8 days

Hidden Villages of Provence

Hidden Villages of Provence

Luberon’s lavender landscape

Lavender in Luberon

Poppies in Provence

Lacoste village

Vaison La Romaine

Vaison

Les Séguins

Sénanque Abbey

Vines near Séguret

Trip rating
  • Blend herb-scented trails, gastronomic delights and wonderful Provençal hospitality together over eight days and you’ve got yourself a journey to savour for a lifetime. 

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Avignon

    • Your journey will begin this afternoon in Avignon. This walled city can be easily and efficiently reached by rail. Should you be flying internationally before your trip commences, Paris and Nice are both convenient gateways.
    • From Paris-Gare de Lyon, you can board a fast train (TGV) and arrive just under three hours later in Avignon. From Nice it is less than a two-and-a-half hour journey. There are also an ever increasing number of 'budget' airlines operating from within Europe into cities near Avignon that may offer convenient and cost-effective alternatives.
    • At time of writing Ryanair is offering several flights into the city of Nimes (located 40 kilometres from Avignon) from the United Kingdom and Brussels and an extensive network of arrivals into Marseille (located 75 kilometres to the south-east) from multiple points across Europe and Great Britain.
    • A rail journey from these gateway cities will take approximately 30 minutes from Nimes or 40 minutes from Marseille, with many departures daily. While at your discretion, we recommend arriving and departing by train where possible within Europe as this method of transport has minimal carbon emissions.
    • The cultural city of Avignon was the seat of the papacy (seven popes resided here) for almost 70 years in the 14th century. A place of history and of theatre, this fortified city is a memorable place.
    • We recommend you take the time to visit the 'Palais des Papes,' with walls 18-feet thick rendering it all but impregnable to attack. Make sure to include an evening visit too - it is even more impressive when floodlit!
    • Extra accommodation can be booked in Avignon for those wishing to fully explore this great city. Please make your own way to the joining hotel which is centrally located within the walls of the city (further details are in your travel documents).
    • In the evening you will meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions at a welcome meeting (this is usually at 6pm, but you will be advised as to the exact time and place on a notice, placed near the reception of your hotel), where you will be given a briefing on what lies ahead on the tour.
    Hotel Angleterre or similar

    Day 2 - Bonnieux – Auberge des Seguins

    • After breakfast, you will be transferred from Avignon to Bonnieux by private taxi (45 min). Nestled in the heart of the Luberon Massif, the village of Bonnieux is crowned by its 12th century church and a place to enjoy far-reaching views of the plains, the Rhône valley and the medieval villages that dot the landscapes.
    • From Bonnieux you will set off by foot on quiet lanes that pass by old stone houses. Your first Provencal picnic will be held in the shelter of a 'borie' – a centuries-old dry stone hut that offers protection from both the summer sun and winter chill.
    • You will continue on trails through the lavender fields and truffle oak plantations. Soon your hotel will come into view from high above a cliff. The Auberge des Seguins is a 16th century renovated goat farm, hidden away along the banks of the Aiguebrun River and your base for the next three nights.
    • (45 minute transfer; 4 hours walking)
    Auberge des Seguins or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 3 - Gordes – Auberge des Seguins

    • This morning you'll journey from the 'auberge' to Gordes by private taxi (30 minutes). Gordes is a picture-perfect village clinging to the southern face of the high Vaucluse Plateau.
    • Here old stone buildings stand in orderly terraces atop fawn-coloured cliffs, cobblestone lanes lead to shady squares and relaxing cafés, and all the while a massive 16th century castle keeps watch over all at its feet. Get your cameras ready - the impressive Gordes and the multitude of scenic, architectural and cultural allures will not disappoint.
    • It will be market day in Gordes while you're in town, so before setting off for the walk, you can stroll through the markets stalls and pick up some picnic fare.
    • Your circular walk will take you to the incredible Abbaye de Sénanque, a 12th-century abbey situated in the Sénancole Valley and set amidst oak groves and lavender fields. This is a fine example of primitive Cistercian architecture and is still inhabited by a community of Cistercian monks today.
    • Returning to Gordes you will have a short transfer back to the Auberge des Seguins, where you can take an inviting swim in the pool. (4 hours walking)
    Auberge des Seguins or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 4 - Sivergues – Fort de Buoux

