Walking tours

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Provence Walking Tour

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Provence Walking Tour

  • Location: France
  • Duration: 8 Days/7 Nights
  • Departing from: Avignon, 9 a.m. on Sunday, Day 2
  • Tour finishes: Avignon, 9 a.m. on Day 8
  • Departures 2018: May 26, June 9, Sept. 1, 15 & 29, Oct. 13.
  • Price 2018: Euro €2,900 per person in double occupancy. Single supplement Euro €280.

With a cool glass of rosé in hand, sit back, relax, and soak in Provence’s unique ambiance. Indeed, Provence has been blessed with many of life’s treasures: beauty, art, fine food and wine, and an irresistible joie de vivre. We lead you along our favourite paths, redolent with the scent of wild thyme, to isolated hilltop ruins where you are rewarded with magnificent views over the forests, vineyards, and hilltop towns of Provence. Stop for lunch along the path, with a delicious picnic of local delicacies, or in a quaint village bistro where the ubiquitous village fountain serenades us while we eat. You will explore Roman ruins at Vaison-la-Romaine, experience the colour and chatter of a Provençal market, and marvel at the ancient ochre quarries of Roussillon. The combination of natural beauty, vibrant local culture, and great food and wine make Provence one of our most beloved destinations, which is why we have been creating fabulous travel experiences here since 1990.

Trip Design: We have designed this tour to avoid some of the more touristic areas of Provence. We explore the dramatic scenery around the Mont Ventoux and the villages of the southern Luberon. These areas are still largely unspoiled and the rhythm of Provençal life continues in the towns and villages we visit. (Luggage is transferred by van. 1 night Avignon, 3 nights Vaison-la-Romaine, 3 nights Roussillon. Tour finishes in Avignon.)

Provence Walking Tour itinerary

Day 1 – Saturday

Arrive in Avignon anytime today. There are many trains from Paris, and the travel time is about 3 hours. Depending on when you get in, you may have time to explore this historic Provençal town which has been deemed a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Sights include the magnificent Papal Palace, home to the Popes during the 14th century, the famous medieval Avignon bridge, and “Les Halles,” Avignon’s covered market square open every morning. Our lodging for the night is located in the heart of the historical center. Hotel included. Dinner not included.

Day 2 – Sunday

Meet your group at 9:00 this morning for a 45-minute drive to the charming town of Vaison-la-Romaine along the banks of the Ouvèze River. We drop off our bags and then transfer up the slopes of the mighty Mont Ventoux, Provence’s highest peak (6,262 ft.) and famous as one of the most grueling stages of the Tour de France. We follow a nature trail along the lower flanks of the mountain, where a series of plaques explain the flora, fauna and geology of this unusual region. We stop for a picnic in a pine forest with commanding views down over the valley. Back in Vaison, we check into our home for the next three nights, the Hotel Burrhus, a “boutique hotel” with a contemporary art theme located in the heart of the old town. We dine tonight at a family-run restaurant that serves traditional specialties. Overnight in Vaison la Romaine. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 3 – Monday

We transfer to Gigondas this morning to begin a hike through the Dentelles de Montmirail, jagged limestone mountains overlooking the Rhône valley. Although not high in elevation, the peaks have a distinctly Alpine appearance and create a striking backdrop against the valley of terraced vineyards below and the famous wine villages of Gigondas, Sablet, and Séguret. We stop for lunch at a colorful bistrot in Gigondas and then return to Vaison, where you'll have free time to explore the Roman ruins, do some shopping, or just relax on the terrace of our hotel. Overnight in Vaison la Romaine. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 4 – Tuesday

Today is Le Grand Marché in Vaison, full of stalls selling handicrafts, linens, ceramics, herbs, soaps, and of course olives prepared in 20 different ways. Enjoy this quintessential Provençal shopping experience in the morning and then meet up with your group to explore the dramatic medieval town, built in the 8th century when France was overrun by marauding tribes. We continue our walk through the alleyways and cobbled streets of the old town to the picturesque hilltop town of Le Crestet, where we'll enjoy a picnic by the town fountain. This afternoon we have a short walk through the vineyards followed by a wine tasting at a local cooperative. Overnight in Vaison la Romaine. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 5 – Wednesday

After breakfast we have a short transfer to the elegant village of Gordes, one of the gems of the Luberon. Take some time to explore the shops and alleyways before heading out on a 3-hour walk to Joucas, another beautiful town bedecked with gardens, flowers and fountains. We have lunch there before transfering to our home for the next three nights, Roussillon, whose bright red and orange ochre quarries have been mined for centuries. Overnight in Roussillon. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 6 – Thursday

This morning we have a beautiful loop walk through a lush forest and up around a gorge to the tiny village of Sivergues, once a stronghold of the French Huguenots during the Wars of Religion. From there we return to the valley for a delicious lunch under a shaded canopy of trees. We can return to the hotel for a relaxing afternoon or do another short walk around the ruins of the Fort de Buoux. The site was inhabited some 10,000 years ago and was later used as a command post to control river traffic during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Tonight is a “free night,” so you are free to dine as you like. Hotel and breakfast included. Dinner not included.

Day 7 – Friday

Our walk today explores the hilltop villages of the Luberon, an area whose natural and cultural heritage is protected as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Explore the local market in Bonnieux, then walk to the nearby town of Lacoste, dominated by the ruined castle of the infamous Marquis de Sade. After our walk we return to Roussillon for a short walk through the colorful quarries. Centuries of mining for the richly-colored earth have left a surreal landscape of eroded cliffs and bizarre peaks in a rainbow of red, yellow, mustard, and cream. We dine together tonight in Roussillon and say goodbye to a great week of hiking. Overnight in Roussillon.  Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 8 – Saturday

Today we shuttle everyone back to Avignon for the 10:00 train to Paris or other destinations. We can also tailor our departure to the group's departure plans. Breakfast and transfer included.

