France: Classic Provence

Guided Walking Tour, France: Classic ProvenceGuided Walking Tour, France: Classic Provence

France

Classic Provence

overview

The essential Provence unfolds at your feet on this self-guided itinerary where open ridge walks along the Alpilles and Lubéron mountain ranges provide sweeping views over the southern French landscape. The route takes you to picturesque hilltop villages— Gordes, Bonnieux—and through countryside straight out of Van Gogh’s paintings. In fact, you walk in his footsteps in Saint-Rémy-de- Provence. Trails gently descend through olive and almond groves to quaint medieval villages shaded by ancient trees, where colorful markets, fountains, and narrow cobbled lanes invite exploration. Accommodations are signature Provençal hospitality and style, as well as the true Mediterranean flavors of fresh local cuisine and wine.

14 Reasons to Visit Provence ►

Activity Level
Easy to moderate;
5-7 miles daily
Meet
Avignon, France
Depart
Avignon, France
Daily Itinerary
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itinerary
Reading List
Recommended
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Self-Guided Walking 
7 days, 6 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes:

  • Breakfast daily, one lunch (day 6), and four dinners (days 1, 3, 5, 6); beverages not included
  • All accommodations while on tour
  • Local transfers as noted in the itinerary
  • A personal welcome
  • Luggage transfers between the hotels
  • Detailed route notes and maps
  • Basic travel insurance coverage
  • 24-hour emergency service
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the CW staff
Compare Dates & Prices
Prices Starting From...
Season 2 travelers 3 travelers 4-5 travelers 6+ travelers Single Supplement Solo Surcharge
2014
April 1 - June 30 &
Sept 1 - Oct 30
$2,598
$2,498
$2,348
$2,248
$825
$545
2015
April 1 - June 30 &
Sept 1 - Oct 30
$2,698
$2,698
$2,698
$2,698
$845
$575

*Price is based on per person, double occupancy.

Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
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2
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
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3
Gordes
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4
Gordes
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5
Bonnieux
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6
Bonnieux
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7
Departure
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Day 1

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

Arrival in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

You are met in Avignon and transferred about 25 minutes to the classic southern French town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, where you may relax with an apéritif of chilled pastis (the local anise-flavored liqueur) in the shade of the fig trees your hotel is named after. After settling in to your room, a short walk takes you to a nearby restaurant for dinner.

Hotel Sous les Figuiers

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France

A charming small hotel built around an interior courtyard with individually decorated guestrooms highlighting refined Provençal decor supplemented by antiques and artwork. Fresh local products and home-baked regional breads and pastries are on the breakfast menu, served either in the shaded terrace or the contemporary Baroque small salon. An on-site art studio exhibits contemporary works and encourages local artistic endeavors. A pleasant Provençal town, Saint-Rémy is best known for the Saint-Paul de Mausole monastery where Van Gogh received psychiatric treatment.

Day 2

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

Van Gogh loop; 6.2 miles, easy to moderate, 820-ft elevation gain and loss

Today you follow the Van Gogh trail, lined with reproductions of his paintings facing the very scenes that inspired them. From there, you follow a winding botanical path up a gradual trail and to the crest of the Alpilles Mountains. Aromatic herbs and wildflowers carpet the hills as the views extend far into the horizon—a perfect setting for a picnic lunch. Upon your return to Saint-Rémy, the rest of the day is at your leisure, and you may explore the Roman ruins of Glanum, or the former monastery where Van Gogh spent the last year of his life.

Hotel Sous les Figuiers

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France

A charming small hotel built around an interior courtyard with individually decorated guestrooms highlighting refined Provençal decor supplemented by antiques and artwork. Fresh local products and home-baked regional breads and pastries are on the breakfast menu, served either in the shaded terrace or the contemporary Baroque small salon. An on-site art studio exhibits contemporary works and encourages local artistic endeavors. A pleasant Provençal town, Saint-Rémy is best known for the Saint-Paul de Mausole monastery where Van Gogh received psychiatric treatment.

Day 3

Gordes

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence to Les Baux-de-Provence; 6.2 miles, easy to moderate, 885-ft elevation gain and 330-ft elevation loss

Today, once again, you leave Saint-Rémy on foot, but this time taking a different path than yesterday’s walk, to the top of the windswept Alpilles. A rolling trail following the ridge is complete with awe-inspiring 360-degree views, which continue as the path gently undulates toward the medieval village of Les Baux-de-Provence, set atop its rocky perch. In addition to eating lunch (before 2 p.m. if you opt for a sit-down restaurant), there is time to visit the village, including the Carrière de Lumières, famed for its unique audio-visual shows, before a one-hour afternoon transfer to the Lubéron Mountains and the village of Gordes, your home for the next two nights, and classified as one of the “most beautiful villages of France.” After settling in to your hotel, you step out for a dinner of Provençal specialties.

