Headwater - Landscapes of the Luberon Self-Guided Walk Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided
Destinations:
France
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
W08PL
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

9 Days Flight Inclusive
9 Days Land only
Min age: 8

Trip Overview

This 8-night walking holiday is based in the glorious Luberon National Park, taking in the lush Provencal countryside and its world-famous Villages Perche, with stunning views across mountains, valleys and plains. This is a land whose natural light and lavender-scented summers have inspired generations of poets, painters and writers from Petrarch in the C14 right up to modern-day, bestselling author Peter Mayle. 

At a Glance

  • 8 Nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Departs Every two days from 07 Apr '19 to 22 Oct '19
  • Headwater wine service 
  • Route notes and maps provided 
  • Luggage transfers between hotels 
  • Walking transfers

Trip Highlights

  • Delightful walking through the timeless Luberon landscape
  • Heady mix of lavender, wild herbs, olives, pine and colourful flowers
  • Dazzling ochre cliffs; stunningly beautiful villages; endless swaying vines; superb views of Mont Ventoux
  • Wonderful regional wines and classic Provencal cuisine
  • Quality hotels full of local character, all with swimming pools

Is This Trip for You?

Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/moderate)
Average daily distance on move on days: 14.25km (9 miles). 
No. of dayswalking: 4
Terrain: Varied walking, mostly along marked paths (with some rocky sections) and quiet country lanes. There are a few ascents and some short sections where the surface may be loose so walking boots are highly recommended. From early July until end September, the local fire authorities restrict access to forested areas after 12 noon so early starts (8am) are advised.

Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to walk independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can walk at your own pace. 

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. 

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Your itinerary is a real treat for the senses, starting in the striking perched village of St-Saturnin, nestled on the edge of the Plateau de Vaucluse. Heading south you'll pass cherry orchards (with white cherry blossom in spring) and take in wonderful aromas of pine forests, lavender and wild herbs, before arriving in Roussillon with its 17 colours of once-quarried ochre. Vineyards and olive groves dot your route as you head towards Les Imberts and the charming village of Gordes whose architectural delights and tiny streets full of shops and cafes are just perfect for exploring. With the Luberon hills providing an enviable backdrop, you'll make your way to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, with the option to visit the pretty riverside town of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, before heading north across the Vaucluse plateau for your final day and stunning views of Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail. 

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. A local representative is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. Please note: the walking and luggage transfers included in this tour are subject to a minimum of 2 people (in total) booked on the departure. A supplement (payable in advance) to cover these transfers and sole occupancy of a room will apply if only 1 person travelling on a departure date.

Adult min age:
18
Child min age:
8

Child max age:

17

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Pernes-Les-Fontaines
End City:
Pernes-Les-Fontaines

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Pernes-Les-Fontaines

    Arrive at your hotel, located just north of the town of Pernes-les-Fontaines. (Staying at Hotel l'Hermitage)

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Pernes-Les-Fontaines to Roussillon

    Today we'll take you to mediaeval St-Saturnin on the edge of the Plateau de Vaucluse. Start the day with a stroll through its narrow streets up to the sprawling chateau ruins which overlook the village and offer your first superb views over the entire Luberon valley. Then head south through classic Provencal countryside - vineyards, cherry orchards, fig trees, olive groves and fragrant lavender - enjoying a magnificent panorama across the Apt plain. Pass the village of Gargas, home to the vast Ochre Mines of Bruoux and continue through pine forest along ochre-red tracks, before descending into Roussillon. (Staying at Les Sables d'Ocre)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 16 km / 10 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 3

    At Roussillon

    Roussillon is famous for its streaked ochre cliffs and is the starting point of the Ochre Trail. It's also considered one of the Plus Beaux Villages of France, with the winding streets full of brightly coloured houses in wonderful shades of red, pink, orange and yellow. You could, perhaps, visit the perched village of Bonnieux, full of art galleries, pavement cafes and little restaurants just perfect for lunch. (Staying at Les Sable d'Ocres)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Roussillon to Les Imberts

    You set off today through vineyards, passing the Domaine de Tara wine estate before following footpaths and quiet country lanes with fabulous views south across the Luberon valley and north to the perched village of Gordes. After a short climb along pine-scented footpaths, you'll descend into Les Imberts where your hotel awaits with a swimming pool and spa. (Staying at Mas de la Senancole)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 16 km / 10 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 5

    At Les Imberts

    Just a few kilometres away is the picturesque hilltop village of Gordes, one of the region's most famous and another of France's Most Beautiful Villages. Made up of wonderfully photogenic houses, terraces and gardens, Gordes is dominated by its Renaissance chateau, which also houses a museum. Explore its streets, crammed with cafes, restaurants and shops. (Staying at Mas de la Senancole)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 6

    Les Imberts to Fontaine-De-Vaucluse

    You begin today following quiet lanes past olive groves and vineyards before arriving at the mediaeval village of Cabrieres-d'Avignon with its golden stone houses and old castle (now a private residence). You'll then head up into the hills under the shade of beautifully scented pine forests, past a section of the 27km-long Mur de la Peste, a wall built by locals in 1720 in a vain attempt to stop the spread of the Plague. Continue over the north edge of the valley for spectacular views of the whole Luberon. Descending, the views switch to look north across the Vaucluse, as you head into Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. (Staying at Hotel du Poete)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 11 km / 7 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4
  • Day 7

