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moderate to challenging

Traveller Rating


  • self guided walk
  • 7 nights hotels / guesthouses
  • 4 Dinners
  • 7 Breakfasts

8 Days£1220GBP


Trip Code: JPR

Walking in Haute-Provence Trip highlights

  • Southern Alps to Classic Provence
  • Walking in the Canyon du Verdon
  • From Mountains to Lavender Fields
  • Historic 'Aix en Provence'

Much of this excellent route follows fairly closely the GR4, a long distance trail which crosses France from the Cote d'Azur to the Atlantic. As you walk from the rugged Alpine terrain around the Gorges du Verdon to the more open cultivated landscape of the Plateau de Valensole, you follow the steps of the ancient Roman legionaries. They marched this way between the Alpine passes on the frontier with Italy and the opulent centres of Lower Provence. A full day is spent traversing the best section of the Gorges du Verdon - France's most spectacular gorge, with 1500 feet cliffs towering above the river. Beyond Moustiers, where the whole town is built on the edge of a ravine, the scenery abruptly changes. Across the Plateau de Valensole, you walk through fields of lavender and truffle oak plantations. Visit the beautiful old market town of Aix en Provence, famous for its flower market, its fountains and The Cezanne Museum. Throughout the tour you will be amazed at the contrast between the narrow streets and tall densely clustered houses of the Provencal villages and the virtually uninhabited landscape.

Starting Point:

St Andre-Les-Alpes

Finishing Point:

Aix en Provence

Make your way to St. Andre-Les-Alpes, a small village set between forested hills and the Lac de Castillon. There are a couple of narrow streets to explore and the church displays some plaques remembering Resistance fighters from the area. There are a couple of bars to relax and enjoy a cool drink. Parapente (paragliding) is quite popular in this area, they jump off the ridges around the town and land on a flat area by the lake. The centre of the old village is worth exploring; there is a small street market on Saturday mornings. Accommodation:Our accommodation is in a 2* hotel or gite-hotel offering simple rooms with ensuite facilities situated above the village.

Meals:  D

Follow narrow trails over the hills high above the western side of the Lac de Castillon. Along the way, in spring, the intense yellow flowers and honeyed scent of wild broom and rosemary, contrast with the deep green shades and resinous air of the pine forest. You are greeted by the stunning outcrop of Notre Dame de Roche above Castellane; you should have plenty of time before dinner to climb up to the little chapel there and take in the sunset. Approx ascent: 600m /descent:750m Accommodation: Our 2* hotel overlooks the main square of the historic mountain town, right on the ‘Route Napoleon’, all rooms are ensuite. There is a fine Provencal large windowed restaurant serving good evening meals and many people eat out on the terrace.

Meals:  B

The well waymarked GR4 long distance trail from Castellane follows an ancient Roman route high up on the side of the deep winding Verdon Valley. Ancient villages, with their tightly clustered ochre-walled houses, seem to grow naturally out of the rugged landscape. There is a tiny village called Chasteuil, which maybe a good place for a picnic, before heading off over the high limestone moors and pastures before dropping down to Rougon and thence to Point Sublime. Approx ascent: 650m /descent:500m Accommodation: This is the only hotel in the area, a rather neo Victorian establishment. This 2* hotel is situated above the Verdon and across from the vertical cleft in the limestone plateau that marks the entrance to the gorge. Good rustic food is the norm, there is a nice terrace bar and there is a pleasing old-fashioned air about the place. All rooms are ensuite. During the high season it may be necessary to spend two nights in La Palud and do the gorge walk with a taxi transfer back to Point Sublime. Please note that the hotel restaurant is closed on Wednesday evenings. If you happen to be at the hotel on a Wednesday, we will organise for a “cold plate” meal to be left for you in the lounge.

Meals:  B,D

Today you tackle the traverse of the famous Gorges du Verdon, France's Grand Canyon. High up on the towering red and grey limestone walls of the gorge you may even spot rock climbers pitting their skill against the force of gravity. The gorge is quite challenging for hikers too, as there are a number of metal ladders to negotiate along the way. The walking is not as daunting as it may sound and only a modest head for heights and an ability to walk on rocky paths is required. Halfway along is a delightful spot to picnic by the river. Then there is a steep, sweaty climb up to La Maline, where from the balcony of the gite there you can in season enjoy an overview of the gorge before debating whether to walk the last section on road to La Palud, or take a taxi. Approx ascent: 750m /descent: 630m In case the gorge is closed there is another walk you can do to the beautiful viewpoint at Rancoumas, overlooking the gorge and the surrounding mountains. The return walk takes between 3 to 5 hours (returning to Point Sublime). Ascent gain around 500m. 9 km/5.5 miles. In that case you will be collected after your walk and transferred with your baggage to La Palud. Accommodation: Our 2* modern hotel sits inside the ancient centre of the village. Its 20 spacious rooms have full ensuite facilities. The cuisine is usually of a high standard – their buffet is particularly good. *Note that on Thursdays their restaurant is closed and as such we will book you on bed & breakfast base and a discount will be added to your invoice.

