Enjoy an incredible variety of scenic walks, giving you a wide experience of Provence
Awe-inspiring vistas atop the Alpilles and the Luberon mountains
Visit the perched medieval village of Les Baux de Provence
Explore the depths of the Aiguebrun Gorge and discover the hidden treasures of the Luberon
Stay in the charming small towns of Saint Rémy, Maussane and Isle sur la Sorgue
Experience the best of Provence on this walking holiday through the Alpilles and Luberon mountain ranges. Starting in the Gallo-Roman town of Saint Rémy, you will follow in the footsteps of artist Vincent Van Gogh through the olive groves of the Alpilles to the spectacular village of Les Baux de Provence. On the way you will spend a night in the Roman city of Arles and in the pretty town of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, with its antiques and Venice-like canals, before moving eastwards to explore the Luberon Mountains. Here, timeless trails gently descend through olive and almond groves to captivating hilltop villages like Lacoste and Bonnieux, where colourful markets, fountains, and narrow cobbled lanes invite leisurely exploration. The Luberon National Park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Its rolling hills are dotted with old stone farmhouses and centuries-old stone huts, the fields blanketed in wildflowers and aromatic herbs, orchards and vines. Of course, no trip to Provence would be complete without indulging in the fine cuisine and wine. Provence is a mecca for foodies, with its renowned wines, olive oils, cheeses and sundrenched produce. Take a stroll through the local markets and immerse yourself in the relaxed way of life under the warm Provencal sun.
|7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS||From €750 per person sharing*
*Discount of €40 per person for groups of 4 or more.
|ACCOMMODATION||In charming ** and ***hotels/guesthouses on a bed & breakfast basis. The standard hotels of this trip are listed below. If any of the hotels are fully booked, then we will book a similar one for you and inform you about the alternative booked.
It is also possible to upgrade to ***hotels. Please enquire for info and prices.
You can also book additional nights at any of the hotels along the way.
|AVAILABILITY||You can start your trip on any day of the week (subject to availability) from March 1 to June 30, and from August 28th to November 15th.
This trip is not available in July & August, because of path restrictions (fire risk).
|DIFFICULTY||The difficulty level of this trip is rated as easy to moderate overall. This trip is suitable for people who are used to regular and sustained exercise (whether walking, cycling, aerobics, etc.) and who can handle walking uphill (slowly) for up to 2 hours at a time. Walks are generally under 5 hours on various types of terrain, although nothing technically difficult.|
Day 1: Arrive in Saint Rémy and walk the Van Gogh Trail
Saint-Rémy > St Paul de Mausole > Alpilles Crest > Saint Rémy
OPTION A: Distance: 10 km | Ascent: 300 m | Descent: 300 m | 3½ hrs approx.
OPTION B: Distance: 18 km | Ascent: 550 m | Descent: 550 m | 6 hrs approx.
Your walking adventure begins in Saint Rémy de Provence, nestled against the foot of the Alpilles mountains. Saint Rémy is easily accessible by bus from Avignon (30 mins), itself connected to the TGV trains from Paris, Marseille and Nice.
Saint Rémy has always attracted painters; its blue Provençal skies highlight the greens of the fields, the silvery leaves of its olive trees, its golden sunflowers and the white jagged peaks of the Alpilles. It’s an artist’s dream! So much so, in fact, that Vincent Van Gogh spent the last years of his life here, completing some of his most renowned works, including his Starry Night. Your walk today follows the Van Gogh Trail, passing through the very scenes that inspired the artist. You can admire replicas of his paintings before exploring the ancient Roman ruins of Glanum with its imposing triumphal arch and a mausoleum. You follow a botanical path up to the crest of the Alpilles Mountains lined with aromatic herbs and wildflowers. On top you’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping views far into the horizon, the perfect setting for a picnic lunch.
Overnight: Saint Rémy de Provence
Day 2: Saint-Rémy to Maussane
Distance: 13 km | Ascent: 270 m | Descent: 270 m | 4 hrs approx.
