Wonderful hotel with great service in the village of Fontvieille. Built on top of a stone quarry with secluded 7 hectare gardens and pool. There are extensive shaded grounds enclosed from the surroundings and a swimming pool. The restaurant has a shaded terrace overlooking the garden. The hotel is a short walk from the village centre which has a lovely Provencal square shaded by plane trees.
GRAND TOUR OF LES ALPILLES
6 days walking/9 nights
Explore the full range of beautiful landscapes in the Alpilles including off the beaten track villages
Beautiful Provence landscapes with olive groves in the Alpilles Regional Park.
Get off-the-beaten-track on this extended tour whilst still passing through beautiful villages
Classic historic Provence villages of Baux de Provence, St-Remy-de-Provence, Eygalieres & Fontvieille
Visit the Roman amphitheatre and Van Gogh Museum in the historic town of Arles
Historic sites and places to visit in Avignon
A wonderful mix of quality hotels, and lovely small guest houses with great cuisine
Let 's discover the full itinerary!
Day 1: Arrival
Arrive in 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 to 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.
Overnight: Baux de Provence, Walk: 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.
Possible to book extra days and nights at Baux-de-Provence.
Overnight: Baux de Provence, Walk: 12km, +300m
Day 5: Baux de Provence to 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.
Overnight: Aureille, Walk: 20km, +300m
Day 6: Aureille to 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 Eygalieres.
Overnight: Eygalieres, Walk: 14km, +350m
Day 7: Eygalieres to 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
Overnight: St Remy de Provence, Walk: 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.
Among the possible visits in St Remy is the Saint-Paul de Mausole monastery where Van Gogh created 150 paintings in a year. Vincent Van Gogh had been living in Arles during 1888-89. In May 1889 he was voluntarily confined in the Asylum of Saint Paul de Mausole where in a productive year he painted two of his most notable works: Starry Night and Self-Portrait. Saint Remy de Provence is also home to the historic remains of Glanum which was founded in the 3rd century BC, before control passed to the Romans under Julius Cesar. Two important monuments are visible next to the site: l'Arc de Triomphe and the Mausolee des Antiques.
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.
Overnight: St Remy de Provence, Walk: 13 or 18km, +350m
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. Avignon is famous as the city to which the Popes fled when leaving the corruption of Rome in the 14th century. The palace they built, 'Le Palais des Papes,' or the Palace of popes, is the world's largest Gothic edifice. The Ramparts themselves were erected to keep the plague and invaders out during the Middle Ages, when Avignon belonged to the papacy and not the French crown. Avignon is also famous for the Saint Benezet bridge which spans part of the Rhone River and is known the world over due to a nursery rhyme.
Day 10: Departure
Holiday ends after breakfast. Option to book extra nights in Avignon.
At a glance
March - June & September - October
€1590 per person (based on 2 sharing)
9 nights / 6 days walking & 2 days city break
Distance: 12-20km per day
Ascent: 60-350m per day
Small guest houses & 3 star hotels
B&B plus 3 evening meals
Other walking holidays in the Alpilles
Similar self-guided walking holidays in Provence
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 self-guided 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.
9 night/10 days: 6 days independent walking moving between guest houses
Every day of week subject to availability during March, April, May, June, September & October
Walking Profile & Grade
Walking on this self-guided 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. Your walking is 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.
This walking holiday is graded moderate. You should have some experience of day walking and be in reasonable health. See more information about walking grades.
Accommodation & Meals
9 nights accommodation in several charming hotels and small guest houses with great character in double or twin rooms with own bathrooms (3 star equivalent). Many of the properties have swimming pools. Accommodation is located for the most part within the towns and villages. Breakfasts and 3 evening meals included in the holiday price.
Where are Les Alpilles?
When to Travel
Our self-guided walking tour of the Alpilles is available from March to June inclusive and in September and October. We do not run this holiday in the height of the summer due to the high temperatures and the difficulty in securing our top choice accommodation. Even as early as March the hills are awash with wild flowers. Because much of the vegetation is evergreen the landscape remains relatively colourful the whole year round. The vines start to sprount from April onwards. Ideal walking temperatures are experienced up to mid June, after which it can become very warm. Average day time temperatures are 18°C for mid April and 23°C for mid-May. By Mid June temperatures have reached 27°C on average in the afternoon whilst September highs average 25°C. March can still be fresh with morning temperatures averaging 6°C and highs of about 16°C. It is a also a relatively dry and calm period. October remains warm with temperatures often still reaching 20°C. Mistral winds are more common during the transition periods of April/May and September. The autumn is wetter than the spring in general due to the chance of stormy weather.
Please note that during June and September there is a higher risk that walking will be forbidden in the park by the authorities due to risk of fires. If this is the case we will assist you with organising alternative walks and taking taxis to avoid the areas which have been closed. Detailed information and contact numbers will be provided in your walking guide.
