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Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Highlights

  • Following in the footsteps of the artist Vincent Van Gogh
  • Walking across the windswept crest of the Alpilles Mountains
  • Basking in the soft, yet brilliant Provençal sunshine
  • Strolling along trails carpeted with fragrant herbs and flowers
  • Exploring the extraordinarily beautiful perched village of Les Baux-de-Provence
  • Admiring the incredible Roman ruins in the great city of Arles

Walk in the footsteps of Van Gogh on this short break tour in Provence. Beginning in St Rémy, a town nestled in the foothills of Les Alpilles Mountains, continue to the medieval village of Les Baux, set atop a rocky crag and finish your walk in the magnificent Roman town of Arles.

This area of Provence is an artist’s dream, with its clear blue skies that highlight the deep green fields, the silvery leaves of olive trees, golden sunflowers and the white jagged peaks of Les Alpilles. Enjoy walking through countryside dotted with thick-walled Provençal farmhouses, medieval villages and marvel at the dramatic vistas and the very landscapes that inspired Van Gogh’s brush strokes.

Arrive in St Rémy, a picturesque Gallo-Roman town with a marvellous old quarter. It is encircled by the remnants of its14th century wall and protective buildings. From here you embark on a walk that takes you in a loop beginning in the foothills of Les Alpilles and ascending slowly past lone cypress trees, farmhouses and the Romanesque monastery that Van Gogh called home. Follow fragrant trails carpeted with thyme, rosemary and the cistus flower and which leads you past old farmhouses, through woods and past groves of olive and fruit trees. As you climb higher you can see the rocky limestone crest in the distance and upon arrival at the top there are views over to Avignon and Mont Ventoux. After spending a night within the medieval walls of Les Baux, descend along scenic paths to the charming town of Mausanne. Continue to the impressive city of Arles, with its wealth of Roman ruins and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend time exploring the Arles Roman Coliseum and Theatre, with a stop for a glass of local wine in one of the many outdoor cafés.

(Some photos are accredited to Atout France/Lender/Photographer)

DAY 1: Arrive St Rémy de Provence

Your walking adventure begins in St Rémy de Provence, a Gallo-Roman town and gateway to the Alpilles mountains. This town is worthy of exploration and particularly the old quarter with its lovely little shops and restaurants. Vincent Van Gogh spent the last year of his life here, completing some of his most renowned works including “Starry Night”.


Spend the evening strolling through the tiny labyrinth of streets in the centre of town, taking the time to choose between several excellent restaurants.


Overnight: Hotel du Soleil***, St Rémy de Provence


This charming boutique accommodation located just steps away from the historic centre of St Rémy is a haven of tranquillity. You may relax by the pool and take advantage of the spa.


DAY 2: St Rémy Loop: In the footsteps of Van Gogh—10km

Your fascinating walk today begins by following the Van Gogh path, heading away from the town centre and towards the foot of Les Alpilles, retracing the very steps the artist took more than a century ago. With the serrated peaks of the Alpilles Mountains as a backdrop you can visit the Romanesque monastery that Van Gogh called home and which was converted into an asylum well before his arrival in St Rémy.


You then follow a shady track through the forest, winding slowly up to the crest of the mountain. Though culminating at only 400m, Les Alpilles are located in the otherwise flat Rhône valley and at the top you are rewarded with panoramic views of the windswept plains, the mountain ranges to the north and in clear weather, the Mediterranean Sea to the south. An equally pleasant track takes you back to St Rémy, walking through olive groves and along a former Roman road.


Overnight: Hotel du Soleil***, St Rémy de Provence


DAY 3: St Rémy de Provence to Les Baux de Provence—10km

Today’s walk takes you back up to the crest of Les Alpilles on an alternate forest track that makes its way along the ridge. Your route is lined with veritable carpets of thyme, rosemary, and cistus flower, their odours intensified under the soothing Provençal sun. You reach a hilltop where your goal comes into sight, the medieval village of Les Baux de Provence.


Listed among the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”, Les Baux’s stone architecture has withstood the centuries, its small group of homes separated by a handful of cobbled streets. You can head up to the castle ruins, imagining what life would have been like a thousand years before. Staying in the only hotel in the medieval centre, you’ll have the whole village to yourselves tonight.


