- 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||
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
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.
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.
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.
Day 7: Goult – Bonnieux
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.
|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|
|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.|
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.
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.