From: April 29 to May 7, 2018

Destination: Avignon, France

  • Colors of Provence

    Provence is surely one of France's most fabled regions. Flanked by the Alps to the north, Italy to the east, and the Mediterranean to the south, Provence is known for the incredible diversity that exists within its borders, its rich human and natural history, and its sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and utter charm. On this trip we will introduce you to all the fascination that Provence has to offer: the ancient settlement of Avignon, the tiny perched villages of the Luberon, the craggy limestone of the Alpilles, and Mont Ventoux, an inspiration for Van Gogh (and us!). We will combine scenic hikes with visits to village markets, stays at French inns, a little culture, and a chance to sample all the fantastic tastes of the south of France. Maximum group size: 12
  • Sunday, April 29: Arrival Day We meet in Avignon at our hotel at 6:00pm to start our Provencal adventure! We'll share a welcome and introductions, looking out over the town of Avignon. Avignon, home to seven successive popes from 1309 to 1377, is one of the few French cities where the original ramparts are still largely intact. We then go out to enjoy the first of many delicious dinners at a local restaurant. We'll spend tonight in Avignon in the heart of the walled city. Overnight Palais des Papes D

    Monday, April 30: Avignon to Saint Remy In the morning we will take a short tour. Our local guide will take us around historic Avignon, pointing out the Pope's Palace, the famed 12th century Pont d'Avignon bridge, and many other treasures hidden within the 14th century ramparts. We then transfer by taxi from Avignon to Saint Rémy de Provence (20 minutes) where we will be staying for the next two nights. Our warmup walk this afternoon takes us from the center of Saint Remy and follows the Van Gogh path - with a picnic along the trails - sprinkled with enamel reproductions of the paintings he did while in Saint Remy, and facing the very countryside that inspired his works. Dinner is in town. Approx walking 4 miles. Overnight Hotel du Soleil B, L, D

    Tuesday, May 1: Alpilles hike and Les Baux de Provence Leaving the hotel by foot we climb up into the Alpilles, literally "baby Alps", an isolated mountain of craggy limestone in an otherwise flat Rhone Valley. We walk on a broad path along the crest, in a countryside of surreal limestone formations. The views extend above the olive groves and throughout the flatlands of the Camargue, often to the Mediterranean Sea. To the north we’ll notice the monolithic Pope's Palace and all the mountain ranges that will be our playground over our week's adventure, with the ever-imposing Mont Ventoux as the backdrop. We follow the scenic ridgeline and enjoy a gourmet picnic before dipping down to the village of Les Baux de Provence. Listed among the most beautiful villages in France, Les Baux is set defiantly above the plains, a few-dozen homes perched atop the craggy limestone. We’ll have some free time to explore the village before returning to Saint Rémy for dinner and our 2nd night. Walking time: approx. 3.5 hours walking, 7 miles, 700ft elevation gain. Overnight Hotel du Soleil B, D

    Wednesday, May 2:  Buoux Exploration and Hike We start the day with a visit to the St Remy market, where we will pick out our food for today's picnic lunch. It will be hard to decide between all the delicious and tempting options from dozens of stalls selling countless gourmet delights. A morning transfer (1 hour by taxi) takes us into the heart of the Luberon mountains, setting of Peter Mayle's "A Year in Provence", and home to some of the most stunning villages and scenery in Provence. We begin our walk in one of those stunning villages: Bonnieux. After exploring its labyrinth of cobbled streets, and admiring the views from its 12th century church, we set off on the trails. We follow old-stone walls through oak forests, and admire centuries-old dry-stone huts. Crossing the hollow that divides the Luberon in two distinct mountains we walk high above a lavender plantation. We pass the lost village of Buoux before walking atop the cliffs above the Aiguebrun river. Soon from high above we spot our hotel: the Auberge des Seguins, as far off the beaten-track as you can get, hidden in the heart of the Luberon mountains. Set in a 17th century hamlet, literally at the end of the road, and at the crossroads of the most beautiful walking paths in the Luberon, Les Seguins will be our home for the next two nights. Walking time: approx. 5 hours walking, 8 miles, 1000ft elevation gain. Overnight Auberge des Seguins B, L, D

    Thursday, May 3: Buoux Fort and the Luberon  We set off by foot from our hotel and walk to the 3000 year-old Buoux Fort, rich in history and surprises. With sheer cliffs on all sides and outstanding views, we explore the ruins of many different civilizations that sought refuge atop this rocky crag. From Medieval ramparts and churches to Roman silos and watchtowers, and even Celto-Ligurian ruins, the site is fascinating. along the Aiguebrun river. For those who wish to continue hiking, we can climb up to the rounded crest of the Luberon moutains, carpeted in thyme and in wildflowers, from where on a clear day the views extend to the chain of the Alps to the north, and even to the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It’s also possible not to hike today after visiting Buoux Fort and instead relax by the riverside. Walking time: approx. 4 hours walking, 5 mi, 1000 ft elevation gain. Overnight Auberge des Sequins B, L, D

