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Scents & Flavours of Provence

The land where ‘terroir’ is king
Holiday information
Nights: 6
Grade: 1-2, gentle walking with only short ascents
Terrain: paths and tracks across gently rolling hills and through woodland, maquis (expanses of wild herbs and low shrubs) and lavender fields
Hotels: two chambres d'hôtes (guesthouses); one 2-star hotel
Meals:  6 breakfasts, 4 dinners, 2 picnics
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  About Provence >The Romans so loved Provence that they called it Provincia – ‘The Province’. Their legacy extends beyond monuments such as the splendid theatre in Orange, to the shaping of modern roads – some follow the Via Domitia, a route which linked Rome and Spain. The centuries of turbulence that followed the fall of the Roman Empire resulted in many walled villages – Provence’s famous villages perchés – being built in the hills in an attempt to protect against attack. Provence’s distinctive cuisine draws its flavours from the land – truffles; honey from the bees which draw nectar from the ubiquitous lavender fields; oil from the olives; and garlic and fresh herbs. Traditional dishes include bouillabaisse, a tomato-based stew of at least three different fish; slow-cooked dishes such as estouffade made with beef or lamb; and civet, a game casserole with onions and mushrooms. Provence’s wines are growing in popularity and standing; the Vacqueyras, Gigondas and Côtes du Luberon wines are very good.
 
This Holiday in a nutshell
  • self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking, luggage transported
  • leisurely walking through enchanting landscapes
  • authentic & welcoming local guesthouses
  • flavoursome Provençal cuisine - sample the fruits and flavours of the land

This timeless region, inspiration behind the lyrical novels of Marcel Pagnol and as far removed from the glitz of the Riviera as it is possible to imagine, is blessed with the most benevolent of climates. Indeed, beneath the Provençal sunshine everything seems to flourish and gives true expression to the sacred French notion of terroir, whereby nuanced flavours come to reflect the land from which they emerged. Fragrances of lavender, rosemary and wild thyme pervade the air, while a deliciously simple cuisine – with plump red tomatoes and creamy goats cheese to the fore – seduces the palate.
He put a plate in front of me – two small round goats’ cheeses, specked with herbs... he watched as I cut off a piece of cheese and ate it. It was ferociously strong. My palate had been perfectly primed and the wine tasted like nectar.
     
Peter Mayle, 'A Year in Provence'
This leisurely walk reveals the quiet side of Provence – the ravishing landscapes between the wooded folds of the Luberon and the rugged summit of Mount Lure. Along the way, you discover sleepy villages and towns, gently rolling hills coated with aromatic plants, tiny chapels, lavender fields, and medieval Forcalquier whose ancient citadel stands guard over these timeless, undulating landscapes. Distances are short, leaving you plenty of time to relax and unwind at the characterful hotels, where you will be welcomed with warm hospitality and delicious Provençal cuisine.
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