East of Avignon the town of Gordes centers a region of villages including Roussillion, Menerbes, Lacoste, Bonnieux, and the Abbaye de Senanque, all hilltop villages connected by back roads for biking or hiking.
High speed train from Paris Gare de Lyon station takes under three hours to reach the Avignon TGV station where rental cars from Autoeurope are available. Book online
Auriele attracts hikers for it location near the GR 6 hiking trail in the Alpilles Hills
Country roads connect the hilltop villages of Auriele and Eygalieres.
Hiking trails reach st Remy and Les Baux.
Market day at Lacoste
Hiking is available beside Lavender fields in the hills near Gordes and all the way to Sault on the Plateau de Vaucluse where the bloom is in late June for a mid July harvest
Mines in the hills near Roussillion supply the minerals for ochre colorant used in oil paints
The fields south of Mouries grow sunflowers ripening for summer harvest
Hiking Provence, The South of France
Hiking the Villages in Lavender Country
For hiking in Provence the South of France a good bet is Lavender Country east of Avignon. On the lavender trail the hiking trails and back roads connect each village where lavender grows for an early July harvest.
The area east of Avignon and north to Sault is lavender country.
The City of Apt is in the center of lavender production. Trails and back country roads connect to other villages such as Saignon where a promontory offers views of the valley.
If you do your hiking and biking in Provence in June, the cherries, apricots, and melons will be ripe and available at the farm stands along the way. Early to mid July starts the lavender harvest.
June makes a good month for hiking. In July and August and early September some trails could be closed due to dry conditions and fire hazard. July and August are high season.
A country road from the back side of Gordes through steep hill country reaches the Abby where fields of lavender ripen at the end of June.
Hiking in Provence
Well marked hiking trails course all through the olive groves and vineyards around Les Baux de-Provence, St. Remy, Mouries, Eygalieres, and, Auriele.
Shop online well ahead of your trip and choose diesel (more economical) or gas, luggage space,(important) standard or automatic,(important) two door, four door and other options. Reserve extras such as baby seats, strollers, telephones.
Speed limits will be clearly marked and the Rotary will be a welcome site with its directions to various towns. Gassing up is similar to US with credit card and automatic shut-off at modern pumps. Car rental are available in all large cities and at many TGV Train Stations.
Information for those renting a vehicle in Provence
Hiking in Provence the South of France can be through lavender country in the north where you find the hiking trails that connect to the villages and in the south were olive groves and vineyards are connected by back roads through the Alpilles hills.
The Abbey of Senanque Provence, The South of France, near Gordes
Hiking Provence the South of France in Lavender Country to towns like Bonnieux and Lacoste picture above you find the Hiking and Biking trails along back roads that connect to the villages. These are hill towns near Gordes. The area east of Avignon is lavender country. Back roads make up the lavender trail.
Shepherds tend huge flocks in the Alpilles Hills where there are many hiking trails
Combine hiking with the Bus From Provence Cities
Avignon provides a center of small, local bus activity. Many bus routes leave Avignon and go in all directions.
Nearly all of Provence is covered by local bus service running six days a week. Some of the lines run five days during school weeks only, others run seven days.
The larger cities such as Nimes, Arles, Avignon, St Remy Aix-en-Provence, Nice and Marseilles have frequent service, This service extends to the smaller towns along the route. In some cases you can ask to be dropped at a certain village along the way that is not a scheduled stop.
A line runs east of Avignon and covers Provence Villages near Apt and Saignon, east of Gordes and connects as far south as St Tropez and Marseilles.
Another line leaves Avignon and runs north to Montelimar and Carpentras.
Buses from Avignon reach Chateauneuf du Pape to the north.
Bus service from Avignon reaches Arles to the southwest