On our walking tour, you'll hike in the very forests, fields and orchards that nurture each produit du terroir. Sample wine where the grapes are grown. Visit vibrant markets full of fresh French produce and delicious regional delights. Expand your culinary repertoire alongside our charming local friends. Provence was built for this. And so were you.

Provence Active Culinary Walking & Hiking Tour with Backroads

Price: From $5,499 - $5,949 USD Per Person

Departure Date: September 1, 2024

Return Date: September 6, 2024

Photo: Walking Provence


  • Learn about the secrets of classic Provençal dishes in a private cooking class with a creative local chef
  • Stroll through atmospheric markets and meet merchants peddling the fresh flavors of the Alpilles
  • Enjoy locally grown olives, goat cheese wrapped in oak leaves, herbes de Provence and other specialties
  • Hike pristine routes through limestone hills, celebrated perched villages and picturesque vineyards


  • All breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Expertise and services of our experienced Trip Leaders
  • Snacks and beverages between meals
  • Additional guides and experts from the region on many trips
  • Van shuttles to support a variety of route options
  • Comprehensive Travel Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at museums, historic sites, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the Travel Planner
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Special events, including wine tastings and other select attractions as mentioned in the Travel Planner
  • On biking and multi-adventure trips, use of fully equipped Backroads titanium bike plus helmet and accessories
  • Trailercycles, carriers, and kid-sized helmets for Family Trips
  • Equipment and experienced guides for kayaking, rafting, snorkeling, sailing and canoeing as described
  • Park and other entry fees
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the Travel Planner
  • Select coach transfers
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Day 1

On the first day of the trip, meet your Backroads Trip Leaders (the folks in Backroads T-shirts) at 11:30 a.m. at the Avignon TGV train station in Avignon, France (Gare Avignon TGV; this is not the Avignon Centre train station. If you arrive at Avignon Centre, you'll need to take a 10-minute train or a 15-minute taxi ride to the Avignon TGV station). Look for a Trip Leader in front of the main entrance to the TGV station (sortie nord) next to the bus parking area. Bienvenue en Provence! After meeting, we shuttle to an organic winery and traditional mas (farm) just outside of Les Baux-de-Provence for a lovely picnic lunch. Nourished and ready for our first hike, we set out on foot among lush vineyards and silver-green olive groves toward the hilltop ruins of a 10th-century castle with expansive views of the surrounding landscape. The route continues into Les Baux-de-Provence. With narrow lanes, old houses and castle ruins, this Plus Beaux (Most Beautiful) Villages of France member is a fascinating place to explore. In the Middle Ages it was home to the Seigneurs des Baux. These self-proclaimed descendants of Magus Balthazar (one of the Three Wise Men), erected fortifications and proceeded to wage incessant warfare on neighboring clans—and eventually each other. From here, we visit the impressive nearby Carrières de Lumières. This ambitious multimedia exhibit space is situated inside a large stone quarry and celebrates the world's greatest artists. Afterward, we make our way to Baumanière, our elegant hotel, nestled beneath Les Baux and surrounded by country gardens of roses and herbs, cypress groves and olive trees. Settle into your room, relax in the garden or perhaps head to the spa. (Spa treatments are not included in the trip price. Advance reservations are recommended.) After getting further acquainted over aperitifs, we dine at the hotel's La Cabro d'Or restaurant.

Day 2

Today's hike leads us up and over the ridge of Les Baux through fragrant pine trees overlooking the Alpilles Mountains. Our trail starts in the Val d'Enfer (Valley of Hell), an eerie landscape pockmarked with caves and, according to legend, frequented by witches and goblins. It was here that Dante supposedly found inspiration for the hell in his Divine Comedy. If you're ready to kick off your shoes and relax after our morning's route, savor a local olive oil tasting at the base of our hike and then hop in the shuttle for a lift to the hotel. For those ready to see more, we make our way on foot through a gorgeous mix of mountain peaks and green valleys into the heart of the Alpilles Regional Nature Reserve. Our grand attraction is Le Rocher des Deux Trous (The Rock with Two Holes), a fascinating geological feature. Does the scenery look familiar? It's said that this area is where Vincent van Gogh painted some of his masterpieces, including Starry Night! After meeting up for lunch, opt for a lift in the shuttle or follow a trail alongside a Roman canal toward St-Rémy. Along the way, you may spot wild herbes de Provence. These herbs, which include rosemary, savory, thyme and sage, give the local goat cheese, chèvre, its unique flavor. Our destination this afternoon is Le Château des Alpilles, our home for the next two nights, located on peaceful parkland just outside St-Rémy. Make yourself at home at Le Château des Alpilles and unwind, perhaps spending some time lounging by the pool. Then join your leaders for a friendly game of pétanque before we meet for a delightful Provençal dinner at the hotel's restaurant.

