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Secret Provence

Drôme Provençale – all the beauty without the crowds
 
Relish the freedom of self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking (with your luggage sent ahead) to boutique rural guesthouses, all with a pool, on a picturesque route of lavender fields, vineyards, oak forests to hill-top villages with far-reaching views.
Secret Provence. 6 nights
Secret Provence. 6 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in Drôme Provençale

The story goes that when Pope John XXII felt unwell in Valréas while returning from his election in Lyons to his home in Avignon in 1317, he was given the local wine to drink and immediately felt better. In fact, he liked it so much he bought the city for 16,000 francs to ensure his future supply. Such is the attraction of this quintessentially Provençal region with its medieval fortresses, where history and nature combine to provide beguiling landscapes and an irrepressible charm, that the French have followed in the footsteps of the Pope, choosing to keep the region ostensibly for themselves.
Devoid of large hotels and tourist developments, the region instead possesses charismatic chambres d'hôtes which lie hidden in the landscape, their traditional, honey-coloured stone walls and pastel shutters looking out over fields of corn, lavender and vines.
In the heart of little-known Drôme Provençale, this gentle journey takes you from the medieval splendour of Grignan with its imposing castle and literary heritage, through oak forests whose roots conceal le diamant noir (black truffle) for which the region is known, and across hillsides embossed in fragrant lavender, silver olive trees and robust vines, to reach charming St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux with its cobbled streets and buzzing restaurant scene.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on almost any day of the week, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 9 10 14 17 22 25 28 29 24 19 13 9
    mm 68 47 41 67 49 24 17 20 52 76 96 72
  • Arrival in Chantemerle-lès-Grignan
    Night 1: at Le Domaine du Bois des Dames (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Linear walk from Grignan to Chantemerle-lès-Grignan: 14km, 4.5hrs; ascent 300m/descent 310m
    Your first full day starts with a transfer to the magnificent hill-top town of Grignan. Strolling its characterful streets with their craft shops and pavement cafés, you ascend gently to the ramparts of the 12th-century castle within whose walls the original village lay and where, in the 17th century, Madame de Sévigné (mother of the Comtesse of Grignan and celebrated scribe of a series of letters to her daughter), stayed on visits. You may wish to take a tour of this splendid Renaissance castle before joining a delightful, woodland path that runs through the grounds of an equestrian centre to reach the village and feudal dungeon tower of Chamaret – standing like a finger pointing to the sky – from where views open up across the landscape. Vineyards, lavender fields and oak forests accompany your onward route before you emerge back into the handsome hamlet of Chantemerle-lès-Grignan.
    Linear walk from Grignan to Chantemerle-lès-Grignan: 14km
    View from Chateau at Grignan on the route from Grignan to Le Bois des Dames
  • Chantemerle-lès-Grignan to Val des Nymphes: 15km, 4.5hrs; ascent 315m/descent 325m
    You join a superb route which takes you along a broad ridge at the top of the white sandstone cliffs of Les Crevasses. The result of an earthquake in 1774, the limestone plateau of Rouverge shifted, creating a narrow ravine bordered by sheer cliffs that plunge 70 metres from their panoramic tops to the valley floor. After taking a 'poet's path' along the ridge, you enjoy expansive views across the Rhône Valley before continuing along country lanes, and paths that skirt lavender fields, to reach the Knights Templar chapel and tower at Clansayes, a conspicuous landmark visible across the entire valley. Descending through woodland from Clansayes, your onward path takes you through the heart of an extensive vineyard before continuing into the verdant Val des Nymphes alongside the distinctive village perché of La Garde-Adhémar to reach your accommodation for the next two nights – either the delightful Le Mas Bella Cortis or the stylish Les Esplanes.
    Chantemerle-lès-Grignan to Val des Nymphes: 15km
  • Circular walk from La Garde-Adhémar: 11km, 3.5hrs; ascent/descent 240m
    Today we suggest a circular route which takes you from the door of your chambres d'hôte and through dense oak forests where wild black truffles grow, to reach the hill-top village of La Garde-Adhémar – one of the plus beaux villages de France – where you might linger over lunch in its pretty square and amble through the cobbled streets with their bijou restaurants. After visiting the Jardin Remarquable herb garden with its 200 medicinal plants, descend from the village along a quiet woodland path, passing ancient sacrificial stones and visiting the magical Val des Nymphes with its Romanesque chapel, waterfall and shady glades, before returning to your guesthouse.
    Circular walk from La Garde-Adhémar: 11km
    Circular route via La Garde-Adhémar
  • Val des Nymphes to St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux: 8.5km, 2.5hrs; ascent 80m/descent 165m
    This easy walk traverses a pastoral valley alongside fields of sunflowers and corn, and meadows grazed by horses, to arrive at your final destination, St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, in time to enjoy lunch at one of its bustling restaurants. Spend the afternoon strolling through the town, taking in its 12th-century Notre Dame cathedral, white-stone houses and truffle museum before heading to the genteel Hotel La Villa Augusta, where your final two nights are spent.
    Val des Nymphes to St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux: 8.5km
    The streets of Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux
  • Circular walk from St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux: 12.5km, 4hrs; ascent/descent 410m
    A stunning circuit on your final day takes you up into the woods to follow a marked truffle trail where you uncover the mysteries of these 'black diamonds', how and where they grow, and their culinary uses. This delightful route continues to the white-stone village of St-Restitut and its 15th-century chapel, from where a balcony path provides glorious views across the entire valley, before arriving at another chapel and 360-degree views across Drôme Provençale. On your final night, use our recommendations to choose from one of St-Paul's many excellent restaurants.

