Between Rhône and Durance, amidst the sweetness of the Provence, with blue sky in the background, we invite you on a fabulous hiking tour to a land of sweet aromas, covered with rosemary, thyme, savoury and juniper, a place of legends and colourful traditions: one of the most beautiful places in the Provence.
Immortalised by great painters inspired by the remarkable light, the Alpilles are a small limestone ridge, dotted with villages. Its rugged sides are shaped by the winds and are surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and almond tree plantations.
As a subtle transition between the Alps and the Mediterranean sea, the Massif du Lubéron is a mountain that remains wild, hosting Bories, small dry stone walls huts, and traditional villages rich with character.
The Montagne Sainte-Victoire will most probably be the highest point of your week, either because the climbing of this mythical mountain was a childhood dream, or because the wondrous scenery will leave you with a lasting memory.
This walking tour, with the emphasis on discovery, will allow you to view first-hand some of the natural and cultural riches of this enchanting Provencal place.
Day 1: Arrival in Barbentane
The meeting point for this trip is at 5pm at the TGV train station in Avignon, at the South Exit (Sud) in front of the book shop.
After a short transfer by minibus you will arrive in the hotel in Barbentane, where you will stay for the following 3 nights. There you will also be explained the programm of the week.
Day 2: Baux de Provence and olive groves
Today you set off from the village of Les Baux de Provence (5 mi away). Walking through the bottom of the Les Baux valley the route takes you through olive groves. You then climb up the road to the summit of Baumayrane and its watchtower. Through the Val d'Enfer (literally translated as ‘Hell Valley’), you return to Les Baux. There you can visit this lovely village before coming back to the hotel.
Duration: 4 to 5h – Ascent: 200 m – Descent: 200 m
Day 3: Gordes – Abbey of Senanque
After breakfast you will first be brought to the village of Gordes (30 mi away), a wonderful medieval village, which was built on the cliff and offers an amazing panoramic view on the entire Lubéron. The hike leads to the small valley of Senancole and to the Abbey of Senanque, an exceptional example of the Cistercian architecture from the 12th century. After climbing the Ferrière valley, you will come back to Gordes. Finally you will drive to the hotel in La Roque d’Antheron where you will spend the second part of this trip.
Duration: 5h – Ascent: 400 m – Descent: 400 m
Day 4: The Provencal Colorado
The hike today starts at the Notre Dame des Anges church, not far from the village of Rustrel (27 mi away). Walking through this enchanting “Provencal Colorado“ and its former ochre quarries, you will follow the trail from valley to valley in the heart of this ochre massif, criss-crossed with ancient but still open mines. The landscape and the stone architecture have diverse and dazzling colours due to these mineral pigments.
Duration: 4 to 5h – Ascent: 300 m – Descent: 300 m
Day 5: Plateau des Mayorques – Gorges of Régalon
From the village of Mérindol (8 mi away) you will hike to the Arboretum and the Forest Centre of Font de l’Orme, and from there to the Vallon de la Galère, the Plateau des Mayorques and the gorges of Régalon. Over La Tuillère and the old town of Mérindol, you will retrun to the starting point of the hike.
Duration: 4 to 5h – Ascent: 300 m – Descent: 300 m
Day 6: Buoux Valley
From the village of Buoux you will hike to the Valley de Buoux, with their remarquable cliffs and troglodyte habitations. Then back to the hotel to take your luggage and you will finally reach the TGV train station at approximately 4.30 pm. This is where the trip ends.
Duration: 4 to 5h – Ascent: 340 m – Descent: 340 m
No travel dates in July and August because of the heavy heat!
Our tour begins and ends at the TGV train station of Avignon.
Your organise the arrival and return by yourself and extend your trip on your option.
For groups of 8 persons at least, we can arrange dates and content for the trip.
An organised guided tour in english can also be set.
With your enquiry, please let us know the number of your party and the dates of your holiday.
Single occupancy surcharge: 200,- €
5 nights in the hotels, full board (picnic lunch), french licenced guide, carrying of the luggage, transfers in minibus according to the programm, visitor's tax
Travel to/from Avignon TGV train station, drinks, entrance fees for the visits (approx. 30 €), insurance in case of cancellation
Can be booked by individual travellers!
Guaranteed departure: 4 persons (max. 8 persons)
Last possibility of cancellation from the tour operator: 21 days before the beginning of the trip
Nights in double bedroom in 2 and 3 stars hotels with outdoor swimming pools. Those hotels are chosen for their location and quality. Single bedroom available wit a price surcharge.
Breakfast and evening meals will in the hotel. Picnic for lunch.
Average duration of the hike: 4 to 6 hours a day with a difference in altitude of 300 m to 400 m a day. The most difficult ascent will be the one on the Montagne Sainte Victoire with a difference in altitude of 700 m.
You have to be in a good shape.
The order, completion and the exact layout of the routes can be subject to change due to weather conditions.
On the tour you will have the opportunity to visit some local landmarks: Castles, museums and archaeological sites. For all those visits it would be wise to have a budget of about 30 €.
French speaking licenced guide
For groups of 6 persons at least, we can arrange dates and content for the trip.
An organised guided tour in english can also be set
The Protection Zone
Near Aix–en-Provence are the Massifs of Concours and Sainte-Victoire, and there is also the largest forested area of Bouches du Rhône, where residents, hikers, huntsmen, sport enthusiasts and nature lovers can meet together. The forestry, agricultural and pasture farming activities have marked the landscape to reflect their typical Provencal ways. Today the landscape reveals a wonderful monument, the Sainte-Victoire Mountain, which the painter Paul Cézanne loved so much.
Its biological diversity justifies its classification as a large area of “Natura 2000”. In the heart of a vast urban region with 1.3 million residents and with roughly 1 million tourists every year (of which 75% live nearby) the hometown of Cézanne and the nature reserve, the mountain and region around Sainte-Victoire is a great piece of heritage with more than just a title.
The Challenge: rehabilitation and management:
The mixed association takes care of the area around Sainte-Victoire via some specific actions:
Protecting the Massif against fire, promoting this amazing national heritage site (Natura 2000) and the culture (including burying the national grid connections), protecting the historic buildings (such as religious or agricultural heritage), helping local development and finally welcoming and instructing tourists.
A territorial project, adopted in 2003, lays down the guidelines implemented by a team of about 30 people. The Sainte-Victoire belongs to one of four areas named “Grand Site de France”, received in 2004 and still retained in 2011.
We recommend you an eco-friendly journey with the train to Avignon.
You can find more information on our detailed info sheet, that we send you gladly on enquiry!