestigeous regattas in the world uniting the timeless beauty of classic sailing yachts with ultra modern yachts, a specificity that makes Les Voiles so unique.

Unique Provence has decided to offer our clients the opportunity to experience the weeks events first hand on board the "Don du Vent" a magnificent Gaff Rigged Ketch built in 1947 and extensively refitted by her present owner. Perfect for a group of friends or family, the yacht can accomodate up to 40 people on her wide decks. 

Each day will start with breakfast on board as we position ourselves to take in the day's action. As we will not be participating in the regattas themselves, we can move about and make the most of the races. On board we offer different lunch and beverage options from a simple rustic picnic with local Rosé to a chic buffet with Champagne and cocktails depending on your tastes and desires, we can even drop anchor for a swim if you wish! 

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We're on the WOW List!

At Unique Provence we are delighted to announce that Philip Haslett has been chosen by Wendy Perrin to be one of her WOW list of Trusted Travel Experts for France with a specialisation for Provence and the Riviera.

Check out his page here : http://www.wendyperrin.com/contact/philip-haslett/ and read his reviews here: http://www.wendyperrin.com/reviews/philip-haslett/

Philip grew accustomed to witnessing the jaw-dropping awe of travellers as they experience once in a lifetime moments, from the moment his career started 30 years ago. Whether navigating the skies in hot air balloons, plying the waterways of France as captain of luxury hotel barges or leading tours on the roads of France, Philip has spent all of his working life accompanying travellers as they experience the unique and unbelievable. 

Philip Haslett Ballooning in Provence and Barging in Burgundy

Philip drew on those 25 years of experience in unique and outstanding travel experiences to assemble all the necessary ingredients for the creation of Unique Provence specialized in curated, luxury travel in Provence, which he launched in 2011.

 Philip brings a lifetime of experience “off the beaten track” to his agency specialized in luxury travel services in the South of France as well as all other regions of France thanks to his team of experts.

 Whether you need to create a unique tour for your clients, offer exclusive concierge services to clients residing in villas, or on yachts, Philip’s network with Chefs, artisans, cheese makers, yacht captains, hotel managers, guides and the locals goes well beyond a working one and it is this personal relationship that he has with his suppliers that adds the “human” element that creates the memories in a great travel itinerary.

 Specialised in in Provence and the Riviera where he is based, Philip offers his services across the country thanks to his team of experts, allowing for seamless itineraries from region to region. He can set you up with a wine tasting at Petrus, dinner at the Louis XV (and why not meet the chef!), afternoon tea with a marquis in the Dordogne and a flight in a hot air balloon over an extinct volcano in the Auvergne before heading to Cannes to board your yacht for a week long private cruise complete with shore excursions including behind the scenes touring, cooking classes, hands on workshops with local artisans and maybe a final party in a private vineyard in St Tropez before heading home!

 For unique itineraries and experiences and services in Provence and the Riviera and the rest of France, send us an email and we will reveal some of our secrets : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Riviera by Rolls Royce

Our constant search for new and exclusive experiences and original ways to discover the French Riviera and Provence has reached a new high with the ultimate touring vehicle, a Rolls Royce Corniche II convertible. Why, may you ask, is this any better than the airconditioned comfort of our luxury Edition 1 V Class Mercedes that our clients are used to touring in?

The answer is very simple; you can see everything, the cliffs above, the flowering trees and a myriad of details that would go unnoticed in a classic touring car. Not to mention the guilty pleasure of be admired on every turn of the road by passers by!

We will pick you up at your hotel or villa and embark on a drive into the secret Riviera countryside away from the maddening crowds. Lunch can be a picnic prepared by your hotel chef and our magnificent luxury picnic hamper, a simple country restaurant or a Michelin starred experience. We have designed several itineraries depending on your hotel's location, each one taking into account the specificities of travel in a convertible, allowing you to discover parts of the Riviera far from the maddening crowds.

So if classic cars and stunning countryside are your cup of tea, contact us, your chauffeur awaits!

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Philippe Aviles

Tour Director

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Emmanuelle Haslett

Co-Founder and CFO

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Philip Haslett

Founder and CEO

For the last few weeks it has been cold, very cold which is normal, it's winter. We've had plenty of snow and temperatures well below freezing and although winter is very pretty, I would be happy if it lasted about a week and then moved into my favourite season Spring.

In 1943 the geographer André Siegfried said that Provence "was a cold country with a hot sun" and it is true that even when it is -10° C outside in the morning I turn off the heating in the house knowing that the sun will take over. It's a delight to be outside in the Provençal sunshine lounging like a lizard but add a bit of mistral to all of that (and winter is the season of the mistral wind) and suddenly the cold air slices through your clothes and freezes you from the inside out and the sun's only function is to remind you that it is daytime! But today (2nd of March) the wind switched to the South and the temperatures went from -5°C in the morning to 16°C.

This happens every year, one day it's winter and the next it's spring. (which also means that in the next few days the heavens will open and it will rain and rain). So today I went for a nice long walk armed with my camera, and this is what I saw...

A Walk in the Ruins of Ongles

My walk took me to the ruined village of Ongles in Haute Provence where the ancient streets and walls remain with the ruined church overlooking from the top of the hill. I have not been able to find any plans of what the original village looked like and it is always an interesting exercise to try and figure out where the houses were in relation to each other.

The village was abandoned in the 17th century when being perched on a hill to see the next attack from your neighbouring lord's serfs became an obsolete activity, but the church was used up until the early 20th century albeit in its ruined state. Most of the village was pulled down to rebuild the new one at the bottom of the hill and as such the old village became a stone quarry for the new one. In my kitchen I have stone slabs on the floor which may have originated from the old church, stone sinks that definitely came from up the hill and if you know where to look in the village you can find evidence of stonework that was not originally intended for its present location.

The Story of Provence Olive Trees

Apart from the ever present pine forests in Provence which are like tinder in the summer, the other evergreen tree that epitomises the South of France and indeed the entire Mediterranean basin is the olive tree. In amongst the ruins of the village of Ongles the olive trees are still there hundreds of years on.

Recently some of them have been pruned back for the production of olives once again for oil. In 1956 after a particularly balmy autumn and a mild start to the winter, during the month of February when the farmers were working in shirtsleeves, the cold arrived with a bang and the temperatures went from 10 to -20 overnight. The olive trees which can withstand the -20 conditions normally didn't this time because the sap in their branches was full due to the warm conditions and with the sudden change they were helpless and froze and a large percentage of the Provence olive trees disappeared overnight. But olive trees never die.

Many years later from the seemingly dead stumps, new branches emerged and the trees came back to life! Unfortunately in the more rural areas in the Haute Provence olive oil production had been forgotten by many and the trees grew in a semi-wild state, but bit by bit they were cleared and have now been returned to their former glory in many cases producing award winning olive oils.

Olivier Baussan, the founder of L'Occitane en Provence has created a museum on olive oil history and a has sourced the best olive oils in Provence which you can buy in his shops around France and soon probably around the world. Come and try them in Provence next time you are here. www.ppp-olive.com and have a delicious meal here whilst you're at it! Olive trees are fascinating and I tend to photograph them from every angle. Here are a few shots taken on my walk of the survivors of the old village of Ongles.

Soon the warmth of the Provençal sun will turn the brown grass and plants and leafless trees into a riot of colour, but for the moment the rain is pouring down which is a good thing for the coming season. But Provence certainly doesn't lose its unique charm even in the winter because the sun often shines and the smells of the wild thyme and lavender never go away. Having said that...bring on Summer!!!

 

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