Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Meditative Abbey of Senanque amongst the blooming Lavender
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Highlights

  • Classic walking in the Luberon National Park and the Vaucluse.
  • Exploring the highlights of Provence.
  • The Petite Luberon and the 100 year old “Forest of the Cedars”.
  • “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France”, Gordes and Roussillon.
  • The instantly recognisable Cistercian 12th century Abbey de Sénanque.

A walking trip of a lifetime in classic Provençal landscapes through the Luberon and the Vaucluse.

Discover the French ritual of a local market, this region’s fabled food and wine, sun-drenched vineyards and ancient olive groves, in this, Provence’s best landscapes.

Boasting over 300 days a year of sunshine, the natural light of Provence has inspired many artists including Cézanne and Van Gogh. It is also certain to inspire you as you enjoy this walk from inn to inn through timeless Provence.

Day 1: Arrive in Apt.

Apt is the hub for the Parc Naturel Régional du Luberon, criss-crossed by walking trails and an excellent place to begin your Classic Provence self-guided tour. The local market is here on Saturdays and Tuesdays and its fun to wander through the narrow streets with stalls full of crystallised fruits and ceramics (both of which Apt is famous for).


Overnight: Apt


Day 2: Walk to Bonnieux

Head out of Apt and shortly reach the surrounding countryside of rolling vineyards, stone farmhouses, orchards and pretty woods. Pause on the trail for a picnic lunch of fresh baguette, creamy Picodon goats cheese and cherry tomatoes, which gives you sustenance to continue on to the rustic hilltop village of Bonnieux.


Walk: 16 km


Elevation gain/loss: +155m/-150m


Overnight: Bonnieux


Day 3: Petite Luberon “Forest of the Cedars” loop walk

After a breakfast of meats, cheeses, fresh croissants and fruit, today’s  walk takes you into the foothills of the Petite Luberon range and through the century-old “Forest of the Cedars”.


A gradual climb brings you to the top of a  ridge with views over the surrounding landscape. Walk under a majestic canopy of trees before descending back into Bonnieux.


Walk: 12 km


Elevation gain/loss: +480/–500m


Overnight: Bonnieux


Day 4: Walk to Roussillon

Set off from Bonnieux and walk through the heart of the Luberon countryside to Roussillon. Interestingly, as you get closer towards this village you will notice the change in the colour of the earth to  ochre and the curiously cut rock-formations that this area is famous for.


Roussillon is a lovely little Provencal village and you can explore its shady squares with fascinating architectural details, faded shutters and lazy cats sleeping on window ledges - everything you hope for from a  Provençal village.


Walk: 13 km


Elevation gain/loss: +275m/–180m


Overnight: Roussillon


Day 5: Walk to Gordes via Joucas

The beginning of today’s walk takes you along peaceful trails and to the charming perched village of Joucas. Stroll through the picturesque narrow streets paved with ancient stones and have a restful lunch whilst revelling in the surrounding views.


Continue on, eventually connecting with the GR97 which brings you into the outskirts of the village of Gorges, a well-deserved “Les plus beaux villages de France”  It is situated on a promontory and is crowned with a gigantic fortress, around which spreads a warren of crooked lanes with shops and cafés.


Walk: 12 km


Elevation gain/loss: +244 / -217


Overnight: Gordes


Day 6: Gordes Loop

As today’s walk is fairly short you can take advantage of having extra time to explore Gordes. And if you time it right you can discover its great local market on Tuesdays.


Today’s walk takes you through the surrounding countryside of Gordes, through woods, criss-crossing the small Sénancole river, and on quiet trails with views over local limestone cliffs.


Walk: 10 km


Elevation gain/loss: +303m/-319m


Overnight: Gordes


Day 7: Walk to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse via the Abbey de Sénanque

Today’s walk takes you past the iconic Abbey de Sénanque, founded in 1148 by Cistercian monks and which has an austere beauty. During lavender season is spectacular as the abbey is surrounded by blooming purple fields.


Also pass a small section of the Wall of the Plague or “Mur de la Peste”,  constructed in 1721 to stop the population from fleeing from the diseases source in Marseilles. Arrive in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse which  features the world’s fifth largest underground spring.  Explore here before your transfer to L’Isles sur la Sorgue.


