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

 

 

 

 

 

Half-Day Hikes                                                                                               Full Day Hikes        

                        

 

Provence

Around the rock fortress of Les Baux
Half-day

Here is one of our many hikes that reach places of historical interest as well as natural beauty. The small range of low mountains called the Alpilles rises between Avignon and Arles. You can appreciate there a gentle nature walk all around the rock spur of Les Baux de Provence. This spectacular site is one of France’s most famous hilltop village. The numerous small roof tiles of its stone houses are towered by the remnants of its medieval castle. This fortress is the symbol of lords who where among the most powerful of their times. During this circular stroll, you easily reach two different viewpoints, enjoying breathless panoramas: one from the north of the site, another one from the east. 

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 five years in France, Vincent van Gogh spent one year in St. Remy de Provence, that lies only 12.5 miles from Avignon. It is in the old town that this beautiful hike begins and gets its name from the fact that it takes you to many of the places where the Dutch painter set up his easel ; he painted here more than 70 works, transfixed by the luminous nature sceneries. With your local guide, you leave the town through plains where vineyards and olive groves carpet the landscape. As you climb up to the Alpilles crest, in the middle of a pine grove, you can soon enjoy outstanding 360° views.

This nature walk could also have been called “Le Rocher des Deux Trous” (the Rock with two holes) due to a cliff: at its base, two big holes, that can be seen from far away, are then invisible for long, before reappearing suddenly, as you are getting very close. Just before the end of the walk, you pass near the ancient site of Glanum: there can be seen Greco-Roman remains of a city that developed 2,600 years ago.

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 near St. Remy, from a pass on the road crossing the Alpilles range, you keep all along the ridge with your local guide, enjoying vistas in all directions. Suddenly, on the horizon, as you emerge from a thicket of pines, appears before you, among crags, the rock of Les Baux de Provence : a ruined medieval castle and the numerous small roof tiles of the village’s stone housesPerched on a bluff facing the Alpilles crest, the citadel, has been abandoned since the 1630s. It had been the symbol of the power and independence of the lords of Baux, Princes of Orange, for four centuries. The castle entrance and the few streets in the village are worthwile. An additional visit to Carrières de Lumières, a son et lumière projected onto the walls of a former quarry at the foot of the village, might be of interest for you.  

Point-to-point hike.

Walking time : 2.5 hours
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 non included.

 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 gently climb to the Alpilles ridge’s 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, 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.

Point-to-point hike.

Walking time : 4 hours
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 hike starts about 1km south of St. Rémy de Provence from Saint-Paul de Mausole, famous for Vincent van Gogh‘s stay in 1889. While not very long, it is strenuous and suitable for those without fear of heights. Under the leadership of an expert guide, you hike challenging trails and enjoy 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 the 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 to begin with. On the way, in addition to the vast panorama, you can discover the great variety of Mediterranean nature, especially flora : not only the famous rosemary, thyme and lavender, but also dozens of other species that blossom early in the year. The last hour on the crest, 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 if you are interested.

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

Guided tour of Château Romanin non included.