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Classic Provence: Alpilles and Luberon

Classic Provence: Alpilles and Luberon

Tour details

Rating
Average rating:   0,  0 reviews
Country
France
Activity type
Self Guided Walking
Duration
7 days & 6 nights
Difficulty
Moderate
Accomodation
Comfortable
Availability
March - June, September - November

Itinerary

Day 1: Avignon
Day 2: Saint Rémy
Day 3: Gordes
Day 4: Gordes
Day 5: Bonnieux
Day 6: Isle sur la Sorgue
Day 7: Departure

Overview for Classic Provence: Alpilles and Luberon

Explore the most beautiful parts of the Provence, taking in both the Alpilles and the Luberon mountain ranges. You will walk in the footsteps of Van Gogh on this self-guided tour, beginning in St Rémy a Gallo-Roman town with a marvellous old quarter, nestled in the foothills of Les Alpilles Mountains. You will enjoy walking through countryside dotted with thick-walled Provençal farmhouses, medieval villages and marvel at the dramatic vistas and the very landscapes that inspired Van Gogh’s brush strokes. You will then explore the Luberon mountains, some of the most beautiful villages in France and the unique 12th Cistercian Senanque Abbey. You tour ends in Isle sur la Sorgue, also called the Provencal Venice with its great Sunday morning market.

Highlights

  • Discovering Provence’s most famous mountain ranges: Les Alpilles & Le Luberon
  • Following in the footsteps of the artist Vincent Van Gogh & stay in St Remy, the birthplace of Nostradamus
  • Walking across the windswept crest of the Alpilles Mountains
  • Basking in the soft, yet brilliant Provençal sunshine
  • Strolling along trails carpeted with fragrant herbs and flowers
  • Exploring the extraordinarily beautiful perched village of Les Baux-de-Provence
  • Great local markets Wednesday St Remy & on Sunday in Isle sur la Sorgue
  • Walking along dry-stone walls and the “Plague wall”
  • The lavender fields in front of Sénanque Abbey
  • Strolling through famous hilltop villages of the Luberon: Gordes, Lacoste, Bonnieux, Saignon
  • Enjoy the the hidden Aiguebrun valley in the Luberon mountains

Itinerary for Classic Provence: Alpilles and Luberon

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Day 1: Avignon

Your trip begins in the medieval town of Avignon set on the banks of the mighty Rhône River. Take time to stroll through its cobbled streets and discover Avignon’s hidden treasures: the Pope’s palace, the 12th-century bridge, the 14th-century ramparts, still intact, and many museums and churches. Dinner on your own and overnight in Avignon.

Day 2: St Remy and the Crest of the Alpilles

Short transfer after breakfast to St Remy from where you will follow the Van Gogh trail passing through the very scenes that inspired the artist. You can admire replicas of his paintings before exploring the ancient Romain 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, a perfect setting for a picnic lunch. Dinner on your own and overnight in Saint Rémy.

Walking for the day: 18 km, 6h ↑550m ↓550m (optional shorter alternative: 10 km, 2.5-3h ↑250m ↓250m)

Day 3: Saint Rémy to Les Baux/Gordes

You follow a trail along the ridge to awe-inspiring 360-degree views, leading to a fortified medieval village of Les Baux-de-Provence, set atop its rocky perch, voted one of the most beautiful villages of France. Enjoy spectacular views from the Chateau des Baux fortress dotted with the ruins of castle walls. You have the option to visit the exciting Carrières de Lumières museum, famed for its unique audio-visual shows. A one-hour afternoon transfer takes you to the Luberon Mountains and the village of Gordes, your home for the next two nights, another one of the most beautiful villages of France. Dinner on your own and overnight in Gordes.

Walking for the day: 12 km, 3-4h ↑270m ↓100m

Day 4: Gordes – Senanque Abbey Circular Walk

Today’s walk is relatively short: a loop taking you to the magnificent 12th century Sénanque Abbey, hidden in the Sénancole valley, still intact and still housing a community of monks. You will walk through typical garrigue vegetation, including boxwood, evergreen oaks, aromatic herbs, and other shrub plants that adapt well in the sunny, Mediterranean climate. From the abbey you take a path that climbs to the pass, with wonderful overhead views of the abbey, before a leisurely descent back to Gordes, via dry stone huts (“bories”) and between old stone walls.

Walking for the day: 11 km, 3-4h ↑320m ↓250m

Day 5: Lacoste – Bonnieux – Buoux and the Aiguebrun Gorge

After breakfast we transfer you to Lacoste where you begin today’s walk to Buoux. The medieval streets of Lacoste are worth a look before beginning your walk. You head into the plains, through vineyards, cherry orchards and truffle oak plantations to reach the village of Bonnieux. Beyond Bonnieux, you walk on country lanes and paths before you reach the gorge that separates the Luberon in two distinct mountains. In the Grand Luberon, you walk alongside a lavender field before reaching Buoux castle and the village of Buoux itself before a spectacular descent to the Auberge des Seguins, an otherworldly place tucked deep in the Aiguebrun gorge. Dinner on your own and overnight in Bonnieux.

Walking for the day: 16.5 km, 5-6h ↑450m ↓350m

Day 6: Buoux – Saignon – Isle

A short transfer will bring you from Bonnieux to Buoux, at the base of the Aiguebrun Gorge, the only permanent river of the Luberon mountains, with massive limestone walls and lush vegetation. You climb out of the canyon to reach the lost hamlet of Sivergues before crossing the Aiguebrun and climbing up to the Claparèdes plateau, with its lavender fields and truffle oak plantations. Soon after you reach the medieval village of Saignon and the ruins of its three castles.