     
    Circular walk from St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux: 12.5km
    Art installataion at St Restitut on the St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux circuit
 

Accommodation

Outstanding boutique guesthouses set within traditional stone buildings, each with a swimming pool, and a four-star hotel on the outskirts of St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, provide welcoming accommodation that's as beguiling as the surroundings.
Occasionally, due to availability, we may offer an alternative hotel, as shown below. You will be informed of any change to the usual hotel (along with any price implication) prior to us confirming your holiday to you.
 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter.
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  • 6 nights: 01 April - 07 July 2019 & 01 September - 31 October 2019

    Start any day except Wednesday or Saturday | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 14 April £965 £450
    15 April - 23 May £995 £475
    24 May - 1 July £1055 £520
    1 - 30 September £1055 £520
    1 - 25 October £995 £475
    3rd & 4th person discount -£50
    Single traveller supplement £50

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

    6 nights: 01 April - 07 July 2019 & 01 September - 31 October 2019

    Start any day except Wednesday or Saturday | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 14 April £1245 £450
    15 April - 23 May £1275 £475
    24 May - 1 July £1340 £520
    1 - 30 September £1340 £520
    1 - 25 October £1275 £475
    3rd & 4th person discount -£80
    Single traveller supplement £80

    Includes all elements in the 'walk price', plus standard-class travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras or Ebbsfleet International to Lille or Paris, with onward travel as described below.

    Included travel from the UK: UK-Pierrelatte via Lyon (Eurostar/local TER rail), approx. duration 8h plus 0h30 taxi. Home, Pierrelatte- UK via Lyon (local TER rail/Eurostar), approx. duration 9h plus 0h35 taxi.

    If you book your holiday less than 3 months in advance of your travel date, seats may no longer be available at the tariffs on which our prices are based, but we may be able to offer you seats on the sames services at a supplement.

    6 nights: 01 April - 07 July 2019 & 01 September - 31 October 2019

    Start any day except Wednesday or Saturday | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 14 April £1015 £450
    15 April - 23 May £1045 £475
    24 May - 1 July £1105 £520
    1 - 30 September £1105 £520
    1 - 25 October £1045 £475
    3rd & 4th person discount -£100
    Single traveller supplement £100

    Includes all elements in the 'walk price', plus a return ferry crossing between Dover and Calais with P&O Ferries for your party and one car.

    We also include a transfer back to the first hotel at the end of your holiday to collect your car.

