Baronnies, Provence, France



Travels through Alpine Provence: Part 1 Baronnies Regional Park

challenging waling grade provence

7 nights - From £930/€1030, first part of a long distance walking holiday across Alpine Provence in France

This independent walking holiday in France is the first leg of a unique trek which travels through Alpine Provence from Nyons near the Rhone Valley to Grasse in the foothills above Cannes. Your self-guided walking trail will take you through some wonderful mountain scenery where the Alps meet Provence. The first part of this trail crosses the beautiful and little known Baronnies Regional Park.

trek through alpine provence baronnies walking holiday

Secret Provence: Tour of the Baronnies

moderate walking grade grazalema park spain or walking grade moderate to challenging holiday France

7 nights - From £845/€950, 6 day independent walking tour moving between guest houses

A self-guided walking holiday that tours this quiet and beautiful region where the Provence meet the Alps. Wonderful perched villages, amazing landscapes bathed in an amazing light, great climate. More holiday details

Full list of independent walking holidays in Provence and Mediterranean coast

montbrun les bains on independent walking holiday in south France Provence



Les Baronnies: Secret Provence

moderate walking grade grazalema park spain

7 nights - two-centre based, day walks

This guided walking holiday explores a quiet unspoilt region where the Provence meet the Alps, which at the end of June is at a time when the lavender is in flower. Wonderful perched villages, beautiful landscapes bathed in an amazing light, great climate.

More holiday details - Full list of guided walking holidays

Baronnies Provence France guided walking holiday


Les Baronnies is a secret and unspoilt corner of France where the Alps meet the Provence with beautiful historic villages clinging to rocky mountainsides decorated in purple lavender flowers. The Baronnies covers a region of about 130 parishes (communes) to the north east of Mont Ventoux. This region of mountains reaching around 1500m in height is hidden away from the mass tourism elsewhere in the Provence. Access is relatively difficult and the western fringes, which include towns such as Nyons are more populated than the eastern areas. The entire region only has a population of 22,000. The walks on our guided and our independent walking holidays are in the rugged and unspoilt southern part of this region.

Sheltered by the mountains, the Baronnies' privileged position and distinct climate gives this part of Provence a remarkable light that draws you into the rugged and beautiful landscapes laid out before you. But it's not just your sight that will be bombarded, it is also a region where wild Thyme, Lavender, herbs and pine produce a wonderfully scented landscape. Each corner of this fascinating area has its own characteristics. Rocky bluffs and cliffs define summit tops from which steep slopes marked by ravines descend into narrow gorges or wide fertile valleys and plateaux covered in Lavender, fruit trees and olive groves. Oak forests, scrub and moorland add to the tapestry of vegetation covering the hills. Much of the best walking on this holiday follows ridges or contours around the craggy summits

The climate in the Baronnies of northern Provence can be cold in the winter due to altitude, with snow on the highest summits. Whilst the height of summer can be very hot and dry. Early summer is perhaps the best time for a walking holiday as you are more or less guaranteed good weather (although its not as hot as in July and August) and the Lavender is starting to flower. We have chosen our guided walking holiday to coincide with this period, whilst our independent walking tour is available from April to June and in September and October. More detailed information about the Climate of the Baronnies in Provence.

The historic legacy of the Baronnies is rich and is said to go back to Hannibal, the Carthaginian leader who crossed les Baronnies with his elephants around 200BC. The Roman empire collapsed in the 3rd century and after hundreds of years of invasions by Franks, Lombards, Saracenes and marauding bands, local fiefs started to fortify villages in northern Provence and consolidate power. The Baronnies has a large number of well-preserved fortified medieval villages clinging to steep hillsides established by the barons of Mévouillon and Montauban in the 11th century. Their towers, walls and alleyways are now altered by a succession of historic events that have marked the region. In 1300 the Montaubans and in 1311 the Mévouillons had to sell their possessions to the Count of Vienne, nicknamed le Dauphin who ceded his territory to the King of France in 1349.

