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At a Glance

Your Holiday at a Glance


 
Independent Walking Holiday
  • Secret Provence: Tour of the Baronnies

Dates for 2017
  • Everyday during April, May, June, September and October (subject to availability)
Price
  • £670 (single supplement £190)
  • €750 (single supplement €210)
Grade
  • moderate grade walking holiday in provence or moderate challenging independent walking holiday in France
Profile
  • 7 nights, 6 days independent walking moving between guest houses
Highlights
  • Unspoilt landscapes, quiet trails and varied walking through 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
  • Great local cuisine and fine local wines. Beautiful guest houses
  • Visits to discover more about the local agricultural production
Testimonials
  • "Great combination of the walking, the views and the accommodation & food along with the hosts." J. Runnalls & A. Kelly, Australia
  • "Thanks very much for putting so much thought into making this a memorable holiday for us." R & D Flack, UK
  • "You did a great job with the whole effort. Congratulations - I would happily recommend it. Thank you, fabulous experience." A. Alp, Australia. See more testimonials about this walking holiday
Accommodation and Meals
  • Spacious and very comfortable rooms in small guest house accommodation in beautiful historic properties, many with swimming pools in rural peaceful locations
What's included
  1. 7 nights' full board accommodation.
  2. All breakfasts, 6 lunches on walking days and 7 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 Sault, France
  2. Lunches on the day of arrival and departure
  3. Any excursions or entrance fees
  4. Travel insurance

 

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

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Walks

Les Baronnies

Our independent walking holiday explores a remarkably beautiful area of the northern Provence known as Les Baronnies. Les Baronnies is a secret and unspoilt corner of France where the Alps meet the Provence with beautiful historic villages clinging to rocky mountain sides decorated in purple lavender flowers.

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. But it's not just your sight that will be bombarded on this unique self-guided walking holiday, 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 which steep slopes marked by ravines descend into narrow gorges or wide fertile valleys covered in Lavender, fruit trees and olive groves. Oak forests, scrub and moorland add to the tapestry of vegetation covering the hills.

The historic legacy of the region is rich and is said to go back to Hannibal, the Carthaginian leader who crossed les Baronnies with his elephants around 200BC. 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. Their towers, walls and alleyways are now altered by a succession of historic events that have marked the region. One of the prettiest and most spectacular is Montbrun-les-Bains which is built on 6 levels.

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 as moderate or moderate/challenging depending on your choices. The moderately graded holiday has average distances of about 14km with about 350m of ascent. There is one rest day and one longer day at 20km with 760m of ascent. The more challenging grade includes the options of ascending two summits on two of the days and doing a walk on the rest day.

Due to the nature of the landscape some small sections can be relatively steep. Paths are generally good and well defined, although they can be rough in places. The steep terrain means that it would be unwise to do this holiday if you suffered from vertigo.

map location baronnies provence

Day 1: Arrival

Travel to northern Provence and welcome at your guest house.

Day 2: Sault - Montbrun les Bains

Your first day starts by following the edge of the lavender plateau to reach the picturesque medieval village of Aurel. After exploring its pretty streets you'll have a short ascent on the flanks of the Montagne d'Albion before descending to the foot of Montbrun les Bains, a beautiful historic village perched on the hillside. It is classed as one of the prettiest villages in France and has buildings progressing up the hillside on 6 levels, with the remains of a renaissance chateau sitting prominently above. You'll have plenty of time to explore this fascinating village before making the short walk to your beautiful guest house. 14km  400m climb

Day 3: Montbrun les Bains - La Honas

Today's walk is the longest of the week and takes you up on to the craggy hills by following some narrow valleys, reaching the Col de la Bohémienne with its rocky slopes and ravines. You'll then contour around the edge of the ravines with great views, to reach the small perched village of le Poêt en Percip - the former historic capital of the Baronnies - before gradually climbing through slopes of scrub, pasture and lavender fields, to reach a ridge with great views over the valleys and hills to the east. Descent directly to your guest house at La Honas. 20km, +750m

Day 4: Rest day or walk from La Honas

After the exertions of yesterday, those opting for a rest, can relax by the pool with great views of the surrounding hills. For those looking for more of a challenge there is the possibility of doing a day walk from La Honas that takes you through delightful countryside before descending to the pretty historic village of St Auban sur l'Ouvèze for a morning coffee. Aftewards you'll climb slowly onto a picturesque ridge offering amazing views out over the Ouveze valley and surrounding hills. The descent is long but gentle to arrive back at La Honas. 19km, +650m or rest day

