OVERVIEW

To truly taste the Provencal lifestyle you need to get up close to the landscapes, the food, nature, the ancient towns and villages all which can only be realised on foot. Everything you discover in Provence looks beautiful by the special light that prevails. The olive groves with their silver leaves, lavender fields, the pines, cypresses, fig trees and exotic vegetation are just the beginning of the feast that will delight all your senses. Provence is often called “the land of light”, having inspired and delighted many painters over the centuries including Monet and Vincent van Gogh.

The walk starts in Avignon the former papal seat up to the 14th century, before the Vatican, staying in handpicked guesthouses, enjoying Provencal cuisine along with jaw dropping views over the Southern French landscape. The path traverses open ridges and along the 2 most important mountain ranges Les Alpilles & Le Luberon. We walk to 1000-year-old perched villages rising spectacularly from the valleys below, many of which are considered the most beautiful in France. Open fields laden with poppies and wildflowers; centuries’ old stone huts that offer the most intimate of picnic spots and beautiful trails far from the beaten track.

The path from St Remy de Provence takes you through famed villages such as Gordes, Bonnieux, Saignon, the spectacular Aiguebrun valley and the well-hidden Auberge des Seguins finishing in the Colorado Provencal and the most beautiful walking paths in Provence to link it all together.

Highlights

  • The diverse landscapes of the Alpilles & Luberon, retracing the life and brush strokes of Van Gogh
  • The mysterious spring of the Sorgue river: Fontaine de Vaucluse
  • 300 year-old Mur de la Peste and the 12th century Romanesque architecture Sénanque abbey
  • Saint Paul de Mausole monastery where Van Gogh spent over a year creating 150 paintings
  • Old stone farmhouses and Bories, walls, and huts along centuries-old paths
  • The ochre quarries of Rustrel & it’s 17th century chateau
  • The hilltop villages of the Luberon, including Gordes, Bonnieux, Lacoste, Saignon, Les Baux de Provence
  • A stay at the otherworldly 11th century converted goats farm converted into the Auberge des Seguins guest-house in Buoux
  • Awe-inspiring vistas atop the Alpilles mountains, the vineyards and olive groves blanketing the plains
  • If you start on a Monday you can stroll on the famous Wednesday morning market in St Remy (just like locals do) and grab your picnic fare
  • Follow our insider tips in the our notes (where to get the freshest baguette for your picnic, where to taste olive oil or wine)

WALK OVERVIEW

TYPE OF WALK
SELF GUIDED
TRIP LENGTH
8 DAYS
WALK GRADE
Moderate

Grade 3 – Moderate

Short, steep hill sections. Moderate active lifestyle and some walking experience recommended.

PRICE FROM
$ 2695

per person twin/double share

SINGLE OCCUPANCY
$ 825

Accommodations charge the same price per room regardless of whether there are one or two people occupying it. To cover the cost of the accommodation when occupied by one person we need to charge the single occupancy fee.

per person

Book now

ITINERARY

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Day 8

DAY 1
AVIGNON

The start: Arrival by your own means in Avignon (plane to Marseille, train to Avignon or private taxi upon request) There’s no walking scheduled today, however, there is an incredible array of historic sites to explore. A medieval town on the banks of the mighty Rhône River, Avignon has many hidden treasures: the Pope’s palace, the 12th century bridge, the 14th century ramparts, still intact, and many museums and churches. Meander through a labyrinth of cobbled streets and discover cafés in open squares, shaded by gorgeous plane trees.

Walking: Easy 1 – 5 kms
Meals: Dinner
Accommodation: Avignon in an ensuited room

DAY 2
ST REMY

The walk starts in the picturesque & artsy town of St Remy situated in the Alpilles hills.

There’s a great Wednesday morning market in St Remy if you can make the timing work for you. We begin by exploring the town, including its Roman ruins and the former monastery where Van Gogh spent the last year of his life. Walk up the Van Gogh trail, lined with reproductions of his paintings facing the very scenes that inspired them. The walk continues up a meandering botanical path to the crest of the Alpilles mountain. This section finishes with a crescendo, the short climb that leads to Rocher des deux Trous and outstanding views back over Massif des Alpilles and the surrounding area.

You then have two options: either a leisurely stroll back down the mountain, or a sizeable more challenging detour on a breathtaking path along the uneven rocky crest of the mountain adding an element of adventure, and a ton of “wow” to the day’s walk (followed by the same leisurely stroll back down the mountain…).