The Baronnies was later a stronghold of Protestantism in the Provence. It suffered heavily during the Religious Wars that affected France in the late 16th century. Only a few Protestant communities have survived to this day. The period from the 18th century to modern day was marked by economic decline and a large reduction in the population. The population is now stable and in some parts increasing with the increase in popularity of tourism.

Despite the historic events described above, a number of towns and villages of the Baronnies in Provence retain a large number of historic buildings giving the region a distinct character and charm. Nyons is the biggest town in the Baronnies, lying in its western fringes. With a population of 7000, it is the local centre of olive production. As the former capital of the region it has retained a certain charm with the 14th century Place des Arcade, its 15th century roman bridge over the river Eygues and the remains of its chateau. Nyons benefits from a wonderful climate and it is said to be even sunnier than the Côte d'Azur!

The second most important town in this part of Provence is Buis les Baronnies which was located on the roman route from the Rhône Valley to Italy. The small town contains a 15th century market place, a 16th century convent and numerous historic houses. You'll get the opportunity to visit both of these market towns on our guided walking holiday in the Baronnies. In addition, the Baronnies is home to numerous pretty villages such as Brantes in the Toulourenc Valley, Sainte Jalle in the centre of the Ennuyé Valley, Saint Auban sur Ouveze in a chestnut and Lindon tree area, Aulan and Sederon.

One of the most striking villages in this corner of Provence is Montbrun les Bains, classified as one of the prettiest in France. Built on 6 levels on a steep hillside, the village was the southern outpost for the barons of Mevouillon. As you climb the hill you'll walk through the belfry or clock tower emerging into the upper village with its 16th century cobbled alleyways and stone houses. The extensive remains of its chateau sit on top of the hill. One of our walks on our guided walking holiday starts from this beautiful village.

If you're after a walking holiday in Provence which is rural and remote in character then the Baronnies is the place. One third of the workforce in this part of Provence in southern France still works in agriculture. The large variety of land uses and the hilly and craggy nature of the landscape gives the countryside a patchwork of textures which change in colour through the seasons. The Baronnies is an important fruit growing region with large areas dedicated to apricots and cherries especially in the Eygues and Ouveze Valleys. There are also apple and pear orchards. The west of the area is dominated by olive trees. The west is also home to vineyards with a number of wine growing areas - Côte du Rhone, Vinsobres and Côteaux Baronnies.

Like many parts of the Provence, lavender is visible across the Baronnies but is grown in largest quantities in open valleys and on plateaux such as those in the south near Ferrassieres. Find out more about Lavender production in Provence, France. Higher valley slopes and ridges are often used for keeping sheep and goats. The decline in this type of farming in Provence has seen much of the land retaken by forest. Some of the goats milk is used to make cheese such as the Picodon a small round cheese, whose name comes from the word meaning spicy. Like many of the products mentioned above it benefits from an AOC.

The influences of the French Alps and the Mediterranean has created an exceptionally rich fauna and flora in this part of the Provence which includes orchids such as the Sabot de Venus, several varieties of vultures, chamois, wolves and wild boar. The nature of the landscape provides a variety of habitats for a range of species. It is this natural heritage coupled with the historic and cultural heritage of the area that led to a project to create the Baronnies Regional Park. Read more about the purpose and objectives of French regional Parks and to discover where these parks are designated in France.

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destination location baronnies provence France guided walking holiday

Montbrun les bains baronnies provence guided walking holiday

lavender baronnies provence guided walking holiday

olive oil production in Baronnies of Provence, France

Guided walking holiday in norther Provence, France

Local market in buis les baronnies, Provence, France during guided walking holiday

French guided walking holiday in Baronnies in northern Provence, France

rivers and gorges in Baronnies France during guided walks

authentic south France experience in Baronnies on walking holiday

See other regions of France

Read more about our guided walking holiday in the Baronnies region of Provence and our self-guided walking tour of the Baronnies in southern France

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