Walk: 15 km


Elevation gain/loss: +395m/-660m


Overnight: L’Isles sur la Sorgue


Day 8: Onward Travel

If you have time, L’Isles sur la Sorgue is definitely worthy of exploration. It is also known as the “Venice of Provence” because of its location amid a maze of canals and several branches of the Sorgue river, and also famed for a collection of some 30 antique shops.


Make your way to Avignon or Marseilles Airport for your onward journeys.

Accommodation

On this tour you will stay in hand-picked charming and characterful hotels, B&B’s and chambres d’hotes. These lodgings are truly special places and one of the highlights of this tour.


Alternate Accommodation

We will always try and accommodate you at the accommodations listed. However, if those listed are unavailable, alternative accommodation of the same or better standard than those described will be provided.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


A solo supplement is not available as it is it cost-prohibitive. Therefore, unless you are willing to pay substantially more to do this tour by yourself, it is not available to solo walkers.



 

 

 




Hotel Sainte Anne - Apt

You will be welcomed warmly to this hotel by Sophie and Flora. It is well-located with the historic quarter of Apt only a short walk away. Eat a delicious buffet breakfast (with homemade jams) in the outdoor garden..


 

 

 


 

 

 



Les Terrasses du Luberon - Bonnieux



Les Terrasses du Luberon - Bonnieux

This incredibly charming chambre d’hote offers spacious and unique rooms. The views from the terrace over the Luberon, and even to Mont Ventoux on a clear day, are simply special.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Les Sables d'Ocre - Roussillon

This delightful hotel is located away from the hustle and bustle of the town centre and you can relax in its delightful gardens or by the pool. The rooms reserved for you all have terraces and air-conditioning.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Les Balcons du Luberon - Gordes



Les Balcons du Luberon - Gordes

A 5-minute walk from the village centre, you will be warmly welcomed to this 18th century Provencal farmhouse where you can enjoy the excellent views from your room, the garden or from the pool. This lodging has 5 individually and decorated rooms.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Les Terrasses du Bassin - L'Isles sur la Sorgue

This hotel-restaurant is in a great location, right next to the river and in the centre of town. The rooms are spacious and your hosts gracious. Enjoy a buffet breakfast on the balcony overlooking the river.


 

 

 

Availability

This trip is available to start on any day of the week from the beginning of April to the end of October.


Time of Year

The best time of year to walk in the Provence and the Luberon is the Spring and Autumn/Fall. In the spring the wild flowers will be blooming and in the Autumn/Fall it is quieter with lovely autumnal colours, whilst still being warm and sunny in the day time. Provence boasts over 300 days of sunshine per year.


In July and August it will be quite hot. You can still walk during these months but it must be noted that if you choose to walk in July and August there may be fire restrictions set in place by local authorities, in which case you will need to find an alternate walk or not walk at all that day.


Also please note that lavender is usually in bloom from mid-June to August.


Meals

A continental or buffet breakfast is included each morning. Lunch is not included. On most days you will be walking through small villages with cafes, restaurants and a shop or two, so you will be able to buy lunch en route. However on some of the walking days it will be essential to take a packed lunch as there are no cafes or restaurants en route.


Dinner is not included, but you will be able to try some excellent local cuisine in nearby local restaurants (recommendations will be in your information pack) or you can dine at your accommodation if they have a restaurant.


Local Markets:


Apt—Saturday


Bonnieux—Friday


Roussillon—Thursday


Gordes—Tuesday


L’Isles sur la Sorgue—Sunday


These local markets are usually open in the mornings and finish around lunchtime (12-1pm)


Grade & Terrain

This tour has an easy to moderate grading. The trails are a combination of dirt or wooded trails, gravel tracks and tarmac country roads. This tour is suitable for walkers with good physical fitness.


There are some rolling hills and while in the Petite Luberon and the Vaucluse plateau some fairly significant elevation gains and losses on some of the walks. It is also pertinent to note that the terrain in Provence is fairly rugged and quite rocky at times, you will need to be sure-footed in order to negotiate the terrain. .


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The route is generally way marked (when on a GR trail) with red and white GR signs or wooden posts with yellow markers. However you will also need to be able to closely follow your route notes and be able to navigate using a map, especially in the woods. which tend to be a bit disorientating.


We also provide you with GPS tracks for those who like to take a GPS unit and IGN maps to assist you.