Walking: Moderate to Challenging / 10 – 18 kms / 3–6 hrs/ a shorter option is available / +550M / -550M
Meals: Buffet breakfast and three course dinner
Accommodation: St Remy in an ensuited room

DAY 3
ST REMY TO LES BAUX AND DETOUR TO MAUSSANE

Leaving St. Rémy by foot, and up to the crest of the windswept Alpilles mountains framed by lines of cypress trees accompanied by vineyards. The track atop the escarpment is complete with awe-inspiring 360° view. The gentle undulating track travels towards the medieval village of Les Baux de Provence. The town, perched on a rocky precipice makes for one of the most beautiful village settings in all of France. There’s time to visit le Chateau des Baux from the Middle ages and take in its magnificent views over the valley. From here it’s a gentle hike down to the prestigious olive groves that carpet the plain. You can taste some of the local olive oils and specialties in Maussane, a quaint Provençal town: This charming village has splendid vaulted houses and a 16th century chapel. Strolling through the narrow streets, you will come upon old oil-presses, chapels and splendid fountains. Made from a blend of five different varieties of olives, the olive oil made here is among the best made in the Mediterranean basin.

Option 1: The longer version finishes in Maussane – taxi pick up is arranged from Maussane to Gordes (next hotel)
Option 2: The shorter version finishes in Les Baux – taxi pick up is arranged from Les Baux to Gordes (next hotel)

Walking: Moderate / 12 or 19 kms / 4– 7 hrs/ a shorter option is available / +350M / -400M
Meals: Buffet breakfast and three course dinner
Accommodation: Gordes in an ensuited room

DAY 4
FONTAINE DE VAUCLUSE TO GORDES AND SENANQUE ABBEY

The walk starts at Fontaine de Vaucluse, with some irony today because this is the end of mythical pilgrimage not the beginning. There is time to explore this unique water course, one of the largest underground systems in the world and the gorgeous town. The walk then climbs away from the water up through pine and cedar forest on seldom-used trails, and up to a plateau. The sweeping views extend to far off hilltop villages, the effect a visual palette that is unique only to France. The walk continues along the 300 year-old Mur de la Peste, constructed when the plague hit Marseille in 1720, as a means to protect the Provence of the Popes from the ravaging disease. Your journey ends at the magnificent village of Gordes, perched up on its rocky crag, its’ majestic grey stone homes rising vertiginously from the valley below.

Gordes sits balanced high above the Calavon valley, its majestic stone homes rising dramatically in concentric circles to its castle, crowning the village. If you wish, you can add an additional loop to the Senanque Abbey. The track travels over a vast plateau, crossing lavender and thyme-laden fields dotted with old stone huts, on your way to Sénanque Abbey, a jewel of 12th century Romanesque architecture. You’ll have time to explore the abbey before returning to Gordes via an ancient cobbled path.

Walking: Moderate to Challenging / 13 – 23 kms / 4.5–7.5 hrs/ a shorter option is available / +450m / -200m
Meals: Buffet breakfast
Accommodation: Gordes in an ensuited room

DAY 5
LACOSTE TO BUOUX AND AUBERGE DES SEGUINS

There is a short transfer to the walk this morning to the village of Lacoste that’s crowned by the ruins of the castle of the Marquis de Sade. The village offers a stunning ensemble of old village gates, town squares and cobbled streets, not to mention the haunting allure of the castle and the Marquis and its’ 12th Century church. You continue to Bonnieux, another highlight of the Luberon, immortalized in Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence.

Beyond Bonnieux, you enter in the Grand Luberon, following alongside a lavender field before reaching Buoux castle, and the village of Buoux itself. Your accommodation a restored 17th century goat farm, the Auberge des Seguins, is like taking a step back in time. It is located in the depths of the Aiguebrun gorge, in an idyllic setting making it largely unknown and thus a perfect resting place after a great day of walking.

Walking: Moderate / 16.5 km / 5.5 hrs / +450m / -350m
Meals: Buffet breakfast and three course dinner
Accommodation: Auberge des Seguins

DAY 6
BUOUX THE AUBERGE DES SEGUINS TO APT

Pick up your picnic lunch for today’s walk at reception as there are no shops along the trails. You will soon find yourself walking along the base of the Aiguebrun canyon, the only permanent river in the Luberon mountains. The canyon’s massive limestone walls and luxuriant vegetation add just one more dimension to what is already an incredibly diverse walk. On to the hidden hamlet of Sivergues with its’ stone wall terraces the only remains of the cultivated fields, that once were spread out around the tightly-packed handful of homes. The walk continues through vast lavender fields and truffle oak plantations to Saignon, a medieval village with ruins of three castles. Today’s walk finishes in Apt with a descent into the Provencal capital of candied fruits “fruits confits”.

If you are up for a challenge then there is an additional loop walk out of Buoux that takes the high route and offers amazing views over the valley.

