Step into Van Gogh's Provencal landscapes of sunlit hills in the Alpilles and the beautiful villages of the Luberon mountains on this gentle walking holiday designed for the winter months. We have picked the best of Provence with scenery worthy of endless postcards, a rich history, great Mediterranean food and stunning walking paths that gently weave through olive groves and almond trees to quaint hill top villages, with colourful markets, fountains and cobbled streets. Stays are in luxury boutique hotels in buzzy locations- artsy St Remy where Van Gogh arrived in the late 19th Century, Isle sur La Sorgue, the Provencal Venice where canals are bordered by quaint cafés and antique shops and medieval Avignon with its wine and gastro pizazz.
The stunningly beautiful region of Provence in the South of France can be just as exciting in winter as during the busy hot summer months. Its mild temperatures and bright blue skies reveal a very different kind of charm in the low season with places less crowded than during the busy hot summer. Your gentle walks, on average 2 - 4 hours, take you into two different areas discovering the secret of the chiselled Alpilles mountains soaring above the Rhone valley with its olive groves and Mistral winds that rhythmically sweep the lone cypress tree and the bush and cedar forest paths of the Luberon mountains that lead to magical villages typical of Provencal charm and flair.
from £1,600 per person
Single supplement £825
Based on two people sharing a room
Dinner in Avignon on arrival and transfers as detailed. See what’s included as standard
Start & Finish
Starts daily 1 November to 30 April and is cirular from Avignon. Avignon station is one hour from Marseilles Airport and 3 hours from Paris or Nice Airport. Other local airports connected to Avignon station include Nimes, Montpellier and Avignon.
Two 5* hotels and one 4* star hotel located centrally in the town or village
This tour is priced without a guide and you are free to explore on your own. If you would like a guide for part or all of your trip, we are happy to provide a knowledgeable, local guide
Gentle walking. More info...
2 days of gentle walking 6 miles (10 km) and 1 day of optional walking 6 miles or 11 miles (10 or 18 km)
Easy non-paved terrain with stones and some climbing up to perched villages
- Guided 3.5 hour gourmet tour at 9.30am on Day 2 in Avignon. 10 reginal food tastings and one wine tasting with visits to local artisans, the oldest bakery and local chocolaterie in town. Tuesday to Saturday only. Max 8 people. £85 per person
- Guided half day wine tour in the famous wine making village of Chateauneuf du Pape on Day 2 in Avignon. Small group. £120 per person
- Alpilles extension: add an extra night in St Remy and walk to Arles, Van Gogh's 2nd home, with a night there before continuing to the Luberon
1. Day one
Arrive in Avignon
Arrive in Avignon and settle into you hotel, located centrally within this medieval town. Explore the cobbled streets, St Benezet Bridge, otherwise known as Pont d'Avignon and the famous Pope's Palace. Your Host will meet you today or tomorrow to brief you and run though your itinerary. Dinner at your hotel tonight is included.
2. Day two
Avignon to St Remy
Relax and stroll through Avignon this morning enjoying the covered market (closed mondays). Or opt for one of our optional gourmet or wine tours detailed above. After lunch we will transfer you to St Remy de Provence (20mins) where you’ll spend the next two nights. Enjoy a free afternoon in St Remy where you can follow “Van Gogh’s” walking trail lined with reproductions of his paintings facing the very scenes that inspired them. Take time to explore the town, taste the local specialities of candied fruits, olive oil and wine and discover some of the insider tips from our Adventure Handbook including the Roman ruins. Or simply relax in the hotel’s spa!
3. Day three
Circular walk through Van Gogh's landscapes
If you are here on a Wednesday or Saturday you can enjoy the market in St Remy before setting out on your walk which passes St. Paul de Maussole, the former monastery where Van Gogh spent the last year of his life. From there you head up a quiet valley, following a pretty path to the ridge of the Alpilles mountains (300 m), and to the “Rocher des deux trous”, from where the views are outstanding... You then have two options: either a leisurely stroll back down the mountain to St Remy or a breath taking path on a rocky crest, adding a bit of adventure and a lot of “wow” to the day’s walk, followed by the same leisurely stroll back down the mountain. Note that this longer option has some jagged and uneven paths and entails an extra 250 m of ascent and descent.
6 or 11 miles (10 or 18 km)
4. Day four
Walk to Les Baux Transfer to Isle sur la Sorgue
Leave your packed bags at the hotel this morning as you head up (270m) to the windswept crest of the Alpilles mountains. Your reward is a gently undulating track atop the ridge with awe inspiring 360° views that accompany you all the way to Les Baux de Provence. Set on a rocky perch, this medieval village is classified as one of the most beautiful in France. Enjoy the village before we transfer you in the afternoon to a different scene in the Luberon mountains. You spend the next 2 nights here in the village of Isle sur la Sorgue, also known as the Provencal Venice with its many waterwheels & canals. To extend your tour in the Alpilles and Arles from here, see Options above.
6 miles (10 km)
5. Day five
Walk to Gordes
After breakfast we transfer you the short distance from Isle sur la Sorgue to the village of Fontaine de Vaucluse, with its magical water source - a well that descends into infinity. If you would rather have an easier walk, you can ask your driver to take you to the village of Cabrières d’Avignon. We strongly recommend doing the whole walk though, as the first section is the most stunning, especially the views from the Mur de la Peste. Your path climbs (450 m) through the pine and cedar forest on seldom-used trails up to a plateau with panoramic views of distant hilltop villages. You follow the 300 year-old Mur de la Peste, constructed when the plague hit Marseille in 1720, as a means to protect the Provence of the Popes (where you now stand) from the ravaging disease. Your hike ends at the magnificent village of Gordes, perched on its rocky crag, its majestic grey stone homes rising vertiginously from the valley below. Afternoon transfer back to Isle sur la Sorgue
6 or 8 miles (10 or 13 km)
6. Day six
Depart Isle sur la Sorgue
Sadly today is the end of your trip - if its a Thursday or even better a Sunday (more of a grand affair) you may catch the market before we transfer you back to Avignon centre or TGV station for your onward journey.