For 2020 departures our trip inclusions are changing - please contact us for full details
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 14th century right up to modern-day, bestselling author Peter Mayle.
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.
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 19th century 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.
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.
Arrive at your hotel, located just north of the town of Pernes-les-Fontaines.
You stay at the Hotel l'Hermitage (breakfast at the hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant)
Today we'll take you to medieval 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.
You stay at Les Sables d'Ocre (breakfast included)
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.
You stay at Les Sable d'Ocres (breakfast included)
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.
You stay at the Mas de la Senancole (breakfast and evening meal)
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.
You stay at the Mas de la Senancole (breakfast and evening meal included)
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.
You stay at the Hotel du Poete (breakfast included)
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.
You stay at the Hotel du Poete (breakfast included)
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.
You stay at the Hotel l'Hermitage (breakfast at the hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant)
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.
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.
This 19th century residence, transformed into a hotel, feels like an old family home. It is set amidst 2 hectares of grounds bedecked with fountains, many species of trees, and an orangery. The Hotel l'Hermitage is about 4km outside Pernes-les-Fontaines.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
NEARBY:Just a 10 minute walk outside Roussillon, this modern hotel is surrounded by landscaped lawns and has a relaxing pool area. The good sized bedrooms are decorated in rich Provencal colours.
Located in Les Imberts, just a few kilometres from the famous perched village of Gordes, with its mediaeval castle, and the Village des Bories open-air museum, is the Mas de la Senancole. Along with a garden and a heated outdoor pool, the property also offers guests a spa featuring a sauna, hot tub and massage room. Each room is decorated in the Provencal style and features air conditioning, tv and a minibar, some also have an outdoor seating area. Next door is the hotel's restaurant L'Estellan which serves regional dishes with a contemporary twist.
Room upgrades: Room with Terrace or Roussillon Room.
Terrace rooms feature direct access to the outside and have a small seating area with sun-loungers.
NEARBY:Owned by a celebrated wine producer and occupying a converted water mill by the River Sorgue, is the wonderful Hotel du Poete. Offering modern rooms and a peaceful atmosphere while at the same time being centrally located in the popular village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, the hotel also has an outdoor swimming surrounded by millstreams which have been turned into a tranquil water garden.
Room upgrades: Melodie Room, Symphonie Room, Prelude (Suite Junior) or Adagio (Suite Junior).
The Melodie rooms are slightly larger. Some have twin beds and some also face the garden. The Symphonie room 'Au Fil de l'Eau' is larger again and features a lovely terrace overlooking the water garden. The Junior suites overlook the garden and the swimming pool and are larger again, each having a small lounge area. The Adagio room also features a balcony with seating.
If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.
Le Grimaldi has 46 individually decorated rooms all equipped with air-conditioning, satellite tv, minibar, safe and hairdryer.
NEARBY:Situated just inside the city walls and a stone's throw from the station, the Hotel Bristol sits in the historic centre of Avignon. It is located along the main street which leads to the city's main attractions; the Place de l'Horloge, the Palais des Papes and the famous Pont d'Avignon - all within a 15 minute walk. It is also ideally located to do some shopping! Inside, the lounge with its thick carpet and leather armchairs provides a cosy atmosphere. The rooms are modern and offer a variety of bed and bathroom options. There is no restaurant here but with such a huge selection right on the doorstep, you only have to step outside to explore the numerous possibilities.
Situated by the well-known old port - which gives the hotel its name - the Hotel Carre Vieux Port is in the perfect location to make the most of this vibrant city. The hotel has cosy, modern rooms with contemporary bathrooms and fixtures.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
Fabulous "Landscapes of the Luberon" walking holiday with Headwater in the south of France. Excellent clean, comfortable and welcoming hotels, great walks with very good, accurate self guided notes amidst beautiful scenery and villages that were a joy to visit and stroll through in the sunshine. Rep was very efficient, friendly and helpful and went out of his way to accommodate us. We added a couple of very enjoyable short city breaks in Avignon and Nice at either end of the holiday. In short a very varied, memorable and wonderful holiday which we really enjoyed.
Walking notes excellent in terms of directions but could have much more detail of places of interests passing through. Hotels never boring, all have character and different. Travel - should be better informed with more options offered inc train.
This was one of the best holiday we've ever had, Provence is amazing, really beautiful and stunning. The hotels were wonderful, as were the walks, really enjoyed them. We would recommend everyone to visit this fantastic region of France and travel with a fantastic holiday company Headwater, as they really have it all so well organised and take good care of you. Thank you to all at Headwater, we shall be planning next summer's walking holiday soon.
Excellent organisation, accommodation, enjoyable walks and fantastic local rep. Would not hesitate to use Headwater again.
