A self-guided hike in the south of France
Iconic wine, gourmet food - and some great walking too!
To the east of Avignon and its nursery rhyme bridge is an area of extraordinary geological features. At the centre lies 'le Mont Ventoux' (the windy mountain), beloved - or perhaps not - of Tour de France cyclists, the view of its lonely summit a constant theme to our walking, although we opt for its greener foothills in this less-visited area of Provence. The walk starts and ends in villages perched atop a cliff: medieval Venasque, climbing high for views to the peaks of the 'Dentelles de Montmirail' (lace points) where you will walk later in the week. From Venasque to Mazan, maybe upgrading to the Marquis de Sade's former home, tiny Le Barroux, Gigondas, before a triumphant walk, via the narrow streets of Crestet, into Vaison-la-Romaine with its Roman bridge. And of course as this is France, the food and wine are most definitely not of secondary importance. Each hotel boasts a good kitchen delivering meals of greater or lesser complexity and opportunities for tasting not only the well-known regional wines but also Vacqueyras whites and a variety of 'marcs'. Why not time your walk to see Vaison's Tuesday market, stocking up on delicacies to take home, before transferring to Avignon to spend a night or two in this historic centre - the Palais des Papes, the bridge and also the fascinating side streets and museums.
Avoid arriving at Gigondas (nights 5/6) on a Wednesday, as the wonderful restaurant at Les Florets is closed that evening (local alternatives available if necessary).
Walked by On Foot staff: Simon and Debbie
Standard option: (see 'Itinerary") - 7 nights. But you can add rest days in any hotel, or why not a night in Avignon at start or finish?
6 nights (miss night 1) - walk full route and miss Venasque circular walk.
5 nights (one night in each hotel) - miss Venasque and Dentelles circular walks
4 nights stay Mazan, Le Barroux, Gigondas and Vaison, walk days 4,5 and 7
See Tina Loo's great photos of her 2015 trip here, and Paul Bloomfield writes in the UK Independent about his trip here.
Self-Guiding introduction by Régis Leroy (subject to his availability) - accompanying you on your first one or two walking days, or guiding services for whole walking route. See "Prices".