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Provence in Winter is a Wonderful Time for Walking

Yesterday we awoke to freezing temperatures in Provence with bright blue skies and decided that it was far too cold for a bike ride, so instead, we would take Millie on a walk that we hadn’t done before. I know I have mentioned the fantastic walks here in previous posts, but at this time of year, there is nothing better than to put on the walking shoes, pack a flask and coffee-makings into the rucksack and take to the trails. Continue reading here for the original contributor blog post by: Vaucluse Dreamer.

Winter Walks in Provence

During the winter, there is fabulous walking in the South of France, as the fire risk is low, there are no bugs, and scorching heat is not an issue. Although you might start walking all bundled up before too long, you will be shedding the layers. Also, it’s common to see hardy cyclists on the roads during winter.

There are many hiking trails throughout Provence, from the moderate Luberon and Alpilles hills to the steeper pitches near Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail. You can also choose to head to the coast in either direction (east or west) from Marseille to find some beautiful hikes along the coast, although some of these trails could be difficult if you suffer from vertigo. The standard hiking rules apply in Provence, as they should anywhere, good shoes, sunscreen, hats, water, a snack and a mobile phone.

This hike in the Luberon National Park is classified as a “Reserve Naturelle Nationale” due to the unique ancient fossilized mudflats. On the rocky mudflats, they spotted the three-toed footprints left by the old ‘hornless’ Rhinos and other animals. The walk is approximately 8.5 kilometres and takes about two hours to complete.

Walk to the summit of Mourre Nègre return is a 13km (8 miles) hike starting just outside the village of Auribeau in the Luberon. The summit is at 1125m, not as high as Mont Ventoux, but certainly at an altitude that provides a glorious view of the Luberon Valley and the Mediterranean (on a clear day).

Nice to Villefranche-sur-Mer: The metropolis of Nice is on the other side of Mont Boron from Villefranche-sur-Mer, a small commune that feels like a town on Italy’s Amalfi coast. Begin your walk at Jardin Félix Rainaud near the famous la Réserve and Plongoir restaurants and head east. Once you pass Cap de Nice, look for a steep set of stairs that will take you to the Basse Corniche, where you will rejoin the trail. From this point to the Lazaret area of Villefranche, enjoy the view with a few elevation changes. The walk is about 6 km (3.7 miles) and should take approximately two (2) hours.

Walking near St Rémy de Provence: Mother Nature often brings brilliant azure skies and near-balmy weather before spring officially arrives in Provence. The tantalizing temps make bundling unnecessary when my husband and I head outside to elevate our heart rate with a nature walk. And with the expansive Parc Naturel Regional des Alpilles—comprising tons of trails—at our Saint-Rémy doorstep, making the Alpilles our destination of choice.


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Julie Whitmarsh

Julie and her husband Andy started visiting the Vaucluse area 25 years ago & over the years have increased the amount of time they spend there with their growing family. She has a deep affection for the area, finding it is a great place to visit, where the whole family can relax and enjoy time together.

She longs for the day when she can ‘up-sticks’ from her home on Dartmoor & relocate to the Luberon and spend her days cycling, walking, visiting markets & brocante fairs and of course enjoying the local food and drink.

Her blog VaucluseDreamer gives her a space to highlight some of her favourite things about the area from places to visit to particular activities that she and her family all enjoy.

She hopes one day it will be a place where she can share the process of renovating a house in France, but at the moment that will have to wait.

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