- Discover Provence and the gorges of the Verdon in the Haute Provence.
- Walking and also time to relax and discover this beautiful corner of France.
- Our base for this holiday is Moustiers Sainte-Marie in the Haute Provence, voted one of the most beautiful villages in France.
- The village is close to the spectacular Verdon Gorge, the lavender fields of the Valensole plateau and the Lac de Sainte-Croix.
Moustiers is set at the foot of a steep rocky cliffs a juxtaposition of water, stone and pastel colours. Moustiers is famous for its ceramics (or pottery). High above the village, suspended on a 135 metre long chain between the cliffs, is a star put in place after the Crusades. Moustiers is also known for it's olive oil with over 20,000 olive trees growing on dry stone terraces.
The Verdon Gorges are one of most dramatic sights in Europe; a mini Grand Canyon. The gorge is up to 700m deep with the river Verdon running between the impressive cliffs. The cliffs are home to vultures and it is also a mecca for rock climbers.
Nearby too, is the Valensole plateau is one of the most areas for the production of lavender. The Romans used is to perfume their baths and clothes. It was introduced to France by the Phoenicians and the climate and ground in Provence was found to be ideal for growing it. The lavender is in bloom from the beginning of June to the end of July.
The following is a summary of the tour informaiton. For further details please contact me.
D1 - Arrival at Marseille airport and transfer to Moustiers.
D2 - La Chemin de Treguier. A living reminder of the Mediterranean civilisation the olive tree enjoys the sunny south-facing slopes dominating the village of Moustiers. We set off by the chapel of Sainte Anne (builit in the 6th century, demolished, and then rebuilt in the 16th century) on a good path that traverses the terraced hillside punctuated by olive trees. The path continues and goes through oak forest giving us some welcome shade. The path climbs again and then goes through more terracing. Further on the path climbs more steeply to reach a rocky pinnacle (747 m). Great views of the d'Angouire gorge and the surrounding countryside. On our return there's time to explore Moustiers at leisure. Walking time: c. 2 hrs
D3 - En Naups – Le Castillon. Today's walk takes us to the hill top of le Castillon with views over the Valensole plateau and its lavendar fields. The walks starts from Mousiers-Sainte-Marie itself before gently climbing the Manaysse valley passing through a small pine wood. The path now climbs more directly through woods before meeting and crossing the road from Vincel to Venascle. We now follow a track to reach the hamlet of En Naups. To reach the top of Le Castillon we climb a shallow valley before the final climb to the summit. The route back initially retraces our steps before going alongside fields, crossing through woods until the Vallon de Font Sant. Further on we pass some ruins and a ravine where some 100 year old oaks remain. Moustiers finally comes into view as we leave the woods and descend to the edge of the village where we pass through a fortified gateway. Walking Time: 5 hr
D4 - Sainte Maxime & The Lower Gorges of the Verdon. Today's walk starts from the edge of the village of Quinson. The path follows the ancient Canal de Provence that provided water to the countryside of Aix for about 2 km with lovely views of the river running close by. At a small bridge we climb to the plateau by the “Draille des Vaches” to join the GR 99 path by a large cairn. Our path continues to the “oratoire” of Sainte-Maxime on a path shaded by oak trees with remnants of numerous charcoal kilns. We initially retrace our steps before crossing the open plateau passing the ruins of an ancient building. The path now descends to rejoin the road near Quinson. Time to explore Quinson. Walking time: 3 hr 45
D5 - Col de l'Ane & Col de Plein Voir. Today we set off from close to Moustiers. The path winds its way up through oak and privet before snaking its way easily through the limestone cliffs barring the way to the plateau above. There are superb views out over the Lac de St Croix. The onward route continues along the edge of the plateau. A descent leads to the Col de l'Ane. From here we walk through pine woods leads us to the Col de Plein Voir. Further on we reach the high point of the walk where we can look down from high above the Verdon Gorge. This viewpoint gives a panorama on the Lac de Sainte-Croix, the mountain of the Lure, and in the distance, the Luberon, the massif of Sainte-Victoire and the Mont Venoux. In the skies close by we may see vultures riding the thermals rising from below. A stunning place to enjoy our picnic lunch. Walking time: 5 hrs
D6 - Le Sentier des Pecheurs. The Sentier des Pecheurs or the Fishermen's Path descends to the edge of the Verdon gorge passing through the typical vegetation of the region. The walk gives superb views of the gorge and its cliffs. The path leads down to the edge of the river where the effect of the Sainte-Croix dam means that the river is calm here. The path now follows the river for about 2 km. We now begin the ascent by a series of switch-backs and finishes on a grassy plateau. Walking time: 3 hrs.
D7 - Before our walk today there's time to visit the weekly market in Moustiers. Sommet de l'Agra. At the beginning of summer before the wheat and lavander has been harvested a veritable patchwork spreads itself at the foot of Montdenier. Our walk starts from the col de St Jurs and descends gently through scrub forest before reaching a small col. The path now climbs passing through a rocky gully . We now come out on to more open ground where we climb a zig-zag path to the ridge of L'Agra which we follow in a fine position to the summit (1523 m). An initial rocky descent leads to a pine forest. The path descends in zig-zags before reaching an crossing a track that leads us back to the Col de St Jurs. Walking time 2 hr 30 min
D8 - Transfer to Marseille airport after breakfast.
|Duration:||6 days walking / 7 nights|
|Min / Max Group size:||2 - 8 (Private group departures at your convenience, please contact me).|
|Accommodation:||Huts (shared dormitory type rooms); Hotels (twin rooms).|
|Meals:||Dinner, Breakfast; packed lunch|
|What's NOT included||