Navigation, Walking Notes & Maps
Much of this walking holiday follows GR (Grande Randonnee) long distance trails which are well way-marked with red and white markings. There are also a number of signposts along the trail. The walking follows clear paths for its entire duration. Some sections follow local trails waymarked in yellow, whilst other sections have no marking, for example alongside the irrigation canal, but these are easy to follow. Our walking notes are very detailed (more information here) and include intermediate distances for sections of the trail. They also include information about the sites which can be explored along the route. We supply one walking guide per person on this holiday. As well as the detailed walking notes we supply official walking maps produced by IGN at a scale of 1:25,000. Your trail is highlighted on the maps.
On this walking holiday your main luggage is transferred between guest houses so you only have to carry a day rucksack with picnic lunch (supplied by the guest houses and included in the holiday price), water and spare clothes, waterproofs, camera etc. On this holiday a local taxi company is responsible for transporting your main luggage. We use the same company throughout the walking holiday, so if you have any specific requests you can ask the driver at the beginning of your trip. Please limit the weight of your bags where possible to 20kg. We only use hotels and small guest houses in historic buidlings and some of the rooms are accessible by stairs.
Getting to 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.
9 nights / 6 days walking & 2 days visiting Arles and Avignon
- €1590 per person based on 2 sharing
- Loyalty scheme reduction applies for returning customers (see terms and conditions)
What's included in the price
- Transfers between Arles and the start of the first day's walk and after the last day's walk to Avignon.
- 9 nights' accommodation.
- All breakfasts and 3 evening meals
- Full walking notes and maps
- Transport of luggage between guest houses
What's not included in the price
- Travel to Arles and from Avignon in France
- Lunches and 6 evening meals in restaurant
- Additional transfers to those described above
- Any excursions or entrance fees
- Travel insurance
- A deposit payment of 30% or at least £250 or 250€ per person must be made to confirm your booking. The balance of payments is due 8 weeks before the holiday date. If the holiday date is less that 8 weeks away at the time of booking, then the full price should be paid.
On this independent walking holiday in the Alpilles, you will stay in 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. All breakfasts and 3 wonderful evening meals provided at your accommodation. Your other evening meals will be taken in local restaurants.
The old 18th century Provençal mas (farmhouse) at Maison de Line has been fully refurbished to create elegant bedrooms and several small cottages in the grounds with their refined decor and their private gardens. There is also a heated pool and wellness area. Warm welcome and relaxing stay in the village of St Remy de Provence where there is plenty to do if you don’t feel like going for a walk.
Arles-You can add a stay in the historic town of Arles either before or after your walking holiday
Extra nights are possible at any of the stopovers. However we would recommend the following locations for extra nights:
Fontvieille, St Remy de Provence- They are your first and last placeson the walking part of your trip. Both the hotel in Fontvieille and the guest house in St Remy de Provence offer a high standard of accommodation and service. Both of the properties are featured in our accommodation section. You are already staying 2 nights in St Remy as part of the holiday but you could add an extra night to be able to do the walk and visit the Gallo-roman site of Glanum, as well as the priory where Van Gogh stayed for a year.
Baux de Provence: Like St Remy de Provence you may wish to add an additional night to increase the stay to 3 nights there to enjoy both a walk and exploring the village and castle, as well as visiting the Cathedral of lights (see itinerary for more information).
Arles and Avignon: The walking holiday starts with a day in Arles and finishes with a day in Avignon. One day in each city is probably long enough unless you wish to visit several museums. We can book additional nights in both places. We use 3 or 4 star hotels.
We can adapt this holiday to make it the length you wish by for example removing the days in the cities and making it into a purely walking holiday. Please contact us with your requirements.
Below you'll also find some examples of our tailor-made trips which you can use as inspiration to customise your walking holiday in the south of France and beyond.
Embark on an authentic French rail adventure under our expert guidance! This journey offers a comprehensive glimpse into France's diverse and vibrant regions, catering to anyone eager to immerse themselves in its rich culture and savour its delights. It's a unique experience designed to captivate all your senses, blending active discovery and historical exploration—a perfect recipe tailored to pique the interests of every traveller.
If you’re looking for an active trip to explore the natural beauty of Southern France, then this trip is made for you! Explore Provence's charming countryside, ride electric bikes through picturesque villages, and savour local culture. Delight in sun-soaked vineyards and cuisine. Next, venture into the wild heart of the Camargue, renowned for its majestic horses. Immerse yourselves in its unique equestrian culture with some horseback riding “ballades”, galloping through the marshes and alongside the tranquil shores. Finally, set your sights on Cassis and the spellbinding Calanques National Park. Spend two days hiking through the rugged terrain, discovering the best trails and hidden beaches.
We had a superb holiday. We loved the countryside, the walks and the hotels. Overall a fantastic experience.