Walking: Moderate / 14 or 26 kms / 5 to 8 hrs / +400m / -650m
Meals: Breakfast and picnic lunch
Accommodation: Apt in an ensuited room

DAY 7
SAIGNON TO RUSTREL

Today’s walk crosses the Calavon valley and then onto the world’s largest ochre deposit, a rainbow feast visually of yellow, orange, and red sands. The maritime pine trees with their long and bright needles offer a beautiful contrast to the ochre soils. You’ll get to explore this area that’s called the “Colorado Provençal” an area which covers kilometres right in the heart of Provence. The ancient crimson cliffs are reminiscent of the far off Wild West, with canyon-like quarries, a succession of earth pillars and valleys with amazing contours. Short transfer to Isle sur la Sorgue also called the Provencal Venice.

Walking: Moderate / 12 or 16 kms / 4 to 6 hrs / +400m / -300m
Meals: Buffet breakfast and three course dinner
Accommodation: Isle sur la Sorgue, Provencal Venice in an ensuited room

DAY 8
PROVENCAL VENICE

The trip finishes after breakfast but why not spend a few more days in region. There is also the famous Saturday morning market in Provencal Venice (L’lsle sur la Sorgue) another opportunity to soak up the Provence ambience. Enjoy.

Meals: Breakfast

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Pack-free walking

  • 25+ years experience

  • Customised

  • Eco Travel

  • 7 nights double occupancy with private facilities, in handpicked hotels or guesthouses
  • 7 breakfasts, 1 picnic lunch and 5 dinners
  • All transport on and off the track incl luggage transfers
  • Our comprehensive set of notes, detailed walking itineraries, integrated maps and insider tips (where to get the freshest baguettes, where to taste olive oil or wine)
  • 24/7 support from our driver and representatives on the ground
  • Hilltop villages of the Luberon, including Gordes, Bonnieux, Lacoste, Saigon, Les Baux de Provence
  • 300 year-old Mur de la Peste, 12th century Romanesque architecture Senanque abbey
  • Awe-inspiring vistas atop the Alpilles mountains, vineyards and olive groves blanketing the plains

ACCOMMODATION & DINING

OVERVIEW

All the accommodation have been handpicked to reflect the character and history of the region. From elegant guesthouses, small charming hotels to 19th Century family homes you can be assured that wherever you stay you will be warmly welcomed. The accommodations are 3 star with an emphasis on location and the ambience of the region. We will endeavour to book all the accommodation listed below, but in the off chance we can’t we will substitute something of equal quality.

FOR EACH DAY

Night 1

Avignon

Elegant guesthouse with 4 spacious and fully equipped rooms. The current owners redecorated this large house of character of the XVIIth century a hidden gem in the historical centre of Avignon. With a peaceful garden, it is a true oasis of tranquillity

Night 2 & 3

St Remy de Provence

Armelle & Pierre running this small charming hotel in St Remy with pool. All rooms have a private terrace overlooking the 60-year old fig trees. Enjoy delicious breakfast with local products. There’s a swimming pool if you need to take a dip.

Night 4

Gordes

Etienne welcomes you in his Provencal guesthouse in the centre of Gordes with garden & pool, you will also enjoy a gourmet home cooked meal in the evening. There’s a swimming pool once again.

Night 5

Buoux

Hidden at the base of the Aiguebrun gorge, beside the only river in the mountain, and at the very end of the road, Les Seguins is both storybook scenic and peaceful. And with no television, Wifi, or cell phone reception, we’re taken blissfully back in time. Instead watch the swifts soar up amongst the massive limestone cliffs, or relax in a lounge chair in the open field, facing the centuries-old golden stone buildings. We’re taken back in time by the restaurant and hotel signs, written not only in French but also in Provençal: a language that your three young hosts speak fluently. Dinner is family-style, with home-cooked Provençal specialties. Breakfast is communal, eaten on large farm tables, with no bells and whistles but with the freshest breads and tasty homemade jams. We’re in an age where the hotel and restaurant business moves farther toward all that is modern and sophisto-chic, towards sterile monotony, towards overly-fancy restaurant concoctions unrecognizable by name and taste, and towards pamper-me-and-embrace-my-posterior service. The Auberge des Seguins is none of that, for better or worse. We think (we’re convinced) for the better.

Night 6

Apt

Tonight’s accommodation is a 19th century family home located on the Faubourg du Ballet Plaza of Apt’s quiet historical old town. All of the en suite rooms are air-conditioned and sound-proofed. The rooms have flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi internet access and overlook the city so it is welcome back to the 21st century for a night. Breakfast is served daily in the dining room or on the patio.

Night 7

Isle/Sorgue

A convenient location 3* hotel with restaurant in the centre of Isle. Jean Marc behind the oven and his wife Sandrine behind reception. Both sharing their passion for Provence and art de vivre. There’s a great wine bar here and more opportunity to taste wine from Provence and relax.

Breakfasts are continental, but Provence style, as are the picnic lunches. The dinners’ are 3 course affairs with the emphasis on local cuisine. Importantly in your notes we will include a dossier with handpicked real local recommendations for evening meals in restaurants where even the locals like to eat for the free nights. Since the region is known for wine, we suggest taking a day off to visit local wineries.

