- At a glance
- Locality & Walks
- Accommodation & Meals
- Travel options
Your Holiday at a Glance
|Independent Walking Holiday||
|Dates for 2020||
|Price 9 nights||
|Accommodation and Meals||
|What's not included
Grand Tour of Les Alpilles
Our Grand Tour of Les Alpilles includes full days in the wonderful historic towns of Arles and Avignon before undertaking a trail around the best part of this beautiful regional Park in southern Provence. The walking is moderate in grade sometimes traversing a patchwork of olives groves and vines, whilst at other times making its 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.
Your walking holiday starts by visiting Arles where you can visit its famous Roman arena and amphiteatre, whilst the walking holiday finishes in Avignon, which includes such famous sites as the Palais des Papes and the Pont d’Avignon. In between there are plenty of other villages and sites of interest, including Daudet's windmill at Fontvieille, the olive mills of Maussane-les-Alpilles, the cathedral of images in Baux-les-Provence, and the wonderful Provence market in Eygalieres.
Walking on this holiday is moderate in grade mainly due to the nature of the terrain which can be rocky. It is also because it's possible to walk for 6 days in a row, as well as increase the difficulty on some days. Otherwise the walking is at the upper end of the easy grade for the most part in terms of distances and amount of ascent. Mainly on good paths, tracks and quiet lanes. Average distances are about 15km with about 300m of ascent. Some small sections can be steep. Maximum altitude is 350m in one day.
Day 1: Arrival
Arrive in the historic town of Arles.
Day 2: 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. Transfer to Fontvieille at the end of day 2. Stay in a beautiful 3 star hotel. Fontvieille is a picturesque village with its ancient houses built from local stone. Fontvieille is the village where Alphonse Daudet wrote his famous "Lettres de Mon Moulin".
Day 3: Fontvieille - Baux de Provence
Your walk starts by climbing the small hill to visit the "Moulin de Daudet" and from where there is a superb view of the Alpilles and the "Chateau de Montauban" where Daudet lived from time-to-time. Walk through a landscape of limestone, olives, pine-trees and oaks before climbing to the perched village of Les Baux de Provence: its homes packed tightly on top of the hill and listed as one of the prettiest villages in France. 13km, +350m
Day 4: Circular Tour from Les 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 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-les-Provence via a wonderful viewpoint overlooking the village. 12km, +300m
Possible to book extra days and nights at Baux-de-Provence.
Day 5: 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 pre-historic 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 6: 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 scrub 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 Eygaliers. 14km, +350m
Day 7: Eygalieres - St-Remy-de-Provence
Eygalieres is less busy than St Remy de Provence but has loads of Provence charm. There is a wonderful Provence market on Fridays. Climb to the remains of its old citadel for great views of the Alpilles hills. An easier walk through a patchwork of olives and vines brings you to St Remy de Provence, one of the most famous villages of Provence and celebrated for being the adopted home of Van Gogh. Visit its pretty squares, fountains, Medieval buildings and cobblestone streets enclosed by the remains of its 14th century walls. On the way you can also explore the remains of the Roman town of Glanum. 14km, +60m
Day 8: Circular Tour from St Remy de Provence
Spend the day visiting St Remy de Provence and/or do an optional walk.
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.
Possible to book extra days and nights at St-Remy-de-Provence.
Day 9: Avignon
Short 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.
Day 10: Departure
Holiday ends after breakfast. Option to book extra nights in Avignon.
For useful advice about independent walking and preparing for your self guided holiday please take a look at the articles in our top-tips section.
Once you have booked on this independent walking or trekking holiday, further information about the walking, the 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.
Accommodation & Meals
A mixture of small B&B style guest houses full of character providing wonderful home-cooked meals and charming friendly hotels. They are all 3 star or equivalent in quality, & are traditional properties offering an authentic and very comfortable stay. They are often in historic properties which have been beautifully renovated. Mixture of rural and village locations. Many have swimming pools.
|Mas d'Aigret||Hotel||Charming small hotel at the foot of the village of Baux de Provence with swimming pool and lovely restaurant||3 star|
|Maison de Line||Guest house||Charming guest house in the village of St Remy de Provence with swimming pool.|
|Hotel Belesso||Hotel||Wonderful hotel with great service in the village of Fontvieille. Built on top of a stone quarry with secluded 7 hectare gardens and pool.||3 star|
Holiday starts in Arles.
Train: Trains direct from Marseille, Lyon or Paris to Arles or change in Valence, Nimes or Avignon. Transfer to Fontvieille at end 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.
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.
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.