New! Hiking Provence: Lavender Trails to Les Calanques | Mountain Travel Sobek

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New! Hiking Provence: Lavender Trails to Les Calanques

Trip Length 11 days

From $5,495

  • Hike the postcard-perfect hilltop villages of Gordes, Bonnieux, and Les Baux de Provence
  • Enjoy breathtaking views from the summit of Mont Ventoux, the Tour de France's toughest cycling climb
  • Explore the beautiful limestone inlets of the coastal calanques, and reward yourself with a luxurious private sailing excursion in the south of France!

Looking for an alternative to the ubiquitous sedentary bus tour of Provence? Mountain Travel Sobek has put together your perfect trip: quintessential Provence at its absolute finest, designed specifically for active Francophiles. Our adventure trip gets you away from the tour-bus crowds and out on foot along the sun-washed countryside's hidden trails. Here you will experience a true hiker's Provence, from the dramatic white limestone peaks of the Dentelles de Montmirail to medieval villages nestled in centuries-old olive groves to the great vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône wine domains. You’ll amble along quiet trails through sunny fields of poppies and lavender. Along the way you’re sure to enjoy the fragrance of wild herbes de Provence—thyme, rosemary, and sage are all abundant here. You’ll also stop in at wineries of worldwide repute (where wine tastings are de rigueur), visit medieval abbeys, sample the fruits of the land (the cherries are superb!), and enjoy the charming company of a local guide who will give you that je ne sais quoi perspective you can get only from a Provence native. And there is no better way to end this fairytale journey than with a hike amidst the coastal calanques' stunning limestone inlets, and a luxurious private sailing excursion in the south of France. Viva la Provence!

Day 1: Explore the Alpilles Mountains from Saint Rémy

Bienvenue á Provence! We'll meet in Avignon, home of the 14th-century popes, and one of the most stunning medieval towns in Europe. As our day begins at 10:00am this morning, you will likely require a pre-trip overnight in Avignon.

A short transfer leads us to the town of Saint Rémy de Provence, nestled at the foot of the Alpilles Mountains. We'll follow van Gogh’s footsteps as we head up towards the jagged ridge of the windswept Alpilles, walking through a variety of aromatic herbs and sun-baked pine trees. Though not nearly as high as the other mountain ranges in Provence, the cragged limestone Alpilles Mountains stand alone in the flatlands of the Rhône Valley, and the views from the ridge are far-reaching. Enjoy these panoramic views from the summit of our hike, with a gourmet Provençal picnic before completing the loop back to Saint Rémy. Tonight we'll savor a festive welcome dinner in town, and then settle in for a two-night stay in Saint Rémy.

(Hiking time: 3½ hours approx. with 600' ascent/600' descent)

  • Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Le Gounod

Day 2: Enjoy a hike to Les Baux

From our hotel, we'll follow a lovely path up a shaded valley laden with cedar and pines as we make our way back up to the crest of the Alpilles. From here, an easy trail takes us along the ridge, with shrub vegetation of rosemary and thyme, and sparse pine and cypress trees. The wide-sweeping views remain with us all day: On a clear day the Mediterranean Sea is visible to the south, beyond the flatlands of the Camargue, while some of the key ranges—including Mont Ventoux—paint the backdrop to the north. Perched atop the ridge rocky crag is the 1,000-year-old village of Les Baux de Provence. With just a few dozen stone homes huddled together high above the valley, Les Baux is one of the most picturesque villages in Provence. Meander through the narrow, cobbled streets, then stop at a working olive mill—for a visit and a tasting—to learn all about the prized olive oils made in the region. In the evening, we'll enjoy dinner together in Saint Rémy.

(Hiking time: 3½ hours appprox. with 600’ ascent/300’ descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Le Gounod

Day 3: Journey from Gordes to the Sénanque Abbey

After breakfast, we'll transfer from the Alpilles to the Luberon Mountains, trading the windswept plains for rolling hills dotted with lofty medieval villages. The loveliest of these is Gordes. Our walk begins on the outskirts of the village, along tiny lanes lined with ancient stone walls. Suddenly Gordes appears before us: Towering above the Calavon Valley, its golden-stone homes rise almost improbably, and in vertiginous circles above the orchards and vines, crowned by its renaissance castle. We'll walk up through a steep labyrinth of cobblestoned streets to the tiny village square, filled today with market stalls (Tuesday is market day in Gordes). We'll have some free time to explore the market and select our own picnic fare before heading out along the thyme-laden hills.  

