FRANCE’S PROVENCE WALK
Each walk fills your day with views from the Alps to the Mediterranean through blue, yellow and green painted villages, through vine-Yards and lavender fields. You will picnic on fresh produce. Each night your luggage and a hot shower await you in country inns or guest houses, often with swimming pools. Accommodations are carefully selected for the conviviality of their hosts, comfort of their rooms, quality of their settings and wonderful food.
Provence is the spring from which all that makes the “art of living well flows. The people are devoted to living well, and you will come to understand what this means by week’s end. The region is filled with the fragrances of lavender, rosemary, and thyme. The colors of cadmium yellow, azure blue and crimson red that inspired Van Gogh and Cezanne are seen not only in the fields of flowers, but in the colorful and dazzling sky. Don’t be surprised if you are inspired to pull out faint brush as the incredible light of Provence reveals the exceptional cohabitation of nature and man.
As you will witness walking along 2,000 year old Roman roads, civilized man has lived in Provence for centuries. Here you can literally see the wheel marks of an empire being built. The Romans built aqueducts arches, bridges and fortress with strength and power that wasthen theirs. The people who stayed formed the roots of a culture the world over for its sophisticated tastes and comfortable lifestyles.
So walk in the footprints of Julius Caesar and the Roman legions, Cezzane, Monet and Van Gogh, while savoring the perfumed air, delightful wine and delicious food of this remarkable region.
Arrive in the afternoon in St Remy de Provence. Rendezvous at the hotel where you will be met by your guide. Everyone will meet up later for an aperitif and your first meal together.
Today you will walk to the 12th Century Monastery St. Paul Mausole where Van Gogh was a patient and where he painted some of his most famous works. Then on to the Roman Ruins of Glanum. From there you will walk 7 miles to Les Baux, a medieval village built high on a rocky cliff. Then a shuttle back to your hotel in St Remy.
After breakfast a short transfer up into the Luberon hills (locally called “The Blue Mountains,” you will see why). You will walk across the hills. The air is filled with the aroma of Provencal Herbs—rosemary, thyme etc. You will summit at 1900 feet before the descent to the perched village of Bonnieux with wonderful views of Lacoste (Home of the Marquis de Sade) and the Mont Ventoux.
Today’s walk from Bonnieux to Buoux will take you across the Plateau des ClapparMes with its fields of lavender, olive trees, bories—typical stone-made huts built in the Bronze Age—and Oak Trees that produce the famous truffles, then on to your guesthouse in Sivergues.
You stay in the same guesthouse tonight, so you will do a loop walk today, along the beautiful valley of the Uaiguebrun stream (which is the only permanent water supply in the Luberon Hills), with its limestone cliffs, micro climate, orchids and the famous Climbing Area of Buoux. You will pass through the small Stone Built Hamlet of Sivergues where about 20 people live! And the Ruined Fort of Buoux, the last stronghold of the Vaudois, a Breakaway Religious Group from Avignon, who were exterminated by the Government Troops in the 14th Century.
For your last full day of walking you take one of the famous GR’s (Grande Randonnee) walking paths back across the Luberon Hills to the Durance River Valley. You climb up to 2600 feet with wonderful views of the Southern Alps, the plain of Camargue and the Mediterranean Sea, when the conditions are right.
An easy day today. A short walk to the village of Lourmarin here the writers Albert Camus the Nobel Prize Winner and Henri Bosco lived. You will be shown Camus’ house and the cemetery where he is buried. Friday is the Market day in Lourmarin so you can do any last minute shopping there or visit the Chateau. After lunch you will be transferred to Avignon train station where you say goodbye.