This six day, self-guided adventure, walking in Provence: Grasse to Vence boasts some of the most stupendous, secret trails of this region. With its starting point in Grasse being one of the most famous perfume centres of the world, this whole trip appeals to all the senses. Walk through some of Provence’s prettiest villages including the iconic perched ones of Gourdon and Saint-Paul de Vence. In between you have chestnut forests, olive groves, plateaus with Provençal panoramas, and fine food and wine at every turn.
- Perched villages of Pays de Grasse
- Gorges du Loup
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Day 1: Arrival in Grasse
Grasse is well known for its perfume industry, dating back as early as the 16th century when the people of Grasse began supplying Persian scent-makers with raw materials. Nowadays Grasse is highly regarded for training Les Nez or noses, perfumiers who train to distinguish over 2000 kinds of scent. If you have time, we recommend visiting the International Perfume Museum as well as the cathedral which houses works of art by some of the Old Masters, including Rubens.
- Accommodation: Hotel Elixir or similar
Day 2: Grasse – Pont du Loup | 18km
The walk begins in Grasse, and continues upwards to follow woodland paths, then onto gentler trails with stunning views. There is an option to shorten the walk to 12km with a taxi transfer (pre-booking and supplement payable) or continue further on to catch the local bus (16.5km). Although it’s steep, the climb towards the village of Bar-sur-Loup is rewarded with panoramic views before the descent into the village, ideal for a lunch stop. The day finishes by walking along a forested track to Pont-du-Loup, your base for the next two nights.
- Walking for the day: 18km, ↑760m ↓930m
- Accommodation: Auberge des Gorges du Loup or similar
- Shortened route options: Public bus (ticket not included), 16.5km ↑664m ↓944m. Taxi transfer (pre-bookable, supplement required) or 12km ↑430m ↓850m.
Day 3: Pont-du-Loup – Gourdon – Pont-du-Loup | 7km
Today’s walk has two options, either an out and back hike up to the village of Gourdon, or an extended route adding in a short loop around Gourdon, following the Sentier du Paradis It’s a steep climb but all worth it, taking the time to stop for lunch with views across Gorges du Loup and all the way to the Mediterranean. The extended route adds in a short loop heading above Gourdes before returning down to the village on the same path.
- Walking for the day: 7km, ↑750m ↓750m
- Accommodation: Auberge des Gorges du Loup or similar
- Extended route option: Gourdon loop – additional 4km ↑↓210m.
Day 4: Courmes – Vence | 14km
The day starts with a short transfer into the heart of the Gorges du Loup to the hamlet of Courmes. From here, the walk begins with a climb up above the gorges on a steep and winding path with breathtaking views. After arriving at Plateau Saint-Barnabé, and the hamlet of the same name, descend to the historic centre of Vence, with inviting sea views as you go.
Day 5: Vence and surrounding areas | 4.5-12km
Today’s walk has three options:
Easy – Vence – Saint-Paul de Vence 4.5km ↑95m ↓240m with bus back to Vence (bus ticket not included)
Starting in the historic centre of Vence, head out of the town for a gentle stroll through the Sine woods. From here the route alternates between forested path and paved road on a fairly flat terrain. Take in the view of Saint-Paul de Vence and admire a series of small chapels on approach.
Moderate – Vence – Tourrettes-sur-Loup 8km ↑320m ↓280m with bus back to Vence (bus ticket not included).
Tourrettes is a picturesque medieval village backed by a range of hills, and the path between Vence and Tourrettes-sur-Loup goes through Sine woods, before finishing in the village.
Challenging – Vence – Baous Blancs – Baous Noirs – Vence 12km ↑↓712m
A challenging hike for experienced hikers but all worth the effort as the views from the Baous (tall, steep hills with flat tops) are outstanding, spreading from the snow-covered peaks of the Alps to the Mediterranean.
Day 6: Departure
Departure after breakfast.
What to expect
Accommodation on this tour includes a mix of small, locally-owned hotels, B&Bs and traditional guesthouses. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms. There is an optional upgrade available for days four and five of this tour.
Click to view default hotels
Hotels are subject to availability. In the event of a particular hotel being fully booked for your chosen 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.
Click to view the upgraded option
- La Maison du Frêne (Vence)
All breakfasts are included throughout the trip. 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.
Difficulty and terrain
This holiday is appropriate for walkers with a good level of fitness; average walking distance is 8 to 18km per day on marked trails and forest paths with some elevation gains and the occasional scramble to reach certain parts of the itinerary (read more about difficulty grades). 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 any day of the week from March till June and from September till 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, the trails are usually closed due to a risk of forest fires.
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Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Nice. Alternative airports are Toulon and Marseille.
By train or bus
- From Nice airport catch the 650 bus to Grasse (1h) or from Nice centre a 1h 10mins train to Grasse.
- If you are able to travel to France without flying, this holiday is reachable by rail with train stations in Grasse and Vence (bus connection required – bus No.9 – 24mins) – For more details, see the national rail operator sncf-connect.com.
- 5 nights accommodation
- 5 breakfasts
- Luggage transfers throughout the trip
- Transfer day four to the start of the walk in Courmes
- Travel kit with roadbook and integrated maps (one set per room), vouchers for restaurants and transfers
- GPX tracks
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Flights and airport transfers
- Lunches and dinners
- Land transfers and other public transport
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- 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
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a room of their own
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights
- Hotel upgrade for the final two nights of the tour