Meals:  B,D

After a stiff ascent above La Palud through some interesting limestone scenery and shady forests, this walk follows a high forested ridge overlooking the turquoise-blue Lac de Ste. Croix, before making a steep descent and gradual climb to the little town of Moustiers Ste. Marie. This is clustered at the foot of towering crags and long famous for its ceramics and waters. The walking is dramatic, wild and beautiful and on the descent, you wind through giant limestone crags and rock towers. Approx ascent: 550m /descent: 800m Accommodation: Our comfortable small 2* hotel was originally a mediaeval building centrally situated in this popular village overlooking a series of waterfalls. It has an outside restaurant terrace where you can relax over dinner.

Meals:  B,D

This morning you walk abruptly up over the scarp slope and out of the Provencal Alps into a new landscape: the broad vistas and immense arching skies of the Plateau de Valensole. There are views of the whale-backed peak of Mont Ventoux, familiar to Tour de France cyclists. The plateau is cultivated for cereals, lavender (at its best in July) and truffles (hidden underground between rows of specially planted Downey Oaks). Descend to the village of Roumoules, perhaps have your picnic in the square under the plane trees. Next there is a gentle climb along a woody ridge and then a short steepish descent down to the town of Riez, where the columns of a Roman temple remind you of its historic past. After a Pastis, head into the town centre to your Chambre d’hotes. Approx ascent: 400m /descent: 550m Accommodation: This 17th century townhouse converted to a Chambre d'hotes is in a quiet location. It has a rustic elegance, there is a mixture of old and new features and the rooms (all ensuite) are much commented on. A superb place to unwind, it is also in a handy location for restaurants, lavender oil shops and for visiting the Roman columns.

Meals:  B

After breakfast you will be transported to Manosque (included) to take a late morning train to Aix en Provence. The train takes about 50 minutes and costs approx 15 Euros (not included). This is a beautiful artistic city with a profusion of fountains, cafes spilling onto the streets, interesting architecture including St. Sauveur’s Cathedral with its beautiful triptych of ‘The Burning Bush’ by Nicholas Fromant (1476) and nearby there is the Cezanne Museum. It is an easy city to walk around and the flower and fruit markets on Saturdays are exceptional. Excellent restaurants can be found in the maze of backstreets, representing Provence, France and its colonial backwash. Accommodation: We offer a modern 3* hotel near the centre of Aix en Provence. All the rooms are ensuite.

Meals:  B

Tour ends after breakfast. The hotel is situated a 15 minute walk from the coach /bus station for Nice or Marseilles.

Meals:  B



The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


  • 7 breakfasts, 4 dinners
  • 7 nights accommodation on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available
  • Luggage transfer except between Riez and Aix en Provence (you take it with you on the train)
  • Information pack including route notes & maps
  • Emergency hotline
  • GPX files of the walks will be emailed to you

  • 3 dinners, lunches & beverages
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip
  • Guide: this is a self-guided walking holiday
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Excess Luggage


moderate to challenging


(grade 4) This is a very subjective matter on this tour. Walkers' Britain walking grades presume a certain standard common to similar tours and an individual’s perception of their own fitness in relation to a grading will vary. The walking on this tour is variously: moderate (Grade 4) and quite challenging. A reasonable level of fitness, a reasonable head for heights and an ability to cope on rocky paths is required for the gorge and several other days. You need good boots throughout the tour: The trails are generally good, but on occasion there are steep or winding sections of loose limestone shingle. Carry plenty of drinking water and adequate protection against the sun, including a sun hat. There are steep ascents/descents sometimes in hot weather. You will need to take care walking on this tour. Day stages: In the region of 14km to 20km per day with average altitude gains of 550m. 5 to 8 hours walking per day for most people. Slow walkers will take longer.

Departure dates

Daily from 1 May to 07 Oct

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Single Room SupplementGBP£430
  • Solo Traveller SupplementGBP£580
*Prices listed are per person

Frequently Asked Questions

From Central Nice you have to take the independent train line called the 'Chemins de Fer de Provence' to St. Andre which takes 2.5 hours. There are about 4 trains a day!

There are sometimes closures for essential maintenance. In this case there is a separate walk to a high point above the gorge

If you have severe vertigo you will not enjoy this walk. Mild sufferers should be able to cope. there are some exposed sections in the Verdon Gorge, one has an easy angled ladder, another has a wire to protect walkers. Other days have steep walks on some rocky trails with drops to one side.

Most the trails form part of the GR4 and are way marked in red and white. Some of the waymarking is not well maintained, so some care with navigation is needed, but you will be given GPX track files as well as maps.

Walking in Haute-Provence Trip reviews

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