    Friday, May 4: Rhone Valley A morning transfer (1 hour, 15 minutes) takes us out of the Luberon and towards the Rhone Valley. We begin our walk above the vines, set beside the Dentelles de Montmirail mountain range. "Dentelle" means lacework, attributed to these sharp, teeth-like limestone formations that soar above the Rhone Valley, creating improbable designs. We walk through a pure "garrigue", vegetation of sparse brush on the austere limestone. We reach the town of Vaison la Romaine, our home for the next two nights. Vaison has three distinct faces: Roman, harboring France's largest archeological site; medieval: a pristine group of centuries-old homes set protected above the Ouveze river up to its castle ruins; and modern: bustling cafes and restaurants set around the refurbished main square. The three facets mix harmoniously, and offer many treasures to explore. Walking time: approx. 5 hours walking, 7 miles, 1000ft elevation gain. Overnight Hotel le Burrhus B, L, D

    Thursday, May 5: Seguret A short morning transfer takes us to the village of Seguret (15 minutes). A few narrow cobbled streets with old fountains and washbasins, Seguret’s beauty remains timeless and authentic, and definitely off the tourist-radar. We walk on tracks and country lanes above and through the vines of the Rhone valley. We enter the lands of Gigondas, world-renowned for their powerful red wines, and enjoy a wine-tasting en route. Our path leads us directly below the imposing limestone cliffs of the Dentelles de Montmirail, set above the gnarled vines. We end up in the heart of the village of Gigondas, explore the cobbled streets and enjoy the views from the church that crowns the village: a veritable sea of vines stretching into the horizon, the second largest wine-growing area in the world (second only to Bordeaux, also in France). Back in Vaison we trade a traditional dinner for a special experience on the terrace of our hotel, overlooking the main square. It just so happens that the nation's best cheese shop is in Vaison, along with some pretty great wines too. We add some other goodies in the mix for a memorable evening of wines and cheeses and laughter. Walking time: approx. 4 hours walking, 7 miles, 900ft elevation gain. Overnight Hotel le Burrhus B, L, D

    Sunday, May 6: Mont Ventoux Have we saved the best for last? Only you can decide. A short morning transfer (30 minutes) takes us to the upper slopes of Mont Ventoux, the mountain that has loomed in the distance the entire week. We quickly trade Mediterranean forest for spruce and fir, beginning our walk at the sometimes-ski-resort of Mont Serein. The fir and spruce give way to larch, then mountain pine, and then no trees at all: a bare-limestone-otherworldly-moonscape shared only by the mountain goats robust enough to brave the steep slopes. Nearing the summit we'll encounter alpine and even arctic flowers and what is arguably one of the best panoramas on earth. Though Ventoux is not nearly as high as its Alpine neighbors, it's a mountain set on its own. The views extend to the entire chain of Alps to the north, and to the vast and open Rhône Valley to the south, often as far as the Mediterranean Sea. We'll have a celebratory lunch at the summit before returning to Avignon. After time to stroll through town, we'll enjoy one last dinner together. Walking time: approx. 3 hours walking, 4 miles, +/- 1600ft elevation gain. B, L, D Overnight Palais des Papes

    Monday, May 7: Departure Day Sadly, your trip ends after breakfast. B
  • $2975  (Click here for travel discounts) $400 deposit. Single supplement (only required if you want a room to yourself) is $420. You can read our cancellation policies here

    Trip Includes

    • A local Provencal guide and an Adventures in Good Company group leader
    • Eight nights double occupancy accommodation with ensuite bathrooms
    • All meals from dinner the first night through breakfast the last, with the exception of one lunch
    • All activities on the itinerary
    • All transportation from the time you arrive to the time you leave Avignon
    Not included: transportation to Avignon, alcoholic beverages (wine is included with dinner on a couple of nights), one lunch, guide gratuities
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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    We can always accommodate vegetarian, gluten-free, and omnivore diets. On most trips we can also accommodate lactose-free, vegan, and other restricted diets, although in some locations the availability of special food may be limited. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Hiking in all the small mountain ranges of Provence: the Alpilles, Luberon, Dentelles de Montmirail, and Mont Ventoux 
  • Experiencing the light of Provence, which has drawn artists and photographers forever
  • Savoring the fresh fruits and vegetables, breads and pastries, red wines and olive oils that Provence is famous for
  • Visiting tiny villages perched on rocky cliffs and walking through landscape dotted with cypress trees
  • Enjoying lively cafes while watching life pass by

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