Spend a week hiking the transhumance herding routes. Our expert guide and shepherd will accompany you through the pastoral paths, drailles, in southern Provence and give you insight on the lifestyle of pseudo nomadic shepherds.
Spend a week hiking France's southern transhumance herding routes. Our expert guide and shepherd will accompany you through the Southern pastoral paths, drailles, in Provence and give you insight on the lifestyle of pseudo nomadic shepherds in France.This is a France écotours exclusive tour.
Day 1: Arrival
Participants meet at 4pm at the Arles station. Guests can reach Arles with the TER line from Aix- a station for long-distance trains (TGV). Reception, briefing and walk in the city of Arles. Dinner and overnight stay in Arles.
Day 2: The Crau plains
Participants will be transferred to the La Crau plain, home to one of the largest French herds, mainly composed of a rustic breed: the Merino D'Arles, hence the areas nickname, Domaine de Merle. Guests will receive a guided tour of the area. Dinner and overnight stay in Arles.
Day 3: Aix and its surroundings
The group will hike the Bories trail and part of the GR6 towards Vernègues. That means a short transfer to Salon en Provence. On the way to Aix, a short hike on an old drail in the Eguilles hills. Dinner and overnight stay in Aix.
Day 4: Sainte Victoire and Valensole - the old trails
Today, the group will visit the older transhumance routes. The days starts with a short transfer followed by a hike on the GR 9 through the old draille which runs north along the Montagne Sainte Victoire. The second trail is on the Valensole plateau. Guests can later cool off in Lake Esparron if the weather plays along. Dinner and overnight stay in Aix.
Day 5: Manosque and Digne - man-made and natural beauty
Our trip continues on the transhumance path along the Durance river. Participants take a break at the remarkable garden of the Priory of Salagon in Mane. Our route passes the pointed sheds, the Ganagobie monastery (for the magnificent panorama of the Luberon), and the rocks of the Mées respectively. Dinner and lodging in Digne.
Day 6: Préalpes de Digne-les-Bains
Another train transfer before participants hike from the village of Entrage to Saint Michel de Cousson. By taking the mule track, we arrive at the chapel of Saint Michel de Cousson. Guests choose between meeting a local shepherd or taking part in a wool workshop. Overnight stay and dinner in Digne.
Day 7: Departure
The group will enjoy a breakfast before departing. The old Train des Pignes railway line can take them back to Nice or Aix en Provence for international connections.
For more information you can request our detailed information sheet via email. Please indicate which tour you are interested in.
Price indicated per person in double room
Single room on request with supplement
NB: For parties of 8 people or more, we can organise a personalized tour for dates of your choice.
6 nights in double rooms in 3-star hotels, half board, qualified guide and shepherd, luggage transport, mentioned transfers (on a minibus) in the program, visits in the itinerary.
Trip guaranteed from 8 persons onwards (16 max.)
This trip is not suitable for persons with reduced mobility
Last possibility of cancellation by the tour operator: 21 days prior to the tour
Overnight stay in 3-star hotels with half board, either in a double or shared room, private bathroom.
For hikers with good endurance, also suitable for beginners who exercise regularly.
Average duration of a stage: 2 to 5 hours per day. Participants will cover medium size mountains and hike on altitudes of 600 - 900m per day.
A triangle located between the Alpilles massif, the Camargue and the Etang de Berre, the La Crau plain has always been a pastoral land. The pathways, known locally as drailles, were lined with stones planted in pairs, on either side, every four or five hundred metres, piles of stones delimiting the route so that the herds could also use them at night. Now herds are being transported by truck due to accelerated urbanization and the ban on herds crossing urban areas and some municipalities.
We recommend an eco friendly train to Arles station. Take a long-distance to Aix, the TER train goes to Arles from there.