• At a glance
  • Locality & Walks
  • Accommodation & Meals
  • Travel options
  • Photos
At a Glance

Your Holiday at a Glance


   
Independent Walking Holiday
  • Highlights of Provence: Best of Les Alpilles & Luberon

Dates for 2020
  • Everyday subject to availability during March, April, May, June, September and October
Price
  • 12 Nights
  • £1585 (single supplement £735)
  • €1745 (single supplement €820)
  • Loyalty scheme reduction applies for returning customers (see terms and conditions)
Grade
  • moderate grade walking
Profile
  • 12 nights: 11 walking days, moving between guest houses
Highlights
  • Beautiful & varied Provence landscapes with rugged hills and a tapestry of olives, vines & lavender
  • Visit historic villages of Gordes, Lacoste, Roussillon St Saturnin les Apt, Baux-de-Provence, St-Remy-de-Provence, Eygalieres
  • Visiting Cathedral of Images, Colorado Provencal, Castles, Roman sites & museums
  • Historic towns of Avignon & Arles
  • Choice of difficulty of walks on some days
  • A warm and sunny climate, ideal walking in spring or autumn
  • Delightful guest houses and hotels full of character, many with swimming pools
Testimonials
  • "In many ways it has exceeded expectations on returning to the area after 11 years. The notes were the best of any offered by many companies used over decades." A. Wight, UK, Grand Tour of Luberon
  • "Fabulous scenery. Enjoyed the lovely walks and being able to absorb the culture." A. Leete, UK, Les Alpilles
Accommodation and Meals
  • 12 nights accommodation in several charming guest houses in historic buildings full of character and interspersed with quality 3 star hotels and auberges, double or twin rooms with own bathroom.
What's included
  1. 12 nights accommodation
  2. Meals: All breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 evening meals
  3. Detailed walking notes and maps
  4. Luggage transport between guest houses
  5. 5 transfers during the walking holiday
  6. Taxi transfer from Arles to Baux de Provence on day 2 of the holiday and from Roussillon to Avignon on day 12 of the holiday
What's not included
  1. Travel to Arles and from Avignon, France; 8 lunches and 8 evening meals, any entrance fees or excursions, travel insurance
 
  1. See also:
  2. Luberon: Classic Provence
  3. Grand Tour of the Luberon
  4. Les Alpilles: Van Gogh's Provence
  5. Grand Tour of Les Alpilles
Walks

Locality & Walks

This unique self-guided walking holiday allows you to discover the very best of Provence in the Alpilles & Luberon Regional Parks. You'll explore many of the must-see sights as well as walking the most interesting & beautiful off-the-beaten-track trails.

Your first 4 days explore the beautiful Alpilles region sometimes traversing a patchwork of olive groves and vines, whilst at other times making your way through wild, craggy hills bordered by sheer limestone cliffs. You'll explore several beautiful villages in this stunning part of Provence, including St Remy de Provence in southern France, celebrated as the place where Van Gogh created 150 of his famous paintings. Here you can also explore the Gallo-Roman site of Glanum as well walking onto the Caume Plateau for excellent views. In addition you'll spend time in the beautiful historic village of Baux de Provence perched atop a jagged ridge and crowned by its castle ruins. Other highlights include the olive mills of Maussane-les-Alpilles, the Cathedral of Images in Baux-de-Provence, and the wonderful Provence market in Eygalieres.

You then move onto the Luberon and undertake a beautiful circuit around the hills, gorges and historic villages of the Luberon Regional Park in Provence. As well as visiting some of the best loved historic hill-top villages such as Gordes, Goult, Lacoste, Bonnieux, Roussillon and St Saturnin les Apt, each with their own special character, your walking trail takes you off the beaten track and through some less frequented, charming hamlets and villages. You'll discover Luberon's pretty landscapes covered with vines, lavender, orchards and forests, where small and bigger hills alike provide generous vantage points. Despite the popularity of this picturesque part of Provence, your walking holiday explores quiet trails inbetween the villages where each step is infused with the smell of Provence herbs. At the end of each day, relax by the pool and soak up the Provence sunshine at your delightful guest house or hotel.