Baggage Transfers

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.


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 ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to Apt

There are a number of different options available in order to get to Apt. If you want to fly, the closest airport is Marselles-Provence Airport. From the airport you can take a bus/train to Apt, via either  Cavaillon or Aix-en-Provence. The journey takes anywhere between 2 and 3 hours, depending on your route. For more information on local bus/train timetables please visit Lignes Express Régionale or SNCF.


Alternately you can arrive by train into Avignon. It is possible to take the Eurostar from London St Pancras to Gare du Nord - Paris, then take the TVG train to Avignon (approx 7 hrs),or fly into any of the Paris Airports and take a train south to Avignin from here (a journey of just over 3 hours). From the Avignon TGV Station you can take a bus (takes approx. 1H15) directly to Apt. Again you can check out times and schedules on the Lignes Express Régionale website.


Macs Adventure can also arrange private transfers to and from Apt to local airports/train stations. Please contact your Destination & Adventure Specialist for details.


Getting from L’Isles sur la Sorgue

From L’Isles sur la Sorgue you can take a train to Avignon TGV Station (every hour and a 33 minute ride) and from here take a train to Paris.(approx 7 hrs), and fly out of any of the Paris Airports. You can also take a local bus to Avignon. There are a few bus companies that operate this service, such as Lignes Express Régional. For more information on trains you can visit the SNCF.  website.


It is also possible to take a train from L’Isles sur la Sorgue to Marseilles Airport. The journey takes about 1 hour. Please note that you will have to walk about 1 mile to get from the train station to the airport, or you could take a taxi.


Macs Adventure can also arrange private transfers to and from Apt and L’Isles sur la Sorgue to local airports/train stations. Please contact your Destination & Adventure Specialist for details.

Included

  • 7 Nights accommodation in hand-picked hotels, B&B’s and chambres d’hotes
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers
  • Transfer on Day 7
  • Detailed information pack, route notes and IGN maps
  • 24/7 telephone support from our UK office

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Apt
  • Travel from L'Isles sur la Sorgue
  • Lunches & Dinners
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
  • Personal equipment

Extras

  • Single room & solo walkers supplement(s) if applicable
  • Additional nights
  • Private transfers

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the region is extremely popular especially during the summer months. It is always better to book as far in advance as possible, however, we will always try our best to accommodate your plans.

How fit do I need to be?

This itinerary is graded easy to moderate, however the terrain can be tricky at times with rocks underfoot, so you will need to be sure-footed.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.

What equipment do I need?

Your detailed information pack will be sent to you after you book. This has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.

What happens if I can't walk a stage?

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

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
macs adventureProvence: Luberon to the Vaucluse
 
5.0

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Provence: Luberon to the Vaucluse

By Peter and Heather

from Sydney, Australia

About Me World Traveller

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Fun
  • Great Accommodations
  • Well Organised

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Holiday
    • Relaxation

    Comments about macs adventure Provence: Luberon to the Vaucluse:

    Thanks Macs Adventures, we had a wonderful walking holiday in Provence. Everything went to plan and we had nothing to worry about.
    The accommodation at each location was clean, comfortable and friendly. Our luggage was well looked after and waiting for us on our arrival each day.
    Just something to mindful of for anyone interested in doing this walk is that it gets very hot in the Summertime in Provence. I struggled with the heat each day and this can take some of the shine off of the experience. My partner managed the heat well so it depends greatly on how your body responds to these temperatures.
    We normally like to have breakfast early so we can head off early but breakfast was not served until 8 or 8.30 am. This would be fine in the cooler months as the walking days aren't very long and you don't want to arrive at the next nights accommodation too early.
    We commenced our walking days around 9am and would arrive at the village of our next nights accommodation in time for lunch. We enjoyed leisurely lunches before heading to our accommodation for a dip in their pools. A great way to spend an afternoon after walking for four hours.
    There is a lot of road walking included in this itinerary with stone walls on either side of the road, this added to the heat of the day plus no views to be seen on these sections of the walk.
    Putting the heat to one side we had a great walking holiday. Walking for about four hours a day , enjoying a leisurely lunch with a bottle of rose and then having a dip in the pool to cool down, We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the villages that we were staying in for the night and at times doing a bit of shopping.
    Looking forward to our next walk.

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