Walk through the famed vineyards of Chateauneuf du Pape
Enjoy spectacular scenery in the foothills of Mont Ventoux
Stay at the famous wine estate Domaine de Cabasse, visit their cave & and taste their own wine!
Discover the beautiful villages of the region; Séguret, Le Barroux and Vaison-la-Romaine
Feast on picnic lunches of fresh baguettes and local cheese
Share a bottle of enticing rich and fruity Grenache in a hill-top village restaurant
Optional tour where a wine expert unveils the secrets of Côtes du Rhône wines
Self-guided walking holiday among the vineyards of Provence
Discover one of France’s most prestigious wine villages, the famous Chateauneuf du Pape. Stroll under the warm Provençal sun, past gnarled vines that have produced award-winning wines for over 700 years and the red rocks that carpet the vines like a warm blanket at night. Complete your tour by heading into the foothills of the scenic Dentelles de Montmirail with stunning views of the fabled Mont Ventoux, scene of so many thrilling hilltop finishes in cycling’s Tour de France.
It was the Popes of Avignon that first brought vines to this area in the 14th century and, thanks to the amazing growing conditions of this region, Chateauneuf du Pape has long produced stunning wines. The growing area is small but has nevertheless consistently produced world renowned and prized vintages. The best way to discover these vineyards is on foot, wandering between the vines from one estate to the next. On one afternoon you can opt to accompany a wine expert to discover the wonders of the area and revealing a wealth of wine-making secrets. Tasting is believing as you try the fabulous deep and heavily spiced red wines and the whites, with their notes of almond, spice and honeysuckle.
From Chateauneuf du Pape the following days of scenic walking take you towards the foothills of the Dentelles de Montmirail. This region, known as the Vaucluse, offers spectacular vistas of close-by mountains, including the striking 1900m Mont Ventoux. Stopping off in historic villages, many of which are rarely reached by the average tourist, and staying in delightfully traditional settlements, walkers experience a truly traditional France.
April 2014’s Cotswold Life magazine reviewed this trip. Their writer said “…this is the way to see Provence: tasting it, feeling it, hearing it, smelling it, seeing it all at first hand. Utterly, utterly magnificent.”
|8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS||From €950 per person sharing*
*A high season supplement of €20 pp. will apply during peak booking periods.
|ACCOMMODATION||In charming Provençal hotels/guesthouses on a bed & breakfast basis. All rooms are en-suite.
The standard hotels of this trip are listed below. If a hotel is fully booked, then we will book a similar one for you and inform you about the alternative booked.
You can also book additional nights at any of the hotels along the way.
|AVAILABILITY||You can start your trip on any day of the week (subject to availability) from March 15th to November 15th.
Please note that there is the possibility of path restrictions during July and August, due to fire risk. It can also be extremely hot for walking during these months. The recommended months for this trip are March to June and September to October.
|DIFFICULTY||This trip is suitable for people who are used to regular and sustained exercise (whether walking, cycling, aerobics, etc.) and who can handle walking uphill (slowly) for up to 2 hours at a time. Walks are generally under 5 hours, on various types of terrain – though nothing technically difficult.|
Day 1: Avignon - Chateauneuf du Pape
Trip starts in Avignon with a 5pm transfer from Avignon SNCF Train Station to Chateauneuf du Pape. Discover the beauty of one of Provence’s great cities before a short transfer to Chateauneuf du Pape.
Overnight: Chateauneuf Wine B&B
Your accommodation for the first two nights is at the Chateauneuf Wine B&B. Located in the famous vineyard of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, right in the heart of the village, this quiet vine grower’s house is a real find. The owner, Danièle, is a professional sommelier and wine lecturer and will share her secrets of French cuisine and wines.
There is a market in Chateauneuf du Pape on Friday mornings.
Day 2: Loop walk from Chateauneuf du Pape
Distance: 14 km | Ascent: 150 m | Descent: 150 m | 4 hrs 15 mins approx.
With shortcut: 3hrs 15 mins approx | Ascent: 100 m | Descent: 100 m
Today’s walk takes you through the heart of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine country: a never-ending sea of vineyards on rolling hills. We recommend the full loop, as this includes a section along a ridge that offers breathtaking views of the appellation and far-reaching panoramas. The full loop also passes by Château Mont Redon, where you can do some wine-tasting at the famous estate and pick up a bottle for your picnic…
Overnight: Chateauneuf Wine B&B
Day 3: Chateauneuf du Pape - Optional Wine tour - Séguret
Distance: 7 km | Ascent: 100 m | Descent: 100 m | 2 hrs 45 mins approx.