Alcohol or drinks with meals are not included (except tea/coffee and juice with breakfast).

GENERAL INFO

AVAILABILITY

This walk is available from March 1st to June 30th and September 15th to November 15th. The risk of path restrictions from the 1st of July until the 15th of September is something we are not willing to accept so we are unable to sell this trip through this time.

ACCESS

Travelling to the Start of the walk

The walks starts in Avignon and ends with a stay in Isle sur la Sorgue. You will need to get yourself to and from the start and end of your walk. i.e. you will need to organise your travel to the start of the walk in Avignon. To make it easy we have collated some useful information that will assist you in making arrangements for your travel.

By plane (and rail): One of the easiest options would be to fly into Marseille and then catch the train from Marseille to Avignon. There are many airlines that fly from Paris to Marseille. Below are possible websites that provide a number of different carriers to choose from.

The train from Marseilles to Avignon will take around 40mins and will cost anywhere from around €10.00 to €30.00 or AUD $15 – $40. They depart so often that it may not be worth worrying about booking. Please find below ways to book.

Trainline.com: https://www.thetrainline.com/en/train-times
TGV: https://en.oui.sncf/en/tgv

By rail:  It’s also very easy to catch a train from anywhere in France to Avignon. The fastest service is the TGV intercity high-speed rail service. This journey takes about 3 hrs from Paris and will cost anywhere from €50 to €150 or $30 – $160 AUS depending on booking conditions and Class of service chosen.
https://en.oui.sncf/en/tgv
You can buy a ticket when you get there, however we recommend pre booking your tickets online.

Travelling from the end of the walk

By rail:  The train from Isle sur la Sorgue back to Marseilles takes around 1 hr 50 min or longer and costs around €20 or $30 AUD.
Or take the train back to Paris which takes about 5 hours.
Trainline.com:  https://www.thetrainline.com/en/train-times
TGV: https://en.oui.sncf/en/tgv

By plane: (Get the train to Marseille) There are many airlines that fly from Marseilles to Paris. Below are possible websites that provide a number of different carriers to choose from.
https://www.kayak.com/flights
www.google.com/flights

WALKING

The walk is moderate with some long days if you wish. Full day walks average about 16 km with 5 –6. hours walking each day. The walking is over mostly flat well maintained paths through the most beautiful parts of Provence. This is a beautiful area with many fabulous historic attractions on top of the fabulous waking routes. We highly recommend that you incorporate some extra time after the walk to rest but also to fully immerse yourself in Provence.

This is unlikely as we have avoided the risky time, but the paths through forests may still close or be partially restricted (access until 11:00am) if the risk of forest fire is high. The walks may vary due to weather conditions and dry season. It is the client’s responsibility to get this information (suppliers will help with this), that is published no later than 6pm a day ahead. You can ask reception to make a call for you, if you want to make sure you understand what is happening. Any extra cost due to those restrictions (or for any personal reason) will be at the clients’ expense. Of course if the paths happen to be restricted or closed we will do our best to provide alternative options.

For what to bring please refer to Gear Advice on our FAQ section.

WEATHER

From March the temperature begins to rise so be prepared for warmer days if you walk in June (summer). The walk is not offered in winter as the accommodations close and the conditions are not pleasant or perhaps even safe in the mountains. Shoulder season is by far the best time as the weather is perfect for walking and the added advantage of having less people around in the villages and towns (we walk away from the people on the walk so crowds are never an issue.)

See the weather information about average temperatures and rainfall at different times of the year.

INSURANCE

We strongly recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy for travel overseas, as we charge a cancellation fee if you cancel your walking holiday after we have confirmed it. We want to help make insurance more affordable by offering you a discount on policies purchased through NIB Insurance. This applies to any NIB policies issued via this linkGet an instant quote and purchase online now.

INFORMATION PACK

For nearly 30 years we have taken pride in providing seamlessly organised walking holidays, but we know, even with that in mind, that you’ll have many more questions. You will receive a very detailed information pack and itinerary approximately 6 weeks out from departure outlining all the fine detail and much more.

CONTACT

If you have any questions, feel free to ask one of our destination consultants. You can get in touch with us via our contact form, email us at info@auswalk.com.au, or call us on +61 3 9597 9767.

MAP

DEPARTURE DATES

  • DATES
    AVAILABILITY
    PRICE
    Single Occupancy
    DETAILS
  • 1 Mar 2019 - 30 Nov 2019
    AVAILABLE
    from

    $2695

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $825
  • 1 Mar 2020 - 30 Nov 2020
    AVAILABLE
    from

    $2795

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $855
Overview

OVERVIEW

To truly taste the Provencal lifestyle you need to get up close to the landscapes, the food, nature, the ancient towns and villages all which can only be realised on foot. Everything you discover in Provence looks beautiful by the special light that prevails. The olive groves with their silver leaves, lavender fields, the pines, cypresses, fig trees and exotic vegetation are just the beginning of the feast that will delight all your senses. Provence is often called “the land of light”, having inspired and delighted many painters over the centuries including Monet and Vincent van Gogh.

