Southern France / Provence
“Best of Provence” 6 Day Hiking Sampler
From the Mountains and the Wine Country of the North to the Mediterranean Coast
“Best of Provence” Hiking Highlights:
- Provence…need we say more?
- Hike from the mountains to the Mediterranean Sea
- French cuisine and wines!
- Mont Ventoux: Best views ever!
- Grand Canyon du Verdon – Europe’s biggest!
- Calanques: France’s best coastal Hikes
The Provence doesn’t require much introduction. Part of the “French Lime Stone Alps” the Provence is blessed with picturesque landscape and a pleasant climate. Our itinerary will sample what we believe are the most stunning hikes the Provence has to offer – from the rugged mountains and the wine country north of Avignon to the spectacular Mediterranean coast of the Cote D’Azur.
Best season for hiking in Provence is the spring or fall, when the air is crisp, temperatures are cooler and the tourists are gone.
Our trip starts in Avignon, the old capital of the Provence with it’s museums, the Pope’s palace and it’s famous bridge. Form there, we will explore the wine country of “Gigondas” and “Chateu Neuf du Pape”, traverse the famous Mont Ventoux (views from the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea) and a ridge walk with views along the entire Southern French Alps to the east.
Not to miss is the “Gorge du Verdon”, Europe’s deepest canyon, which we will explore on an exciting trail with some cable protection. One of the highlights will be a two day traverse of the Calanques from Marseille to Cassis. The beautiful trails that are cut into the sheer rock faces above the blue Mediterranean sea make this one of the 5 “must do” trek in France!
Best of Provence Hiking
Meet in Avignon, the old capital of the Provence. We recommend for our guests to spend at least one night in Avignon and visit the many historical sites, including the Pope’s Palace and the bridge that is the theme of one of France’s best known folk songs “Sur le Pont D’Avignon….”. Avignon is easily reached by High Speed Train TGV from Marseille or Paris. Drive to our base town of Buis les Baronnies, about 1 hrs from Avignon. Short afternoon hike above town with excellent views to the French Alps to the East.
Circumnavigation around the lime stone crest of the Dentelles des Montmirails through the wine country of Gigondas and Cote du Rhone followed by wine tasting in the village of Gigondas
Traverse of the Mont Ventoux (almsot 2000 meters tall) which offers the most encompassing views of southern France from the Alps to the North and East all the way to the coastline of the Mediterranean.
Shorter hike today and transfer (3 hrs drive) to the quaint mountain town of Moustiers St. Marie in the “Alpes Provencales”
Sentier de l’lmbut through the spectacular “Grand Canyon du Verdon” – Europes deepest Canyon. A trail right above the gushing waters of the Verdon with passages that feature some cables and chains for hand railing. Return by the Sentier Vidal. Transfer to the port town of Cassis at the Cote D’Azure (1,5 hrs of driving).
Day 6 and 7
Traverse of the Calanques from Cassis all the way to the outskirts of Marseille.
The contrast of the blue sea and the rugged lime stone cliffs along the coastline is stunning. Some of the trails are cut into the rocks and require a bit of scrambling or hand-railing along cables but via ferrata gear is not usually used. Every once in a while narrow bays (i.e. “Calanque”) with little pebble beaches invite for a swim.
Departure after breakfast and drop off either at the airport in Marseille or the TGV train station in Avignon.
Detail and Logistics
Transport/Pick ups can be provided from Marseillie airport or Avignon train station the day before your hiking begins
Climate, Weather, Temperatures
Best season for hiking in Southern France is either spring or fall, which offer mostly sunny weather with pleasant temperatures. However, we can usually also hike right through the summer, as our hiking destinations are either in mountainous regions or at the coast line of the Provence, however for any trips during July and August you should be prepared for warm temperatures.
Services Included in the Total Price
Guiding by an internationally certified (UIAGM/IFMGA), multilingual, mountain guide or a certified hiking guide (IML) and all guide expenses. 7 nights double room lodging in small, family owned hotels at the two or three star level, 7 multi-course dinners and 6 breakfasts, all transport from pick up in Avignon or Marseille and back, any taxi and bus rides where necessary for the hiking program, parking fees and road tolls
Air fares, lunches, drinks, supplementary charges for single room in hotels and B&Bs, additional charge for via ferrata equipment rental should you be interested in that trip option.
Can I Do It?
Challenging day hikes, at times on narrow, gravely trails which may involve short sections of exposure to drop offs and short rocky sections that require using your hands. Daily hiking times are usually up to 6 hrs (up to 12 km = 7.5 miles horizontal and a maximum of 600 m = 2000 ft vertical) however the last day of the Calanques traverse can stretch out a little longer. Optionally, we can also offer a full or half day on one a via ferrata trail, for which we can choose from introductory level to expert! If you are looking for a Provence hiking trip that is largely about eating, drinking and sightseeing, this will not be the right trip for you.
“Best of Provence” Hiking
- 5-8 hrs/day
- Marked Hiking Trails
- Exposed Trail Sections
- Light day packs
- Via Ferrata Optional
“Best of Provence” Hiking
Scheduled 7 day trips
departing every Sunday
from April 5 – December 6
Custom trips any time!
Shorter durations possible at pro-rated prices.
“Best of Provence” Hiking
Guiding, guide expenses, 7 x hotel, 7 x dinner, 7 x breakfast, all ground transport from Avignon or Marseille.
US $240, CA $310
€ 210, £ 188
High season surcharge:
US $144, CA $186
€ 126, £ 113