- At a glance
- Locality & Walks
- Accommodation & Meals
- Travel options
Your Holiday at a Glance
|Guided Walking Holiday||
|Dates for 2020||
|Accommodation and Meals||
|What's not included||
Luberon, Provence & walks
The Luberon region of Provence, designated as a regional park, has inspired artists and painters for centuries. On our guided walking holiday you'll complete a number of delightful day walks across the region, discovering not only those "must-see" sights such as the beautiful perched village of Gordes or the dazzling rich ocre coloured cliffs at Rustrel. But also some less trodden trails taking you into hidden corners of the Luberon region.
The area has a beautiful mix of Provence landscapes centred around the limestone Luberon hills (named Petit Luberon and Grand Luberon). They run west-east, with their rounded summits reaching over 1000m and cloaked in oak and cedar forests. On either side the slopes taper into wide valleys covered in a patchwork of cherry orchards, vines, olive groves and lavender. The hilly promontories and bluffs are decorated with exquisite villages some washed with ochre coloured stone, whilst a number of narrow gorges snake off into the recesses of the hills with dramatic cliffs and beautiful springs.
You'll be based in two charming guest houses, where you'll experience the real Provence, one each side of the Luberon hills. Our French walking holiday takes place in the spring, when you'll enjoy pleasantly warm weather for walking, with white cherry blossom decorating the hillsides bathed in a pure azure light. It will also mean that the trails and villages will be peaceful compared to the summer when crowds of tourists descend on the area. As well as those villages listed in the walks below there will be the chance to visit a number of other nearby historic villages such as St Saturnin les Apt and Roussillon and enjoy sitting outside their quaint cafés soaking up some Provence sunshine.
Walks on this holiday in the Provence average about 4-5 hours walking. Average length of walk is about 15km with about 300m of ascent and descent. Most of the ascents are reasonably gentle, although there is the odd steeper section and the paths are good, although they are sometimes stony and rugged. Your walking days allow time fro exploring the villages.
Day 1: Arrival
Your walking holiday in southern France starts with a welcome and pick up from Lyon or Avignon and transfer to guest house in Luberon, Provence
Day 2: Tour 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 Senanque, built in 1148 and one of the most photographed sites in Provence. Chance to visit the famous ancient Village des Bories (the dry stone shelters found in the region.) 14km +250m/-250m.
Day 3: Bonnieux and Petit Luberon ridge
Bonnieux is another wonderful Provence village. The view from Bonnieux is wonderful out across the valley floor with its patchwork of orchards and vineyards, towards Lacoste, which you'll also get to visit. You can climb on cobbled streets all the way to the top and visit the ruins of the castle of the Marquis de Sade. Then drive up onto the Petit Luberon and its Cedar Forest. The view form the ridge are superb. Up to 14km.
Day 4: Joucas, Mur and Gorge de Vezoule
Today your trail takes you off the beaten path through less frequented villages and a mixture of forests and vines, truffle plantations and pasture. You'll also pass through Vezoule gorge with amazing meanders. 15km, + 390m.
Day 5: Boux and Aigue Brun Gorge
Your day takes in a lovely historic chapel, the medieval Fort de Boux, the pretty hamlet of Sivergues, a pretty and historic salt trail, as well as the secluded Aigue Brun Gorge harbouring a vegetation unlike anywhere else in the region. Admire the huge limestone cliffs as you enjoy a post-walk drink at the auberge. Also visit the beautiful village of Saignon. 12km, +250m.
Day 6: Tours from Viens and Colorado Provencal
After exploring the perched village of Viens, your trail follows the ridge with superb views out all the way to the north and west towards the Albion Plateau and Mont Ventoux. Afterwards explore the wonderful landscapes and colours of the amazing "Colorado Provencal", a former ochre quarry which was used as a colouring material for building and painting. Valleys, cliffs and rock towers glow in countless shades including shimmering white, brilliant gold and deep orange as you pass from one small valley to the next. Topped by vivid green trees, beneath a deep blue sky, this magical place is a pure spectacle. 16km, +350m.
Day 7: St Saturnin
Visit the wonderful hill topped 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 before we head west and leave the vineyards and olive groves behind to climb onto the impressive Madeleine cliffs overlooking the hamlet of Lioux, which are 100m high and over 1km in length. Great panoramic views. Then visit the pretty ochre-coloured village of Rousillon.
Day 8: Departure
Breakfast and transfers to Lyon or Avignon.
Once you have booked on this guided walking holiday in Provence, further information about the walking, the Luberon region and what to bring, will be sent to you. We do have a web page dedicated to what clothes and equipment you should bring. In addition, our travel shop has direct access to all the top walking and travel retailers. Please contact us if you need any further information.
Please note: Further information about the walks in the Luberon will be sent to you prior to your holiday. We will endeavour to keep to these walks as far as possible on our guided walking holiday; however they are subject to change. In addition, we like to maintain a certain degree of flexibility to take account of the group’s abilities and interests, and the local conditions. The final selection of walks will be made by your guide during the week after consultation with the group.
Accommodation & Meals
A mixture of delightful small guest houses in historic buildings full of character and quality 3 star hotels and auberges. 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 the Luberon. The guest houses or hotels will depend on availability and the size of your group.
|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|
|Memoires du Sud||B&B||Lovely small guest house in a former silk worm farm, with large tastefully decorated rooms, pretty garden and swimming pool.|
|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.|
Transfers between Lyon Airport or Lyon train station and the Luberon region of France are included in the price of your guided walking holiday.
Transfers from Lyon airport
The airlines Easy jet, BMI and British Airways have scheduled flights from the UK - Manchester, Stanstead and Heathrow to Lyon St Exupery airport.
Please visit our travel shop for links to useful sites for reserving airport parking or booking train tickets to the UK airports
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 Lyon, France on your behalf.
Avignon Aiport: There are also regular flights from a number of UK airports as well as French airports to Avignon. Flybe has services from Exeter, Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Please note that people arriving in Avignon may have to wait some time for their transfer, depending on the pick ups in Lyon.
Eurostar and the TGV provide a relaxing journey from London to Lyon Part Dieu changing at Lille. Please use Rail Europe's train finder in our travel shop to organise your train journey.
There is a practical train time leaving London at 9am and arriving in Lyon at 3pm. Please contact us before booking to check for other practical times. There are also TGV services which go via Paris.
Channel ferry crossings from Dover are provided by a number of operators including P&O Ferries, DFDS Seaways and Eurotunnel.
Once in France, the journey from Calais to the Luberon takes about 10 hours (excluding long breaks).
Tolls amount to about 45 euros each way.
Non secured parking is available at the guest houses Please inform us of this at the time of booking so we can provide you with directions to the first guest house.