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At a Glance

Your Holiday at a Glance


 
Independent Walking Holiday
  • Travels Through Alpine Provence: Part 1, Baronnies Regional Park

Dates for 2018
  • Everyday during April, May, June, September and October (subject to availability)
Price
  • £730 (single supplement £195)
  • €800 (single supplement €210)
Grade
  • moderate challenging independent walking holiday in France
Profile
  • 7 nights, 6 days independent walking moving between guest houses
Highlights
  • The first part of a unique trek crossing the mountains of Alpine Provence from near the Rhone Valley to Grasse in the foothills above Cannes
  • Unspoilt landscapes in the Baronnies Regional Park, quiet trails and varied walking through rugged mountains, scented lavender fields, fruit orchards, wild scrub and forests
  • Sleepy historic villages, unaltered for centuries perched on rocky slopes
  • A favourable climate with 300 days of sunshine per year makes this an ideal destination for a walking holiday
  • Wonderful panoramic views from alpine pastures perched above vertical cliffs.
  • Discover the traditional market towns of Nyons and Buis les Baronnies
  • Possibility to combine this walking holiday with part 2 across the Geological Reserve of Hautes Provence
Accommodation and Meals
  • Comfortable rooms in small guest houses and family run hotels. A mix of styles with some in historic properties, some with swimming pools in rural peaceful locations
What's included
  1. 7 nights accommodation in small rural guest houses and hotels
  2. All breakfasts, 4 lunches on walking days and 5 evening meals
  3. Full walking notes and maps (see more information)
  4. Transport of luggage between guest houses
  5. Read more information about our independent walking & trekking holidays
What's not included

 

  1. Travel to Nyons, France and return from Laragne Monteglin
  2. 2 lunches as well as on the day of arrival and departure, 2 evening meals, drinks and snacks
  3. Any excursions or entrance fees
  4. Travel insurance

 

  1. See also part 2 of Alpine Provence through Haute Provence Geological Reserve

  2. Return to full list of self-guided walking holidays Other holidays in the Baronnies: Tour of the Baronnies - Baronnies Explorer

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Walks

Alpine Provence: Part 1, Baronnies Regional Park

This independent walking holiday is the first leg of a unique trek which crosses Alpine Provence from Nyons near the Rhone Valley to Grasse in the foothills above Cannes. This spectacular trip takes you through some wonderful mountain scenery where the Alps meet Provence. The first part of this journey through Provence explores a remarkably beautiful area known as Les Baronnies. The Baronnies Regional Park is a quiet and unspoilt corner of France with wild and rugged peaks which rise above cultivated valleys with beautiful historic villages surrounded by olives, fruit orchards and rows of lavender.

Sheltered by the mountains, its privileged position and distinct climate gives the region a remarkable light that draws you into the rugged and beautiful landscapes laid out before you. It is also a region where wild Thyme, Lavender, herbs and pine produce a wonderfully scented landscape. Each corner of this fascinating area has its own characteristics. Rocky bluffs and cliffs define summit tops from where alpine meadows provide stunning 360 panoramas of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Below steep slopes marked by ravines descend into narrow gorges or wide fertile valleys. Oak forests, scrub and moorland add to the tapestry of vegetation covering the hills.

This walking holiday is ideal for those walkers who are looking for a unique challenge, off the beaten track but who are also keen to discover the traditions, history and culture specific to the Baronnies region. There are a large number of well-preserved fortified medieval villages clinging to steep hillsides established by the barons of Mévouillon and Montauban in the 11th century. You'll stay in the two main centres and market towns of the region, Nyons and Buis les Baronnies where you can explore their pretty alleyways, visit their Provence markets (if days correspond) and learn more about their histories.

The double influence of the Alps and the Mediterranean has created an exceptionally rich fauna and flora including orchids such as the Sabot de Venus, vultures, chamois, wolves and wild boar. It is therefore not surprising that this secret and untamed area has recently been designated a Natural Regional Park - Baronnies Regional Park.