Overnight: Hotel La Reine Jeanne** , Les Baux de Provence


La Reine Jeanne is a welcoming hotel set in the medieval centre of Les Baux, complete with a very good restaurant which offers delicious meals using local produce.


DAY 4: Les Baux de Provence to Mausanne—7km

Head out of Les Baux through its original medieval gate, the only entrance and exit to the village. You descend into the Val d’Enfer, or “Valley of Hell”, named as such because of the strange limestone formations created after millions of years of erosion from the wind and rain. Along scenic paths you reach the village of Maussane, a lively little town filled with cafés and restaurants, and producing some of the best olive oils in the world. You can taste some of the regional olive oil before a short transfer takes you to the Roman town of Arles.


This town has the best of the old and the new. Spend time visiting the Roman Coliseum, ranked amongst the largest built during the Roman Empire and other Roman remains all of which date back to the 1st Century B.C. This is juxtaposed with the vibrant squares and bistros, inviting you to stroll and perhaps sit in a café watching the world go by. Why not visit the Van Gogh Foundation, which comprises of 1,000 sq metres of exhibition space.


Overnight: Hotel du Musée**, Arles


A small, family-run 2* hotel located in the historic centre of Arles, a stone’s throw from the Roman Coliseum and the mighty Rhône River. Filled with charm and a beautiful hidden courtyard.


DAY 5: Onward Travel

This morning after breakfast make your way to the airport to fly home.


Accommodation

Your Provence Short Break self-guided walking tour includes 4 nights in 2* and 3* hotels. All of the accommodations have been specifically chosen for their comfort and great locations. For example the hotel in Les Baux is the only hotel here located within the medieval walls.



 

 





Hotel du Soleil

This charming boutique accommodation located just steps away from the historic centre of St Rémy is a haven of tranquillity. You may relax by the pool and take advantage of the spa.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel La Reine Jeanne

La Reine Jeanne is a welcoming hotel set in the medieval centre of Les Baux, complete with a very good restaurant which offers delicious meals using local produce.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel du Musee

A small, family-run 2* hotel located in the historic centre of Arles, a stone’s throw from the Roman Coliseum and the mighty Rhône River. Filled with charm and a beautiful hidden courtyard.


 

 

 

Alternative accommodation

During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome for an additional charge.


Meals

4 Breakfasts are included. You can eat dinner either at your accommodations or in the local towns and villages. For lunches you can find regional cheeses, meats and bread in local markets or shops.  

How to Book

This trip is available to start any day of the week between mid March - late June & early September - beginning November. To make a provisional reservation select "Book". Option & Extension prices will be displayed as part of the booking process.


Because every holiday we book is unique availability changes from day to day and our booking process works as follows:


  • You provisionally book the tour you are interested in for your preferred dates and pay a 20% deposit online or by phone.
  • We confirm availability and book all your accommodation and options
    and send final confirmation as soon as everything is confirmed (max 5
    working days).
  • If we are unable to accommodate you on your confirmed dates/tour or
    an alternative of your choice your deposit is fully refunded.

Time of Year

We would encourage you to travel within April-June and Septmber- October when the temperatures are pleasant for walking.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome for an additional charge.


Grade & Terrain

This tour is suitable for most people that are in good physical condition. This tour is rated easy to moderate and the daily walks are quite short, however there are a couple of f elevations gains of up to 400m to the top of Les Alpilles’ crest. The trails are quite smooth (but definitely stony in some places) but if you take your time it is not too difficult. Get ready for your tour by taking a few uphill walks before leaving home.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

When you arrive at your first accommodation you will provided with detailed maps and route notes to help you find your way. In some places the routes are well-marked, in other places you will have to read your route notes carefully and pay attention to the trail and to the directions provided.


Baggage Transfers

All your belongings will be transferred between accommodations. We do ask you keep your baggage to one bag per person (maximum weight 20kg).


Accommodation Location

During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care


General Information

The distances and ascents/decents are approximations of the recommended routes.

Please be prepared by packing all nessersary items, for example. proper rain gear, sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.


Getting to St Rémy

The closest airport to both the beginning and end points is Marseille Provence Airport and it is serviced by BA, easyJet and Ryanair. You can also fly into Paris Charles De Gaulle International Airport which is serviced by BA and easyJet from UK airports. From Marseilles Provence Airport you can take a train into Avignon (1 hour) and from here there is a local bus to St Rémy (30 minutes). For train information please visit the SNCF website. Visit the bus timetable website for more information. From Paris Charles de Gaulle you can take a train to Avignon and then a bus from here to St Rémy. The train from Paris to Avignon takes just over 3 hours.