The walk starts in Avignon the former papal seat up to the 14th century, before the Vatican, staying in handpicked guesthouses, enjoying Provencal cuisine along with jaw dropping views over the Southern French landscape. The path traverses open ridges and along the 2 most important mountain ranges Les Alpilles & Le Luberon. We walk to 1000-year-old perched villages rising spectacularly from the valleys below, many of which are considered the most beautiful in France. Open fields laden with poppies and wildflowers; centuries’ old stone huts that offer the most intimate of picnic spots and beautiful trails far from the beaten track.

The path from St Remy de Provence takes you through famed villages such as Gordes, Bonnieux, Saignon, the spectacular Aiguebrun valley and the well-hidden Auberge des Seguins finishing in the Colorado Provencal and the most beautiful walking paths in Provence to link it all together.

Highlights

  • The diverse landscapes of the Alpilles & Luberon, retracing the life and brush strokes of Van Gogh
  • The mysterious spring of the Sorgue river: Fontaine de Vaucluse
  • 300 year-old Mur de la Peste and the 12th century Romanesque architecture Sénanque abbey
  • Saint Paul de Mausole monastery where Van Gogh spent over a year creating 150 paintings
  • Old stone farmhouses and Bories, walls, and huts along centuries-old paths
  • The ochre quarries of Rustrel & it’s 17th century chateau
  • The hilltop villages of the Luberon, including Gordes, Bonnieux, Lacoste, Saignon, Les Baux de Provence
  • A stay at the otherworldly 11th century converted goats farm converted into the Auberge des Seguins guest-house in Buoux
  • Awe-inspiring vistas atop the Alpilles mountains, the vineyards and olive groves blanketing the plains
  • If you start on a Monday you can stroll on the famous Wednesday morning market in St Remy (just like locals do) and grab your picnic fare
  • Follow our insider tips in the our notes (where to get the freshest baguette for your picnic, where to taste olive oil or wine)

WALK OVERVIEW

TYPE OF WALK
SELF GUIDED
TRIP LENGTH
8 DAYS
WALK GRADE
Moderate

Grade 3 – Moderate

Short, steep hill sections. Moderate active lifestyle and some walking experience recommended.

PRICE FROM
$ 2695

per person twin/double share

SINGLE OCCUPANCY
$ 825

Accommodations charge the same price per room regardless of whether there are one or two people occupying it. To cover the cost of the accommodation when occupied by one person we need to charge the single occupancy fee.

per person

Book now
Itinerary

ITINERARY

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Day 8

DAY 1
AVIGNON

The start: Arrival by your own means in Avignon (plane to Marseille, train to Avignon or private taxi upon request) There’s no walking scheduled today, however, there is an incredible array of historic sites to explore. A medieval town on the banks of the mighty Rhône River, Avignon has many hidden treasures: the Pope’s palace, the 12th century bridge, the 14th century ramparts, still intact, and many museums and churches. Meander through a labyrinth of cobbled streets and discover cafés in open squares, shaded by gorgeous plane trees.

Walking: Easy 1 – 5 kms
Meals: Dinner
Accommodation: Avignon in an ensuited room

DAY 2
ST REMY

The walk starts in the picturesque & artsy town of St Remy situated in the Alpilles hills.

There’s a great Wednesday morning market in St Remy if you can make the timing work for you. We begin by exploring the town, including its Roman ruins and the former monastery where Van Gogh spent the last year of his life. Walk up the Van Gogh trail, lined with reproductions of his paintings facing the very scenes that inspired them. The walk continues up a meandering botanical path to the crest of the Alpilles mountain. This section finishes with a crescendo, the short climb that leads to Rocher des deux Trous and outstanding views back over Massif des Alpilles and the surrounding area.

You then have two options: either a leisurely stroll back down the mountain, or a sizeable more challenging detour on a breathtaking path along the uneven rocky crest of the mountain adding an element of adventure, and a ton of “wow” to the day’s walk (followed by the same leisurely stroll back down the mountain…).