Gordes intricate dry-stone walls and huts line our walking paths, leading us into oak forests and along sun-drenched slopes. Before long we'll reach the famous Sénaque Abbey, a collection of magnificent 850-year-old Romanesque structures hidden in the valley among rows of lavender fields. Here we'll be treated to a private guided tour, then hike up to a pass for excellent aerial views of the abbey before finishing our loop. Our hotel is set in the center of Gordes. We'll settle in for a two-night stay, enjoying dinner together at the hotel.

(Hiking time: 3½ hours approx. with 900’ ascent/900’ descent.)

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Le Mas des Romarins

Day 4: Walk in the landscape of Cézanne

Today begins with a transfer to nearby Bonnieux, a village nestled in the hollow between the two Luberon mountains that took center-stage in Peter Mayle’s best-selling memoir A Year in Provence. From the 12th-century church that crowns the village, we'll descend the cobbled streets and leave the village on a quiet trail. The path takes us on a long but gradual climb up the northern slope of the Luberon, through a forest of white oak and shrub. Upon reaching the ridge, we are rewarded with magnificent views across the entire valley—from fruit orchards and vines, to all the golden hilltop villages that sit halfway up the slopes. To the south lie the Durance Valley and the jagged Mont Sainte Victoire, which Cézanne painted obsessively. On the crest of the Luberon, we'll stroll under a magnificent canopy of cedar trees to find a secluded spot to enjoy our Provençal picnic. After lunch we'll descend on a quick path back to the valley and straight to the medieval village of Lacoste, which is crowned by the ruins of the castle of the Marquis de Sade. The Marquis spent three years living here, writing (and acting out) some of his more infamous scenes. In the evening a special treat awaits! We’ll enjoy a traditional Provençal fare on a family farm and an authentic exchange with locals over the course a memorable meal.

(Hiking time: 5 hours approx. with 1,500’ ascent/1,500’ descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Le Mas des Romarins

Day 5: Explore the Dentelles de Montmirail

This morning we'll head north to the chiseled limestone formations of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Set above the vineyards that blanket the Rhône Valley, these small mountains are dotted with remote villages and are home to a veritable playground of stunning hiking paths. We'll take a seldom-used trail through the garrigue, with terrific views of the Rhône Valley and its vines. Eventually we reach the tiny medieval village of Le Crestet, with just a handful of homes huddled in tight formation, facing the western slopes of Mont Ventoux. Here we'll enjoy a drink at a rooftop café before continuing our hike. A shady path leads us to the town of Vaison la Romaine, our home for the next three nights. Set on the largest Roman archeological site in France, Vaison was an important and prosperous city during the Roman Empire. Its medieval town, built 12 centuries later, sits high above the Ouvèze River, completely intact, with its narrow cobbled streets leading upwards to the ruins of the feudal castle. Our hotel is located right in the heart of town and we'll enjoy dinner together.

(Hiking time: 5 hours appprox. with 1,300’ ascent/550’ descent.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Le Burrhus

Day 6: Hike the Vineyards Above Gigondas

Today we're off to the medieval village of Gigondas, nestled under the imposing limestone cliffs of the Dentelles de Montmirail. From the church that crowns the village, the views head westward across the sprawling Rhône Valley, and to the Cévennes Mountains beyond. For a tiny village of just 400 souls, Gigondas is world renowned for its red wines; the chalky and desolate soils force the vines to dig their roots deep, creating wines with rich and complex flavors. These vines are carved into terraces adorning the steep hills above the village. We'll walk along farming tracks between the gnarled vines, and then above them as we head into the heart of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Trails crisscross the dramatic limestone rock formations and take us to the very top of one of the three ridgelines that soar above the village. After our hike, we'll enjoy wine tasting at one of the local estates. Back in Vaison, in the comfort of our hotel's rooftop terrace, we'll enjoy a special wine and cheese event. Lucky for us, Josiane Déal's cheese shop—whose cheeses have been deemed the best in France—sits on the same square as our hotel.