The walks in Provence

contain moderate hills over some uneven terrain.  We usually walk between 3-5 hours a day, divided between morning and afternoon. We have designed the trip so that there is always some free time in the late afternoon so you can relax, read, or explore the towns we stay in. Breakfast is included every day, and dinners reflect the excellent traditional food of the region. Daily distance between 8 and 14 kms.

Useful Links

Provence info: nice website with good photos
Avignon History: Wikipedia has a good site, with lots of info on the Great Schism
Côtes du Rhône: very informative site on one of France’s best wine families
Mont Ventoux: interesting Wikipedia entry, including lots of Tour de France stats
Parc National Régional du Luberon: park website, in English
UNESCO World Heritage Sites: look at all the fabulous things to see in France!

Activity rating: 3 out of 5 = Moderate: Rolling terrain with the occasional short, steep ups and downs. Daily activity usually between two to two and a half hours in the morning and two to two and a half hours in the afternoon. We regularly walk between 10-16 kms a day (6-9 miles)

Trip Cost Includes: 7 nights accommodations in superior thee-star hotels (1 night Avignon, 3 nights Vaison-la-Romaine, 3 nights Roussillon); 7 breakfasts and 5 dinners; bilingual Customwalks guide(s) to accompany the tour and lead you on the walks; support vehicle; all van and luggage transfers including pick-up from Avignon and final transfer to the Avignon TGV train station.

Booking: e-mail us at info@customwalks.com to receive a booking contract (or use the 'Contact Us' link at the top of this page), or click on the 'Book Now' button to the right.

Insurance: We highly recommend the purchase of Trip Insurance. We recommend “Travel Guard” to our North American clients, just click on the logo below.  Australian, New Zealander, and British travelers, please consult your insurance brokers.

travel Guard insurance

Getting There: the trip starts in Avignon, which is easily accessible by air and rail.

Air: most intercontinental flights fly into Paris “Charles de Gaulle” but you can also fly into smaller airports in Provence like the new Marseille “MP2″ airport, the small Avignon airport, or the Nimes airport served by Ryan Air flights. For a complete list of French airports and a selection of low-cost airlines, see our "Transport Info" page. At the bottom of the page you will also find information about the French railway system (the SNCF).

Rail: Avignon is on the direct TGV (high-speed train) line from Paris, journey time around 2 hrs 45 minutes. Trains from Marseille take about 40 minutes. See current train schedules at the SNCF website here.

Note: there are 2 train stations in Avignon, one in the center for regional trains and the newer TGV station, which is connected to the central station by TER regional train (or of course taxi).

Getting Away at the End of the Trip: the trip ends in Avignon, with a van transfer to the TGV train station. There are 10:00 trains to Paris as well as Marseille.

If you book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip, or feel free to e-mail us with any specific travel questions.

4.92/5
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4.92 out of 5
Ratings based on 4 Verified Reviews

Average ratings
5.0
Guides
5.0
Quality of itinerary
5.0
Food quality & variety
4.5
Value for money
5.0
Right amount of activity
5.0
Overall satisfaction

Reviews
4.6
by Kathy from Cambridge, MA
Posted Jun 22, 2016

This was my first walking tour, and I loved it! Every day was well-planned with hikes through the Provence countryside. We walked through fields of wildflowers, passed vineyards, and traveled along mountain paths to higher elevations with stunning views! We stopped in small, picturesque villages, and learned a bit of the history of each village. The memories of this trip will stay with me -- the beauty of Provence, the delicious food and wine, and the fun I had with the guides and my fellow travelers!

5
by J. Hagen from Berkeley, CA USA
Posted Jun 20, 2016

Provence – a feast for the senses! Stunningly beautiful hikes begin and end in ancient white stone villages filled with pastel shutters and doors accented with radiant flowers. And the markets!!! Our guides knew when and where the best markets were and timed our hikes so that we could partake in them just as the locals do.Manu and Claire, our guides, were amazing! Super fun, cheerful, and always helpful. Claire’s knowledge and enthusiasm for the history of the region combined with Manu’s knowledge of plants and the natural world that surrounded us on the hikes was absolutely captivating.Without question, if you want to make the most of a week in Provence – beauty, hiking, history, culture, spectacular food and wine, great accommodations, awesome guides and fellow travelers – Custom Walks is THE way to go!

5
by Michael from MINNEAPOLIS
Posted Jun 17, 2016

Just home from this awesome tour. It was thoughtfully planned with varied terrain that immersed us in the geography, history, cuisine and culture of Provence. Our guides Claire and Manu's passion for Provence was infectious and they took care of everything leaving us to enjoy the tour. My first time with Custom Walks and plan on traveling with them again.

5
by Ruth from PIEDMONT
Posted Jun 16, 2016

This was a fabulous trip! The walks were varied and interesting, and the meals were amazing. Both guides provided a lot of history and cultural information that added immensely. I loved staying in two hotels (great places) for three days each so we didn't have to pack every night. I couldn't recommend the trip more highly and plan to do other Custom Walks tours.



This was my first walking tour, and I loved it! Every day was well-planned with hikes through the Provence countryside. We walked through fields of wildflowers, passed vineyards, and traveled along mountain paths to higher elevations with stunning views! We stopped in small, picturesque villages, and learned a bit of the history of each village. The memories of this trip will stay with me -- the beauty of Provence, the delicious food and wine, and the fun I had with the guides and my fellow travelers!
by Kathy from Cambridge, MA

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