Rambling in the Luberon

Rambling in the Luberon information and booking

from
$1890
  • Duration
    8 days
    Days
  • Group size
    1-10
    Persons
  • Difficulty
    introductory - moderate
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Schedule Details

Summary
  • 7 nights hotel/guesthouse/B&B's

Highlights

  • Fine Provencal Walking Through the Luberon
  • Delight in Beautiful Avignon
  • Walk Through 'Gorge-ous' Scenery of Regalon
  • The hilltop villages of the Luberon of Lourmarin
  • The middle-of-nowhere Auberge des Seguins hotel
  • Old stone farmhouses, walls, and huts along centuries-old paths
  • Attractive Village Forays - Buoux and Lourmarin
  • The ochre quarries of Rustrel
  • The famous Provence market of Apt on Saturday morning

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

Between the Alps de Haute Provence and the Vaucluse plain, arises the bold outline of the Luberon Massif limestone escarpment; this is the symbol of the area, a mountain area that binds the region together. From the valleys of Calavon in the north, to the River Durance in the south, the peaks are the natural link for the "Pays du Luberon" – the lands that spread around them. This is the real Provence, full of character, with a wonderful climate, clean air and a rich and varied natural environment. This tour is an invitation to walk the little known hills and the gorges of the area, dotted with ‘Mas’ (stone Provencal farmhouses) and ochre coloured hilltop villages. Cross the tops of the Petit Luberon under deep blue skies; Span and scramble the narrow winding Regalon Gorge, visiting the remains of the Protestant homes from the Wars of Religion in Merindol. Admire the fountains and the narrow streets of Lourmarin, and discover the hillside beauty of Saignon, with its crumbling fortifications, old washing wells and tiny squares. Walk in the scent of the Mediterranean and the ‘douceur de vivre’ of the Luberon. You will note the subtle nuances of green in the extensive forests, the flamboyant pastel colours of the cliffs of ochre on a walk into the ‘Colorado de Provence’ and the dramatic creamy limestone cliffs below Buoux, where it is easy to lose yourself in the mediaeval remains of the castle suspended high above the valley. This is the living Luberon, where everything goes back to man's relationship with the most basic element, the earth. The area is also characterized by dry stone walls and imposing "Bastides," villages perched on the sides of hills between church and château.

What's included

  • 7 breakfasts, 5 dinners
  • 7 nights accommodation in hotels and guesthouses on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • Luggage transfer (except day 8)
  • Information pack including route notes & maps
  • Emergency hotline