Find out more about the Baronnies region of Provence in southern France, take a look at our photo slideshow, and find out the average weather conditions

Walking Profile

The walking on this self-guided holiday is graded level 3. The walking days average about 900m of ascent and range between 550m and 1050m. The walking is near the upper end of this grade, because as well as the climbs and descent, the trails average about 22km each day. On some days it is possible to increase or reduce the difficulties. It is possible to add rest days or extra walking days at certain points of the trail (see below for details). Walking is on a mixture of narrow paths, tracks and occasionally quiet roads

Due to the nature of the landscape some sections can be relatively steep. Paths are generally good and well defined, with regular waymarking, but there are sections which can be rough and mountainous in places and some sections follow open alpine pasture where the trails are less well defined. The steep terrain means that it would be unwise to do this holiday if you suffered from vertigo. This holiday is recommended for walkers with some mountain walking experience.

map location baronnies provence

Day 1: Arrival

Travel to Nyons in the Baronnies Regional Park in northern Provence and welcome at your guest house.

Day 2: Nyons - Ste Jalle

After exploring the historic town of Nyons your alpine trek through Provence starts by climbing into the hills along the GR9. You can climb to Garde Grosse at 944m before descending through a pretty mix of ravines and terraced fields. Then climb to reach Col des Lontons before traversing to the pretty and isolated hill-top village of Rochebrune. A gentle descent through vines to reach the historic village of Ste Jalle and your accommodation with pool. 22.5km, +/-800m

Possible extra day at Ste Jalle with a beautiful walk across pretty hillsides via the historic villages of Arpavon and Poet Sigillat 18km, +550m

Day 3: Ste Jalle - Buis les Baronnies

Climb the wide Ennuye valley and onto slopes of the Fournache mountain before you have the option of climbing to the summit of Mountain Linceuil at 1192m for great views. Afterwards, re-join and follow the GR9 going via Col de Milmandre and Col de Malpertuis across expansive open mountain slopes. Then descend through apricot groves and olives to reach the historic village of Buis les Baronnies. Historically the Baronnies had two capitals, Nyons and Buis les Baronnies, each for the two Lords who sought control of the region. Up to 19km, +770 or +940m, -810m or -980m

Day 4: Buis les Baronnies - La Honas

On today's walk you'll climb to the pretty village of La Roche sur la Buis perched under a rocky tower with its castle remains. Then climb under cliffs across open scrubland with great views to reach Col de Sanguinet. Pass under Montagne de la Loube to reach the remote hamlet of Poet en Percip, lost in seemingly endless waves of mountains. A gentle and pretty climb leads to a wonderful viewpoint across lavender fields to the rocky summit of Mevouillon, the ancient home of the Lords of the Baronnies. Guest house in a wonderful spot. 22km, +910m

Lovely guest house with swimming pool makes a great spot for a rest day.

Day 5: La Honas - Eygalayes

Great day walking through a varied Provence landscape. Climb around the summit of Mevouillon through lavender fields and hamlets before climbing onto alpine pastures to follow a wonderful ridge. This rises in stages to reach the summit of Chamouse at 1532m. Great 360 degree panoramic views. Descend past cliffs to the village of Eygalayes. Short transfer to guest house at Eourres. 24km, +850m

Day 6: Eourres - Meouge Valley

Climb through forest to Col de Verdun and then on open ground onto the first summit of Montagne de Mare via a ridge. Continue to a second summit through alpine grassland to reach the top at 1622m your highest summit of the week. Great views across the Baronnies before descending the ridgeline to reach Col St Pierre. Another climb across open alpage (alpine pasture) leads to Col de Branche. Descend to the Meouge Valley near the top of the Meouge gorge which you'll discover tomorrow. 19km, +1020m, -1330m

Day 7: Meouge Valley - Laragne Monteglin

After a small climb through a patchwork of fields you’ll descend into the Meouge Gorge. This is a spectacular walk surrounded by rock walls, accompanied by the sound of rushing water. Follow a narrow path past Rocher du Chateau and Roche Coupee where you have a great view down the gorge. Follow the full length of the gorge until you cross a historic bridge and climb the far side of the valley. Then climb to Serre de la Croix and a view point across the southern Alps before descending to Laragne in the Buech Valley and the end of the Baronnies regional Park. 20km, +580m, -690m

Day 8:  Departure

Departure after breakfast. Onward journey via train station in Laragne Monteglin

For those people who wish to continue with part 2, a short train journey will take you to the historic citadel of Sisteron. Explore the town and then night at Sisteron before restarting your trek.