    • A day discovering history and observing beautiful landscapes awaits you as you walk to Buoux Gorge from Sivergues - a tiny village of 39 inhabitants snuggled up on a cliff overhanging Aiguebrun Valley.
    • Lost in the Luberon Hills, the village is not on the way to anywhere. Put quite simply you go to Sivergues for the sake of Sivergues. After exploring, you will walk back along the Aiguebrun’s riverbed, the only permanent river of the Luberon Mountains, where you will find a large stone basin with very clear water which serves as a reservoir for the region's drinking water.
    • Along the walk you will across river valley walls that are bespeckled with caves. Some of these caves were so-called ‘cave-dweller's settlements’.
    • You will enjoy a picnic along the trail and before the day’s end you will visit the splendid hilltop ruins of Buoux Fort, at the top of the rocky spur, which served as a refuge for the local population during the Wars of Religion.
    • In 1660, King Louis XIV ordered the fort's destruction and from this date on, the nearby village abandoned its defensive vocation. On the grounds of the fort, you will discover a section of the rampart and the walls of the chapel, which are all that survived from the original fortress. (5 hours walking)
    Auberge des Seguins or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5 - Le Crestet – Vaison la Romaine

    • This morning you will journey from the Auberge des Seguins to the tiny village of Le Crestet by private taxi (one hour). After three days of climbing up and down the trails of the Luberon mountains, today will seem like a stroll in the park and a good rest before attempting a possible ascent of Mont Ventoux tomorrow!
    • After visiting the narrow cobbled streets of the village, you will find a winding, earthen track that makes its way slowly to the lively town of Vaison la Romaine - your home for the next three nights. Vaison-la-Romaine is nestled along the banks of the Ouvèze River and lies on the site of the ancient Roman city of Vasio Vocontiorum.
    • It is perhaps best known for its plethora of ruins that date back to the 2nd century AD. The centre of town, known as Haute-Ville, is crowned by the ruins of a medieval castle and lined with old stone houses, chic boutique shops and artist studios. Your guide can offer suggestions to help you trace down Vaison’s Gallo-Roman remains, which are spread over several sites.
    • Take time to explore the remains of Roman villas, thermal baths, mosaics and a restored amphitheatre, where you can imagine yourself in the 1st century AD sitting in an amphitheatre among 6000 spectators and watching performances of the comedies, mimes and pantomimes from the Roman Era. (2½ hours walking)
    Le Burrhus or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 6 - Free Day (Optional Mont Ventoux Climb)

    • Though today is a rest day, there’s plenty to see and do in Vaison.
    • You will have the option to climb to the summit of Provence’s highest peak, Mont Ventoux (1912m). Although this mountain is more famous as a setting in Tour de France races, Mont Ventoux contains some of the most breathtaking walking paths in the region including some that lead right to the summit. Here, alpine flowers and mountain goats replace the Mediterranean ambiance that is found at the foot of the mountain, while the views from the top extend to the entire chain of the Alps including Mont Blanc.
    • The services of your trusty guide is included for this optional climb, but the 30-minute taxi transfers to and from the start of the walk is not included and involves extra costs. (Many walking options available, ranging from 2 hours upwards)
    Le Burrhus or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 7 - Séguret - Gigondas

    • It’s your last day of walking and you’ve chosen a picturesque walk through wine country linking the villages of Séguret and Gigondas. A short transfer by private taxi (15 minutes) leads to Séguret, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France.
    • Its quiet cobblestone streets are lined with ancient homes, wash basins and fountains, while you look out over a sea of vines that seem to carpet the Rhône Valley.
    • You will follow farming tracks and back roads through the countryside and walk past renowned vineyards. As you near the town of Gigondas, you will notice that the vines have become old and gnarled. These vines are full of Grenache and Syrah grapes that will be used to make a wine regarded as second only in quality to 'Chateauneuf du Pape'.
    • The stone houses of Gigondas rise to its impressive church, from where you can overlook the entire Rhône Valley. The local cellars will offer invitations to participate in wine tasting at the end of the walk. A short transfer (20 minutes) by private taxi will take you back to Vaison la Romaine (4 hours walking)
    Le Burrhus or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 8 - Avignon

    • Your journey will end today after breakfast. You will be transferred back to the city of Avignon, or alternatively to Avignon’s railway station if you plan to depart by train.
    • Please do not book any onward travel to depart before 11am. Au revoir and bon voyage!
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local tour leader.
    • Walk through lavender fields and truffle oak plantations
    • Stay in a 16th century renovated goat farm
    • Visit the picturesque town of Gordes
    • Optional Mont Ventoux Climb

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Arrival and departure transfers
    • Departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Travel insurance (compulsory on all trips)
    • Meals (where not listed as included in the itinerary)
    • Optional additional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips
    • Items of a personal nature
  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Hidden Villages of Provence

    James - New Zealand, 9 Sep, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    Very enjoyable trip with picturesque scenery,& historical sites. Excellent guide

    Hidden Villages of Provence

    Anne - Australia, 20 May, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    This tour was ideal if you are looking for a physically active holiday, and seeing villages and views you will not see any other way. All accommmodation was superb.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PEHP
Group size 4 - 16
Start City: Avignon
End City: Avignon
Style: Small Group

What to know

You'll need to be in good health and able to walk for a few hours, with some up-and-down, and on varied terrain, from well-defined paths to rocky trails.

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