Le Mas des Romarins

Gordes, France

A fully restored 19th-century farmhouse complex with a veranda overlooking Gordes offers newly renovated rooms with Provençal decor and all amenities. In the late afternoon, a swimming pool and surrounding terrace and grounds are bathed in the region’s unique golden light. The intimate dining room offers fireside authentic regional cuisine, or al fresco dining, depending on the season. On a rocky outcropping overlooking classic Provençal landscapes, Gordes, one of France’s loveliest towns, delights with its charm and history dating from the Middle Ages.

Day 4

Gordes

Abbey de Sénanque loop; 6.2 miles, easy to moderate, 820-ft elevation gain and loss

The paths around Gordes are lined with old stone walls, lone farmhouses, and bories—centuries-old round shepherd’s huts constructed from dry stone. You follow the paths into the valley and soon the vision of the 12th-century Sénanque Abbey appears, situated among some of the very few lavender fields in the area (which are in bloom from late June through July). After a picnic lunch overlooking the magnificent 850-year-old Cistercian abbey, a somewhat steep climb brings you back to your hotel, where the late-afternoon relaxation may include a refreshing swim before a drink and dinner.

Le Mas des Romarins

Gordes, France

A fully restored 19th-century farmhouse complex with a veranda overlooking Gordes offers newly renovated rooms with Provençal decor and all amenities. In the late afternoon, a swimming pool and surrounding terrace and grounds are bathed in the region’s unique golden light. The intimate dining room offers fireside authentic regional cuisine, or al fresco dining, depending on the season. On a rocky outcropping overlooking classic Provençal landscapes, Gordes, one of France’s loveliest towns, delights with its charm and history dating from the Middle Ages.

Day 5

Bonnieux

Lacoste to Auberge de l’Aiguebrun via Bonnieux; 6 miles, easy to moderate, 900-ft elevation gain and 490-ft elevation loss

A short taxi transfer of about 15 minutes takes you toward the Calavon Valley and the village of Lacoste, once home to the infamous Marquis de Sade and now to the remains of his castle. Heading back into the valley and through cherry orchards, vineyards, and truffle oak plantations, you reach the village of Bonnieux, crowned by its 12th-century church huddled under the canopy of massive cedar trees. There are many dining options to choose from for lunch in Bonnieux before you continue on your way through old country lanes lined with magnificent stone homes. A centuries-old mule track leads you down to your hotel for the next two nights, nestled by the river in the Aiguebrun Valley.

Auberge de l’Aiguebrun

Bonnieux, France

A former posting inn, entirely renovated, is an inviting refuge situated on the Aiguebrun River and tributary stream. The inn, with its authentic thick stone walls and terra cotta floors, is decorated with inviting Provençal-style furnishings and light colors throughout the guest rooms, and offers ample outdoor terraces, gardens, a swimming pool, and inviting dining and public salons. Spa treatments are available on site. The on-site restaurant serves updated Provençal cuisine and has an excellent wine cellar. The upper town of Bonnieux sits on a ridge with magnificent views, and has winding narrow lanes to explore that lead up to its Gothic church.

Day 6

Bonnieux

Aiguebrun Valley loop, 6.8 miles, easy to moderate, 650-ft elevation gain and loss

Leaving the hotel by foot, you follow a country road in a shaded valley that leads to the unfinished medieval castle of Buoux. Beyond the castle, a short climb leads to the timeless village of Buoux, a handful of tightly knit stone homes gathered around a few cobbled streets. Your path leads to the edge (but not too close!) of an impressive limestone cliff, at the bottom of which is a 17th-century goat farm, where your lunch is waiting. Farther along the ledge, you will find a beautiful cobbled track that zigzags gently down to the base of the canyon, and right into your restaurant, set in the Aiguebrun Valley. After lunch you follow a seldom-used and lush path along the Aiguebrun River, letting the waters guide you back to your hotel.

Auberge de l’Aiguebrun

Bonnieux, France

A former posting inn, entirely renovated, is an inviting refuge situated on the Aiguebrun River and tributary stream. The inn, with its authentic thick stone walls and terra cotta floors, is decorated with inviting Provençal-style furnishings and light colors throughout the guest rooms, and offers ample outdoor terraces, gardens, a swimming pool, and inviting dining and public salons. Spa treatments are available on site. The on-site restaurant serves updated Provençal cuisine and has an excellent wine cellar. The upper town of Bonnieux sits on a ridge with magnificent views, and has winding narrow lanes to explore that lead up to its Gothic church.

Day 7

Departure

Departure from Bonnieux

You bid farewell to Provence and a complimentary transfer back to Avignon is provided after breakfast (approximately 55 minutes).

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

Guest Comments

M. Burg, Connecticut, October 2013

Outstanding! The local arrangements were impeccable, with lovely small hotels and great restaurants. The scenery, selected walking trails, and instructions were excellent and easy to follow. A highly recommended trip!

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