Contact us about this self-guided walking holiday

 

rochebrune baronnies regional park

baronnies alpine provence self guided

walking alpine pasture baronnies France

guest house with pool on independent walking holiday in provence

patchwork fields baronnies

baronnies hills in provence on french walking holiday

panoramic views pre-alps french walking holiday

lavender fields in provence on independent walking holiday in France

market in provence south france walking tour

 

For useful advice about independent walking and preparing for your self guided holiday please take a look at the articles in our top-tips section.

Once you have booked on this independent walking or trekking holiday, further information about the walking, the region and what to bring, will be sent to you. We do have a web page dedicated to what clothes and equipment you should bring. In addition, our travel shop has direct access to all the top walking and travel retailers. Please contact us if you need any further information.

Bed

Accommodation & Meals


On this independent walking holiday crossing the Baronnies of Alpine Provence, you will stay in a number of charming bed & breakfasts full of local character and small hotels. They are a mixture of styles and have been chosen for their charm, welcome and location. All rooms at the guest houses have private bathrooms, except at Eourres where you may need to share a bathroom depending on the number of other bookings at the property. Examples of the guest houses used on the holiday are shown below. They each have unique character and include renovated historic farms, a working farm, an old chateaux and town house where you'll be treated to a warm welcome. The style and comfort varies from chic to rustic, but each has their own charm and your hosts will enjoy giving up their time to make your stay extra special.

A hearty and healthy continental breakfast provides the perfect opportunity to discover the local specialities such as home-made jams and local yoghurt. At midday you will eat packed lunches prepared by your hosts, except the days leaving from the two market towns. Five evening meals will be taken at your guest houses, where you will be treated to delicious local delicacies and wine. Your evening meals in Nyons and Buis les Baronnies are not included in the price and will be taken in a local restaurant.

Name Type Details Rating  
La Honas B&B Renovated 17th century farm house situated in beautiful rural surroundings in the heart of the Baronnies with swimming pool 3 star eq. La honas guest house Baronnies Provence France guided walking holiday
La Maison d'Emma B&B Renovated historic property in the heart of the historic village of Ste Jalle with exposed beams and stone. Rooms full of character. Swimming pool.    
Travel Options

Travel Options


Train & bus: Eurostar trains run from London to Lyon (some direct) some via Paris or Lille. From Lyon regular regional TER trains run to Montelimar. From Montelimar to Nyons by bus, line 36 (operated by TER train company).

For the return journey either take a direct TER train to Marseille Saint Charles and take a TGV train from there to connect with your Eurostar, or go via Gap by TER to Valence and onwards to Lyon

Flights: The closest airports are Lyon St Exupery, Avignon and Marseille. The airlines Easy jet, BMI regional, Ryan Air and British Airways have scheduled flights from the UK - Stansted, Manchester and Heathrow - to Lyon St Exupery airport. Regular flights from a number of UK airports to Aignon. Flybe has services from Exeter, Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester & Leeds. Ryan Air has services to Marseille

Self-drive: Chanel crossing by ferry with P&O or DFDS ferries and by rail with Eurotunnel. Once in France, drive time from Calais to Nyons is about 10 hours, excluding long breaks and costs about £50 in motorway tolls. Leave car at first guest house in Nyons (if possible depending on whether the guest house is busy). Cost of return taxi from Laragne Monteglins to Nyons is about 160 euros.

Please check that the walking holiday is available before making any travel arrangements. Please visit our travel shop page for links to useful travel websites.

 

Photos

Photos


baronnies lanscape in provence south france walks
poppies mountains baronnies regional park alpine provence france
la honas guest house on french walking holiday in provence
views in baronnies provence walking trips
independent walking holiday with lavender fields in provence France
views mountains baronnies alpine provence
rochebrune village baronnies self guided walking holiday
independent walking holiday baronnies lavender fields in provence France
alpine pasture summit chamouse in provence France

Also see our Baronnies Slideshow