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      our holidays > Walking Holidays > France > Provence > The Provence Long Trail

The Provence Long Trail

The heart of Provence
Starting point:

La Campagne Berne near Pierrerue for your first two nights.

Day 1
Circular walk via Lurs: 13km, 4hrs

For your first day, we suggest a walk eastwards through pastoral landscapes and past a 17th-century olive mill to hill-top, fortified Lurs with its ruined castle and a pretty belltower. At the village you are rewarded with views of the broad valley of the River Durance and can buy top-quality olive oil from the local mill in the village square.

Day 2
Pierrerue to Forcalquier: 13km, 4hrs

Today you walk via farmland, oak woods and a limestone escarpment to your next destination, hill-top Forcalquier, a medieval fortified town. As the walk is not overly long, you can time it so that you arrive in the town in time for lunch, after which you can explore at leisure. Spend the afternoon wandering its atmospheric streets, perhaps calling in at a renowned honey shop or the traditional distillery, whose famous Pastis is made from over 50 types of aromatic plants and spices. On a clear day, climb to the hill-top citadel to admire the splendid panorama over the surrounding area. If your stay falls on a Monday, you can browse the stalls of the bustling weekly market (quite an occasion). You spend two nights in Forcalquier at the Bergerie de la Beaudine.

Day 3
Circular walk via Nôtre Dame de Salagon: 13km, 4.5hrs

We recommend that you spend the first part of the day exploring the area to the west of Forcalquier on a circular walk – our route skirts the lake there, leading through light woodland, as well as delightful sections of wilderness. Take time to admire the beautiful priory and church of Nôtre Dame de Salagon (pay locally if you choose to visit), as well as paying a visit to a remarkable museum housing a fascinating mix of items illustrating family life from a bygone era, as well as a curious ‘fragrance garden’. In the afternoon, relax by the guesthouse pool.

Day 4
Forcalquier to Reillanne: 15km, 5hrs

The day begins with a short transfer to the village of St Michel l'Observatoire, named after the observatory that dominates the nearby hill (the site was chosen because the skies here are some of the clearest in all of France). You are now in the Luberon Regional Park, and the blue mountains of the Luberon Massif to the south line the horizon as you walk. From St Michel, your path crosses the Largue Valley and winds over the rolling hills to Reillanne, where you spend your next two nights at the Auberge de Reillanne.

Day 5
Circular walk via Carluc Priory: 11km, 3hrs
Longer option returning via Montjustin: 19km, 5hrs

Head out on a circular walk over the ridge behind Reillanne and down panoramic paths to the romantic ruins of the 12th-century Carluc Priory, a lovely spot for a leisurely picnic. To extend the walk, you could return via the exquisite and very panoramic hill-top village of Montjustin.
Alternatively, relax at the guesthouse with a good book as you delight in your surroundings.

Day 6
Reillanne to Buoux starting in Caseneuve : 16km, 5.5hrs
Reillanne to Buoux starting in Saignon: 9km, 3hrs

You start with a transfer along the valley to either the quaint village of Caseneuve with its château and old water pump in the cobbled square, or charming Saignon (the most beautful in the valley with its charming square and pretty fountain). After exploring whichever village you start in, head out through orchards and lavender fields until you reach the Aigue Brun Gorge. Walk along the bottom of the gorge to reach your destination for two nights, the Auberge des Seguins near Buoux, a popular walkers' inn, set in the cliff edge.

Day 7
Circular walk via the Fort de Buoux: 12km, 4.5hrs

Our circular walk leads along seldom-used paths overlooking the Aigue Brun Gorge before ascending to the grassy crest of the Luberon for a breathtaking 360-degree panorama. From the crest, a steady and easy descent through a valley brings you back to the gorge, passing by the Fort de Buoux, which is well worth a visit (pay locally).

Day 8
Buoux to Roussillon: 12km, 4hrs

Your walk begins by following a dramatic mule trail which zigzags up from the valley before leading along the edge of this wild and magnificent gorge. Continuing through open expanses of wild herbs and olive groves, you follow pastoral lanes and tracks that lead to the atmospheric hilltop town of Bonnieux, whose houses clamber up the hillside, seemingly one on top of another. Take time to explore the cobbled streets and admire the fine views, before meeting your taxi driver for the short transfer to Roussillon and your base, Les Sables d'Ocre, where you spend two nights.

Day 9
Circular walk via Lioux: 15.5km, 5hrs

We suggest a superb circuit northwards to the hamlet of Lioux with its spectacular bleached cliffs and fine views. On your return to Roussillon, explore the nearby ochre mines with their startling array of colours that are also visible in the handsome houses of the village, perhaps one of the most beautiful in all of France. One of the best ways to see the coloured rock formations is by walking along the sentier des ocres trail (pay locally).

Day 10
Roussillon to Gordes: 14.5km, 5hrs

Leaving the brightly coloured houses of Roussillon behind, you head west through open countryside via the charming village of Joucas to magnificent Gordes. Clinging to its rocky perch, Gordes has been labelled – and rightfully so – 'one of the most beautiful villages in France'. You stay two nights here at either Le Mas des Romarins or Le Domaine de l'Enclos, both in peaceful locations on the edge of the village.

Day 11
Circular walk to the Abbaye de Sénanque: 9.5km, 3.5hrs
Longer option: 17km, 6hrs

Take time this morning to explore the narrow, cobbled streets of Gordes and discover beautiful old doorways, arcades and quaint corners between its houses of grey and white stone which rise to a peak, topped by the church and château.
If you can tear yourself away, you can also enjoy a leisurely circuit to the picturesque Abbaye de Sénanque. The abbey was founded in 1148 and is still home to an Order of Cistercian monks who produce honey, lavender essence and a variety of liqueurs. Surrounded by lavender fields, it stands in a truly delightful and peaceful setting. We suggest two routes to reach the abbey, the shorter one allowing more time to explore this historic site.

Day 12
Gordes to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse: 12km, 4hrs
Longer option: 14.5km, 5hrs

From Gordes your route continues west, following part of the fascinating mur de la peste, a 27-kilometre-long drystone wall built to keep the plague out of the area in the 18th century. If you want a longer walk, you can follow it further into the hills before looping back to rejoin the shorter route. Your destination is the village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse and the delightful Hotel du Poète, where you spend your final two nights.

Day 13
Circular walk via Saumane de Vaucluse: 13km, 4.5hrs

Your last walk is a varied circuit through the wooded garrigues (limestone hills), passing the imposing fortified château at Saumane de Vaucluse. It sits above the small village of Saumane, set on a rocky perch in a sea of green forested hills. The houses merge with the cliffs, trees, shrubs and flowers adding to the natural feel of the place. Return to the hotel to relax on its tranquil terrace by the river and small swimming pool and reflect on the pleasures of walking through this magnificent region.

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