Wonderful area, ideal for walking with hotels of character and many places to visit.
Our first Headwater holiday: beautiful, fascinating countryside, and comfortable, friendly hotels with superb pools to relax in at the end of a day's walking.
If you just want to hike / trek without driving, this is definitely a good choice. However, it would be nice for Headwater to pick a hotel close to the village such that guests can easily stroll around on the rest day rather than book a taxi in order to go some places.
Our first trip to Provence. Lovely walking, hotels and food. It was hot!
A picturesque part of France, with vineyards and Lavender fields, Ochre coloured soil, and Rose wines to complement flavourful food. Heaven.
The holiday exceeded all our expectations! Headwater had organised everything perfectly and there were no problems at all. The hotels were all extremely comfortable, most had large grounds for you to spend time in. The swimming pools were a welcome treat after a day of walking. Breakfasts were all delicious, with a large variety of food to choose from. The instructions for the walks were well explained and my daughter and I had no problems following them. We walked through magnificent scenery, and visited beautiful old towns. I would highly recommend this walk and Headwater. I will definitely be travelling with Headwater again in the future.
From the start to the end this was a very relaxing holiday, every day somewhere new to visit, great hotels and swimming pools, and lovely food.
Excellent - well organised - good hotels
Enjoyable walking with impeccable backup. The icing on the cake for us was exploring fascinating villages on the non-walking days.
An excellent experience in a lovely part of France.
See the inside of the country without the hassle bussel of roads and busy towns plenty of fresh air and excellent hotels and refreshlng swim when you arrive
Easy walking in an attractive area. First class hotels, all with pools.Standard of food in the local restaurants was high. Good to be able to visit Avignon and Marseille as add ons to the holiday. Very hot, even in June this year.
This was our fifth holiday with Headwater - four of them walking holidays. All have been absolutely excellent but this Provence holiday was probably the best of all. The area was spectacularly beautiful and the walks testing enough but not too testing in view of the hot weather we experienced. As ever, the arrangements were superb and the choice of hotels excellent. All of a very high standard with lovely staff, good breakfasts and great swimming pools. Evening restaurants were a mix of Headwater selected and our own choices. We ate and drank well throughout the week. The reps James and Beckie were delightful and helped us whenever necessary. My wife and I were sad to be coming home and will be with Headwater again next year. No better compliment.
Excellent holiday overall. Well organised with great staff. Many thanks.
We have now done 8 walking holidays with Headwater and we have never been disappointed. This was no exception. There were some niggles more to do with the French footpath designations and markers than walking notes, but the region is awesome, the village of Fontaine de Vaucluse stunning. We would return to this region but would come by car as there is so much to see. Having a car means on stay put or rainy days exploration is possible.
There needs to be some more communication with hotels as to willingness to make picnics. It is fine for the notes to say ask them to provide a picnic but if they they don,t and you have not been able to buy food because village has no shop ie Les Imberts then you have a 8 to 9 mile walk with no food!!
Though it is occasionally nice to visit other restaurants we felt having to pay for 4 evening meals with what we have paid for the holiday seems a bit steep certainly compared to some of our previous experiences
Overall we still love the Headwater experience
Great hotels and views. Walking infused with smell if hot pine and wild lavender.
Provence is a wonderfully scenic area and walking independently and at your own pace is a great way to experience the history and the variety of views. The Headwater formulae works excellently!
You have improved the standard of hotels used and Laura and Tim looked after us very well.
Our Headwater walking holiday contained the perfect mixture of beautiful and challenging walks with comfortable hotels and delicious French meals. We felt we were able to escape from the well-trodden tourist trails and really explore the countryside, knowing our luggage was being taken care of and there would be a crystal-clear swimming pool awaiting us at the end of another hot day.
Varied walking in superb countryside through pine forests, cherry orchards, lavender fields and vineyards, all of which which gave us a wonderful experience of Provence in all its glory
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.
Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.
For 2020 departures our trip inclusions are changing - please contact us for full details.
This 8 night self-guided walking holiday includes:
Hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of hotels
All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
Services of your local Headwater Representative
Headwater Wine Collection Service
Route directions and maps
Standard transfers at the start/end of the trip
Luggage transfers between hotels
How to book:
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Please contact us for child prices.
Self-guided walking Managed locally by Headwater appointed rep.
Every two days from 24th Jul 2019 to 22nd Oct 2020, for 8 nights. All dates are subject to availability, please contact us to check.
All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
Transfers included from Avignon TGV train station at 13:19, and back to Avignon TGV train station at 11:45.
Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for . Simply complete the form below (fields marked * are mandatory) and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.
Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 to discuss your requirements in more detail.