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. It’s the area that captivated both Cezanne and Picasso with its contrasting landscapes – the dazzling white of the limestone cliffs, the azure blue of the Mediterranean, the dense and green pine forests – a true natural palate.
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.
2023 Dates: Oct. 29-Nov. 3
2023 Rates: $1,955.00 USD per person (Single Supplement: $395.00 USD)
$380.00 USD per person supplement for 3 riders
$760.00 USD per person supplement for 2 riders
$1,500.00 USD per person supplement for 1 rider
2024 Dates: March 24-29, May 19-24, Nov. 3-8
2024 Rate: $2,095.00 USD per person sharing (Single Supplement: $395.00 USD)
$550.00 USD per person supplement for 3 riders
$1,580.00 USD per person supplement for 2 riders
- 5 nights accommodation
- 4 days of riding
- Horse and all tack
- All meals
- Wine with meals
- Airport/train station transfers at pre set time
- 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
After pick up at the airport or train station, riders will gather at your lovely French guesthouse late in the afternoon. You will have an introduction to your accommodation, an aperitif in front of the fireplace, and presentation of the ride followed by a gourmet dinner.
In the morning, you will meet your equine partner and “get acquainted” on an introductory trail ride of about 2 hours in the vineyards and foothills surrounding the Farm. You will see White Oaks, olive trees and the great perfume filled countryside of Provence.
Enjoy a French lunch on the grounds of the Farm after which, in the afternoon the group will load the horses in the truck and depart for Saint-Paul-les-Durance, an old river port used by the Romans to transport wood and other items to the Rhone, delta and Marseille from the Alps.
A wonderful dinner and accommodation at your hotel end your first full day in this wonderful area of France which was also the shooting place for two famous provencal movies, part of the French culture: “Jean de Florette” and “Manon des Sources”, movies adapted from the novels of famous writer Marcel Pagnol. These two movies are a great way to prepare for your trip ahead of time!
Your ride today will explore deep into the typical Provencal forest - wonderful aromas of pine, citrus and rosemary will delight you as your horse marches quietly among the needle strewn floor. The remains of the old Verdon canal, built in 1865 and intended to supply Aix-en-Provence and its many fountains is the first thing you'll see. Old sheep stations and Roman ruins decorate your progress toward the northern slope of the Sainte Victoire - your destination.
After a well earned break on the shores of Lac du Bimont, you wind through the broom which hides the path and reach Vauvenargues and its castle where Pablo Picasso is buried. You'll leave the horses for the night and transfer by car to your accommodation and a well earned dinner.
After your breakfast, you will transfer to Vauvenargues to meet back up with your horse. On mounting, you'll head out to explore the northern slope of Sainte Victoire and make your way to the Sinne Observatory and the Auzon - well in the heart of the Provence scrubland - a place that once welcomed pilgrims but is now home to herds of free roaming sheep.
Folloing the Gardiole Forest, you reach the Vacon stream and head toward the village of Rians which was a key crossroads between the Alps and the coast. Tradition has it that Hannibal used this route before crossing the Alps to conquer Rome!
Night at the hotel and a lovely meal in a restaurant in Rians.
The vines of Rians give way to the southern face of the Sainte Victoire Mountain - it's amazing to see it from all of these angles, one that most don't have the opportunity to do! You'll look up to a sheer limestone wall and the villages bordered by the red clay soil - so many colors......it's easy to see why Cezanne loved this area!
Crossing the Puyloubier you'll wind your way around to reach Beaurecueil, near the village of Chateauneuf le Rouge where you'll leave your horse and enjoy a nice evening in the hotel and dinner in the restaurant.
Mounting up for your last day of riding, you continue to circumnavigate Sainte Victoire - this time from the West. You will ride across the Birmont dam which is key for holding the waters of the Verdon. As the ride follows a ravine, you'll wind your way to the ruins of a Roman aqueduct, it's amazing what masters of engineering they were!
The morning trail ends with a short walk on foot to reach the car which will take you into the center of Aix-en-Provence for a relaxing lunch after which you have free time to explore, shop or just enjoy a second glass of wine in a cafe.
All will transfer back to the farm to gather their things and then depart for the train station or airport in the late afternoon.