Hidden Provence

walking holiday in provence

In a nutshell

  • Dazzling mix of walks in various regions in hidden Provence
  • “House party” atmosphere in comfortable private house with swimming pool – can sleep up to 12 people
  • Market visits and great meals out with wine tasting over lunches and top home made food
  • Duration : 8 days, 7 nights

What's it all about?

Provence plus plus... explore an unspoilt area of Provence, away from Peter Mayle’shire... and love the experience of typical provençal accommodation.

With just enough exercise to create an appetite for your excellent dinners, we're offering a mix of walks and activities to enable our guests to gain the maximum from a break here.

A must in the Luberon is the Montagne de Lure - Mount Ventoux's little sister, a mighty limestone escarpment rising to 1826m, lying between the banks of the River Durance to the East and the Albion Mountains to the West. It is beloved of keen cyclists as the ascent offers a climb of almost 1400m from the valley floor. It provides a perfect introduction day to the week. From the rather wild and rugged peak you can enjoy the vast expanse of the countryside around you.

We must also allow our guests to take advantage of one of the best markets in the area. Forcalquier, built around the slopes of a steep conical hill, dominated by an octagonal chapel in the trees where the 10th century citadel once stood.

It is a medieval delight as befits the former capital of Haute-Provence. The market fills the main Place du Bourguet and surrounding streets with a cornucopia of food and goodies which are difficult to resist.

A must see in the region is the spectacular Verdon Gorges - truly France's Grand Canyon which flows into the eerily turquoise Lac Sainte Croix on its western extremes. Not even the intrepid Mr Clarkson could beat a pro climber either up or down its cliffs.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 - Arrive Marseilles - pick up and transfer to your accommodation – 1.5 hours. Settle in, evening meal in-house.
  • Day 2 - Drive up to the old chapel at Notre Dame de Lure, and spend the day ascending Montagne de Lure. Packed lunch, evening meal in-house.
  • Day 3 - Visit Forcalquier market in the morning and spend a couple of hours browsing around the various stalls, where we'll buy our lunch for the day. We can visit the cathedral and the Notre-Dame-de-Provence chapel at the top of the hill, where the original citadel once stood, a super view and lovely spot to enjoy our lunch of local bread, cheese, sausage..... After lunch we'll spend the afternoon walking it off by following a gentle circuit that loops around the hills to the north of the town. Evening meal in-house.
  • Day 4 - Today we drive East to the Verdon Gorge. The drive will take about an hour and a bit, and so it's an early start to leave by about 08:00. When we arrive at the Gorge, we'll drive around the northern rim and have an opportunity to stop at various view points. Our walk takes us down into the Gorge, starting at the Maline refuge. When at the base, we cross the bridge over the Verdon, and walk along the Gorge for a short distance, before re-ascending back up on the Southern side. Packed lunch. Evening meal in-house.
  • Day 5 - After yesterday's exertions, time for a lazy day - lateish breakfast and start, after which we can amble around the locality of your accommodation for three or four hours, passing by the villages of St Pierre and Pierrerue, before returning to the house for a late lunch and maybe a siesta or a book after to wile away the afternoon. Dinner in-house.
  • Day 6 - This morning we visit Banon, over to the west, and about a 30 minutes drive. The village is well known for its quirky book shop, which is reputed to be the largest in France, and also has a fantastic boucher offering an incredible array of local meats and sausage. It also boasts "les Vins au Vert", our lunch venue for the day, where our hosts will provide a delightful platter for lunch, and the opportunity to savour one or two excellent wines from their extensive cave. After lunch we'll follow a circuit to the west of Banon, taking us through the small hamlet of Montsalier, and culminating at the view point at the top of the hill.
  • Day 7 - Our last excursion of the week, is a visit to the Gorge d'Oppidette. We drive west for about an hour to the southern end of the gorge. Our walk follows a circuit that takes us around the rim of the gorge, with beautiful views all along it's length. We pass through the pretty perched village of Oppidette which stands at the northern end of the gorge, where there will be the opportunity for a coffee or beer before moving on. Time dependent is the option of dropping down into the gorge and back out via the opposite rim. Picnic lunch. Last evening dinner in a local restaurant in Pierrerue.
  • Day 8 - Breakfast, and transfer back to Marseille airport.

What's included

  • Full board - six evening meals will be cooked for you at your accommodation, and one will be at the little restaurant le Bistrot de Pierrerue (the best gnocchi I’ve ever tasted) in the nearby village of Pierrerue. Wine is included with all meals.
  • Lunches will be in the form of picnics, except for the sixth day, when we visit the village of Banon. Lunch will be at a local restaurant in the village, also included in the price.
  • Activities : Six days guided walking. Visit to Forcalquier market. See detailed itinerary above.
  • Transport : All transfers to and from Marseille airport, and all transport during the week.
  • Accommodation : Your accommodation will be at a private house -  Les Lavandins, situated just 10 minutes drive East of Forcalquier. The property sits in its own land and gardens, and has uninterrupted views of rolling hills leading down to the Lauzon river valley - a secluded and tranquil position.

Dates :

2018 : Sep 22

Grade :

Walking - Leisurely - suitable for adults and children age 14 or over

See our grades explained here

Pricing :

£865 pp

Single supplement : £125 per week