Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Van Gogh's Provence Self-Guided Walking Tour
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Highlights

  • Follow in the footsteps of the artist Vincent Van Gogh
  • Immerse yourself in Provençal landscapes, culture and lifestyle
  • Walk in the foothills of the Apilles, through fields and vineyards
  • Admire the Roman ruins in the city of Arles
  • Enjoy a classic French meal washed down with a glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape

This area of Provence is an artist’s dream, with its clear blue skies, deep green fields, 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 very landscapes that inspired Van Gogh’s brush strokes.

Arrive in St Rémy, a picturesque Gallo-Roman town with a marvellous old quarter. From here, walk through the foothills of Les Alpilles and ascend slowly past lone cypress trees, farmhouses and the Romanesque monastery that Van Gogh called home. Follow fragrant trails carpeted with thyme and rosemary which lead you past old farmhouses, through woods and past groves of olive and fruit trees. Spend a night within the medieval walls of Les Baux, and follow scenic paths to the charming town of Mausanne. Finish your adventure in the impressive city of Arles with its Roman ruins; a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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”.


Overnight: St Rémy de Provence


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

Today you will be 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 and asylum that Van Gogh called home.


Continue on 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.


Walk: 10 km, ascent/descent: 300m/300m


Overnight: St Rémy de Provence


DAY 3: St Rémy de Provence to Les Baux de Provence

Today’s route is lined with veritable carpets of thyme, rosemary, and cistus flower, their odours intensified under the warm Provençal sun. 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. Stay in the only hotel in the medieval centre; you’ll feel like you have the whole village to yourselves tonight.


Walk: 10km, ascent/descent: 250m/100m


Overnight: Les Baux de Provence


DAY 4: Les Baux de Provence to Mausanne

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. Come to 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 at 3PM to the Roman town of Arles (if you would like to be picked up earlier advise at least 3 weeks before travel)


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.  Why not visit the Van Gogh Foundation, which comprises of 1,000 sq metres of exhibition space.


Walk: 7km, ascent/descent: 50m/200m


Overnight: Arles


DAY 5: Onward Travel

This morning after breakfast make your way to the airport to fly home.Alternatively, if you have more time to explore the area, why not have an extra night in Arles, or consider adding on another adventure in France?


Accommodation

Your Provence Short Break self-guided walking tour includes 4 nights in 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. Below you will find an example of the accommodations we normally use along the way, if one these are unavailable then we will use an accommodation of the same or better standard.


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.



 

 



Hotel le Castelet

This charming, family-run hotel is located just steps away from the historic centre of St Rémy and is a haven of tranquillity. Relax on the outdoor terrace, or take a dip in the pool after a day of walking



 

 

 



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 Forum

Located in the heart of the old town, this charming hotel is just a stone's throw from the amphitheatre and the Van Gogh café. Relax in the pool after a day of walking.

Time of Year

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


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 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.


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).


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.


Included

  • 4 Nights in 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

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.

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 a stage?

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

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