- Extras included: Dinner on days 1, 2, 4 & 6 and three picnic lunches
- Duration: 7 nights
- Start & Finish: Starts daily in Avignon and finishes with transfer from Lourmarin back to either Avignon or Aix en Provence
- Hotels: Luxury Luxurious accommodation of the highest standard, and of great character
- Activity level: Gentle walking.
- Mileage: 3 days of walking and 3 further days of optional walking 6 to 8 miles (10 - 13 km) per day
- Terrain: Some hills
Day 1: Avignon to L'Isle sur la Sorgue.
Your walking holiday begins with a short transfer from Avignon to Isle sur la Sorgue, one of the prettiest towns in Provence, surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Sorgue river. Enjoy a stroll along the quayside and a nose around the many antique shops and cafés here. Tonight you stay and dine in an intimate guesthouse with an acclaimed gourmet restaurant in the centre of town.
Day 2: Fontaine de Vaucluse to Gordes.
After breakfast we will transfer you to Fontaine de Vaucluse, the source of a fabled spring that has attracted poets, scientists, and travellers from all around the world. From here, your route climbs through brush and cedar forests to a plateau which affords panoramic views of the entire Luberon valley. Once you've taken it all in, continue on to the hilltop village of Gordes, named 'one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France'. Your base for the next two nights is a breathtaking 5 star hotel and spa housed within the ancient city walls, where dinner is served for you on your first night. 8 miles (13 km).
Day 3: Circular walk from Gordes.
Start the day with a walk to the Romanesque Sénanque Abbey, a jewel of 12th century architecture. Built in 1148, the abbey has housed an order of Cistercian monks for over 850 years. Your path then climbs out of the Sénancole valley, offering breathtaking bird's eye views of the abbey below. The descent back to Gordes is just as scenic, along a route that weaves between ancient stone walls and 'bories' – old dry stone dwellings. Dine wherever you wish in the evening and then head back to your hotel for a delicious, well-earned rest. Optional 6 miles (10 km).
Day 4: Gordes to Bonnieux.
After a short taxi transfer to the stone village of Goult, you make your way along a path which rises above The Calavon river, offering sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. You'll soon reach Lacoste, a picturesque mountain village crowned by the ruins of a castle which once belonged to the (in)famous Marquis de Sade. Dipping back down into the valley, your reach Bonnieux, a picture-perfect Provençal village with a 12th century church surrounded by century-old cedars. Meander through its cobbled streets and relax with a glass of wine on a café terrace overlooking the mountains beyond. Your hotel for the night in Bonnieux is a deluxe guesthouse, where you will be treated to a dinner of authentic Provençal cuisine. 6 miles (11 km).
Day 5: Circular walk from Bonnieux.
A pleasant and gradual climb through the forest leads to the ridge of the Petit Luberon mountain. The stunning views from the top extend from the snow-capped Alps to the north, to the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Once you reach the plateau, stroll under the canopy of a majestic cedar forest, perhaps pausing for a picnic. The route then continues along a deserted path with wide-sweeping views of the Luberon before gently descending down to the plains for a leisurely return to Bonnieux. Dine on your own and enjoy a second night in your Bonnieux guesthouse. Optional 7 miles (12 km).
Day 6: Bonnieux to Lourmarin.
The morning begins with a climb up to the crest of the Luberon mountain, where the view extends towards its southern face and down to the tiny villages that dot the foot of the slopes. In the background you will spot the Sainte Victoire mountain, a favourite of Cézanne's. The strong scent of Mediterranean brush - aromatic herbs and pine needles roasting in the sun - accompanies you as you wind your way down to the village of Lourmarin. Listed among the 'Most Beautiful Villages in France', Lourmarin boasts a handful of narrow streets lined with elegant houses, old fountains and cafés. Dinner is laid on for you in town tonight; then it's back to the exquisite Côté Lourmarin guesthouse for a restful sleep. 6 miles (10 km).
Day 7 Circular route from Lourmarin.
The southern Luberon is known for its châteaux and vineyards, which set the scene for today's walk. After several days on your feet, enjoy a fairly gentle walk to the village of Cadenet. Unassuming and authentic, the pretty village of Cadenet is the perfect setting for your last Provençal lunch before looping back to Lourmarin. Dine where you wish for your second and final night in Lourmarin. Optional 6 miles (10 km).
Day 8: Lourmarin to Avignon or Aix en Provence.
We will transfer you from Lourmarin to either Avignon or Aix-en-Provence by taxi at a time that suits you. Then it's farewell to Provence - until next time!
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