For many people Provence is epitomised by the Côte d’Azur and its bustling coastline. But in fact Provence is a large area extending all the way from the Mediterranean coast up to the mountains of the Vercors, with many wild gorges and  peaks, dotted with charming villages and ancient pathways. There is a wealth of varied hiking of all levels, as well as vast cultural and historical interest and the best wine and food in the world!!

This Hidden Provence  trip is based in the northern part of the region, in the department of the Drôme. We will have 2 hotel bases, one in the rugged St Ferreol Valley and the other in the Forest of Saou, an area renowned for its fabulous hiking and spectacular views.

Both lodgings are chosen for their authenticity: family run establishments offering a warm welcome and excellent local cuisine.

This is a week of very varied spectacular walking in wild and remote mountains. However, we will also take the time to sample all that is good about Provence, from the wine and olive oil to the historical villages of the Saou region to Provençal markets to the lavender culture out towards the Rhône Valley.


The aim is to explore as much as possible this fascinating region. As usual I am keeping my programme flexible and not giving away too many secrets. Suffice to say we’ll do fantastic walks which will usually take us to remote little known peaks with amazing views.  A day mid-week will be kept hiking-free so that we can visit different places. This will be the day that we relocate from St Ferreol to Saou. 

Here's what they said the last time I ran this trip:
Thanks for all you did to make last week such a special one.We found all the walks great fun;and you made the “rest day” a real treat.
Both hotels were outstanding ,the more so for being so different. At St Ferreol .Veronique and Alain 
were extremely welcoming and attentive hosts in their characteristically French auberge and we would certainly like to stay there on a future trip. Similarly,Anne, the owner at Saou, was kind and welcoming in her rather more luxurious house;and her food was imaginative and tasty at every meal. And ,of course,both areas were beautiful for walking in the spring sunshine.So we’d definitely come back for more on a future trip.Taxi to Avignon worked well and the driver spoke good English and was happy to chat.We visited the Palais des Papes and walked around the old town,had lunch at a pavement café."


Price: 1310€

Date: Meet 19 May 2018

Meeting place: Avignon TGV station

Travel: Various airport options, the best of which are Lyon, Nimes, Marseille and Paris. Onward travel to Avignon is by TGV train whichever airport you choose. Another option for travel from the UK is on the TGV train to Avignon. Changing at Lille in the north makes this very simple. I will pick up at Avignon TGV station. A taxi return will be organised.

Accommodation: The holiday price includes bed and breakfast in the hotel based on double occupancy. Picnics and drinks are not included throughout.  The return transfer is not included.

Equipment: You'll just need a day sac so you shouldn't be carrying too much. I strongly recommend trekking poles as the terrain can be quite steep, especially in the beech forests.

Difficulty: 2 The trip is graded  2 smiley faces which means the walks will be reasonably challenging but we won’t go too fast – perfect for those who really enjoy hillwalking. Be ready for ups and downs as usual and bring walking shoes with good soles. The weather should be nice and sunny but it can rain (otherwise there wouldn’t be any flowers or vines!). I expect to walk in shorts or light trousers and a T shirt, and to be fairly comfortable, not too hot. Just right in fact!