You will surely walk in the footsteps of Van Gogh on this short walking holidays in Provence France. On this walking holiday in France you will begin in St Rémy, a town nestled in the foothills of Les Alpilles Mountains, continue to the medieval village of Les Baux, set atop a rocky crag and finish your walk in the magnificent Roman town of Arles. This area of Provence is an artist’s dream, with its clear blue skies that highlight the deep green fields, the silvery leaves of olive trees, golden sunflowers and the white jagged peaks of Les Alpilles.
Enjoy your walking vacation in France walking through countryside dotted with thick-walled Provençal farmhouses, medieval villages and marvel at the dramatic vistas and the very landscapes that inspired Van Gogh’s brush strokes.
Arrive in St Rémy, a picturesque Gallo-Roman town with a marvellous old quarter. It is encircled by the remnants of its 14th-century wall and protective buildings. From here you embark on a walk that takes you in a loop beginning in the foothills of Les Alpilles and ascending slowly past lone cypress trees, farmhouses and the Romanesque monastery that Van Gogh called home.
After reaching the crest of the mountain revel in the dramatic views enjoys a walk on a former Roman road back into St Rémy. Follow a fragrant trail which is carpeted with thyme, rosemary and the cistus flower and which leads you initially past old farmhouses, through woods and past groves of olive and fruit trees.
As you climb higher you can see the rocky limestone crest in the distance and upon arrival at the top, there are views over to Avignon and Mont Ventoux. As you approach you can see the exceptional medieval village of Les Baux de Provence which has an incredibly diverse architectural heritage. After spending a night within the medieval walls of Les Baux, descend into the Val d’Enfer or the “Valley of Hell” and along scenic paths to the charming town of Mausanne. Continue to the impressive city of Arles, with its wealth of Roman ruins and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend time exploring the Arles Roman Coliseum and Theatre, with a stop for a glass of local wine in one of the many outdoor cafés.
Saint Rémy de Provence
from 1st June to 30th September path restrictions are possible due to due to risk of fire in dry conditions. These restrictions are outside our control and any additional cost involved would be the guests’ responsibility.
Le Castellet des Alpilles, St Remy de Provence
Le Mas d’Aigret, Les Baux de Provence
Hotel du Forum, Arles
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Hooked on Walking that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the chosen activity and for emergency evacuation and hospital care.
Arrival to Saint Rémy de Provence where your walking adventure begins. Provence has always attracted painters and Saint Rémy is no exception: its blue Provençal skies highlight the greens of the fields and cypress trees, the silvery leaves of its olive trees, the golden sunflowers, and the white jagged peaks of the Alpilles mountains. It’s an artists’ dream: so much so that Vincent Van Gogh spent the last year of his life in Saint Rémy, completing some of his most renowned works, including his Starry Night. Spend the evening strolling through the tiny labyrinth of streets in the centre of town, taking the time to choose between several excellent restaurants.
You begin by following the Van Gogh path, heading away from the town centre and towards the foot of the Alpilles, retracing the very steps the artist took more than a century ago. Enamel reproductions of his works face the very landscapes that inspired his brush strokes, the lone cypress trees and farmhouses, with the serrated peaks of the Alpilles mountains as a backdrop. You can visit the Romanesque monastery that Van Gogh called home, converted into an asylum well before his arrival in Saint Rémy. You then follow a shady track through the forest, winding slowly up to the crest of the mountain.
Though culminating at only 400m, the Alpilles are in an otherwise flat Rhône valley, and at the top, you are rewarded with jaw-dropping views of the windswept plains, the mountain ranges to the north, and in clear weather the Mediterranean Sea to the South. An equally pleasant track takes you back to Saint Rémy, walking along olive groves and a former Roman road.
Today’s walk takes you back up to the crest of the Alpilles, to a forestry track that makes its way along the ridge. Your route is lined with veritable carpets of thyme, rosemary, and citrus flower, their odours intensified under the soothing sun. A massive silvery olive grove dots the plains to the south, while to the north the views extend to Avignon and to Mont Ventoux. You reach a hilltop where your goal comes into sight, the medieval village of Les Baux de Provence, its majestic stone homes set atop a rocky crag, crowned by the ruins of its castle, the whole lot hovering high above the plains below.
Listed among the “most beautiful villages in France”, Les Baux’s stone architecture has withstood the centuries, its small group of homes separated by a handful of cobbled streets. You can head up to the castle ruins, imagining what life would have been like a thousand years before.
You head out of Les Baux through its original medieval gate, the only way into and out of the village. You descend into the Val d’Enfer, or “Valley of Hell”, named as such because of the strange limestone formations created after millions of years of erosion from the winds and rains. Through scenic paths, you reach the village of Maussane, a lively little town filled with cafés and restaurants, and producing some of the best olive oils on the planet.
You will then take a short transfer which takes you to the Roman town of Arles. It’s a town that has the best of the old and the new, its Roman coliseum, ranked among the largest built during the empire, and along with many other Roman ruins in town, juxtapose with the vibrant nightlife in the town squares and bistros, inviting you to stroll endlessly through and watching the world go by. At 3pm a taxi transfer from Maussane to Arles.
Your trip ends this morning, but you can take the time to wander through the streets of Arles, enjoying the sights, and perhaps walking through the colourful Saturday market stalls, one of the few remaining authentic markets in the region.
2021 Prices – For complete tour price breakdown please click the book now button and select your holiday tour date. Prices will then be listed.
|Tour Code||Prices From (per person)||Book Now|
|Alpilles (4 Nights)||from £524||Book Now|