A townhouse with character right in the centre of the historic village of Bourdeaux. A warm welcome from your hosts and good food which during fine weather is taken in their lovely garden. Simple, well-decorated rooms. The garden includes a swimming pool where you can relax after your walk. Dinner at guest house.
HISTORIC HILLTOP VILLAGES OF THE DROME PROVENCALE
6 days walking/7 nights
A unique walking holiday traversing the Drome Provencale from north to south
A unique linear trail through a beautiful landscape of rolling hills and craggy summits
Relatively quiet part of France with many stunning perched, historic villages
A multitude of landscapes and vegetation with lavender fields, vines, olives groves & forest
A warm and sunny climate
Delightful guest houses full of character, five with swimming pools
Let 's discover the full itinerary!
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 a 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 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 in the village of Saou.
Overnight: Saou, Walk: 18km, +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 through a beautiful wooded gorge 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 the village with pool.
Overnight: Bourdeaux, Walk: Moderate: 19km, +400m, chall: 21km, +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.
Overnight: Poet Laval, Walk: 19km, +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.
Overnight: Roche St-Secret, Walk: 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.
Overnight: Venterol, Walk: 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 mediterranean feel and is the gateway to the Baronnies. Nyons is home to a wonderful climate and is bathed in the smell of lavender.
Overnight: Nyons, Walk: Mod: 11km, +140m, mod/chall: 17km, +500m
Day 8: Departure
Your self-guided walking holiday ends after breakfast. Possible to book extra nights in Nyons.
At a glance
1 April to 3 July & 24 August to 31 October
From €1430 per person (based on 2 sharing)
7 nights / 6 days walking between guest houses
Distance: 17-22km per day
Ascent: 340-1050m per day
Small quality guest houses, 4 with swimming pools
B&B plus 5 evening meals and 4 lunches
Other walking holidays in Provence
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.
7 nights/8 days: 6 days independent walking moving between guest houses
Every day of week subject to availability from 1 April to 3 July & 24 August to 31 October
Walking Profile & Grade
6 or 7 days of 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. The maximum ascent on the moderate grade is 650m. The more challenging options include more ascents.
This walking holiday is graded moderate - challenging. See more information about walking grades.
Accommodation & Meals
7 night's accommodation in delightful, quality guest houses, in historic properties that have been beautifully renovated, five with swimming pools. Charm and originality. Great hospitality and fine local cuisine.
Where is the Drome?
When to Travel
Our self-guided traverse of the Drome is available from April 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.
The Drome is influenced by Mediterranean and Alpine climates. Winters can be cold due to altitude, with snow on the summits. Whilst the height of summer can be very hot and dry.
The following average temperatures are for the town of Crest in the north. The average weather conditions get warmer, drier and sunnier as you progress south. Conditions at altitude will be several degrees cooler then these averages.
April daytime averages are 17°C during the day and 7°C at night. From May onwards you can expect 22°C during the day and 11°C at night on average, whilst in June averages are 26°C by day and 15°C at night. September is slightly cooler than June during the day, but warmer at night, whilst October temperatures are similar to early May.
Rainfall totals are low, especially away from the mountains and tend to be fairly consistent throughout the walking season. May and October are the wettest months, although the totals are low compared to many other areas in France and Europe. In addition, most of this rainfall falls in a few heavy showers equating to few days with rainfall. Sunshine levels are relatively high and are comparable to those across the Provence or Mediterranean especially in the south with Nyons receiving the same amount of sunshine as Nice.
Early summer (June) is perhaps the best time to visit the region if you are looking for warm conditions as you are more or less guaranteed good weather (although it's not as hot as in July and August) and in the south the lavender is starting to flower. In May you are likely to have a greater variety of wildflowers and orchids, although at higher altitudes there will still be plenty of wildflowers in June. October can be fresher and unsettled at times but the colours add an extra element to the panoramic views.