(Hiking time: 4 hours approx. with 1,200’ ascent/1,200’ descent.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Le Burrhus

Day 7: Summit the lofty Mont Ventoux

Today's hike begins on the upper slopes of Mont Ventoux. Though not nearly as high as the Alps, Ventoux stands alone, its peak a mile above the surrounding hills. Beginning at the Mont Serein ski area, we'll take a trail that remains level along the northern slope, through fir, spruce, and larch forests. Our trail crosses majestic and barren rockslide formations, and offers a great chance to see local wildlife, including chamois. As we hike up toward the ridge, only sparse mountain pine remain, and then we’re above the trees, on Ventoux’s fabled moonscape: All that is left is the bare limestone under our feet, with some Alpine and even Arctic flowers peeking out from between the stones. We'll continue hiking up the eastern ridge to the summit, from where the360-degree panoramic view is unparalleled. To the north is the entire chain of the Alps, including Mont Blanc, and to the south the Rhône River snakes its way down to the Mediterranean Sea. We'll enjoy a restaurant lunch at the summit and bask in the international ambiance of cyclists finishing what is arguably the toughest climb in all of France. We'll then return to Vaison for our third and final night. Dinner is not included this evening but there are plenty of great dining options in town.

(Hiking time: 5 hours approx. with 1,700’ ascent, 1,700’ descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Le Burrhus

Day 8: Hike the Calanques de Marseille to Cassis

After breakfast, we venture south toward the Mediterranean Sea to explore the Calanques de Marseille, France's newest national park. The calanques are a set of dramatic limestone inlets spanning nearly 13 miles from Marseille to Cassis—a playground of cliffs and hiking trails, remote and unspoiled. Each isolated cove unveils its secrets, the pure white limestone casting turquoise reflections on the still waters. We'll begin on a trail set above the calanques and make our way down En Vau to the first of many inlets we’ll be exploring over the next few days. The jagged limestone paths lead us from one spectacular inlet to the next, enjoying a picnic lunch along the way. Our trail leads us directly into lovely Cassis, a small, quiet Riviera town on the calanques' eastern edge, where we'll feel at home for the next three nights. For dinner this evening, we'll head to one of the town center's many charming restaurants.

(Hiking time: 3½ hours appprox. with 500’ ascent, 1,300’ descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:La Rade

Day 9: Discover Parc National des Calanques

Today leads us into the heart of the Parc National des Calanques, hiking to turquoise inlets with plenty of swimming opportunities along the way. We’ll contemplate the vast blue Mediterranean Sea in the most secluded of spots, and enjoy a gourmet Provençal picnic by the water. A vast network of trails runs through the calanques and your expert guides will choose a hike based on the group's interests and fitness levels. This you are free to explore Cassis and choose a local eatery for dinner.

(Hiking time: 4½ hours approx. with 1,500’ ascent/1,500’ descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:La Rade

Day 10: Cruise the calanques and feast in Marseille

As a reward for all of our miles hiked and vertical feet ascended, we'll trade our hiking boots for deck shoes. That’s right, no hiking today! We’ll pamper ourselves with a private boat excursion in the calanques, starting from Cassis. We’ll have the whole boat to ourselves, navigating lazily from one calanque to the next, with great perspectives of the coastline from the sea. There will be opportunities to swim off the boat and time to recount the week’s adventures, before enjoying lunch onboard. In the afternoon, after some free time to relax in Cassis, we'll head into Marseille to enjoy a celebratory dining experience and sample the Riviera’s most coveted delicacy—bouillabaisse—in one of its finest restaurants.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:La Rade

Day 11: Departure from Cassis or Avignon

After breakfast, there will be a morning shuttle to the train station in Cassis for onward journeys.  Those departing from the Avignon TGV Station will be transferred back to Avignon, arriving in the afternoon.

  • Breakfast

Sep 02 - 12, 2017

May 12 - 22, 2018

Jun 09 - 19, 2018

Sep 01 - 11, 2018

pricing

2017 Prices
$5,495 (4 – 16)
$1,200 single supplement

2018 Prices
$5,595 (4 – 16)
$1,200 single supplement

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La Rade — Cassis

Perched high above the bustling waterfront, this Cassis hotel offers dramatic sea views from the center of the village. Guests can luxuriate in the hot tub, which overlooks the bay and Cape Scoundrel, and enjoy local cuisine and cocktails while taking in the panoramic views from the bay-facing terrace. Indoors the rooms are more than comfortable, and each morning brings a fresh assortment of flaky croissants, juice, and coffee for breakfast. Despite its hills, Cassis is optimal for exploring on foot. Guests will find the town of Cassis unquestionably charming, and will benefit from being based at La Rade, mere minutes from the glistening Mediterranean.

