Postcards from Provence
This is the land of lavender and olives, of plane trees shading weekly markets, of popes and artists, of gypsies and troubadours.
- 7 nights
- Half Board
Tour codes: 50400
This is the land of lavender and olives, of plane trees shading weekly markets, of popes and artists, of gypsies and troubadours.
Tour codes: 50400
This holiday includes an active sightseeing programme with unchallenging walks, either city tours or strolls on relatively easy terrain in the surrounding countryside. If in a mountainous area, the walks will be amongst the hills rather than up and down them. Local guides, winery visits, traditional villages and time to pause and watch the locals going about their lives are likely to feature.
Provence, the ancient ‘Provincia Romana’. This is the land of lavender and olives, of plane trees shading weekly markets, of popes and artists, of gypsies and troubadours. From our base in medieval Avignon we set out each day to see the many sides of this unique area, from the Roman remains in Arles to the wild horses, bulls and flamingos of the Camargue.
Provence’s countryside and towns encourage you to take things easy, to relax in a shady pavement café with a cup of coffee, glass of wine or Pastis. We spend time in the countryside, but most of the walking is amongst the honey-coloured buildings of towns steeped in the history and romance of the south.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice. All local transport costs, entrance fees and tipping to local providers are included in the cost of your holiday.
We travel by Eurostar to Avignon, either via Paris or Lille. It is then a short transfer to our hotel within the city whose ramparts were built during the 14th century when Avignon was the home of the Pope and his entourage.
Avignon is a great city to explore of foot. Much of the city is pedestrianized, and there is otherwise little traffic. A local guide takes us around the city, including the Palais des Papes and the Pont St Bénézet across the River Rhone, made famous by the song ‘Sur le Pont d’Avignon’. After lunch we travel the short distance north to Châteauneuf du Pape for a stroll through the vineyards and village, finishing with a wine-tasting. The village produces some of France’s most prestigious wines – enjoy a mouthful and feel the heat and herbs of the south infusing your taste buds.
South of Avignon lies the wild flat expanse of the Camargue. This area, created by the Rhone delta, is great for spotting wild horses, bulls, flamingos and egrets, to learn more, we will take a short walk in a nature reserve. It also has two well-known small towns which we visit – the ‘bastide’ town of Aigues Mortes surrounded by thick medieval walls, and the seaside village of les Saintes Maries de la Mer, a gypsy pilgrimage site with a sandy beach and whitewashed houses.
Nominally a free day, but Avignon is a great base from which to explore further afield. Just 30 minutes away by train lies Nimes with some of the greatest Roman remains anywhere. The Maison Carrée is a perfect classical temple and the Arena still hosts sporting and other events. The Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct can be reached by local bus and a short walk. No one can fail to be stunned when they see this amazing structure from antiquity for the first time.
We visit the vibrant local market in St Remy de Provence, full of the tastes and smells of the warm south. We then make a short stop at St Paul de Mausole, where Van Gogh painted many great works, and Glanum, a ruined Roman town.
The highlight of the day is the village of Les Baux de Provence, where a cobbled street leads us up past small shops and restaurants to the plateau at the top of town. Here was once the mighty castle of the Lords of Les Baux. Now the battlements lie in ruins, but from on high the whole of Provence seems to lie beneath you, a patchwork of olive groves and almond trees, with the Mediterranean shimmering in the distance. The views can be enjoyed from cafes, viewpoints or on a 2.2km (1.4miles) walk around the outside of the village.
Before leaving Les Baux we taste some of the local olive oil, then drive on to Fontvieille for a short walk on the Sentier des Moulins, to visit a pretty windmill where Alphonse Daudet’s tales of bygone Provence were set.