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Avignon
Transfer from airport to railway station in Avignon. Start your trip in the heart of Papal Avignon. From the “Palais des Papes” to the “Pont d’Avignon,” a stroll through history. Dinner is not included. Hotel Avignon. Accommodation: In a 3* hotel inside Avignon’s fortified centre. This is an attractive small town hotel on a quiet boulevard, only 5 minutes walk from all the sites and Palace of The Popes (B&B).
Day 2 Explore Avignon
In Avignon; morning free, mid-afternoon transfer to Mérindol by private taxi. The city was a strategic site in the Rhone valley, owing its origin to the ‘Doms’ rock, which made a great defensive site over looking the river. With the arrival of the popes in the 14th Century, the city became a second Rome. It was enriched by art in the 17th and 18th Centuries and it remained Papal property up to the French revolution. Stroll around the shopping streets in the pedestrian area (Joseph Vernet and St Agricol streets), the district of la Balance and along the wide Rue de la Republique. You will find Provencal materials, ceramics and pottery, terra cotta figurines (santons), handicrafts, and other specialities of the region. You may want to try one of the cruises on the River Rhone; there are cruises of various lengths, which can be booked. Recommended is a 1-hour cruise around Avignon to see the Bridge, the Rocher des Doms, Fort St André and Philippe Le Bel tower, in order to look at the bridge and town from the waters edge. (Cruises may not operate early or late in the season). Transfer to Mérindol by private taxi (included). From the top of the old village, contemplate the vast plain of the Durance River below, from where an abundance of melons and vegetables are farmed for the famous Cavaillon markets. Mérindol is a village that symbolises the repression of the Protestant Waldensians. The village was destroyed in 1547 during the Wars of Religion. Fortunately the population were forewarned and most escaped into the mountains, returning later to reoccupy the site and to re-establish an attractive town. Guesthouse in the countryside just outside of Mérindol. Accommodation: In a guesthouse near Mérindol. Relax and enjoy a full Provencal dinner with the other guests here, just outside of the beautiful village. Rooms are all beautifully different, reflecting the owner’s penchant for travel. The grounds are quiet as you are at the edge of woodland. (Halfboard)
Day 3 Mérindol-Gorge du Régalon-Mérindol (5 h/14 km +350 m/-350 m)
Discover the Régalon gorge, which plunges to a depth of 30 metres whilst the shortest distance between the gorge wall faces is less than 50 cm! The Gorges du Regalon are famous for their Mediterranean vegetation, that has survived thanks to a microclimate with an ideal degree of humidity. Types include: Stone Oaks, Maples, Aleppo Pines, Filarias, Winter Oaks, Alders and Wild Cherry trees. This place is very popular and can get busy at times, but if you are there out of high season / weekend and visit quite early, you maybe the only ones in the silent chasm with its dripping trees and morning fog. There are a few easy boulders to climb over during your walk through the gorges. The day will give you enough time for a picnic and to have a further look round Mérindol. Guesthouse in the countryside just outside of Mérindol. Accommodation: In a guesthouse near Mérindol. Enjoy a full Provencal dinner with the other guests here, just outside of the beautiful village. Rooms are all beautifully different, reflecting the owner’s penchant for travel. The grounds are quiet as you are at the edge of woodland. (Halfboard)
Day 4 Mérindol-Lourmarin-Buoux (4 h/11 km +500 m/-300 m)
From Mérindol you will be transfered to the pretty village of Lourmarin. Take the time to wander through its narrow streets before you start your walk. It is very old fashioned and very French, with a couple of interesting old fountains. The village has a market on Friday, buy your picnic here before commencing the climb to the crest of the Luberon mountains and down the northern slope. Towards the bottom there is a chance of visiting the remains of Buoux castle, but you can do this tomorrow if you need more time. At the bottom of the slope, nestled at the base of the Aiguebrun canyon, you’ll find the your accommodation for two nights. Accommodation: In a renovated 17th century goat farm converted in a genuine simple hotel, just outside the village of Buoux. A lovely residence nestled on the with its pool and a locally renowned restaurant that prepares traditional Provencal cuisine. Les Seguins is both storybook scenic and peaceful, with no television, Wifi, or cell phone reception. All that’s left is watching the swifts dance atop the soaring limestone cliffs, or relaxing in a lounge chair in the open field, facing the centuries-old golden stone buildings. (Halfboard)
Day 5 Buoux-Crest of the Luberon-Buoux (4.5 h/12 km +500 m/-500 m)
Following the Aiguebrun valley, and climbing out of the valley, you pass open fields and ancient terrace walls, on your way to the hidden village of Sivergues. this is a hamlet whose 39 inhabitants mainly work in lavender and goat breeding. You'll feel as though you're in a village at the end of the world. You won't find café terraces or restaurants, but the peace and quiet will relax you as you enjoy strolling through the hamlet. You will come across some fine 16th and 17th century houses. Walk as far as the Fort de l'Archidiacre built in the 13th century (now a hiking gîte). It overlooks the whole of the Aiguebrun valley and you’ll now understand why Sivergues was chosen by the Protestant Waldensians as a strategic site to escape from their Catholic persecutors. You continue ascending through the Mediterranean bush, including winter savoury and wild lavender, and before long you reach the very crest of the Luberon, a rounded summit laden with a carpet of thyme. From here the views can extend all the way to the Alps and to the Mediterranean Sea. Descending back to the Auberge you can take a detour to visit the 3000 year-old Buoux Fort, whose ruins include a mish-mash Celto-Ligurian, Roman, and Medieval architecture built atop one another, the whole lot sitting above a rocky crag with sheer cliffs and awe-inspiring views. Accommodation: As on previous night in a renovated 17th century goat farm converted in a genuine simple hotel, just outside the village of Buoux. (Halfboard)
Day 6 Buoux-Sivergues-Saignon (4 h/10 km + 400 m/- 300 m)
A shorter day to stop and enjoy the area! The walk commences following the same route along the Aiguebrun River to Sivergues as yesterday. The Aiguebrun is the only permanent river of the Luberon mountains, with its massive limestone walls and luxuriant vegetation. From Sivergues you climb up to the Claparèdes plateau, with its lavender fields and truffle oak plantations. Soon after you reach the medieval village of Saignon and the ruins of its three castles. This is a peaceful little village that you can explore on foot, perched at the top of a hill overlooking the city of Apt. There is an easy access to the ‘rock’ – the old fortress area and viewpoint of Saignon, so do not hesitate to climb to the top where there is a fabulous panorama. On good days you can see Mont Ventoux, the Lure Mountains, the Alpes de Haute Provence and the heights around Avignon! While walking through the narrow streets you will discover ancient fountains, picturesque shady squares and beautiful old houses with intricate doorways. Opposite the town hall there is a very pretty 12th Century Romanesque Church. Accommodation: In a quiet guesthouse in the heart of Saignon. From the village enjoy views over the Luberon all the way to Mont Ventoux. The guesthouse, although modern, has a 2000 year old Roman well and a Mulberry tree from the same period within the grounds. Dinner is prepared here or sometimes taken out in the village in a nearby restaurant. (Halfboard)
Day 7 Saignon-Colorado Provencal-Apt (4 h/12 km +400 m/-300 m + 1 h-3 h for the canyon)
Walk from your guesthouse to Rustrel, a tiny village nestled at the foot of the Plateau d’Albion (and back to Apt by taxi) from where you visit the Colorado Provencal ochre quarry. The exploitation of ochre began more than a century ago and Rustrel soon became an important production centre and part of the Industrial Revolution, thanks to its ferruginous minerals. Today the exploitation is almost at an end, although the ‘Colorado Provencal’ has received a second lease of life, open to visitors who marvel at its colours and forms. The Walk to Rustrel crosses the river Doa and you pass a number of walkways that will take you towards an incredible succession of rusty–coloured rocks, golden cliffs and red earthen chimneys which rise majestically out of the vegetation. The village of Rustrel is dominated by a beautiful 17th century chateau and it is also well known for its ‘Cotes du Ventoux’ wine! From Rustrel you will be transported to your hotel in the market town of Apt. Accommodation: In a 2star hotel in the heart of Apt, overlooking the city’s main square. All of the 7 rooms are comfortable and air-conditioned. The restaurant serves Provençal cuisine made with fresh local products. You can relax on the outdoor terrace or in the hotel’s reading room. (B&B) Dinner is not included
Day 8 End of tour in Apt
Don't miss the Saturday morning market in Apt! After breakfast local bus from Apt to Avignon central bus station, then take the train/bus to Marseille airport for your flight.