Le Burrhus — Vaison la Romaine

Hôtel Burrhus is a laid-back, modern accommodation offering a unique combination of contemporary art, progressive design, four-star service, and classic comfort. Located in lovely Vaison la Romaine, this hotel provides a more modern taste of Provence amidst its rich cultural and historical surroundings. The comfortable rooms offer an artistic combination of colorful nouvelle design and eclectic furnishings. Burrhus also organizes art exhibitions, an uncommon luxury that guests can experience if lucky enough to have their stay coincide with one of these events. Beyond the hotel walls, charming Vaison la Romaine is the Jewel of Roman Provence—a small medieval city with a variety of well-known archaeological sites, including a single-arch Roman bridge that has been traversed for over 200 years.

Le Gounod — Saint Rémy

Centrally located in Alpilles, in the heart of Saint Rémy de Provence, this eclectic boutique hotel boasts a classic French flair. Set in a 16th-century inn but newly renovated, Hôtel Gounod has dramatic views of the neighboring Saint Martin Church. Gounod’s calming environment is perfect for unwinding after a day of exploration, with a private terrace, beautiful stone pool, hot tub, and a spa offering a variety of soothing treatments. Staying in such a historical place, guests can draw inspiration from the old-town feel of this culturally rich and aesthetically pleasing property. Hôtel Gounod is a tranquil escape where guests can simply relax and soak in the intoxicating atmosphere of Provence—and its renowned local wines.

Le Mas des Romarins — Gordes

Le Mas des Romarins is a spectacular property situated in the quaint hilltop village of Gordes. The structure was built in the early 19th century, and the dry-stone walls evoke a feeling of earlier times. Each comfortable room has its own unique theme, from “Snapshots of Paris” to “Sea Breeze,” and stunning views. The three-star hotel’s restaurant offers delectable French cuisine: La Clarôme is recognized as one of the premier restaurants in the region. Le Mas des Romarins—yet another unforgettable classic French accommodation to enjoy on your journey through Provence—will not disappoint.

  • Hike the postcard-perfect hilltop villages of Gordes, Bonnieux, and Les Baux de Provence
  • Enjoy breathtaking views from the summit of Mont Ventoux, the Tour de France's toughest cycling climb
  • Explore the beautiful limestone inlets of the coastal calanques, and reward yourself with a luxurious private sailing excursion in the south of France!

Looking for an alternative to the ubiquitous sedentary bus tour of Provence? Mountain Travel Sobek has put together your perfect trip: quintessential Provence at its absolute finest, designed specifically for active Francophiles. Our adventure trip gets you away from the tour-bus crowds and out on foot along the sun-washed countryside's hidden trails. Here you will experience a true hiker's Provence, from the dramatic white limestone peaks of the Dentelles de Montmirail to medieval villages nestled in centuries-old olive groves to the great vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône wine domains. You’ll amble along quiet trails through sunny fields of poppies and lavender. Along the way you’re sure to enjoy the fragrance of wild herbes de Provence—thyme, rosemary, and sage are all abundant here. You’ll also stop in at wineries of worldwide repute (where wine tastings are de rigueur), visit medieval abbeys, sample the fruits of the land (the cherries are superb!), and enjoy the charming company of a local guide who will give you that je ne sais quoi perspective you can get only from a Provence native. And there is no better way to end this fairytale journey than with a hike amidst the coastal calanques' stunning limestone inlets, and a luxurious private sailing excursion in the south of France. Viva la Provence!

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Explore the Alpilles Mountains from Saint Rémy

Bienvenue á Provence! We'll meet in Avignon, home of the 14th-century popes, and one of the most stunning medieval towns in Europe. As our day begins at 10:00am this morning, you will likely require a pre-trip overnight in Avignon.

A short transfer leads us to the town of Saint Rémy de Provence, nestled at the foot of the Alpilles Mountains. We'll follow van Gogh’s footsteps as we head up towards the jagged ridge of the windswept Alpilles, walking through a variety of aromatic herbs and sun-baked pine trees. Though not nearly as high as the other mountain ranges in Provence, the cragged limestone Alpilles Mountains stand alone in the flatlands of the Rhône Valley, and the views from the ridge are far-reaching. Enjoy these panoramic views from the summit of our hike, with a gourmet Provençal picnic before completing the loop back to Saint Rémy. Tonight we'll savor a festive welcome dinner in town, and then settle in for a two-night stay in Saint Rémy.