Getting from Arles

Arles is on the main train line and you can get a train back to Avignon or to Marseilles Provence Airport. It takes around 30 minutes from Arles to the Avignon TGV Station and around 30 minutes to one hour to get from Arles to Marseilles Provence Airport. Please visit the SNCF website for more details.

Getting to St Rémy

The closest airport to both the beginning and end points is Marseille Provence Airport and it is serviced by BA, easyJet and Ryanair. You can also fly into Paris Charles De Gaulle International Airport which is serviced by BA and easyJet from UK airports. From Marseilles Provence Airport you can take a train into Avignon (1 hour) and from here there is a local bus to St Rémy (30 minutes). For train information please visit the SNCF website. Visit the bus timetable website for more information. From Paris Charles de Gaulle you can take a train to Avignon and then a bus from here to St Rémy. The train from Paris to Avignon takes just over 3 hours.


Getting from Arles

Arles is on the main train line and you can get a train back to Avignon or to Marseilles Provence Airport. It takes around 30 minutes from Arles to the Avignon TGV Station and around 30 minutes to one hour to get from Arles to Marseilles Provence Airport. Please visit the SNCF website for more details.


Included

  • 4 Nights in 2 and 3* hotels
  • 4 Breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers
  • Route notes and maps, and detailed information pack
  • Organisational assistance and backup from our area manager in Provence and our office

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to St Rémy
  • Travel from Arles
  • Dinners and lunches
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment

Extras

  • Additional nights before or after the holiday
  • Single room supplement if single room required
  • Solo traveller supplement

We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions or for more advice from our team.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as Provence is extremely popular during May/June and September. You will find up to date availability on our website and

How fit do I need to be?

This tour is suitable for most people that are in good physical condition. This tour is rated easy to moderate and the daily walks are quite short, however there are a couple of f elevations gains of up to 400m to the top of Les Alpilles’ crest. The trails are quite smooth (but definitely stony in some places) but if you take your time it is not too difficult. Get ready for your tour by taking a few uphill walks before leaving home.

How do the baggage transfers work?

All your belongings will be transferred between accommodations. We do ask you keep your baggage to one bag per person (maximum weight 20kg).

What equipment do I need?

Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.

When is the best time of year?
Spring and autumn are generally best as Provence is both busy and hot in mid summer. we will always try and accommodate your plans so just ask.

What is the best time of year?

We would encourage you to travel within April-June and Septmber- October when the temperatures are pleasant for walking.

Which is the best airport?

The closest airport to both the beginning and end points is Marseille Provence Airport and it is serviced by BA, easyJet and Ryanair. You can also fly into Paris Charles De Gaulle International Airport which is serviced by BA and easyJet from UK airports. From Marseilles Provence Airport you can take a train into Avignon (1 hour) and from here there is a local bus to St Rémy (30 minutes). 

What about the navigation?

When you arrive at your first accommodation you will provided with detailed maps and route notes to help you find your way. In some places the routes are well-marked, in other places you will have to read your route notes carefully and pay attention to the trail and to the directions provided.

what happens if I cant walk cycle a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

Exceede our expectations!

5

This was our first walking holiday and definitely won't be our last. The walks were well marked and the instructions very clear. All our accomodation was well located, comfortable with great breakfasts. The transfers were well organised. We loved the balance of walking and free time to explore the villages, all at our own pace. Ready to plan our next walk!

J&D walkers

Sydney Australia

true

Beauty, landscape and light

4

I had wanted a nature experience and a cultural experience all wrapped up in one holiday, and I certainly got it with this trip. My hikes through the Alpilles were stunning, peaceful and just challenging enough to work up a good appetite for delicious French food. The walking notes were extremely detailed and easy to follow, and the hotels were lovely, with courteous and professional staff. Most of all, I enjoyed meeting folks along the way and having the opportunity to speak French, or share travel notes with other visitors to the area. I would without a doubt book with Mac Tours again!

Molly the painter

Brooklyn, New York

true

Van Gogh's Provence

4.5 2

100.0

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