Individual self-guided hiking tour in beautiful Provence
This hiking tour combines the best of Provence from St Remy to Gordes and includes history and plenty of culture. We combined history, antiquity, castles, crafts and traditions, gastronomy and natural sites. During 5 hiking days we discover Saint-Remy de Provence and the countryside around this lovely town, the Sorgues Area, the Vaucluse Hills and the Luberon. If you might lost your heart in one of these beautiful places, nothing stops you from extending your stay for one or more days.
Hiking: the routes are a combination of quiet country roads which allow you to appreciate the Provence villages as well as parts of GR-trails (“Grande Randonnees”/ Long Distance Paths). The daily distance varies between 15 and 20kms (9 and 12 miles) and the hiking is moderate with some hilly terrain. Day 5 exceeds this distance with a 23km (14.5miles).
Day 1 Arrival in Avignon and transfer to Baux de Provence and a deluxe 4 star hotel and Michelin star restaurant. Les Baux is just above St Remy de Provence where you go next. The castle, towering over the village is one of the most visited places of interest in France. Castle and village offer fabulous panoramas, village monuments, museums, art galleries and workshops. Orientation by phone at 4:30 today; or option for 8:30 next morning. Night and 1 star Michelin dinner included. (D)
Day 2: Les Baux to St Remy: (10km). A small route that is part of the GR 6 will take you along from the Citadel of Les Baux de Provence. We propose you to walk to the Val d’Enfer and its rock formations. You can enjoy a "son et lumiere" (sound and light) show in the old stone quarries of the Cathedral of Images. On your way back to Saint-Rémy, there is a viewpoint indicator where you can overlook the area. A scenic downhill and the old Chemin d’Arles will guide you back to your hotel. originally a Greco-Roman town is now about 10000 population but a very famous place. 16th and 17th century architecture, museums, and great cuisine mark it as a must see. The monastery of St Paul de Mausole (Van Gogh was held here) and the cathedral deserve a visit. Wednesday morning is a market day, one of the biggest in Provence, so plan accordingly if you want to see it. Night and dinner included in St Remy. (B,D)
Day 3: St Remy to Eygalieres (14km). The countryside east of Saint-Remy is dominated by the Alpilles (“small Alps”), a scenic small mountain range with a maximum altitude of 350m (1100 ft). At the monastery of Saint-Paul de Mausole you hit the trail who will lead you between the Alpilles and the Canal des Alpilles to Eygalières where you will stay the night. Eygalières is a pretty village between the mountain and the plain. A “one horse town” with some cosy outdoor cafés, typical Provençal shops and high quality restaurants. A short walk uphill (along the church) will bring you to a chapel ruin with bell tower from where you have a great panorama. If time, visit the remarkable Chapel of Sainte Sixte and its cypress trees. Charming 3 star hotel with option to upgrade, dinner on your own. (B)
Day 4:Isle sur la Sorgue-Fontaine de Vaucluse (11kms). Transfer by taxi to Isle Sur La Sorgue, this old fishing town located at the parting of the Sorgue river. Antique lovers come to this town, especially for the Sunday market. See also the 12th century church and then hike on to Fontaine de Vaucluse also famous for a romanesque church and of course its "fontaine" or spring. Charming 3 star hotel, and dinner on your own. (B)
Day 5:Fontaine de Vaucluse - Gordes (15km). About 1km south of the village you pick up the trail that will take you to Gordes, awarded the “Most Beautiful Villages of France”. The homes, built of drystone architecture, are built on the rocky outcrop which overlooks the valley of the Coulon River and the Luberon Parc. On your itinerary you will have the possibility to visit the superb 12th century Romanesque Sénanque Abbey –still lived in by monks and open to the public but closed on Sunday mornings; surrounded by lavender fields. Charming 3 star hotel at the edge of the village, dinner on your own. (B)
Day 6: Hiking around Gordes (max 22km). A walk along quiet roads will allow you to go and visit The Borie Village, a living outdoor museum and the Lavender Museum in Coustellet (8kms). An other option is to follow the GR6 GR 97 to Roussillon, also ranked among “The Most Beautiful Villages of France” and famous for its red and gold ochre cliffs. Same hotel in Gordes B)
Day 7: Depart: Transfer back to Avignon rail station. Additional nights can be arranged in Gordes. (B)