(Hiking time: 3½ hours approx. with 600' ascent/600' descent)

  • Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Le Gounod

Day 2: Enjoy a hike to Les Baux

From our hotel, we'll follow a lovely path up a shaded valley laden with cedar and pines as we make our way back up to the crest of the Alpilles. From here, an easy trail takes us along the ridge, with shrub vegetation of rosemary and thyme, and sparse pine and cypress trees. The wide-sweeping views remain with us all day: On a clear day the Mediterranean Sea is visible to the south, beyond the flatlands of the Camargue, while some of the key ranges—including Mont Ventoux—paint the backdrop to the north. Perched atop the ridge rocky crag is the 1,000-year-old village of Les Baux de Provence. With just a few dozen stone homes huddled together high above the valley, Les Baux is one of the most picturesque villages in Provence. Meander through the narrow, cobbled streets, then stop at a working olive mill—for a visit and a tasting—to learn all about the prized olive oils made in the region. In the evening, we'll enjoy dinner together in Saint Rémy.

(Hiking time: 3½ hours appprox. with 600’ ascent/300’ descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Le Gounod

Day 3: Journey from Gordes to the Sénanque Abbey

After breakfast, we'll transfer from the Alpilles to the Luberon Mountains, trading the windswept plains for rolling hills dotted with lofty medieval villages. The loveliest of these is Gordes. Our walk begins on the outskirts of the village, along tiny lanes lined with ancient stone walls. Suddenly Gordes appears before us: Towering above the Calavon Valley, its golden-stone homes rise almost improbably, and in vertiginous circles above the orchards and vines, crowned by its renaissance castle. We'll walk up through a steep labyrinth of cobblestoned streets to the tiny village square, filled today with market stalls (Tuesday is market day in Gordes). We'll have some free time to explore the market and select our own picnic fare before heading out along the thyme-laden hills.  

Gordes intricate dry-stone walls and huts line our walking paths, leading us into oak forests and along sun-drenched slopes. Before long we'll reach the famous Sénaque Abbey, a collection of magnificent 850-year-old Romanesque structures hidden in the valley among rows of lavender fields. Here we'll be treated to a private guided tour, then hike up to a pass for excellent aerial views of the abbey before finishing our loop. Our hotel is set in the center of Gordes. We'll settle in for a two-night stay, enjoying dinner together at the hotel.

(Hiking time: 3½ hours approx. with 900’ ascent/900’ descent.)

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Le Mas des Romarins

Day 4: Walk in the landscape of Cézanne

Today begins with a transfer to nearby Bonnieux, a village nestled in the hollow between the two Luberon mountains that took center-stage in Peter Mayle’s best-selling memoir A Year in Provence. From the 12th-century church that crowns the village, we'll descend the cobbled streets and leave the village on a quiet trail. The path takes us on a long but gradual climb up the northern slope of the Luberon, through a forest of white oak and shrub. Upon reaching the ridge, we are rewarded with magnificent views across the entire valley—from fruit orchards and vines, to all the golden hilltop villages that sit halfway up the slopes. To the south lie the Durance Valley and the jagged Mont Sainte Victoire, which Cézanne painted obsessively. On the crest of the Luberon, we'll stroll under a magnificent canopy of cedar trees to find a secluded spot to enjoy our Provençal picnic. After lunch we'll descend on a quick path back to the valley and straight to the medieval village of Lacoste, which is crowned by the ruins of the castle of the Marquis de Sade. The Marquis spent three years living here, writing (and acting out) some of his more infamous scenes. In the evening a special treat awaits! We’ll enjoy a traditional Provençal fare on a family farm and an authentic exchange with locals over the course a memorable meal.

