Best of Provence
All content by World Expeditions
Experience the cultural and natural highlights of Provence by foot
Provence in southern France has long been recognised for its outstanding landscapes, attracting artists and tourists for centuries. This inspiring trip explores the Luberon and Verdon areas of Provence, where market villages abound and the walking opportunities are endless. From Apt experience high limestone plateaus rich in flora and fields of poppies in spring or lavender in late June and early July. A further highlight is the magnificent Gorges du Verdon, the largest canyon in Europe. Visit a vineyard, the ruins of a 13th Century fort, lavender fields near to Digne les Bains and walk down to Point Sublime for incredible views of the gorges with its fantastic turquoise river plunging between the narrow rock walls. A final highlight is Jabron Valley renown for its rich bird life including Golden eagles and buzzards.
- Experiencing quintessential Provençal villages
- Walking through the magnificent Verdon gorge, the largest in Europe, and appreciating the contrasting landscapes of the region
- Staying in family run hotels and gîtes hand chosen for their character-filled atmosphere
Day 1 Join Apt and meet the guide
Apt is a fabulous market town. The beauty of Apt is the old town “vieille ville”, hidden behind the walled buildings. Long, narrow streets winding between the houses, with interesting little alcoves here and there waiting for discovery. On arrival make you way to the group hotel, a nice family run and very well located hotel. Meet with your leader in the evening. You are welcome to join your leader for dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 2 Cross the Claparedes Plateau to Buoux (5-6hrs)
Very few walks offer as much variety as today's walk. First you will cross the Claparèdes Plateau, whose limestone has been used throughout the region to build sheds, walls and the spectacular “bories”. Next you will enter the Aiguebrun gorges, where you will be surprised to see such a variety of rich flora. The evening is spent in a pretty stone Auberge (inn) surrounded by high cliffs. Walk: 10km, 350m ascent, 5 to 6 hours including breaks.
Day 3 Explore Buoux fort ruins and return to Apt (5-6hrs)
In the morning you will visit the magnificent ruins of the fort of Buoux overlooking the deep ravines of the Aigue Brun river. The 13th century fort is famous with its arrow-slitted walls spanning the width of the hill and forming the front of the fortress. The view from the top is breathtaking and the narrowness of the fortress accentuates this sensation. You will also explore one of the largest “Baume” in the Luberon, (natural cave beneath the cliffs), that was used as a shelter during prehistoric times. Later you will enjoy a charming walk before a stop at a local vineyard where you may taste a glass of “Cote du Ventoux”. Return to the hotel in Apt for overnight accommodation. Walk: 10km, 150m ascent, 5 to 6 hours including breaks.
Day 4 Bus to Castellane via the medieval town of Digne les Bains
In the morning you will enjoy a nice bus trip to Digne les Bains (2 hours) along a lovely road. Digne les Bains is a middle size town of 16,000 inhabitants and the capital of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. This medieval town was also where Napoléon stopped in the 19th Century on his walk to the north. Although Digne is a major town, it has a compact centre, beautiful setting and a lot of great shops and cafés to discover. Digne is also in the heart of the main lavender regions of Provence. In the evening, we continue by bus to Castellane where you can discover this town at your own pace before the evening meal. Castellane is located at the entrance of the Verdon Gorges.
Day 5 Walk from Castellane to Rougon experiencing the spectacular Verdon Gorges (6.5hrs)
The Verdon Gorges is a spectacular canyon that forms a border between the Alpes-de Haute-Provence and the Var. It spreads from Castellane to the Sainte Croix reservoir over a distance of 21km. The village of Rougon was first populated by some ancient tribes more than two thousand years BC and then by the Celts over 400 years BC. You can only be charmed by this pretty medieval village. Tonight you will stay in a gite in Rougon, an authentic experience in the gorges! Option available to upgrade to the “auberge du point sublime”, higher standard – supplement applies. Walk: 16km, 700m ascent, 6 hours 30 min including breaks.
Day 6 Walk from Rougon to Trigance and wander through it's medieval castle (6.5hrs)
Today you will explore the most majestic part of the Verdon gorges. Begin with a walk down to the “Point Sublime” which offers a superb view of the gorges. From the “Point Sublime”, the turquoise colour river plunges into the narrow rock walls. We then cross the Verdon river at the “Tusset” bridge, from where you will enjoy a series of breathtaking views from the left bank. The descent walk is reasonably easy to the village of Trigance with its impressive medieval castle. The Jabron valley is very peaceful and rich in wildlife, particularly birds of prey such as Golden eagles and buzzards. This evening you will stay in an old Provençal style Gite at the foot of the village. Dinner in the Gite, an old Provençal type house just at the foot of the village. Option available to upgrade to the “Hotel le Vieil Amandier”, higher standard – supplement applies. Walk: 10km, 600m ascent, 6 hours including breaks.
Day 7 Walk from Trigance through the middle of a preserved forest to Castellane (6.5hrs)
To make your last day memorable, you will cross the Verdon river twice in the morning, following which you ascend to the pass “Pertuis de la Colle” to experience an incredible view over the gorges and Jabron valley. The descent to Castellane is nice and easy in the middle of the preserved forest “forêt domaniale des gorges du Verdon”. Overnight in a hotel in Castellane. Walk: 15km, 750m ascent, 6 hours 30 min including breaks.
Day 8 Trip concludes
Spend the morning at your own pace; with the option to enjoy the local market.
- 7 breakfasts – continental breakfasts are served and usually consist of breads, jams, coffee, tea and juices.
- 4 dinners – provided on days 1, 2, 5 & 6
- 5 nights in 2 star hotels, 2 nights in gite on multishare basis (or upgrade to a hotel on a twin share basis – supplement applies)
- Luggage transfer
- Internal transfers by public transport between Apt and Castellane
- Qualified English speaking mountain guide for the week and 6 guided walks
Group Size Min
Group Size Max
Wet weather gear, walking boots, sunscreen and sun hat. A detailed packing list will be included in the pre departure information provided on booking.