- At a glance
- Locality & Walks
- Accommodation & Meals
- Travel options
Your Holiday at a Glance
|Independent Walking Holiday||
|Dates for 2020||
|Accommodation and Meals||
|What's not included||
Drome Provencale & Walks
This unique self-guided walking holiday traverses the Drome Provencale from north to south, exploring varied and beautiful landscapes linked by several stunning historic perched villages. Starting in Crest in the Drome Valley, which boasts the highest keep tower in France, you’ll pass through scented lavender fields, secluded woods, vines of the Cote du Rhone and finally the olive groves of Nyons in the Baronnies.
This is a French region of quiet picturesque hills in the south of the Drome nestled between the Alps to the north and the Provence to the south, where your undulating trails have superb views of the surrounding mountains. Your walking holiday passes through wonderful historic villages perched on the Drome hills overlooking rows of lavender or olive groves below. Bourdeaux, Venterol, Taulignan and of course Poet Laval, one of the prettiest villages in France are all on your week's walking trail. Your delightful guest houses, five with swimming pools will mean you can relax and indulge yourself after your day’s walking. They are all located in historic guest houses which have been beautifully restored.
6 or 7 days independent walking moving between guest houses. This walking holiday is suitable for most walkers of a good level of fitness (with a minimum of preparation). You should be used to walking on a variety of paths. The landscapes are hilly rather than mountainous with the exception of a couple of the more challenging options. The walking holiday is at the lower end of the moderate to challenging grade—average day is 18km with 500m ascent. Maximum ascent on the moderate grade is 650m. The more challenging options include more ascents.
Day 1: Arrival
Welcome at your guest house in Crest. Small historic town overlooking the Drome Valley guarded by the highest dungeon tower in France. Stay in a 19th century house near the centre of town with large garden and pool.
Day 2: Crest - Saou
Your first day's walk climbs away from the Drome Valley, exploring rich woodland and undulating farmland. You’ll then traverse underneath the craggy tops of Roche Colombe before your trail then enters the pretty village of Saou at the spectacular and narrow entrance to the Saou Valley, an enclosed wooded gorge, overlooked by towering limestone cliffs. From here it’s a short walk to your guest house. You can shorten the walk by going straight to your guest house before Saou. 20km, +640m
Day 3: Saou - Bourdeaux
Your second day has two very different options. The moderate option follows close to the Roubion Valley passing through the historic villages of Francillon and Poet Celard with its chateau. After a climb through picturesque farmland you'll descend to the beautiful historic perched village of Bourdeaux. The challenging option climbs steeply to reach the summit of the Grand Pomerolle for amazing views over Saou and of its wooded valley and vertical cliffs. A ridge walk brings you to the Porte de Barry from where it’s a long and picturesque descent to Bourdeaux, as lavender fields start to appear. Guest house in heart of village with pool. Moderate: 17km, +400m, chall: 22km, +950m
Day 4: Bourdeaux - Poet Laval
Your walking trail takes you up through the historic village of Bourdeaux, before making a detour to the ruins of its Chateau where you get great views towards the mountain known as 3 Becs. The trail undulates through a patchwork of forest and lavender fields, with great panoramic views. After passing the isolated Romanesque church at Comps, you’ll contour around the Montagne des Vents in the forest before descending to Dieulefit, a historic village famous for its pottery. Your walking trail then traverses across the valley sides to reach the magnificent historic village of Poet Laval, classed as one of the prettiest villages in France. Stay in a 3 star hotel in the heart of the medieval village. 19.5km, +650m
Optional extra day at Poet Laval
Have a rest day and enjoy the swimming pool and views from your wonderful hotel, explore Poet Laval and its surroundings or undertake the ascension of Serre Gros (optional walk 18km, +600m).
Day 5: Poet Laval - Roche St Secret
Today’s walk leaving Poet Laval is an easier day crossing a wooded ridgeline south of Dieulefit. You’ll then descend through forest before emerging onto vine and lavender covered slopes. Pass through the ruined hamlet of Beconne and then pass Chateau de la Roche to reach the village of Roche St Secret in the beautiful Lez Valley. Stay in a lovely guest house with pool in rural location. 18km, +590m
Day 6: Roche St Secret - Venterol
Choice of two trails either via lower wooded and then vine covered slopes or a high level traverse across mountain de la Lance. The lower trails picks a way between steep forested hills above vine covered slopes stretching out below, peppered by lavender fields. Pass by the small perched villages of Pegue and Rousset-les-Vignes before reaching your beautiful guest house located on a vineyard in a historic fortified farm with great views. The higher route climbs to the summit of La Lance at 1340m for superb 360° views. mod:16km, +460m. or chall: 22km, +1080m
Day 7: Venterol - Nyons
Your day starts by exploring the historic perched village of Venterol before the easy option traverses the valley slopes, as vines give way to the famous olive groves of Nyons. A more challenging option is available climbing up onto the Montagne des Vaux to follow its ridge top with wonderful panoramic views. The trail then follows a spectacular descent into the historic town of Nyons, perched overlooking the Eygues Valley. Explore this quaint provence town which has a mediteranean feel and is gateways to the Baronnies. Nyons is home to a wonderful climate and is bathed in the smell of lavender. Mod: 11km, +140m, mod/chall: 17km, +500m
Day 8: Departure
Your self guided walking holiday ends after breakfast. Possible to book extra nights at Nyons.
Accommodation & Meals
You'll stay in 7 different guest houses. They are delightful, quality guest houses, in historic properties which have been beautifully renovated. The majority are in small B&B style guest houses whilst at Poet en Laval, you'll stay in a 3 star hotel. Five of the guest houses have swimming pools where you can relax after your day's walking. Charm and originality. Four evening meals are included in the holiday price where you'll enjoy fine local cuisine, whilst on the 3 other nights you have a free choice among the numerous restaurants. Below we have listed 3 guest houses which are representative of the accommodation that you'll be staying in.
|Domaine de Provensol||B&B||Renovated fortified farm which is now a vineyard and beautiful guest house in superb setting. Wine tasting||3* eq.|
|La Tulip Sauvage||B&B||Town house with character in the centre of the historic village of Bourdeaux. Warm welcome, great food and pool|
|Les Hospitaliers||Hotel||3 star hotel in the historic heart of Poet Laval. Pool & great views from terrace.||3 stars|
Meeting at your guest house in Crest in the Drome Valley, France.
Train & bus: TGV trains run from Paris and Lyon to Valence TGV. Shuttle bus or local train to Valence Ville. Regular regional TER trains from Valence Ville to Crest (direction Die & Gap). Return from Nyons by bus, line 36 to Montelimar (operated by TER train company) & take return TGV or TER trains from Montelimar station.
Flights: The closest airports are Lyon St Exupery & Avignon. The airlines Easy jet, BMI regional and British Airways have scheduled flights from the UK - Stansted, Manchester and Heathrow - to Lyon St Exupery airport. Regular flights from a number of UK airports to Aignon. Flybe has services from Exeter, Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester & Leeds.
Self-drive: Chanel crossing by ferry with P&O or DFDS ferries and by rail with Eurotunnel. Once in France, drive time from Calais to Crest is about 9 hours, excluding long breaks and costs about £45 in motorway tolls. Leave car at first guest house in Crest. Cost of return taxi from Nyons to Crest about 160 euros.
Please check that the walking holiday is available before making any travel arrangements. Please visit our travel shop page for links to useful travel websites.