Hiking Provence: Hilltop Villages to Les Calanques

Overview

Experience quintessential Provence on this adventure away from tour-bus crowds and head out on foot along the sun-washed countryside's hidden trails. Take in a true hiker's Provence, from the dramatic white limestone peaks of the Dentelles de Montmirail to medieval villages nestled in olive groves to the great vineyards of the Cotes du Rhone wine domains. Wander through fields of poppies, lavender and wild herbs, stop in at wineries of worldwide repute, visit medieval abbeys, hike amidst the coastal calanques' limestone inlets, and enjoy a luxurious private boat ride. Vive la Provence!

  • Hike the postcard-perfect, medieval hilltop villages of Gordes, Bonnieux, and Les Baux de Provence

  • Soak in panoramic views of the Alps on the hike to Mont Ventoux's summit

  • Explore the limestone inlets of the coastal calanques, and enjoy a spectacular sailing excursion

  • Arrive: Avignon, France
  • Depart: Cassis, France
  • Duration: 12 Days
  • Group Size: 4-16 Guests
  • Minimum Age: 16 Years Old

Itinerary

  • Day01

    Welcome to Avignon

    An MT Sobek representative will meet you at Avignon TGV station at 2:30pm today and transfer you to your hotel. After a welcome group meeting, complete with local wine, it's time to explore the wonders of this ancient city. Meander through a labyrinth of cobbled streets, discover 14th-century ramparts, and the Papal Palace - all within its historic UNESCO-listed town center.

  • Day02

    Hike from Saint Rémy to the Alpilles

    After breakfast, take a 30-minute transfer to Saint Rémy de Provence, nestled at the foot of the Alpilles Mountains. Follow Van Gogh's footsteps through an aromatic landscape of wild herbs and sun-baked pine trees up towards the jagged ridge of the windswept Alpilles. Enjoy panoramic views from the summit and a gourmet Provencal picnic before completing the loop back to Saint Rémy. Savor a group dinner in town tonight.

    • Accommodation: Le Gounod
    • Activity: 3.5 hours/6 miles hiking with 600' elevation gain & loss
    • Transportation: 30-minute private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day03

    Hike to Les Baux de Provence

    Start the day at Saint Rémy's morning market with its bounty of fresh regional produce - perfect for today's picnic. From there, follow a path up a shaded valley laden with cedar and pines, back up to the crest of the Alpilles. From here, take an easy trail along the ridge, enjoying wide-sweeping views. Perched atop the ridge is the 1,000-year-old village of Les Baux de Provence - a few dozen stone homes huddled together high above the valley. Meander through its narrow, cobbled streets, then stop at a working olive mill for a visit and a tasting. In the evening, enjoy dinner together back in Saint Rémy.

    • Accommodation: Le Gounod
    • Activity: 3.5 hours/6 miles hiking with 600' elevation gain & loss
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day04

    Journey from Gordes to the Senanque Abbey

    After breakfast, transfer from the Alpilles to the Luberon mountains, dotted with lofty medieval villages such as Gordes, its golden-stone homes rising in vertiginous circles above the Calavon valley. Explore its steep labyrinth of cobblestoned streets and pick up picnic fare before heading out along thyme-laden hills toward Senaque Abbey, a collection of 850-year-old Romanesque structures hidden among lavender fields. Enjoy a private guided tour, then hike up for aerial views before returning to Gordes for dinner together at the hotel.

    • Accommodation: Le Mas des Romarins
    • Activity: 3.5 hours/6 miles hiking with 900' elevation gain & loss
    • Transportation: 1-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day05

    Walk in the Landscape of Cezanne

    Today begins with a transfer to nearby Bonnieux, a village nestled between the two Luberon Mountains that took center-stage in Peter Mayle's best-selling memoir A Year in Provence. Head out for a long gradual climb up the northern slope of the Luberon, through a forest of white oak and shrub. At the ridge, take in magnificent views across the valley, and have a Provençal picnic. Walk to the medieval village of Lacoste, crowned by the ruins of the Marquis de Sade's castle. Visit a family farm to sample traditional Provençal fare.