Find out more about the Luberon region

Walking Profile

10 or 11 days independent walking moving between hotels and guest houses with 4 days with circular trails from your accommodation. This holiday has walking days with an average of 15km and +350m of ascent per day. You'll be walking on a mixture of small paths, tracks and quiet roads. The paths in the Luberon and Alpilles are often stony and rugged due to the nature of the geology, and so walking boots are recommended.

 

location map luberon provence

Day 1: Arrival

Welcome in Arles. Explore Arles and its Roman treasures including its Roman Arena and its theatre. Take in the atmosphere of this lively Provence town surrounded by city walls on the banks of the Rhone River. There are numerous museums to visit. It was Van Gogh's home for a year when he produced about 300 of his celebrated paintings.

Day 2: Circular Tour from Les Baux de Provence

After breakfast, transfer to Baux de Provence. Explore Baux de Provence with it 22 architectural treasures classified as "Historic Monuments" (including the church, chateau, town-hall, hospital, chapels, houses, doorways etc). This car-free village has plenty of ancient houses that have been carefully restored, beautiful Renaissance facades and several magnificent "hotels particuliers". Above them all, are the ruins of the citadelle which crown the hill. Visit the chateau ruins, cost about 8 euros. One of the must-see sites close to the village is the Carrieres de Lumieres, where artistic works are projected on enormous quarry walls. Currently (2019), Van Gogh's works are being shown.

You also have the option of a walk onto the hills behind les-Baux-de-Provence. After passing through neat olive groves and vines, climb slowly in a wild and rugged valley cut off from the surrounding plains. Reach the ridgeline with great views. Return to Baux-de-Provence via a wonderful viewpoint overlooking the village. 12km, +300m

Possible to book extra days and nights at Baux-de-Provence.

Day 3: Baux de Provence - Aureille

Pass over the Majan Hills with great 360 degree views before reaching the pretty village of Maussane in the heart of the most important olive producing area in France. Visit the famous 17th century Cornille mill where you can taste one of Provence’s best olive oils. Afterwards you have the option of going via the unique site of les Caisses de Jean Jean, a dry limestone grassy plateau encircled by cliffs. At the end of the plateau are the remains of a prehistoric settlement. Great views before descending. Afterwards a beautiful walk alongside the irrigation canal of the Baux Valley as it cuts across the hillside with views towards the higher hills. End the day at a beautiful guest house in the quiet village of Aureille. 20km, +300m

Day 4: Aureille - Eygalieres

A beautiful walk leads you past the rugged hills of les Opies and the highest summits in the Alpilles. A steady climb takes you up to a look-out tower at 337m with superb views across much of Les Alpilles. Descend gently through shrub with more great vistas to reach the Grande Randonnee GR6. Follow it to return to a pretty valley planted with vines and surrounded by the fin-like rock cliffs of Les Calans hills. A last climb permits you to get further panoramic views before descending to the historic village of Eygalieres. 14km, +350m

Day 5: Circular Tour from St Remy de Provence

Transfer to St Remy de Provence. Spend the day visiting St Remy de Provence and/or do an optional walk.
Among the possible visits in St Remy is the Saint-Paul de Mausole monastery where Van Gogh created 150 paintings in a year. Vincent Van Gogh had been living in Arles during 1888-89. In May 1889 he was voluntarily confined in the Asylum of Saint Paul de Mausole where in a productive year he painted two of his most notable works: Starry Night and Self-Portrait. Saint Remy de Provence is also home to the historic remains of Glanum which was founded in the 3rd century BC, before control passed to the Romans under Julius Ceasar. Two important monuments are visible next to the site: l'Arc de Triomphe and the Mausolee des Antiques.