Walking: Moderate to Challenging / 10 – 18 kms / 3–6 hrs/ a shorter option is available / +550M / -550M
Meals: Buffet breakfast and three course dinner
Accommodation: St Remy in an ensuited room

DAY 3
ST REMY TO LES BAUX AND DETOUR TO MAUSSANE

Leaving St. Rémy by foot, and up to the crest of the windswept Alpilles mountains framed by lines of cypress trees accompanied by vineyards. The track atop the escarpment is complete with awe-inspiring 360° view. The gentle undulating track travels towards the medieval village of Les Baux de Provence. The town, perched on a rocky precipice makes for one of the most beautiful village settings in all of France. There’s time to visit le Chateau des Baux from the Middle ages and take in its magnificent views over the valley. From here it’s a gentle hike down to the prestigious olive groves that carpet the plain. You can taste some of the local olive oils and specialties in Maussane, a quaint Provençal town: This charming village has splendid vaulted houses and a 16th century chapel. Strolling through the narrow streets, you will come upon old oil-presses, chapels and splendid fountains. Made from a blend of five different varieties of olives, the olive oil made here is among the best made in the Mediterranean basin.

Option 1: The longer version finishes in Maussane – taxi pick up is arranged from Maussane to Gordes (next hotel)
Option 2: The shorter version finishes in Les Baux – taxi pick up is arranged from Les Baux to Gordes (next hotel)

Walking: Moderate / 12 or 19 kms / 4– 7 hrs/ a shorter option is available / +350M / -400M
Meals: Buffet breakfast and three course dinner
Accommodation: Gordes in an ensuited room

DAY 4
FONTAINE DE VAUCLUSE TO GORDES AND SENANQUE ABBEY

The walk starts at Fontaine de Vaucluse, with some irony today because this is the end of mythical pilgrimage not the beginning. There is time to explore this unique water course, one of the largest underground systems in the world and the gorgeous town. The walk then climbs away from the water up through pine and cedar forest on seldom-used trails, and up to a plateau. The sweeping views extend to far off hilltop villages, the effect a visual palette that is unique only to France. The walk continues along the 300 year-old Mur de la Peste, constructed when the plague hit Marseille in 1720, as a means to protect the Provence of the Popes from the ravaging disease. Your journey ends at the magnificent village of Gordes, perched up on its rocky crag, its’ majestic grey stone homes rising vertiginously from the valley below.

Gordes sits balanced high above the Calavon valley, its majestic stone homes rising dramatically in concentric circles to its castle, crowning the village. If you wish, you can add an additional loop to the Senanque Abbey. The track travels over a vast plateau, crossing lavender and thyme-laden fields dotted with old stone huts, on your way to Sénanque Abbey, a jewel of 12th century Romanesque architecture. You’ll have time to explore the abbey before returning to Gordes via an ancient cobbled path.

Walking: Moderate to Challenging / 13 – 23 kms / 4.5–7.5 hrs/ a shorter option is available / +450m / -200m
Meals: Buffet breakfast
Accommodation: Gordes in an ensuited room

DAY 5
LACOSTE TO BUOUX AND AUBERGE DES SEGUINS

There is a short transfer to the walk this morning to the village of Lacoste that’s crowned by the ruins of the castle of the Marquis de Sade. The village offers a stunning ensemble of old village gates, town squares and cobbled streets, not to mention the haunting allure of the castle and the Marquis and its’ 12th Century church. You continue to Bonnieux, another highlight of the Luberon, immortalized in Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence.

Beyond Bonnieux, you enter in the Grand Luberon, following alongside a lavender field before reaching Buoux castle, and the village of Buoux itself. Your accommodation a restored 17th century goat farm, the Auberge des Seguins, is like taking a step back in time. It is located in the depths of the Aiguebrun gorge, in an idyllic setting making it largely unknown and thus a perfect resting place after a great day of walking.

Walking: Moderate / 16.5 km / 5.5 hrs / +450m / -350m
Meals: Buffet breakfast and three course dinner
Accommodation: Auberge des Seguins

DAY 6
BUOUX THE AUBERGE DES SEGUINS TO APT

Pick up your picnic lunch for today’s walk at reception as there are no shops along the trails. You will soon find yourself walking along the base of the Aiguebrun canyon, the only permanent river in the Luberon mountains. The canyon’s massive limestone walls and luxuriant vegetation add just one more dimension to what is already an incredibly diverse walk. On to the hidden hamlet of Sivergues with its’ stone wall terraces the only remains of the cultivated fields, that once were spread out around the tightly-packed handful of homes. The walk continues through vast lavender fields and truffle oak plantations to Saignon, a medieval village with ruins of three castles. Today’s walk finishes in Apt with a descent into the Provencal capital of candied fruits “fruits confits”.

If you are up for a challenge then there is an additional loop walk out of Buoux that takes the high route and offers amazing views over the valley.

Walking: Moderate / 14 or 26 kms / 5 to 8 hrs / +400m / -650m
Meals: Breakfast and picnic lunch
Accommodation: Apt in an ensuited room

DAY 7
SAIGNON TO RUSTREL

Today’s walk crosses the Calavon valley and then onto the world’s largest ochre deposit, a rainbow feast visually of yellow, orange, and red sands. The maritime pine trees with their long and bright needles offer a beautiful contrast to the ochre soils. You’ll get to explore this area that’s called the “Colorado Provençal” an area which covers kilometres right in the heart of Provence. The ancient crimson cliffs are reminiscent of the far off Wild West, with canyon-like quarries, a succession of earth pillars and valleys with amazing contours. Short transfer to Isle sur la Sorgue also called the Provencal Venice.