    • Accommodation: Le Mas des Romarins
    • Activity: 5 hours/9 miles hiking with 1,500' elevation gain & loss
    • Transportation: 1-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day06

    Discover the Dentelles de Montmirail

    This morning head north to the chiseled limestone formations of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Set above the vineyards that blanket the Rhone Valley, these small mountains are dotted with remote villages and crisscrossed by hiking paths. Take a seldom-used trail, eventually reaching the tiny medieval village of Le Creste, to enjoy a drink at a rooftop café before hiking on. A shady path leads to the medieval town of Vaison la Romaine, set on the largest Roman archaeological site in France - and home for the next three nights. Enjoy dinner together.

    • Accommodation: Le Burrhus
    • Activity: 5 hours/9 miles hiking with 1,300' elevation gain & 550' loss
    • Transportation: 1.5-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day07

    Hike the Vineyards Above Gigondas

    Today set out for the tiny medieval village of Gigondas, nestled under the imposing limestone cliffs of the Dentelles de Montmirail, and renowned for its rich red wines. Walk between the gnarled vines, and above them into the heart of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Trails crisscross the dramatic rock formations and lead to the top of a ridgeline that soars above the village. After the hike, enjoy wine tasting at one of the local estates. Back in Vaison, join a special wine and cheese event at the hotel's rooftop terrace.

    • Accommodation: Le Burrhus
    • Activity: 4 hours/7 miles hiking with 1,200' elevation gain & loss
    • Transportation: 45-minute private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day08

    Summit the Lofty Mont Ventoux

    Today's hike begins on the upper slopes of Mont Ventoux. Cross majestic and barren rockslide formations, get a chance to spot local wildlife like chamois, and reach Ventoux's fabled moonscape - bare limestone, with alpine and even arctic flowers peeking out from between the stones. Take in the 360-degree view from the summit, showcasing the Alps and the Rhone River snaking its way to the Mediterranean Sea. Enjoy a restaurant lunch at the summit and then return to Vaison. Dinner is on your own at one of the town's great restaurants.

    • Accommodation: Le Burrhus
    • Activity: 5 hours/9 miles hiking with 2,000' elevation gain & loss
    • Transportation: 1-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day09

    Hike the Calanques de Marseille to Cassis

    After breakfast, 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 - an unspoiled playground of cliffs and hiking trails. Begin on a trail above the calanques and head down to the jagged limestone paths leading from one spectacular inlet to the next. Enjoy a picnic lunch, and hike to lovely Cassis, a small Riviera town on the calanques' eastern edge - home for the next three nights.

    • Accommodation: La Rade
    • Activity: 3.5 hours/8 miles hiking with 500' elevation gain & 1,300' loss
    • Transportation: 2.5-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day10

    Explore Parc National des Calanques

    Today head into the heart of the Parc National des Calanques, hiking to turquoise inlets with plenty of swimming opportunities along the way. 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; your expert guides will choose a hike based on the group's interests and fitness levels. Explore Cassis on your own this evening and choose a local eatery for dinner.

    • Accommodation: La Rade
    • Activity: 4.5 hours/8.5 miles hiking with 1,500' elevation gain & loss
    • Transportation: 45-minute private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day11

    Cruise the Calanques & Feast in Cassis

    As a reward for all of the miles hiked and vertical feet ascended, trade your hiking boots for deck shoes. Pamper yourself with a private boat excursion in the calanques, starting from Cassis and navigating lazily from one calanque to the next. Enjoy a chance to swim off the boat and time to recount the week's adventures, before lunch onboard. After some free time to relax in Cassis this afternoon, we'll stroll to the port to sample the Riviera's most coveted delicacy - bouillabaisse, made fresh from fish caught that day!

    • Accommodation: La Rade
    • Activity: 3-hour private boat excursion
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day12

    Depart from Cassis

    After breakfast, take a morning shuttle to the train station in Cassis for your onward journey. If you are departing from the Avignon TGV Station, we will transfer you back to Avignon, arriving in the afternoon.