    At Fontaine-De-Vaucluse

    Today you can explore the village, home to the Fountain of the Vaucluse (the biggest spring in France and the fifth largest in the world). You'll also find the crumbling ruins of the castle of the Bishop of Cavaillon, a museum about the Resistance and a number of lovely cafes and restaurants. Or why not visit the 'island city' of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, surrounded by the clear waters of the Sorgue River? With its many riverside shops and cafes it makes a good choice for lunch. (Staying at Hotel du Poete)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Fontaine-De-Vaucluse to Pernes-Les-Fontaines

    Ascend through pine and oak forest, then out across the Plateau de Vaucluse for stunning views of Mont Ventoux and the jagged peaks of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Head down through cherry orchards to popular St-Didier; perhaps enjoy a drink before your transfer to Pernes-les-Fontaines. (Staying at Hotel l'Hermitage)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 14 km / 9 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 9

    Leave Pernes-Les-Fontaines

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels

We've hand-picked high quality hotels for you to stay in, all of which boast swimming pools in their extensive grounds. Your accommodation includes a C19 stately manor house with its own orangery and swimming pool; a charming hotel with heated outdoor pool and spa facilities including a sauna, hot tub and massage room; and a converted water mill whose millstreams are now a tranquil water garden. We've included four evening meals, so you're free to choose from some great nearby restaurants on your remaining nights.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from 467,36 €

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals

Whilst not the most sophisticated of the French cuisines, most dishes use the excellent tasting local fresh produce. Cooking à la Provençale uses local olive oil, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines and wild herbs, all ripened by the sun to give an intensity of flavour. You can browse among the colours and smells, and make picnic purchases at the
lively local markets.The proximity of the sea makes fish and seafood an important element of the local cuisine. Regional dishes include the famous bouillabaisse, a rich fish stew served with aioli and rouille; the bourride – a lighter version of the bouillabaisse; pistou soupe (summer vegetable soup with a blend of garlic, basil and olive oil); authentic ratatouille, large colourful salads an delicious courgette flower fritters. Tapenade and anchoïade are savoury dips made with local olives and anchovies; pissaladière is an onion tart with olives and anchovies and is very likely to have come from the Romans.

Making wine, particularly rosé, has been Provence’s specialty for a long time. The grapes and soil throughout the region vary a lot, but the hot, sunny and dry climate is ideal for the local wines. The local red grape varieties are used because they cope well with strong sun exposure and poor soils: Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Tibouren and Calitor. The rosés are made out of the same varieties but the musts only macerate for a few hours so the fruits’ skin don’t darken the juice or release too many tannins

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

From early July until end September, the local fire authorities restrict access to forested areas after 12 noon so early starts (8am) are advised.

Please note that September is the hunting season in Provence. We provide reflective day-glo jackets for customers wishing to walk through the woods/forests on the main hunting days (typically two per week); however alternative road routes will also be offered.

Weather Information

Temperatures tend to average around 30°C  during the summer months and fall to an average of 15°C during winter. The infamous Mistral wind can have a great effect on the temperatures, particularly in the western part of Provence. 

July and August are very warm with little to no rainfall. Temperatures tend to climb up to 30°C during the day. At night it cools off considerably, especially on the coast, near a lake or in the mountains. In general, the farther away from the coast the more oppressive the heat becomes during the day. 

The months around the high season are the most pleasant (May, June, September, October) with average temperatures between 22°C and 27°C . October is the most uncertain month of the four, but of course it can also be a splendid month with warm, sunny days and practically no rain.

Joining Instructions

Prices include our standard flights/transfers

British Airways Heathrow to Marseille 07:20/10:15 then rail Marseille to Avignon TGV 12:39/13:19 and transfer to hotel 40 minutes. Return: Transfer to station 40 minutes then rail Avignon TGV to Marseille 12:43/13:25 then British Airways Marseille to Heathrow 16:50/17:50. Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Standard transfers
Transfers included from Avignon TGV train station at 13:19, and back to Avignon TGV train station at 11:50.

Location start:
Pernes-Les-Fonaines
Location end:
Pernes-Les-Fonaines

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Waterproofs
  • Warm jumper/fleece
  • Suncream
  • Water bottle (1 litre) you will be able to refill each day at the accommodation
  • Walking boots

Optional Equipment

  • Swimming Costume

Reading List

  • Michelin Green Guides: Provence
  • The Rough Guide to Provence and the Côte d’Azur
  • Lonely Planet: Provence and the Côte d’Azur

Practical Information

Passport

France

Most nationalities, including British, require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

France

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

France

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

France's Timezone:
Europe/Paris CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

France's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Money

France's Currency

The national currency of France is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some Euros cash with you in case you can't get to a bank at the start of the trip. Cards are widely accepted. 

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will need spending money for meals not included in the itinerary and all drinks. We suggest €25 per day to cover a few drinks if not then €10 per day. On the days where lunch or dinner is not included expect to spend €10-€15 for lunch and €15-€35 for dinner.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.