You have the choice of doing a walk around St Remy, climbing onto the Plateau de la Caume for wonderful views. The far end of the plateau arguably provides the finest views in the whole of the Alpilles. On the way visit the bizzare fin of rock with two holes. Return to St Remy via the beautiful Lake Peirou. 13/18km, +350m

Possible to book extra days and nights at St-Remy-de-Provence.

Transfer to Gordes.

Day 6: Walk from Gordes

Explore the historic perched village of Gordes - probably the most famous village in the Luberon - and undertake a circular walk via Abbaye de Sénanque. Your walking tour takes you to Sénanque Abbey. Built in 1148, the abbey has housed an order of Cistercian monks for over 850 years. A guided tour of the abbey is possible and will allow you to visit the medieval parts of the monastery. Your path then climbs out of the Sénancole valley, with breath taking views of the abbey. Your descent back to Gordes is just as scenic, walking along ancient stone walls and among bories – dry stone dwellings. Short walk through the historic streets of Gordes and through fields to your hotel just outside the village.
Other options include exploring the Vezoule Ravine or semacole gorge. 13-17km, +250m or +450m.

Day 7: Goult – Bonnieux 

Transfer to the perched village of Goult, a wonderful historic village far less popular than Gordes but nonetheless charming, its alleyways twisting around the ruins of its castle. From Goult you descend through old terraces into the Calavon valley. Your walking trail then takes you off the beaten path but provides an overview of so much of what makes the Luberon special: tiny hamlets, vineyards, an ancient church, bories, an old lavoir and amazing views. Then reach the beautiful perched village of Lacoste, where you can climb on cobbled streets and visit the ruins of its castle. You then make your way to Bonnieux, another wonderful Provence village, on top of which stands a 12th century church surrounded by century-old cedars. The view from Bonnieux is wonderful out across the valley floor with its patchwork of orchards and vineyards, towards Lacoste. 16km +390m

Day 8: Petit Luberon & Cedar Forest or rest day

After exploring Bonnieux climb onto the Petit Luberon hills for stunning views and a walk through its Cedar Forest. Visit a borie village on the way. Or you can decide to have a rest day at your lovely guest house with swimming pool. 14km, +450m

Day 9: Boux - Saignon

Transfer to the wild and beautiful Aigue Brun Gorge. You have the option of going via the pretty village of Sivergues or of visiting Fort Boux before passing picturesque lavender fields to reach Saignon, another pretty hill-top village. There is also the option of climbing to the grassy ridge of the Grand Luberon hills for great panoramic views for those who want a challenge. Transfer at the end of the day or at the start of the next one depending on accommodation options. 10-19km  +350-710m

Day 10: Viens - Rustrel

Your trail leads you to the historic hill-top village of Viens with its chateau perched on the edge of a rock band. Here you have great views towards the Gorge of Oppedette. A great ridge walk follows that descends gradually towards Rustrel. Afterwards, explore the wonderful landscapes and colours of the Colorado Provencal where ochre deposits form wonderful towers, cliffs and fins of rock. A delightful woodland trail leads you to a desert of exposed rocks before making your way to Rustrel for your transfer to your guest house. 13km, +450m

Day 11: St Saturnin les Apt - Roussillon

Visit the wonderful hill-top village of St Saturnin les Apt, nestled along the base of a long, low cliff, with the ruins of a castle above. Explore its pretty streets and climb onto the cliff for beautiful views of the Luberon before heading west through vineyards and orchards. The easier walking trail stays below the wooded slopes whilst the harder option climbs to the north to follow the top of the impressive Madeleine cliffs overlooking the hamlet of Lioux, which are 100m high and over 1km in length. Great panoramic views as you progress before heading south and climbing to the pretty ochre coloured village of Roussillon, which sits on top of a small hill and is classed as one of the prettiest villages in France. 19km or 22km, +290m or +600m.

Day 12: Roussillon & Avignon

After exploring the village and ocre quarry, transfer to Avignon, one of the prettiest cities in Provence, which includes famous sites such as the Palais des Papes and the Pont d’Avignon. Explore the city at your leisure. Possible to do a walk and transfer at the end of the day if preferred.