    • Meals: Breakfast
Want to extend your adventure?
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Upcoming Departures

  • AvailableMay 27 - Jun 07, 2019
  • AvailableJun 17 - 28, 2019
  • AvailableSep 23 - Oct 04, 2019
View More Departure Dates
From: $5,995.00 What's Included?
12 Days
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Samantha Bromberg

MT Sobek Regional Specialist

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Hiking Provence: Hilltop Villages to Les Calanques Map

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Why take this trip with us?

Reason #01

MT Sobek pairs incredible hikes in majestic landscapes with Provençal picnics and guided tours of quaint medieval towns.

Reason #02

Enjoy the charming company of local guides who will give you that je ne sais quoi perspective you can get only from a Provence native.

Reason #03

An alternative to the ubiquitous sedentary bus tour of Provence, this carefully crafted trip is perfect for active Francophiles.

Meet Our Guides

Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.

What To Expect

  • Activities

    Long hikes through dazzling landscapes, insightful tours of medieval towns and abbeys, and spectacular boat rides along the coast.

  • Lodging

    Boutique hotels with classic French flair, historic hideaways, and artsy retreats, all with stellar locations and amenities.

  • Climate

    May is usually dry with moderate sun. June is hot and rain is rare. September is warm but flash storms can occur.

FAQ

  • Who will meet me on arrival?

    You will need to make your way to Avignon on your own. Our rendezvous is at the Hotel Cloitre Saint Louis at 10AM on Day 1 of the tour. Most people arrive prior to Day 1.

  • How can I get from Paris to Avignon?

    Take the high speed TGV train from either Charles De Gaulle airport or from the Gare de Lyon train station in downtown Paris.

  • Which Avignon train station should I arrive at: Avignon TGV or Centre?

    You can arrive at either train station. The TGV station is a 10-minute taxi ride from the hotel. The Avignon Centre station is a 4-minute walk to the hotel.

  • Do the hotels on this trip have swimming pools?

    Of the 4 hotels used on this trip, 3 of them have pools. There is no pool at Hotel Le Burrhus in Vaison-La-Romaine where we stay for 3 nights.

  • Where can I purchase train tickets?

    Purchase your train tickets online at either Trainline or Rail Europe.

  • Can you recommend a hotel in Avignon if I want to arrive early?

    Yes. Try the Cloitre Saint Louis. This is the hotel where we meet on Day 1 of the tour.

Dates & Pricing

Pricing Dates

Scheduled Dates

  • Available
    May 27 - Jun 07, 2019
  • Available
    Jun 17 - 28, 2019
  • Available
    Sep 23 - Oct 04, 2019
  • Available
    Oct 14 - 25, 2019

Customize Your Trip

Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!

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2019
$5,995.00 Price per person

Additional Cost

  • $1,200.00 Single Supplement

Price Includes

  • Expert leadership from experienced adventure guides
  • Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • Meals as noted in the daily itinerary
  • Potable water and snacks throughout
  • 1 glass of wine or beer at dinner
  • All tips and gratuities for support staff with the exception of your lead adventure guide(s)
  • All group entrance fees, activities, and ground transportation
  • Arrival and departure day group train station transfers

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare, any airport taxes, or excess baggage charges
  • Lunch on Day 3 and dinner on Days 7 and 9
  • Optional tips to your lead adventure guides
  • Personal expenses such as medical immunizations, phone calls, laundry, or souvenirs
  • Train station transfers if arriving or departing outside of the group transfers
  • Airport transfers at arrival and departure
  • Optional travel protection

Testimonials

  • "I've taken six MTS trips and they have all exceeded my expectations. The staff, the food, the logistics and the communications have always been exceptional. Thank you for being my "go to" adventure travel company!"

    Margaret I.

    MT Sobek Guest

  • "I have traveled extensively around the world. The experience with MTS was by far the best I have ever had. Thank you for such excellence."

    Marianne W.

    MT Sobek Guest

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