Day 3

by the locally renowned chef Yvan Cadiou. Yvan invites us into his home kitchen where he infuses his teaching with humor and entertainment. We learn recipes for favorite regional dishes and then prepare them for our lunch! Afterward, follow along a peaceful canal and admire the Alpilles reflected in the lake at Peirou as we set off on foot toward St-Paul-de-Mausole, a monastery that was converted into a mental asylum in the 1800's. Here we meet our charming local guide. She tells of the asylum's most famous resident, Vincent van Gogh, who secluded himself here for a year in 1890 after cutting off his ear in Arles. Although it was likely the most difficult period of the artist's life, it was also one of his most prolific: inspired by the Alpilles landscape, he produced more than 100 drawings and 140 paintings, including Irises and Wheat Fields with Cypresses. Afterward you can choose to walk to town. Of course, the Backroads van is also an option for the return trip. This evening, dinner is on your own in St-Rémy—your Trip Leaders are happy to provide recommendations.

Day 4

Enjoy a short lift to St-Rémy, where fountains, gardens, cheery cafés and treelined boulevards await. The town, a thriving artists' community with one of the most celebrated outdoor markets in Provence, is a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture. Shop for regional crafts, as well as bread, fruit and cheese for a picnic (lunch is on your own later today) or an afternoon goûter (snack).* After exploring the town we set our sights on the Luberon Valley, immortalized in Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence. Our first stop is Roussillon, which sits on one of the world's biggest ocher deposits. Adored by artists for centuries, the village is renowned for its striking natural surroundings, namely the Chaussée des Géants, a canyon radiant with 16 shades of ocher. Next, we head into town to admire beautiful golden-hued buildings and views over the Luberon. Browse the shops, which offer a wide array of local items, and wander the quaint side streets. When you're hungry, settle at a café table for lunch on your own, or find a shady spot to enjoy your market picnic. This afternoon, walk a gentle path between the Vaucluse Plateau and the Luberon Mountains, passing charming country homes with vineyards and olive groves separated by wheat fields and cypress trees. Today's final destination is Gordes, a picture-perfect village perché (perched village) clinging to the craggy southern face of the high Vaucluse Plateau. Here, we're welcomed at the stylish Hôtel Les Bories, our home for the next two nights. Lounge poolside, take in the views of the valley, or perhaps head to the spa. Dinner tonight is a memorable evening with an aperitif in the kitchen of our renowned chef—Xavier Mathieu.

Day 5

After breakfast, we shuttle to the hillside town of Bonnieux, set atop a ridge rising from the flat plain. Explore its narrow winding side streets or find a scenic spot to enjoy views of the Luberon Valley before heading out on a hike into the hills. As you trek through the valley that separates Bonnieux and Buoux, you'll be surrounded by the Grand Luberon's cliffs and deep woods before joining a sunnier trail that leads past lavender fields and provides views of the remains of Fort de Buoux across the ravine. We enjoy lunch in the secluded valley of Aiguebrun. When you're done eating, hop in the Backroads van for a ride back to Gordes or continue on foot into a gorge popular among local rock climbers. The path eventually leads all the way up to Fort de Buoux. You can admire what's left of the impressive fort both from the valley floor and from atop the cliff. This evening on the hotel terrace, kick back and appreciate un verre de vin while the sun sets over the Luberon—this may just be the perfect way to end a full day on your feet! We gather for a farewell dinner at one of the region's best restaurants and raise a toast to new friends and an unforgettable Provençal adventure.

Day 6

After an early breakfast we walk to Abbaye de Sénanque, a Cistercian monastery founded in 1148. Take a moment to admire this historic building set amid oak groves and a fragrant sea of lavender. Then there's time to freshen up at the hotel before we begin our private walking tour of Gordes with a local guide who introduces us to some hidden corners and reveals little-known pieces of cultural and architectural history. After our tour we grab a quick lunch and say our goodbyes before a private coach brings you to the Avignon TGV train station. Please see "Arriving & Departing" for end-of-trip logistics.

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