(Hiking time: 5 hours approx. with 1,500’ ascent/1,500’ descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Le Mas des Romarins

Day 5: Explore the Dentelles de Montmirail

This morning we'll head north to the chiseled limestone formations of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Set above the vineyards that blanket the Rhône Valley, these small mountains are dotted with remote villages and are home to a veritable playground of stunning hiking paths. We'll take a seldom-used trail through the garrigue, with terrific views of the Rhône Valley and its vines. Eventually we reach the tiny medieval village of Le Crestet, with just a handful of homes huddled in tight formation, facing the western slopes of Mont Ventoux. Here we'll enjoy a drink at a rooftop café before continuing our hike. A shady path leads us to the town of Vaison la Romaine, our home for the next three nights. Set on the largest Roman archeological site in France, Vaison was an important and prosperous city during the Roman Empire. Its medieval town, built 12 centuries later, sits high above the Ouvèze River, completely intact, with its narrow cobbled streets leading upwards to the ruins of the feudal castle. Our hotel is located right in the heart of town and we'll enjoy dinner together.

(Hiking time: 5 hours appprox. with 1,300’ ascent/550’ descent.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Le Burrhus

Day 6: Hike the Vineyards Above Gigondas

Today we're off to the medieval village of Gigondas, nestled under the imposing limestone cliffs of the Dentelles de Montmirail. From the church that crowns the village, the views head westward across the sprawling Rhône Valley, and to the Cévennes Mountains beyond. For a tiny village of just 400 souls, Gigondas is world renowned for its red wines; the chalky and desolate soils force the vines to dig their roots deep, creating wines with rich and complex flavors. These vines are carved into terraces adorning the steep hills above the village. We'll walk along farming tracks between the gnarled vines, and then above them as we head into the heart of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Trails crisscross the dramatic limestone rock formations and take us to the very top of one of the three ridgelines that soar above the village. After our hike, we'll enjoy wine tasting at one of the local estates. Back in Vaison, in the comfort of our hotel's rooftop terrace, we'll enjoy a special wine and cheese event. Lucky for us, Josiane Déal's cheese shop—whose cheeses have been deemed the best in France—sits on the same square as our hotel.

(Hiking time: 4 hours approx. with 1,200’ ascent/1,200’ descent.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Le Burrhus

Day 7: Summit the lofty Mont Ventoux

Today's hike begins on the upper slopes of Mont Ventoux. Though not nearly as high as the Alps, Ventoux stands alone, its peak a mile above the surrounding hills. Beginning at the Mont Serein ski area, we'll take a trail that remains level along the northern slope, through fir, spruce, and larch forests. Our trail crosses majestic and barren rockslide formations, and offers a great chance to see local wildlife, including chamois. As we hike up toward the ridge, only sparse mountain pine remain, and then we’re above the trees, on Ventoux’s fabled moonscape: All that is left is the bare limestone under our feet, with some Alpine and even Arctic flowers peeking out from between the stones. We'll continue hiking up the eastern ridge to the summit, from where the360-degree panoramic view is unparalleled. To the north is the entire chain of the Alps, including Mont Blanc, and to the south the Rhône River snakes its way down to the Mediterranean Sea. We'll enjoy a restaurant lunch at the summit and bask in the international ambiance of cyclists finishing what is arguably the toughest climb in all of France. We'll then return to Vaison for our third and final night. Dinner is not included this evening but there are plenty of great dining options in town.

(Hiking time: 5 hours approx. with 1,700’ ascent, 1,700’ descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Le Burrhus

Day 8: Hike the Calanques de Marseille to Cassis

After breakfast, we venture south toward the Mediterranean Sea to explore the Calanques de Marseille, France's newest national park. The calanques are a set of dramatic limestone inlets spanning nearly 13 miles from Marseille to Cassis—a playground of cliffs and hiking trails, remote and unspoiled. Each isolated cove unveils its secrets, the pure white limestone casting turquoise reflections on the still waters. We'll begin on a trail set above the calanques and make our way down En Vau to the first of many inlets we’ll be exploring over the next few days. The jagged limestone paths lead us from one spectacular inlet to the next, enjoying a picnic lunch along the way. Our trail leads us directly into lovely Cassis, a small, quiet Riviera town on the calanques' eastern edge, where we'll feel at home for the next three nights. For dinner this evening, we'll head to one of the town center's many charming restaurants.

(Hiking time: 3½ hours appprox. with 500’ ascent, 1,300’ descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:La Rade

Day 9: Discover Parc National des Calanques

Today leads us into the heart of the Parc National des Calanques, hiking to turquoise inlets with plenty of swimming opportunities along the way. We’ll contemplate the vast blue Mediterranean Sea in the most secluded of spots, and enjoy a gourmet Provençal picnic by the water. A vast network of trails runs through the calanques and your expert guides will choose a hike based on the group's interests and fitness levels. This you are free to explore Cassis and choose a local eatery for dinner.