Navigation, Walking Notes & Maps
Our traverse of the Drome Provencale from North to South follows a mixture of trails. In part days 3 and 4, as well as options on days 5 & 6 follow the GR 9 (Grande Randonnee) long-distance trail which is well way-marked with red and white markings. The other days follow local trails waymarked in yellow or other colours, whilst some small sections, especially in the mountains, have no markings. There are also several signposts along the trail, marking place names and directions. The walking follows clear paths for the vast majority of the holiday except some options which go along mountain ridges where you follow the topographical features, eg the ridge. 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 to 20kg. We generally use hotels and small guest houses in historic buildings and some of the rooms are accessible only by stairs.
7 nights / 6 days walking
- From €1430
- Extra night near Poet Laval from £85/€95 Full Board
- Prices per person based on 2 sharing a room
- Loyalty scheme reduction applies for returning customers (see terms and conditions)
What's included in the price
- 7 night's accommodation,
- All breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 evening meals,
- Transport of luggage between guest houses,
- Wine tasting in Venterol,
- Detailed walking notes and maps
What's not included in the price
- Transport to Crest and from Nyons in France,
- Lunches on arrival and departure days, plus lunch on first day,
- 3 evening meals, visits,
- Ttravel 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.
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.
Situated in the heart of Drome Provencale, Agnes et Hervé have the pleasure to welcome you to their 18th-century farmhouse. Their three-hectare estate bordered by lavender fields, truffle oaks, vines and the Lez River is a beautiful place to unwind after your walk. Mas de la Lance has an inner courtyard facing south allowing you to enjoy the sun while sheltered from the mistral. The guesthouse has four cosy bedrooms Swimming pool. Dinner at the guest house.
Extra nights are possible at any of the stopovers. However, we would recommend the following locations for extra nights:
Crest - Book an extra night in Crest to have more time to explore this compact historic town and visit the castle with the tallest keep in France. Market days in the town are on Tuesday and Saturday.
Poet Laval: An extra night in Poet Laval would give you more time to explore this pretty historic village as well as undertaking an extra day's walk up onto the top of Serre Gros for far-reaching panoramic views.
Roche St Secret - There are a couple of wonderful guest houses in historic buildings close to the village and after 4 days walking they are ideal locations for a rest day and to relax by the pool.
On your way to or from the Drome you may pass through the cities of Avignon or Lyon.
Avignon: Avignon is well-worth a visit and one of the prettiest cities in Provence. 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. We can book one or more nights in the city and provide you with information for your visit. We use 3 or 4 star hotels.
Lyon is a great destination for a city break and can be easily combined with this walking holiday, as you'll be picked up and dropped off in the city. Lyon, France’s second city and gastronomic capital, is a lively historic city ideal for those in search of lots to see and do. Classed as a world heritage site, Lyon has it all; roman amphitheatres, medieval streets, renaissance architecture and modern art. See more of our page dedicated to Lyon. We can book a city break for you and provide you with all the information you need for a great stay.
Made to Measure holidays
We have created a range of tailor-made trips which can be customised to your wishes. Take a look at the example below for inspiration when deciding what to do before and after your hike. We'd be delighted to craft your trip for you.
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.
Explore the 'Vallée de la Gastronomie' from Epicurean Paris to Delectable Marseille in the South of France. Experience the sights, sounds, and refined flavours of the capital before setting off to Burgundy, a mustard-infused and wine-centric region. Roam south through Lyon, Beaujolais, and into Provence where you'll be touring top vineyards and enjoying its diverse and delicious farm-to-table refined cuisine. Spend a full 12 days captivated by sublime scenery and delighting in the best food and wine of Southern France.
We LOVED this holiday - the rhythm of walking and arriving tired but ready for a lovely dinner was marvellous. Delicious picnic lunches with fabulous views were definitely our style. We enjoyed the beauty and variety of walking valley to valley. We especially enjoyed walking along the ridges. We will definitely come back to do another trip with you.
It was one of the best walking holidays I have undertaken. An unspoilt area with the chance to speak French with the owners of the chambre d'hotes.