|Call us:||Ireland +353 (0)87 221 4002||Rest of the World: +1 251 478 7519|
Our connection with France and in particular, the Provence area is through our dear friend and outstanding guide, Stephan Renard. Each year Stephan operates a handful of tours aimed at introducing discerning travellers to the 'hidden Provence'.
The Haute Provence is one the most spectacular regions of France, where the lifestyle has evolved to be highly regarded as ‘l’art de vivre’ or ‘the art of living’. Our journey here explores this wonderful place with the outstanding guide Stephan Renard, steeped in the history and culture of the region.
Provence is well known as a sun-drenched, idyllic region that invites the senses to indulge. There are the obvious attractions, like the fields of lavender, vineyards, charming hilltop towns, and relics of the Roman legacy, delightful markets and the fine food and wine.
There is an amazing history that pre-dates today?s sense of nationhood upon which the France of today is superimposed. From primitive nomadic tribes to the Celts and Ligurians, from the Greeks and Romans through medieval and classical times to the Belle Epoque, the region has moved through waves of invasion and occupation, threat and calm.
Here the arts and archit ectural style have always flourished. Provence has inspired many of the most original 19th and 20th century painters such as Cezanne, Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Matisse and Picasso. The luminescent quality of the light and the brilliance of the colours attracted them.
Today we can appreciate the contrast between rolling fields, high mountains and dramatic gorges in a spirit of peace and adventure, we can discover the flavours of Provence, bathe in the light and learn something of the power of Mediterranean history.
8 Day Itinerary – in brief
Stephan will meet you in Marseille. Travelling east into Provence, we stop to visit the beautiful Fontaine de Vaucluse, en-route to Gordes, in the heart of the Luberon. This will be our base to explore the area for the next few days. Gordes is a typical perched village, high on a hilltop, surrounded by small fields and oak forests. Overnight Gordes.
From Gordes, we begin a great day hiking to the plateau des Busans via the Mill of Laure and on to the Abbaye de Senanque. The abbey is of 12th century Romanesque structure and is still home to a group of Cistercian monks. It is surrounded by fields of lavender. Overnight Gordes.
Today Stephan will take you to the next village, Roussillon, a hilltop cluster of buildings in shades of deep rose and russet. There will be time to wander and shop along the tiny streets, famous for their boutiques and craftshops. After lunch in the Place du Village, we will head to Rustrelle to begin a hike into the amazing ‘Colorado Ocher Canyon’. Overnight Gordes.
A short transfer to begin our days hiking. at Buoux. The landscape here displays a split personality – arid and dry on one side (Claparedes plateau) and green and fresh on the other (‘Aiguebrun Valley’). This hike is one of the best and most interesting in the Haute Provence because of the landscape duality, and also because of the divided religious history in the area. Overnight Gordes.
Today we will head east to Moustier-Sainte-Marie in the Verdon, the heart of the Haute Provence. On the way we will stop in Forcalquier, famous for its huge village market and there will be time for shopping and a stroll around the village. Then on to Sainte-Croix Lake and our base for the next three nights picturesque Moustier – a village hanging on the mountainside between limestone pinnacles. We will hike the Chemins de Croix to the top of the village for an amazing view of the lake and village. Overnight Moustier.
This will be a day to discover the incredible Gorges du Verdon. From Moustier we will drive la Route des Cretes to Point Sublime and hike between high plateau and gorge to the stunning Rancoumas Belvedere. Overnight Moustier.
We will hike from the village on one of the old Roman roads to the Plateau de Venasole, which encloses the lavender valley of Valensol, the Durance River and the Sainte-Croix Lake. A fabulous day! We can visit several pottery shops on the way back to the hotel before preparing for a special farewell dinner. Overnight Moustier.
Stephan will transfer you to the airport or train station in Marseille.
Our trip in Provence can be tailored to suit special interests and of course to blend walking of any grade and/or touring. The tour can be run at a time of your choice for your group. The price is based on a group of four to eight people. Please call for prices for smaller and larger groups.
The Dingle Peninsula – probably the most beautiful place on Earth!”
- National Geographic
Keep up to date with new tours, events and experiences planned by Hidden Ireland Tours.