Peter Mayle’s 'A Year in Provence' made the Luberon district famous. Today we visit some of the most beautiful sights in the area, starting with L’Isle sur la Sorgue, a small town surrounded by the River Sorgue which has canals running between the ancient narrow streets. We continue to Gordes, a beautiful limestone village perched above the valley with a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone alleys called ‘calades’. Next, we visit Sénanque Abbey, situated beside of some of Provence’s most famous lavender fields, still housing a community of Cistercian monks. Our next stop, Roussillon, is a hill village constructed from the local ochre-coloured stone, contrasting with the lush green pine trees which surround it. Here we have the option to walk the Ochre Path, where two easy hiking trails take us through a former ochre quarry and the surrounding woods, also known as the Provence Grand Canyon. We end the day with some wine tasting.
In places there will be 250 steps to be negotiated.
Today we visit Arles, the city where Van Gogh spend the most productive months of his life. He arrived here in the winter of 1890 planning to create an artists’ community with Paul Gauguin as its leader. That didn’t work out, but his brush was rarely still as he painted the buildings, people and countryside. Café de Nuit… Starry Night… Dr Gachet … the Sunflowers… they were all painted here. Around the town are boards placed in the spots where Van Gogh stood and painted. Besides the sights associated with him there are impressive Roman ruins, the beautiful Romanesque church and cloister of St Trophime, and quaint cobbled streets to wander.
Today we board the train and bid au revoir to Avignon.
Departure dates for your selected tour
19th Sep 2020 - 26th Sep 2020 (7 Nights)
26th Sep 2020 - 3rd Oct 2020 (7 Nights)
10th Oct 2020 - 17th Oct 2020 (7 Nights)
27th Mar 2021 - 3rd Apr 2021 (7 Nights)
24th Apr 2021 - 1st May 2021 (7 Nights)
29th May 2021 - 5th Jun 2021 (7 Nights)
25th Sep 2021 - 2nd Oct 2021 (7 Nights)
9th Oct 2021 - 16th Oct 2021 (7 Nights)
Below is a summary of the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
Avignon is a wonderful base for our holiday in Provence; steeped in history, it has all the facilities you would expect from a town which has been welcoming visitors for years.
The Hotel Cloitre Saint Louis is a couple of minutes’ walk away from all the local facilities such as a supermarket, bakers and other small shops. There is a bank, post office and several cash-points. The town has plenty of bars and restaurants to visit in the evening.
This charming four star hotel, the CloÎtre Saint-Louis, is located in a 16th century building and combines historic and modern structures in the heart of Avignon.
Initially a Jesuit monks’ cloister, it then went on to become a military hospital in addition to an annexe of the Hotel des Invalides in Paris over the course of several centuries before becoming the beautiful hotel that it is today.
The hotel has 80 rooms split between two wings, one modern, the other very much historic. The restaurant is a truly wonderful place to enjoy your first morning’s coffee while gazing into the hotel’s inner courtyard.
Hotel room facilities include:
The Cloitre Saint-Louis is only a few steps away from the Palais du Papes (Pope's Palace) and famous bridge, perfect for exploring in the evenings or during a free day.
All Adagio holidays are expertly designed to allow you to immerse yourself in the destination. Leisurely exploration of the must-see, as well as lesser known, highlights together with relaxed enjoyment of local food and wines is what we have in mind.
There may be days of sightseeing on foot around a spectacular city or unchallenging strolls on easy terrain in open countryside interspersed with winery visits, guided tours, boat trips, cafe stops and traditional restaurants.
We use a mix of privately hired vehicles, taxis, and public transport which gives us some flexibility in our itinerary. We have a wonderful programme of walking, sightseeing and visits planned to let you fully experience the area along with opportunities to relax at our wonderful hotel and enjoy your surroundings.
Local transport costs, entrance fees and tips to local providers are included in your holiday price. You may wish to budget for any meals and drinks not included in the holiday arrangements, non-included entrance fees and any optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
The currency in France is the euro.
Credit cards are widely accepted. You may be asked to provide ID if you can’t pay by chip and PIN. ATMs are widely available in most towns and villages throughout France.
We include tips in the holiday cost and your Adagio Leader will take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. If you feel that someone has gone out of their way to make your holiday enjoyable or help you in anyway, please feel free to give a personal tip to the person should you wish. If you are having an independent lunch or other service not included in the holiday arrangements, tipping is at your own discretion.
