Europe & Africa / France
Provence Hiking Tour
Hike through the Mountains, Wine Valleys and Perched Hill Towns of Provence
Photographers will fall in love with this area--once you experience the light in Provence, you'll understand what drew Van Gogh, Cezanne and so many other artists to the area. "Foodies" will also love this trip—Provence can't be beat for the fresh fruits and vegetables, French breads, croissants and pastries, cheeses, red and rosé wines, olives and olive oil, and an endless offering of herbs.
Days 1-2: St. Rémy-Alpilles Mountains--Les Baux
We are met by our guide in Avignon and transferred to the artist community of St. Rémy de Provence for our orientation and welcome dinner. The following morning we follow in the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh as we walk through the Alpilles Mountains to the medieval hill town of Les Baux. Upon our return to St. Rémy visit the Romanesque monastery that Van Gogh called home or explore the village's many shops.
Days 3-4: Luberon Mountains-Bonnieux-Rousillon
The next two days shift to the Luberon Mountains, the setting for some of France's most impressive perched hill towns. We hike up and over the range, exploring 3,000 year-old Fort de Buoux en route to our auberge set in the bottom of a canyon alongside the Aiguebrun River. The following day we hike up to the village of Bonnieux and then head for the ochre-colored earth and buildings of Rousillon, the "Santa Fe of Provence". We top off two wonderful days with dinner at a local herb farm.
Day 5: Gigondas-Dentelles de Montmirail-Séguret-Vaison la Romaine
Today's hike is through our third small mountain chain, the teeth-like Dentelles. We walk from the pretty village of Gigondas, perched high above the Rhône Valley, to authentic and timeless Séguret, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. We stop along the way for a wine tasting of one of the region's fabulous reds at an estate hidden in the hills. We conclude our day in Vaison la Romaine, housed in a medieval home from the 16th century.
Days 6-7: Mont Ventoux-Avignon
Our action-packed yet relaxing week concludes with a climb to the summit of Mont Ventoux, famous as one of the important climbs on the Tour de France circuit, for unparallelled views of the mighty Alps. Ventoux may not be France's highest mountain but is certainly one of its most impressive. We return to Avignon for our farewell celebration dinner in the shadows of the Palace of the Popes before saying goodbye to our newfound friends the following morning.