Walking: Moderate / 12 or 16 kms / 4 to 6 hrs / +400m / -300m
Meals: Buffet breakfast and three course dinner
Accommodation: Isle sur la Sorgue, Provencal Venice in an ensuited room

DAY 8
PROVENCAL VENICE

The trip finishes after breakfast but why not spend a few more days in region. There is also the famous Saturday morning market in Provencal Venice (L’lsle sur la Sorgue) another opportunity to soak up the Provence ambience. Enjoy.

Meals: Breakfast

What’s Included

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Pack-free walking

  • 25+ years experience

  • Customised

  • Eco Travel

  • 7 nights double occupancy with private facilities, in handpicked hotels or guesthouses
  • 7 breakfasts, 1 picnic lunch and 5 dinners
  • All transport on and off the track incl luggage transfers
  • Our comprehensive set of notes, detailed walking itineraries, integrated maps and insider tips (where to get the freshest baguettes, where to taste olive oil or wine)
  • 24/7 support from our driver and representatives on the ground
  • Hilltop villages of the Luberon, including Gordes, Bonnieux, Lacoste, Saigon, Les Baux de Provence
  • 300 year-old Mur de la Peste, 12th century Romanesque architecture Senanque abbey
  • Awe-inspiring vistas atop the Alpilles mountains, vineyards and olive groves blanketing the plains
Accommodation & Dining

ACCOMMODATION & DINING

OVERVIEW

All the accommodation have been handpicked to reflect the character and history of the region. From elegant guesthouses, small charming hotels to 19th Century family homes you can be assured that wherever you stay you will be warmly welcomed. The accommodations are 3 star with an emphasis on location and the ambience of the region. We will endeavour to book all the accommodation listed below, but in the off chance we can’t we will substitute something of equal quality.

FOR EACH DAY

Night 1

Avignon

Elegant guesthouse with 4 spacious and fully equipped rooms. The current owners redecorated this large house of character of the XVIIth century a hidden gem in the historical centre of Avignon. With a peaceful garden, it is a true oasis of tranquillity

Night 2 & 3

St Remy de Provence

Armelle & Pierre running this small charming hotel in St Remy with pool. All rooms have a private terrace overlooking the 60-year old fig trees. Enjoy delicious breakfast with local products. There’s a swimming pool if you need to take a dip.

Night 4

Gordes

Etienne welcomes you in his Provencal guesthouse in the centre of Gordes with garden & pool, you will also enjoy a gourmet home cooked meal in the evening. There’s a swimming pool once again.

Night 5

Buoux

Hidden at the base of the Aiguebrun gorge, beside the only river in the mountain, and at the very end of the road, Les Seguins is both storybook scenic and peaceful. And with no television, Wifi, or cell phone reception, we’re taken blissfully back in time. Instead watch the swifts soar up amongst the massive limestone cliffs, or relax in a lounge chair in the open field, facing the centuries-old golden stone buildings. We’re taken back in time by the restaurant and hotel signs, written not only in French but also in Provençal: a language that your three young hosts speak fluently. Dinner is family-style, with home-cooked Provençal specialties. Breakfast is communal, eaten on large farm tables, with no bells and whistles but with the freshest breads and tasty homemade jams. We’re in an age where the hotel and restaurant business moves farther toward all that is modern and sophisto-chic, towards sterile monotony, towards overly-fancy restaurant concoctions unrecognizable by name and taste, and towards pamper-me-and-embrace-my-posterior service. The Auberge des Seguins is none of that, for better or worse. We think (we’re convinced) for the better.

Night 6

Apt

Tonight’s accommodation is a 19th century family home located on the Faubourg du Ballet Plaza of Apt’s quiet historical old town. All of the en suite rooms are air-conditioned and sound-proofed. The rooms have flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi internet access and overlook the city so it is welcome back to the 21st century for a night. Breakfast is served daily in the dining room or on the patio.

Night 7

Isle/Sorgue

A convenient location 3* hotel with restaurant in the centre of Isle. Jean Marc behind the oven and his wife Sandrine behind reception. Both sharing their passion for Provence and art de vivre. There’s a great wine bar here and more opportunity to taste wine from Provence and relax.

Breakfasts are continental, but Provence style, as are the picnic lunches. The dinners’ are 3 course affairs with the emphasis on local cuisine. Importantly in your notes we will include a dossier with handpicked real local recommendations for evening meals in restaurants where even the locals like to eat for the free nights. Since the region is known for wine, we suggest taking a day off to visit local wineries.