We believe that the best things come in small packages, and our Adagio holidays prove just that. We limit our groups to a maximum of 18 persons, plus the Adagio Leader, so that everyone has the opportunity to mix, share their love of travel and return home with new friendships. Small groups also have less detrimental local impact, allows us to use public transport on some days, eat at small local restaurants and, we believe, offers a better experience.
An Adagio Leader will accompany you throughout the holiday. They are all experienced travellers with a love for exploring and will help capture the true essence of the destination with their stories, knowledge and insights. They are well-organised, pay great attention to detail and enjoy being with people. They are there to help make your holiday as enjoyable and stress free as possible.
Leaders Evening Briefing
Your Adagio Leader will discuss the programme for the following day with the group at each evening briefing. This will be your opportunity to find out more details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. Also, if you have any questions or concerns on clothing or lunch arrangements, this can be discussed then. If you wish to opt out of the organised group programme, this is fine, just let your Leader know.
Visiting historical sites, churches or museums are much more rewarding with a local guide. They give an insight to the local culture, language and traditions and can bring a destination alive. Many of our Adagio holidays include a knowledgeable English speaking guide on at least one of the days. Please refer to your daily itinerary to see where a guide is included.
Getting to your Holiday
We travel to Paris Gare du Nord or Lille by Eurostar from London St Pancras International. From here we have a private transfer to Paris Gare Montparnasse and then take the TGV direct to Avignon. We will then have a few minutes transfer by private coach again from Avignon train station to the Hotel Cloitre Saint Louis.
During the week we will travel on foot, by road and by train/bus.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements
If you wish to organise your own flights from either a non-UK or UK regional airport, or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. If you choose to do this, before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at the hotel. Although airport/train station transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport/train station, depending on your flight/train arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight/train must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight/train to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight/train number, arrival time and departure point so that your Adagio Leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Tickets
When booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday with us, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
Please ensure that the personal details we have on file for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements.
Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to accurately manage your holiday booking are correct at the time of booking (including health and dietry requirements). You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.adagio.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 386700. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport page (with your photo on). Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country. Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
Breakfast and all dinners are included in the price of the holiday. Breakfasts will be taken in the hotel and four dinners will be taken in their bright dining room overlooking the hotel’s beautiful inner courtyard shaded by plane trees. On other nights we eat in local restaurants.
We don’t include lunches in the price of the holiday – normally these can be taken as a picnic or in a pleasant café.
Comfortable, broken in, walking boots or shoes with a good sole are recommended for this holiday. Walking shoes or other comfortable footwear will be suitable for sightseeing days.
General Kit List
We recommend you bring the following items with you:
Swimming in France
Please note that in French public swimming pools men are not permitted to wear baggy swimming shorts but must have ‘Speedo’ style trunks or tight fitting longer shorts. Men with incorrect swim wear will not be allowed into the pool.
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Travel Document Checklist
To ensure your holiday gets off to a good start, please make sure that you bring the following documents and information with you:
Electricity in France
Electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Ideal Maps & Guidebooks
The Rough Guide to France has about 50 pages on the Avignon region and a couple of pages on Avignon itself.
The Avignon Tourist Office’s website is www.avignon-tourisme.com with lots of information on all sorts of things in Avignon itself.
The Map Shop
If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:
The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to France.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis
Further Health Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
Please make sure you are insured for guided walking. It is important that you bring your travel insurance documents with you on holiday, including your policy number and 24-hour assistance telephone number.
Please take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; it will help you in the event of you needing medical assistance during your holiday. Please note that the EHIC has an expiry date, so please check that your card is valid for the duration of your holiday. Please note however the EHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information please visit ehic.org.uk.
It is important to ensure while purchasing insurance that you are insured for guided walking upto 1000m.
We're committed to operating responsible tours in all our destinations as best we can. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel Ltd’s (inc Adagio) profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public.
In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way.
Visas and Passports
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