Provence is situated in the sun-blessed southeast corner of France, edged to the south by the Mediterranean. Formerly it was, to the French, a place of indolent country folk. To tourists, it was an idyllic spot, but one reserved for the rich or artistic. Today, it is, more than any other region, where the French would choose to live and work.
Provencals are the most generous and warmest hosts and there is an all pervading “Frenchness”, which means that people are polite and punctual. Traditions are important to the people and local crafts are not hobbies but well respected and time honored occupations. Relationships span generations in Provence.
Some of the most attractive architectural features of Provence are the perched villages. They rise like jagged summits on the hilltops where they were built for safety in the political turmoil of the Middle Ages. They kept vigil over the hinterland as well as the coast. They were built around castle keeps and wrapped in thick ramparts, a huddle of cobbled streets, steps, alleys and archways.
You will enjoy long trots and canters through the countryside that inspired Cezanne and Van Gogh and each day return to the mas for a warm homemade Provencal dinner served with wonderful French wine and the traditional Pastis.
Dates: April 12-17, April 19-24, April 26-May 1, May 3-8, May 26-31, Aug. 2-8, Aug. 9-14, Aug. 16-21, Aug. 23-28, Aug. 30-Sept. 4, Oct. 18-23, Oct. 25-30
Rates: $1,635.00 USD per person (Single Supplement: $380.00 USD)
- 4 nights accommodation
- 4.5 days of riding
- Horse and all tack
- All meals
- Wine with meals
- Luggage transfers
- Support Staff
- Guiding services
- All local taxes
- Travel insurance
- Gratuities for the team at the end of the stay
- Beverages outside of meals
- Visits or tips not outlined in the itinerary
Monday: From Lauris to Bonnieux. Transfer on Monday morning from the airport or train station to the Mas de Recaute Equestrian Center. You will have an introduction to the trail ride and lunch.
In the afternoon, you will be introduced to your horse and will start the trip westward through the Luberon rolling hills, towards the beautiful perched village of Bonnieux. The houses, all made with stones, form a striking harmony of earth-toned colors and shapes. Some superb residences dating back to the 16th, 17th, and 18th century serve as a reminder that Bonnieux was a wealthy village when this region, the Comtat Venaissin, belonged to the Popes. Several bishops also chose to live here and as you ride through the village streets you will no doubt marvel at the architecture and history on display.
Take a glimpse at Lacoste, the village of the sadly known Marquis de Sade. Beware and follow your guide very closely so you do not get lost anywhere near his castle. After the picturesque village of Bonnieux, the trail goes down in the Valley of Apt. Cherry orchards and vineyards then lead you to Bonnieux, where you will spend the night in a charming guesthouse (with swimming pool). Before dinner, visit to the famous village of Roussillon and its ocher cliffs.
Tuesday: From Bonnieux to Rustrel. Undulating hills covered with nice pine forests will take you towards Roussillon. You will ride among the ochre and will enjoy a couple of nice canters. The trail will then guide you to Gargas, a village well known for its rich fauna of fossils. Enjoy beautiful views on the perched village of Saint Saturnin-lès-Apt. Lunch in the pine forest.
In the afternoon you will go by the village of Villars, before heading to Rustrel, riding in the bed of the Doa River, a cool and beautiful trail. You will spend the night at a hotel in Rustrel and the horses will stay near the village.
Wednesday: From Rustrel to Cereste Rustrel is the gateway to the “Colorado Provencal”. In the morning you will spend some time among the amazing cliffs and hills of ochre. The colorful morning will totally amaze your senses.
Heading back to the foothills of the Luberon, the itinerary will then take you through the beautiful village of Viens. You will then ride down to the Calavon River. You will spend the night in a guesthouse or in a hotel in Cereste.
Thursday: From Cereste to Buoux. You will follow the foot of the Luberon, ride along vineyards, and all kind of fruit trees: cherry, apricot, peaches which are all blooming in April and May. You will cross by another charming perched village, Auribeau, before going down to the Aiguebrun River and ride down cliffs in a green canyon before arriving to a stone built hotel. The hotel is below big climbing cliffs, and you can relax in the swimming pool before dinner.
Friday: From Buoux to Lauris. You will ride up to the crests of the Luberon to discover an exceptional landscape and a commanding view of the Alps to the north, and of the Mediterranean to the south.
Then, you will ride down to Lourmarin. Picnic and visit the village and its 12th century castle, a charming Provencal village that inspired the famous American writer, Peter Mayle, who is now living near the village. You will then ride back to Mas de Recaute through the olive trees and cherry orchards, with nice views on the Sainte Victoire Mountain, “Cezanne’s mountain”.
Dinner at Mas de Recaute and overnight at Mas de Recaute or in a nearby hotel.
Saturday: End after breakfast, transfer to the airport or train station.