Day 13: Departure

Walking holiday ends after breakfast for your onward travel.


 

 

alpilles hills flowers provence hiking

baux de provence historic village in south france

hills and olives alpilles provence

st remy provence alpilles self guided walking

cliffs alpilles walks france

alpilles landscapes provence walker france

lake peirou st remy alpilles walks

gorges of Luberon Provence walking trails

gordes historic village Luberon walking holiday France

colorado provencal luberon walking tour France

Bonnieux hill top village Luberon French walking holiday

saignon village luberon provence walking trail

colorado provencal Luberon regional Park

vezoule gorge provence France

 

 

 

 

Bed

Accommodation & Meals


A mixture of delightful small guest houses in historic buildings full of character and quality 3 star hotels. They are located in wonderful settings, often on the outskirts of the historic villages. Warm welcome and fine Provence cuisine. Most of your guest houses have swimming pools. Below you'll find a selection of the accommodation on this walking holiday in Provence. Your tour includes all breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 evening meals.

Name Type Details Rating  
Mas d'Aigret Hotel Charming small hotel at the foot of the village of Baux de Provence with swimming pool and lovely restaurant 3 stars  
Maison de Line Guest house Charming guest house in the village of St Remy de Provence with swimming pool.    
Auberge Carcarille Hotel Delightful 3 star hotel in a historic stone building set below the historic villages of Gordes in a peaceful rural location. Attractive gardens and swimming pool. 3 stars Accommodation auberge carcarille gordes
Clos de la Glycine Hotel Wonderful 3 star hotel in the heart of the historic village of Roussillon. Lovely rooms and great views from the hotel restaurant and rooms. 3 stars  
Le Domaine Saint Jean B&B Chambre d'hote style guest house located in the houses making up a hamlet near the pretty village of St Saturnin les Apt. Original guest house with character where you can relax by the pool with views.   Accommodation domaine saint jean Luberon
Travel Options

Travel Options


Taxi transfer from Arles to Baux de Provence at the start of the holiday and from Roussillon to Avignon at the end of your holiday included in the price.

Holiday starts in Arles.

Train: Trains direct from Marseille, Lyon or Paris to Arles or change in Valence, Nimes or Avignon. Transfer to Baux de Provence at start of day 2.

Flights: The closest airports are Avignon and Marseille. Regular flights from a number of UK airports to Avignon. Flybe has services from Exeter, Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester & Leeds. Fly to Marseille Marignane: There are regular flights from Bristol, Edinburgh, London Stansted and London Gatwick. Shuttle bus every 20 minutes between 6.30am and 8.50 pm for the station SNCF Marseille Saint-Charles.

Holiday ends in Avignon. Train services towards Marseille, Nice, Lyon and Paris. During the main holiday season TGV trains run direct between London and Avignon. There are regular flights to a number of UK airports as well as French airports. Flybe has services which run at certain periods of the year to Exeter, Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Please visit our travel shop for links to useful sites for reserving airport parking or booking train tickets in the uk

Note: Please check concerning the availability of a holiday before booking any flights. If you need further information or would like to discuss any aspect of your travel arrangements, please contact us, we’re here to help you.

We would be happy to book travel arrangements to France on your behalf for this self guided walking holiday.

Self Drive

Channel ferry crossings from Dover are provided by a number of operators including P&O Ferries, Eurotunnel and DFDS Seaways.

Once in France, the journey from Calais to Arles takes about 11 hours (excluding long breaks).

Tolls amount to about 45 euros each way.

 

Photos

Photos


Alpilles hills and flowers walks French trails Provence
gordes village provence walking holiday southern France
plateau caume alpilles regional park France self guided walking tours
st staurnin les apt luberon provence self guided walking holiday
colorado provencal panoramas Provence walking France
olives vines alpilles provence hiking trail