Day 5: La Honas - Barret de Lioure

Today your walking trail takes you onto pasture, lavender fields and moorland on the slopes of the Montagne du Buc. At the Col des Aries, there is the option of going to its summit for exceptional panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Otherwise, the route descends through forest and scrub to reach the upper end of a beautiful valley, with views towards Montbrun les Bains and beyond to Mont Ventoux. Your guest house is situated at Barret de Lioure which sits on a promontory overlooking this valley. Moderate: 14km, +360m. Mod/chall: 20km, +770m.

Day 6: Barret de Lioure - Ferrassières

From your guest house, it is possible to climb to the summit of Montagne de Bergies which has wonderful views of the Alps to the east. The moderate trail goes direct to the Col de Macuègne before climbing slowly across open rounded hills to reach the Col de l'Homme Mort. Your walk then descends to reach the lavender plains of Ferrassiers. Visit a lavender farm to find out more about its cultivation and short walk to your guest house in a chateau. Moderate: 14km,. +350m; Mod/chall: 19km, +730m

Day 7: Ferrassières - Sault

Your last day is a fairly gentle end to the week. You'll cross undulating countryside which alternates between lavender fields and forest and passes through the tiny hamlet of St Trinit with its historic buildings. Return to the historic village of Sault with its promenade overlooking the Nesque Valley. 12km, +120m.

Day 8:  Departure

Departure after breakfast.

Contact us about this self-guided walking holiday

Please note that the order of the walking days may change depending on guest house availability

 

montbrun les bains village in France provence walks

guest house with pool on independent walking holiday in provence

self guided walking in south France

baronnies hills in provence on french walking holiday

lahonas guest house great food in south France walks provence

lavender fields in provence on independent walking holiday in France

market in provence south france walking tour

perched village in baronnies region on self guided walking holiday

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 our independent walking holiday in the Baronnies, you will stay in a number of charming bed & breakfasts full of local character (3 corns quality) and a 2 star hotel in Sault. All rooms have private bathrooms. Examples of the guest houses used on the holiday are shown below. They are small, very comfortable guest houses which range from renovated farms to old chateaux 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. All evening meals will be taken at your guest houses, where you will be treated to delicious local delicacies and great wine. Wine not included in price on 3 nights at your hotel in Sault and at Chateau Gabelle.

 

Name Type Details Rating  
La Honas B&B Renovated 17th century farm house situated in beautiful surroundings in the heart of the Baronnies 3 corns La honas guest house Baronnies Provence France guided walking holiday
La Maison de Marguerite B&B Renovated traditional 19th century farm house situated close to the historic village of Montbrun les Bains 3 corns La maison de marguerite guest house Baronnies Provence France guided walking holiday
Travel Options

Travel Options


Train and bus

TGV trains run from Paris and Lyon to Avignon. At Avignon, take the bus on line 5.1 to Carpentras, which takes about 50mins. Change buses at Carpentras, taking the line 12.1 to Sault, which takes a further 1hr 15mins. There is a connection for certain services between these two bus lines.

Flight Drive

The closest airport is Avignon. There are regular flights from a number of UK airports as well as French airports. Flybe has services from Exeter, Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. There are a number of car hire firms at the airport including Avis, Europcar and Hertz.

Please visit our travel shop for links to useful sites for reserving airport parking or booking train tickets in the uk

Note: Please check concerning the availability of a holiday before booking any flights. If you need further information or would like to discuss any aspect of your travel arrangements, please contact us, we’re here to help you.

We would be happy to book travel arrangements to France on your behalf for this guided walking holiday.

 

Self Drive

Channel ferry crossings from Dover are provided by a number of operators including P&O Ferries, Eurotunnel and DFDS Seaways.

Once in France, the journey from Calais to the Baronnies takes about 10 hours (excluding long breaks).

Tolls amount to about 45 euros each way.

Non secured parking is available at the guest houses. Please inform us of this at the time of booking so when can provide you with directions to the first guest house.

Photos

Photos


baronnies lanscape in provence south france walks
montbrun les bains provence self guided walking holiday
panoramic views in baronnies France walking holiday
independent walking tour in provence south 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

Also see our Baronnies Slideshow