Today’s walk takes you back up to the crest of the Alpilles, following a forest trail that snakes its way along the ridge. Your route is lined with veritable carpets of rosemary, thyme and cistus flowers, their aromas intensified by the lovely Provençal sun. You will enjoy open views of the mountains to the north and the flatlands to the south. You then descend down a winding track and reach the village of Maussane through olive groves. This lively little town is filled with cafés and restaurants and you can also visit the famous 17th century Cornille Mill, where you can taste one of the best olive oils in Provence!
Day 3: Loop walk to Les Baux de Provence, transfer to Arles
Distance: 12 km | Ascent: 250 m | Descent: 250 m | 4 hrs approx.
You hike towards the Val d’Enfer and then via a hidden path you climb up to the Medieval village of Les Baux de Provence, with its majestic stone buildings perched high atop a rocky crag and crowned by the ruins of its medieval castle. Listed among the “most beautiful villages in France”, Les Baux’s stone architecture and narrow cobbled streets have withstood the centuries. Take a walk up to the castle ruins and imagine what life would have been like a thousand years ago!
Exiting the village from its medieval gate you descend back into the plains, and via canals and olive groves you return to Maussane. A short transfer then takes you to the Roman town of Arles, where you will spend the night.
Day 4: Free day in Arles and train to Isle sur la Sorgue
Arles is a town that offers the best of the old and the new; its Roman colosseum (one of the largest in the whole Roman Empire) and other impressive ruins juxtaposed with a vibrant nightlife in the town squares and bistros, inviting leisurely strolling.
In the afternoon you take the train with your luggage to Isle sur la Sorgue (ticket payable locally), where you stay in the heart of the town. This veritable island of a village is surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Sorgue river and is known as the “Venice of Provence”. The town’s Sunday market is among the most colourful in Provence, while its canals are bordered by quaint cafés, restaurants, and antique shops. Lose yourself among a labyrinth of narrow streets and in the town’s warm, Provençal charm.
Overnight: Isle sur la Sorgue
Day 5: To the depths of the Aiguebrun Gorge
Lacoste > Bonnieux > Buoux
Distance: 17 km | Ascent: 450 m | Descent: 350 m | 5½ hrs approx.
After breakfast you have a private taxi transfer to the village of Lacoste, crowned by the imposing ruins of the castle of the Marquis de Sade. Here you begin today’s walk, which takes you first through vineyards, cherry orchards and truffle oak plantations to Bonnieux, another gem of the Luberon. Bonnieux was one of the centre-stage villages in Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence. Beyond Bonnieux you walk on country lanes and paths, passing several bories (small, dry stone huts) before you reach the hollow that separates the Luberon in two distinct mountain ranges. In the Grand Luberon, you follow a lavender field until you reach Buoux castle and then the village of Buoux itself, before a spectacular descent to the Auberge des Seguins. This is an otherworldly place; a restored 17th century goat farm tucked in the depths of the Aiguebrun gorge. This is a real off-the-beaten-track gem in an idyllic setting.
Overnight: Auberge des Seguins, Buoux
Day 6: Walking in the Aiguebrun Gorge
Buoux > Saignon > Apt
Distance: 14 km | Ascent: 400 m | Descent: 600 m | 4½ hrs approx.
Walk at the base of the Aiguebrun Gorge, along the only permanent river of the Luberon mountains. The massive limestone walls of the canyon are covered in luxuriant vegetation. You eventually climb out of the canyon to reach the lost hamlet of Sivergues, before crossing the Aiguebrun and climbing up to the Claparèdes plateau. Here you will once again find the typical Luberon landscape of lavender fields and truffle oak plantations. Soon after you reach the medieval village of Saignon and the ruins of its three castles.
You will spend your last night in the old Roman town of Apt. The Sainte-Anne Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Provence and the old town centre is a maze of small and winding streets and tree-filled little squares.
Day 7: Departure from Apt
Your tour ends in Apt. You can take a bus to Avignon for onward travel.
Getting to Saint Rémy
Departure from Apt
|/||To get to Marseille-Provence Airport, you can take a bus/train via Cavaillon or Aix-en-Provence. The journey takes between 2 and 3 hours, depending on your route. You can also take a bus from Apt to Avignon, from where there are trains fo many destinations in France. For more information on local bus/train timetables please visit Lignes Express Régionale or SNCF.|