This morning’s walk is a circular route through the fabulous local vineyards, alongside tracks packed with red rocks that were deposited here 15,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age. They absorb the heat during the day and emit it at night, keeping a constant warmth in the vineyards, and helping produce powerful and spicy reds.
After this short walk you will have the option to participate in a half day wine tour of the Southern Rhônes premium wine villages (not included, cost €99 pp. Please let us know at the time of booking if you would like to participate in this tour). A local wine expert will reveal a wealth of secrets about the vines and explain the key elements of the wine-making process as you visit the cellars and taste four to five wines per estate. The tasting characteristics, ageing potential and varying influences of the terroir and cellar methods will all be described.
Overnight: La bastide Bleue, Séguret
La bastide Bleue is a former postmaster’s office where you’ll savour refined regional dishes in a quiet and relaxing setting. In the summer months the tables are set on the shaded courtyard terrace.
Day 4: Séguret to Vacqueyras
Distance: 11 km | Ascent: 500 m | Descent: 500 m
Séguret is widely acclaimed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Wander cobbled streets and wonder at the houses that seem to cling to the rock face. A picturesque route through Haut Vaucluse takes you beneath cragged peaks and above the Rhône Valley, on paths and farm tracks passing through vineyards and olive orchards. At Gigondas, you’ll discover a village that seems to rise straight out of the vineyards. The 11th century church here is worth visiting. Walking towards Vacqueyras, you reach the foothills of the jagged mountain chain of Dentelles de Montmirail.
Overnight: le Domaine de Cabasse, Vacqueyras. Town market on Thursday mornings.
A family run wine estate & hotel situated right in the heart of the Cotes du Rhône wine region and at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail. You will have the opportunity to visit their wine cave and enjoy a free wine tasting of their own wines!
Day 5: Vacqueyras to Le Barroux
Distance: 15 km | Ascent: 420 m | Descent: 250 m | 5½ hrs approx.
The walk today offers an up-close exploration of the Dentelles de Montmirail foothills. The mountain range name means “lace”, probably because the magnificent and intricate limestone peaks are reminiscent of delicate lace work. The route takes you to the hilltop village of Le Barroux, which is home to an impressive 12th century castle. Wander a maze of quiet streets and take in such highlights as the church of Saint-Jean Baptiste.
Overnight: Hotel Les Geraniums, Le Barroux
Set in a charming stone building, Les Geraniums offers a cosy and welcoming stay in the medieval village of Le Barroux. Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, it features a traditional restaurant which serves regional cuisine and offers panoramic views of the Provence countryside from its outdoor terrace.
Day 6: Le Barroux to Malaucène
Distance: 13 km | Ascent: 500 m | Descent: 500 m | 4½ hrs approx.
Staying in the scenic Dentelles foothills, today’s walk takes you closer to the mighty Mont Ventoux. Its peak of 1,912m puts it head and shoulders above others in the Luberon mountain range. Walking the lower slopes, through pine and cedar forests, offers an impressive contrast with the “géant de Provence” and its bare limestone peak. The fortified village of Malaucène takes shape around an ancient hilltop fort, its old town revealing an amazing tree-lined avenue.
Overnight: Domaine des Tilleuls, Malaucène
A small, family-run hotel at the foot of Mont Ventoux and right in the centre of the village, with a large garden and private outdoor pool. There is a market in Malaucène on Wednesday mornings.
Day 7: Malaucène to Vaison-la-Romaine
Distance: 18 km | Ascent: 400 m | Descent: 280 m | 6 hrs approx.
Another day of walking and discovering takes you from Malaucène towards Vaison la Romaine. You’ll visit tucked away villages that are many miles from the usual tourist trail. At Le Crestet, you’ll find a wonder world of ancient alleys, arches and cul-de-sacs, revealing beautiful historic buildings and fountains. Reaching Vaison-la-Romaine, you can enjoy your final afternoon strolling through an extraordinary place; Vaison’s Gallo Roman remains which all together represent the largest archaeological site in France.
Overnight: l’Évêché, Vaison-la-Romaine
A charming B&B which offers a hearty breakfast including home-made jams and seasonal fruit served on the peaceful terrace under the shade of lime trees. There is a large market in Vaison-la-Romaine every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Day 8: Vaison-la-Romaine – Avignon & departure
After breakfast a taxi is booked to take you to Avignon (50 mins), where you can catch a train for onward travel.