Walking for the day: 11 km, 4-5h ↑400m ↓300m

Day 7: Departure

After breakfast end of the trip in Isle sur la Sorgue.

Hotels for Classic Provence: Alpilles and Luberon

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Accommodation is in charming 2 and 3-star hotels and country inns in private en-suite double/twin rooms. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour. Optional hotel upgrade in charming hotels is possible.

Sample standard hotels:

  • Avignon (Day 1): Hotel Boquier 2* – located just a few steps from the Papal Palace, ideally situated to explore the town; friendly welcome guaranteed!
  • St Remy de Provence (Day 2): Le Castellet des Alpilles 3* – charming and elegant hotel, located just 300 m from the historical centre of Saint Rémy. Swimming pool.
  • Gordes (Days 3 and 4): La Borie – a beautiful boutique guesthouse offering excellent service, with a nice garden, sun terrace and a swimming pool.
  • Bonnieux (Day 5): Hôtel Panoramique César 2* – a simple but charming place; with its ideal location in the heart of the village, it offers a magnificent panorama of the Luberon, the Monts de Vaucluse and the Mont Ventoux.
  • Isle sur la Sorgue (Day 6): Les Nevons 3* – excellent location and amicable and helpful staff. Swimming pool.

Sample charming hotels:

  • Avignon (Day 1): La Villa de Margot – elegant guesthouse with a peaceful garden and 5 spacious and fully equipped rooms hidden in the historical center of Avignon.
  • St Remy de Provence (Day 2): Sous les Figuiers – small charming hotel in St Remy with a swimming pool. All rooms have a private terrace overlooking the 60-year old fig trees.
  • Gordes (Days 3 and 4): Le Mas de la Beaume – old stonehouse reconverted in a comfortable & stylish B&B with pool; a short distance from the village center.
  • Bonnieux (Day 5): Les Terrasses de Luberon  – a B&B in the outskirts of Bonnieux with magnificent views to the Luberon Valley, the mountains of Vaucluse and Mt. Ventoux. Swimming pool.
  • Isle sur la Sorgue (Day 6): La Prevote – a 17th c. convent restored with taste with 5 refined rooms and a restaurant in the heart of the town.

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

All breakfasts are included. Lunch packs for the next day can be pre-ordered at each accommodation, or you can buy bread, cheeses and meats as well as fresh fruit and vegetables at local markets. For dinner, you can visit one of the restaurants in the villages or order from the a la carte menu in your accommodation.

Local markets:

    • Avignon: Les Halles indoor covered market every morning except Monday
    • Gordes: small market on Tuesday morning
    • Goult: market on Thursday morning, from June to September
    • Bonnieux: market on Friday morning
    • Isle sur la Sorgue: Sunday morning big market and a small one on Thursday morning

Travel for Classic Provence: Alpilles and Luberon

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Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Marseille. Alternative airports are Nice, Montpellier, Toulon, Nimes.

Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.

Train

Train journey by TGV from Paris to Avignon is 3 hours, while a local train from the nearest international airport of Marseilles takes 2 hours to reach Avignon. Avignon is 5.5 hours by rail from London St Pancras (see details).

Check public transfer options

Private Transfers

Airport transfers by public transport are recommended for this trip.

Baggage Transfers

All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on walking days are included (maximum one piece of 20 kg per person).

Travel Insurance

A comprehensive and reputable travel insurance policy is essential to your enjoyment and peace of mind while on an active holiday. It is highly recommended when booking with us that all group members have valid travel insurance which includes cover for all activities included in your trip. We have teamed up with World Nomads Logo to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online.

Buy travel insurance online

Country Info

Up-to-date travel advice on France is available here. Detailed travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info for Classic Provence: Alpilles and Luberon

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Difficulty Grade: Easy to Moderate

This holiday is appropriate for walks with an average level of fitness; average walking time is 3-4 hours per day with minimal elevation gains, and the only longer and steeper walk (6h) is optional (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available on any date from March till June and from the beginning of September till mid-November. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking. In July and August it may become too hot, and the trails are usually closed due to forest fire danger.

See climate and weather info here

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing no more than 15 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Hiking boots or trail runners
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (cotton or preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket / Goretex jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside the accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included for Classic Provence: Alpilles and Luberon

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  • 6 nights double occupancy with private facilities, in 2 and 3-star hotels and guesthouses
  • 6 breakfasts
  • Day 2: transfer from Avignon to St Rémy de Provence to the start of your walk
  • Day 3: transfer from the end of your walk to Gordes
  • Day 5: transfer from Gordes to the start of your walk
  • Day 5: transfer from the end of your walk to Bonnieux
  • Day 6: transfer from Bonnieux to the start of your walk
  • Day 6: transfer from the end of your walk in Apt to Isle sur la Sorgue
  • Luggage transfers days 2 to 6
  • Travel kit with roadbook and integrated maps, vouchers for restaurants & transfers
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative in Avignon

Supplements

  • Single room supplement for members of a group
  • Solo traveller supplement for individual travellers

Excluded

  • Flights and airport transfers
  • Lunches and dinners
  • Tourist tax, if due
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Entrance fees for attractions and museums
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme

Extensions and Upgrades

  • Extra nights before or after the holiday
  • Upgraded charming hotels

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