Discover France’s beautiful Provence from a new perspective! This guided or self-guided tour combines beautiful hikes along the French Riviera with rides on the mythical “Train des Pignes”, exploring picturesque villages, tall summits and wild canyons.
Join us on this adventurous guided or self-guided tour in Southern France! Combining beautiful hikes and mystical train rides, this 9 day culture trip will allow you to explore unspoiled and widely unknown landscapes just off the famous French Riviera. The historic “Train des Pignes”, one of France's last narrow-gauge railway lines, will take you through lush green valleys and wild canyons, passing sleepy villages, sheep shelters and tall mountains. Experience Provence from a truly unique perspective!
Please note: the Chemin de fer de Provence railway company carries often out maintenance work and certain transfers are replaced by bus. The journey from St. André-les-Alpes to Digne-les-Bains takes place by bus until at least 2024. Train services between Méailles and Thorame-Haute will be suspended until the beginning of July 2020. Until then, passenger transport is mainly by bus.
Day 1: Arrival at Puget-Théniers
From Nice, you drive with the Train des Pignes to Puget-Théniers. You can also drive with your own car directly to Puget-Théniers, and move into your accommodation.
From the middle of May until the middle of October, you can take the historic train on Sunday mornings from Puget-Théniers to Villar-sur-Var or Annot.
Day 2: Entrevaux – Puget-Théniers
Starting from Puget-Théniers, you will board the Train des Pignes early in the morning to reach Entrevaux. The hike begins with the climb to the Entrevaux citadel, perched atop the little village. A “balcony path” looking over the Var valley leads to the abandoned hamlet of Les Lacs. You then proceed to the crest of Aurafort (1,050 m/3,445 ft). A very beautiful path winds between cliffs down to Puget-Théniers and its olive groves.
Duration: 5h – Ascent: 650 m / 2,132 ft – Descent: 750 m / 2,460 ft
Day 3: Puget-Théniers – Guillaumes – Annot
The day begins with a minibus transfer from Puget-Théniers to Léouvé. The hike starts in the Roudoule valley, is followed by the crossing of the Col de Roua (1,284 m/4,212 ft) which makes you discover the amazing landscapes of the red lands of Le Barrot and the gorges of Daluis. The hike ends in Guillaumes. From there, you can take a taxi through the gorges of Daluis to Annot , where you will spend this night and the next one.
Duration: 5h 30 – Ascent: 350 m / 1,148 ft – Descent: 600 m / 1,968 ft
Day 4: Méailles – Annot
In the morning, you will be transfered via the Train des Pignes to the Méailles train station. You will then walk up to the village Méailles, from where a path slopes up and into the sandstone mountains of Annot before reaching the pass of Argenton (1,468 m/4,816 ft). If you want to, you can there take a 2-hours round walk to the hamlet of Argenton. The walk continues down through splendid and wild landscapes back to Annot.
Duration: 5h (or 7h if you hike to Argenton) – Ascent: 600 m / 1,968 ft – Descent: 750 m / 2,460 ft
Day 5: Annot – Peyresq – Verdon Valley
The Train des Pignes brings you today from Annot to _ Peyresq_. The hike leads you to the climb of the lovely village, followed by a walk across pastures and forests to the hamlet of La Colle St Michel and finally a descent in the Verdon valley. You spend the night in Thorame.
Duration: 5h – Ascent: 600 m / 1,968 ft
Day 6: Moriez – St-André-les-Alpes
After the discovery of the very wild mountainous Aup _ridge, the _Train des Pignes drives you from Thorame to Moriez.
Then you climb through very wild terrain up the Grau de Courchons (1,543 m/5,062 ft.) to the abandoned village of Courchons (1,350 m/4,429 ft). Then the walk goes down across pine forests to St André-les-Alpes, where you new accommodation awaits you.
Duration: 6h – Ascent: 800 m / 2,624 ft – Descent: 820 m / 2,690 ft
Day 7: St-André-les-Alpes – Le Poil – Chabrières
The transfer today with the Train des Pignes ends in Barrême. From there, a taxi will drive you to Planet. The hike brings you to St Maime farm over a pass (1,350m/4,429 ft) and by the ruins of the villages Poil and Creisset. You spend the night in Chabrières.
Duration: 6h – Ascent: 700 m / 2,296 ft – Descent: 750 m / 2,460 ft
Day 8: Chabrières – Digne
Transfer by train from Les Pignes to Barrême station, then by taxi to Le Planet. Ascent to the farm of St Maime, pass (1350m), then the ruined village of Le Poil, descent through the ruined hamlets of Creisset.
Duration: 6h30 – Ascent: 700 m / 2,296 ft – Descent: 750 m / 2,460 ft+700m,
Shorter option: Direct ascent to the hamlets of Creisset and descent to Chabrières via the St Etienne chapel.
+/-560m and 4 hours of walking
Day 9: End
After breakfast : end of your walking tour. Return to Entrevaux or Nice in the morning.
Quotation indicated for one person by 2 participants in double room occupancy for 9 days and 8 overstays
From the 4th of April until the 25th of October 2020.
€849,-/person for 7 days/6 overnights.
The historic steam train between Puget-Théniers and Villar-sur-Var or Annot is operated from the middle of May until the middle of October.
Our hiking programm begins in Puget-Théniers and ends in Chabriéres.
Your organise the arrival and return by yourself and extend your trip on your option.
8 nights in double bedroom, half board except in Digne-les-Bains, carrying of the luggage, transfers according to the programm from and to Puget-Théniers (Train des Pignes, Bus or Taxi),visitor taxes, detailed description of the tour, topographic maps in scale 1:25.000 and detailed indications about the cultural sightseeings ( in English), visitor's tax.
Picnic packet for 130,- €/person (9 days/8 overnight stays)
Minimum 2 participants
Not accessible to persons with reduced mobility.
Last possibility of cancellation from the tour operator: 21 days before the beginning of the trip
Double bedrooms with private bathrooms in comfortable 2-star and 3-star Hotels with regional specialities.
Not suitable for beginners!
Accessible to anyone with previous experience of hiking in the mountains, also for teenagers above 15.
Average duration of the hike: 5 to 6 hours a day on pastures and marked paths in Alpine highlands with an average difference in altitude of 650m/2,132 ft a day.
Maximal altitude: 1,600 m/5,250 ft
Average altitude of the accommodations: 800 m/2,624 ft
Special difficulties: The heat in Summer
The only stage where you should be free from giddiness is the path from Méailles to Annot on the 4th day. You can avoid this stage at any rate.
The most important thing is for you to have good sens of orientation, as the paths you follow are not well indicated.
You will be given additional description of the itinerary as well as maps, advices and an emergency telephone number.
Luggage: You carry only your picnic lunch and your most important belongings (camera, wallet…)
Please, bring one flashlight per person and check that your telephone will work in France.
Train des Pignes
4 times a day, the Train des Pignes (Pine cone train) connects Nice on the French Riviera to the health resort of Dignes-les-Bains in the Alps. A tour with a narrow-gauge railway is a wonderful experience and enables you to discover the amazing landscapes of the Haute-Provence.
The historic steam train
Are you fond of steam trains? This historical steam train is operated thanks to a private initiative on Sundays and sometimes Saturdays from the middle of May until the middle of October between Puget-Théniers and Annot. The beginning is always in the morning at approx. 10 am at the train station of Puget-Théniers. If you are interested, we can book the train tickets for you, or you can book an extra night in a 2 stars hotels with half board in Puget-Théniers including the tour with the historical steam train.
We recommend you an eco-friendly journey with the night train to Nice.