    A supplement of £35 per car per single journey applies for outbound travel 5-7 Apr & 19-21 Apr, and for inbound travel 21-22 Apr 2019. A supplement of £45 per car per single journey applies outbound on Fridays & Saturdays 24-25 May & 12 Jul-17 Aug 2019 inclusive, and inbound on Saturdays & Sundays 1-2 Jun & 19 Jul-2 Sep 2019 inclusive.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Le Domaine du Bois des Dames, Chantemerle-lès-Grignan
    Junior suite: 01 Apr - 14 Apr 2019 £25
    Junior suite: 15 Apr - 29 May 2019 £30
    Junior suite: 30 May - 07 Jul 2019 £36
    Junior suite: 01 Sep - 15 Sep 2019 £36
    Junior suite: 16 Sep - 15 Oct 2019 £30
    Junior suite: 16 Oct - 31 Oct 2019 £25
    Superior: 01 Apr - 14 Apr 2019 £13
    Superior: 15 Apr - 07 Jul 2019 £20
    Superior: 01 Sep - 15 Oct 2019 £20
    Superior: 16 Oct - 31 Oct 2019 £13
    Le Mas Bella Cortis, Val des Nymphes
    Suite: 01 Apr - 07 Jul 2019 £16
    Suite: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £16
    Hotel La Villa Augusta, St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux
    Junior suite: 01 Apr - 07 Jul 2019 £50
    Junior suite: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £50
    Luxury suite: 01 Apr - 07 Jul 2019 £70
    Luxury suite: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £70
    'Prestige': 01 Apr - 07 Jul 2019 £19
    'Prestige': 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £19

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Hotel La Villa Augusta, St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 07 Jul 2019 £100 £175
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £100 £175
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Lyon, Marseille, Nîmes, Avignon, Paris CDG

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Paris CDG. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Paris CDG Air France,  KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Belfast City - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Belfast Intl. - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Avignon Flybe 
    Birmingham - Lyon Flybe 
    Birmingham - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Birmingham - Paris CDG Air France,  Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Marseille easyJet 
    Bristol - Paris CDG Air France,  easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Cardiff - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Doncaster Sheffield - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Lyon easyJet 
    Edinburgh - Lyon (via Paris) Air France 
    Edinburgh - Marseille Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Marseille (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Edinburgh - Marseille (via Amsterdam) Air France 
    Edinburgh - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Edinburgh - Paris CDG Air France,  easyJet,  Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Exeter - Avignon Flybe 
    Exeter - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Marseille easyJet 
    Glasgow - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Humberside - Marseille (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Paris CDG jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    London City - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Lyon easyJet 
    Gatwick - Marseille easyJet 
    Gatwick - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Lyon British Airways 
    Heathrow - Lyon (via Paris) Air France 
    Heathrow - Marseille British Airways 
    Heathrow - Paris CDG British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Lyon easyJet 
    Luton - Marseille easyJet 
    Luton - Nîmes Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    London Southend - Lyon Flybe 
    London Southend - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Lyon easyJet 
    Stansted - Marseille Ryanair 
    Stansted - Nîmes Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Lyon Flybe 
    Manchester - Avignon Flybe 
    Manchester - Lyon (via Paris) Air France 
    Manchester - Marseille easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Manchester - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Manchester - Paris CDG Air France,  easyJet,  Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Lyon (via Paris) Air France 
    Newcastle - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Newcastle - Paris CDG Air France,  KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Norwich - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Southampton - Avignon Flybe 
    Southampton - Lyon (via Paris) Air France 
    Southampton - Marseille (via Paris) Air France 
    Southampton - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Paris CDG. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Avignon

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Avignon Centre to Pierrelatte (0h30), taxi Pierrelatte to hotel (0h25) £43 1600
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Bollène La Croisière (0h20) rail Bollène La Croisière to Avignon Centre (0h35) £27 1300

    Connecting travel options - flying via Lyon

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Lyon-Saint Exupéry to Pierrelatte (1h20), taxi Pierrelatte to hotel (0h25) £80 1230
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Bollène La Croisière (0h20), rail Bollène La Croisière to Lyon-Saint Exupéry (1h20) £65 1630

    Connecting travel options - flying via Marseille

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Vitrolles Marseille Airport to Pierrelatte (1h25), taxi Pierrelatte to hotel (0h25) £55 1600
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Bollène La Croisière (0h20), rail Bollène La Croisière to Vitrolles Marseille Airport (1h25) £39 1130

    Connecting travel options - flying via Nimes

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Nîmes to Pierrelatte (1h45), taxi Pierrelatte to hotel (0h25) £49 1500
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Bollène La Croisière (0h20), rail Bollène La Croisière to Nîmes (1h45) £33 1200

    Connecting travel options - flying via Paris

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail CDG airport to Pierrelatte (3h40), taxi Pierrelatte to hotel (0h25) £104 1130
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Bollène La Croisière (0h20), rail Bollène La Croisière to CDG airport (4h15) £88 1530
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 5 dinners
    1 picnic
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • transfer on day 1
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to France, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The official language is French. The currency is the Euro. French time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 8/20/2019 2:56:58 PM