The Alpilles, St. Rémy & Les Baux de Provence
the enchanting light of Provence

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half-Day Hikes                                                                                         Full Day Hikes

 

Provence

 

THE ALPILLES, ST. REMY AND LES BAUX HALF-DAY WALKING TOURS

 

 

Around the rock fortress of Les Baux
Half-day

Set in the Alpilles, our guided hike highlights places of historical interest as well as natural beauty. The Alpilles is a range of low mountains that rise between Avignon and Arles. Nevertheless, if we are talking about mountains and not hills, that’s because landforms are craggy and rocky.
You appreciate there a gentle nature walk all around the rugged spur atop which sits the fortress of Les Baux de Provence. The spectacular site has made the village one of France’s most famous one. The numerous small roof tiles of its stone houses are towered by the remnants of its medieval castle. This citadel was for a long time the symbol of the power of their lords.
During this circular stroll, you easily reach two different viewpoints, enjoying breathless panoramas. 

Walking time : 2 hours
Rating : easy (rugged terrain)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : starting before 9am, not allowed on fire risk days)

In the footsteps of van Gogh from St. Rémy
Half-day

During his time in France, Vincent van Gogh spent one year in St. Remy de Provence, near Avignon. This beautiful hike, that starts in the old town, is named after the visited places where the painter set up his easel: he painted here more than 70 works, transfixed by the luminous nature scenery. You first walk outside the town through vineyards and olive groves that carpet the landscape. Then, after climbing up through the woods to the Alpilles ridge, you can enjoy outstanding 360° views.
This walk is also known as “Le Rocher des Deux Trous” (the Rock with two holes) due to two big holes at the base of a crag on the heights: seen from far away, they are then invisible for long, before reappearing suddenly, when being very close. Near the end, you pass by the Greco-Roman site of Glanum: remains of a city that grew up 2,600 years ago are visible there.

Walking time : 3 hours
Rating : moderate (steep slopes and rugged terrain)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

Visits of Saint-Paul de Mausole and Glanum non included

            Van Gogh’s Provence
(Photographs of sceneries that could have inspired the Dutch painter)

 

 A nature walk en route to Les Baux de Provence
Half-day

During most of this scenic walk, starting from the Alpilles above St. Remy,  you keep all along the ridge, enjoying vistas in all directions. Suddenly, on the horizon, appears before you, among crags, the rock of Les Baux de Provence: a ruined château towering the tile roofs of the village’s stone housesPerched on a bluff facing the Alpilles, the citadel, was abandoned in the 1630s. For 400 years, it had been the symbol of the power and independence of the lords of Les Baux, Princes of Orange. The castle entrance and the few streets in the village are worthwile. Furthermore, a visit to Carrières de Lumières, a son et lumière projected onto the walls of a former quarry nearby, might be of interest for you.  

Walking time : 2.5 hours (point-to-point hike)
Rating : easy (rugged terrain)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

Visits of Château des Baux (fortress remains) and Carrières de Lumière are non included.

Les Opies, atop the jagged line of the Alpilles
Half-day

Les Alpilles seem to be an island in the middle of the plains: south, the Crau plain, and north, the southern bank of the Durance River near its confluence with the Rhône River.
From Les Opies, the top of the range, the 360 vision shows you the whole landscape of Provence: the Luberon mountains to the north-east, Mont Ventoux to the north and Montagne Sainte-Victoire to the south-east.
Starting from the pretty village of Eyguières, your guide first leads you through olive groves and vineyards to the excavation of a Gallo-Romance villa. This historical site was inhabited from the 1st-c. BC to the 9th-c. AD. Then, when entering the mountain range, your climb to the peak should be quite short; but you will face a few steep sections. Whatever it is, you can rest assured that the payoff from this short effort will be worth it!

Walking time : 3 hours
Rating : challenging (steep slopes and rugged terrain)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)
ace

 

THE ALPILLES, ST. REMY AND LES BAUX FULL DAY WALKING TOURS

 

 

 From St. Remy de Provence to Les Baux
Full Day

Leaving the medieval streets in St. Remy, you head to an even older quarter: Les Antiques. These are two Roman monuments among the best preserved: the Mausoleum and the Triumphal Arch that used to mark the entrance to the city of Glanum.
Walking through pines, on back roads and forest tracks, you then gently climb to the Alpilles ridge path. Up there, you can admire beautiful nature scenery all around. Following the main ridge, you gradually approach Les Baux de Provence. Built on a rocky spur, the ruined medieval castle suddenly appear. Once the fief of lords among the most powerful in the South of France, this site is something unique. The castle entrance and the few streets in the village are worthwile.
After those 4 hours of hiking in the Alpilles range, an additional visit to Carrières de Lumières, a son et lumière projected onto the walls of a former quarry, might be of interest for you.

Walking time : 4 hours (point-to-point hike)
Rating : moderate (rugged terrain)
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

Visits of Château des Baux (fortress remains) and Carrières de Lumière non included.

An exhilarating hike for adventurers by St Rémy
Full day

This outstandingly scenic one-day hike starts about 1km south of Saint-Paul de Mausole in St. Rémy de Provence. This monastary is famous owing to Vincent van Gogh‘s stay in 1889. While not very long, this walk is strenuous and suitable for hikers without fear of heights. Under the leadership of an expert guide, you hike challenging trails while enjoying spectacular scenery over the Alpilles Regional Natural Park.
Once you have left the Mont Gaussier, where the ladder trail with supportive handrail has been cut into a vertical cliff for about 200m, it is time for the last ascent. And you fairly quickly reach the Rock with two holes, an impressive stone formation, visible from St-Rémy, that van Gogh painted. You then walk down a dry valley back to town.

Walking time : 4.5 hours
Rating : challenging (steep slopes, rugged terrain and exposed pathways with supportive railings)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 7am – 11.30am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

If you have a fear of heights, you had better choose another hike.

The vista from the Alpilles mountains ridge
Full Day

To start this day hike, your expert guide can meet you in the old town of St. Remy de Provence. After one hour of gentle climbing, you are allowed to spend the following two hours walking on the Alpilles ridge, up to the top of Plateau de La Caume. On the way, in addition to the vast panorama, you discover the great variety of Mediterranean nature, especially flora: the famous rosemary, thyme and lavender, of course, but also dozens of other species that blossom early in the year. The last hour on the heights, at the foot of impressive cliffs, is surely the most challenging.
Back to the plain, it is worth stopping for a visit of Château Romanin, at the foot of the Alpilles. Your local guide can fix a guided tour of the cellar and a tasting of the wines (visit fee non included).

Walking time : 5.5 hours
Rating : challenging (steep slopes and rugged terrain)
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31