Alcohol or drinks with meals are not included (except tea/coffee and juice with breakfast).

General Info

GENERAL INFO

AVAILABILITY

This walk is available from March 1st to June 30th and September 15th to November 15th. The risk of path restrictions from the 1st of July until the 15th of September is something we are not willing to accept so we are unable to sell this trip through this time.

ACCESS

Travelling to the Start of the walk

The walks starts in Avignon and ends with a stay in Isle sur la Sorgue. You will need to get yourself to and from the start and end of your walk. i.e. you will need to organise your travel to the start of the walk in Avignon. To make it easy we have collated some useful information that will assist you in making arrangements for your travel.

By plane (and rail): One of the easiest options would be to fly into Marseille and then catch the train from Marseille to Avignon. There are many airlines that fly from Paris to Marseille. Below are possible websites that provide a number of different carriers to choose from.

The train from Marseilles to Avignon will take around 40mins and will cost anywhere from around €10.00 to €30.00 or AUD $15 – $40. They depart so often that it may not be worth worrying about booking. Please find below ways to book.

Trainline.com: https://www.thetrainline.com/en/train-times
TGV: https://en.oui.sncf/en/tgv

By rail:  It’s also very easy to catch a train from anywhere in France to Avignon. The fastest service is the TGV intercity high-speed rail service. This journey takes about 3 hrs from Paris and will cost anywhere from €50 to €150 or $30 – $160 AUS depending on booking conditions and Class of service chosen.
https://en.oui.sncf/en/tgv
You can buy a ticket when you get there, however we recommend pre booking your tickets online.

Travelling from the end of the walk

By rail:  The train from Isle sur la Sorgue back to Marseilles takes around 1 hr 50 min or longer and costs around €20 or $30 AUD.
Or take the train back to Paris which takes about 5 hours.
Trainline.com:  https://www.thetrainline.com/en/train-times
TGV: https://en.oui.sncf/en/tgv

By plane: (Get the train to Marseille) There are many airlines that fly from Marseilles to Paris. Below are possible websites that provide a number of different carriers to choose from.
https://www.kayak.com/flights
www.google.com/flights

WALKING

The walk is moderate with some long days if you wish. Full day walks average about 16 km with 5 –6. hours walking each day. The walking is over mostly flat well maintained paths through the most beautiful parts of Provence. This is a beautiful area with many fabulous historic attractions on top of the fabulous waking routes. We highly recommend that you incorporate some extra time after the walk to rest but also to fully immerse yourself in Provence.

This is unlikely as we have avoided the risky time, but the paths through forests may still close or be partially restricted (access until 11:00am) if the risk of forest fire is high. The walks may vary due to weather conditions and dry season. It is the client’s responsibility to get this information (suppliers will help with this), that is published no later than 6pm a day ahead. You can ask reception to make a call for you, if you want to make sure you understand what is happening. Any extra cost due to those restrictions (or for any personal reason) will be at the clients’ expense. Of course if the paths happen to be restricted or closed we will do our best to provide alternative options.

For what to bring please refer to Gear Advice on our FAQ section.

WEATHER

From March the temperature begins to rise so be prepared for warmer days if you walk in June (summer). The walk is not offered in winter as the accommodations close and the conditions are not pleasant or perhaps even safe in the mountains. Shoulder season is by far the best time as the weather is perfect for walking and the added advantage of having less people around in the villages and towns (we walk away from the people on the walk so crowds are never an issue.)

See the weather information about average temperatures and rainfall at different times of the year.

INSURANCE

We strongly recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy for travel overseas, as we charge a cancellation fee if you cancel your walking holiday after we have confirmed it. We want to help make insurance more affordable by offering you a discount on policies purchased through NIB Insurance. This applies to any NIB policies issued via this linkGet an instant quote and purchase online now.

INFORMATION PACK

For nearly 30 years we have taken pride in providing seamlessly organised walking holidays, but we know, even with that in mind, that you’ll have many more questions. You will receive a very detailed information pack and itinerary approximately 6 weeks out from departure outlining all the fine detail and much more.

CONTACT

If you have any questions, feel free to ask one of our destination consultants. You can get in touch with us via our contact form, email us at info@auswalk.com.au, or call us on +61 3 9597 9767.

Map

MAP

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Departure Dates

DEPARTURE DATES

  • DATES
    AVAILABILITY
    PRICE
    Single Occupancy
    DETAILS
  • 1 Mar 2019 - 30 Nov 2019
    AVAILABLE
    Details
    from

    $2695

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $825
  • 1 Mar 2020 - 30 Nov 2020
    AVAILABLE
    Details
    from

    $2795

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $855

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If you’re looking for further information on any of our walking holidays please fill out the enquiry form and we’ll be in touch.

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