(Hiking time: 4½ hours approx. with 1,500’ ascent/1,500’ descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:La Rade

Day 10: Cruise the calanques and feast in Marseille

As a reward for all of our miles hiked and vertical feet ascended, we'll trade our hiking boots for deck shoes. That’s right, no hiking today! We’ll pamper ourselves with a private boat excursion in the calanques, starting from Cassis. We’ll have the whole boat to ourselves, navigating lazily from one calanque to the next, with great perspectives of the coastline from the sea. There will be opportunities to swim off the boat and time to recount the week’s adventures, before enjoying lunch onboard. In the afternoon, after some free time to relax in Cassis, we'll head into Marseille to enjoy a celebratory dining experience and sample the Riviera’s most coveted delicacy—bouillabaisse—in one of its finest restaurants.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:La Rade

Day 11: Departure from Cassis or Avignon

After breakfast, there will be a morning shuttle to the train station in Cassis for onward journeys.  Those departing from the Avignon TGV Station will be transferred back to Avignon, arriving in the afternoon.

  • Breakfast
lodgings

La Rade — Cassis

Perched high above the bustling waterfront, this Cassis hotel offers dramatic sea views from the center of the village. Guests can luxuriate in the hot tub, which overlooks the bay and Cape Scoundrel, and enjoy local cuisine and cocktails while taking in the panoramic views from the bay-facing terrace. Indoors the rooms are more than comfortable, and each morning brings a fresh assortment of flaky croissants, juice, and coffee for breakfast. Despite its hills, Cassis is optimal for exploring on foot. Guests will find the town of Cassis unquestionably charming, and will benefit from being based at La Rade, mere minutes from the glistening Mediterranean.

Le Burrhus — Vaison la Romaine

Hôtel Burrhus is a laid-back, modern accommodation offering a unique combination of contemporary art, progressive design, four-star service, and classic comfort. Located in lovely Vaison la Romaine, this hotel provides a more modern taste of Provence amidst its rich cultural and historical surroundings. The comfortable rooms offer an artistic combination of colorful nouvelle design and eclectic furnishings. Burrhus also organizes art exhibitions, an uncommon luxury that guests can experience if lucky enough to have their stay coincide with one of these events. Beyond the hotel walls, charming Vaison la Romaine is the Jewel of Roman Provence—a small medieval city with a variety of well-known archaeological sites, including a single-arch Roman bridge that has been traversed for over 200 years.

Le Gounod — Saint Rémy

Centrally located in Alpilles, in the heart of Saint Rémy de Provence, this eclectic boutique hotel boasts a classic French flair. Set in a 16th-century inn but newly renovated, Hôtel Gounod has dramatic views of the neighboring Saint Martin Church. Gounod’s calming environment is perfect for unwinding after a day of exploration, with a private terrace, beautiful stone pool, hot tub, and a spa offering a variety of soothing treatments. Staying in such a historical place, guests can draw inspiration from the old-town feel of this culturally rich and aesthetically pleasing property. Hôtel Gounod is a tranquil escape where guests can simply relax and soak in the intoxicating atmosphere of Provence—and its renowned local wines.

Le Mas des Romarins — Gordes

Le Mas des Romarins is a spectacular property situated in the quaint hilltop village of Gordes. The structure was built in the early 19th century, and the dry-stone walls evoke a feeling of earlier times. Each comfortable room has its own unique theme, from “Snapshots of Paris” to “Sea Breeze,” and stunning views. The three-star hotel’s restaurant offers delectable French cuisine: La Clarôme is recognized as one of the premier restaurants in the region. Le Mas des Romarins—yet another unforgettable classic French accommodation to enjoy on your journey through Provence—will not disappoint.

Dates and Pricing

Sep 02 - 12, 2017

May 12 - 22, 2018

Jun 09 - 19, 2018

Sep 01 - 11, 2018

pricing

2017 Prices
$5,495 (4 – 16)
$1,200 single supplement

2018 Prices
$5,595 (4 – 16)
$1,200 single supplement

Activity Level Moderate
Trip Length 11 days

From $5,495

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Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure

Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure