Gardens of Provence
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Hills & moorland
Experience the glory of Provence in lavender season while exploring the world-famous gardens nestling at the foot of the Luberon Hills. We’ll admire gardens ancient and modern, from 13th century monastic gardens to the breathtaking designs of Nicole de Vesian
- Mme Liardet's Lavender Farm and Garden, home to a collection of over 200 lavender varieties
- The celebrated Nicole de Vesian contemporary gardens, renowned for their sense of place and sculptural beauty
- The grand terraces of the Château Val Joanis, a working vineyard laid out in the 17th century manner
Great reasons to join us
- Great value: all prices include en-suite Half Board accommodation and five full-day excursions, including entrance charges to gardens
- Expert leader: all our leaders are experts in their field and will ensure that you get the most out of your holiday
- Accommodation: enjoy good quality accommodation and excellent food
- Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays - explore together, eat together, relax together
The 4-star Villa Borghese has a fine tradition of service and is a member of the prestigious Châteaux Demeures de Tradition and the Relais du Silence groups.
The owners of Villa Borghese will be very happy to welcome you to their hotel which is in a lovely, quiet and comfortable setting surrounded by gardens and woodland. Gréoux-les-Bains is close to the Verdon Gorges, the Luberon and the lavender fields in Provence.
The 50 large, simple, en-suite bedrooms have a balcony or terrace, telephone, TV, hairdryer, safe deposit box, air conditioning, shaving point and mini bar (extra charge).
There is a small outdoor heated swimming pool next to the pleasant terrace. There are tennis courts, table tennis tables, and a spa offfering treatments (extra charge). There is a cosy bar with an open fireplace. The hotel offers its guests free WiFi.
Holidays at Gréoux-les-Bains are Half Board with a 3-course served dinner. The hotel prides itself on serving locally sourced produce from within 20km of the town.
The friendly atmosphere of our holidays continues into the evening.
Enjoy a glass of wine or local beer before hearing about the next day's activities. After dinner relax on the terrace or in the bar, with a drink and chat with your fellow guests or try your hand in a friendly game of boules.
Friday: Arrival day
Saturday: Roses smell as sweet...
The sweetly-scented rose gardens planted around the old Cistercian monastery at the Abbaye de Valsaintes are a breathtaking sight, perched 600m up in the Haute Provence hills. In the afternoon there's more to delight the eye (and nose!) at the grand formal 17th century gardens of Le Clos de Villeneuve where fountains, terraces and more roses tumble down the hillside.
Sunday: Lavender loveliness
Today you'll set off along the Lavender Route through billowing fields of flowers - one of the finest sights (and scents!) in France. You'll discover the art of growing and distilling lavender, with a chance to sample the fragrances; and the day ends at Mme Liardet's Lavender Farm and Garden, home to a collection of over 200 lavender varieties.
A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the hotel.
Tuesday: Classical terraces
A day to bask in the beauty of French classical gardening style. First you'll visit the grand terraces of the Château Val Joanis, a working vineyard laid out in the 17th century manner. Then spend an afternoon wandering through the peaceful pools and soft planting of the Pavillon de Galon. Both are designated 'jardins remarquables' by the French Ministry of Culture.
Wednesday: Contemporary chic
The celebrated Provence-based designer Nicole de Vesian created thoughtful, contemporary gardens which are renowned for their sense of place and sculptural beauty. Among those you'll visit is her most famous, La Louve, a peaceful, sculptural space created over 10 years as a homage to the characteristic 'garrigue' landscape of the area.
Thursday: A day in Aix
The superb gardens at the Bastide de Romegas have been cultivated since the 16th century and make a great introduction to the delights of Aix en Provence: you'll enjoy mazes and parterres, fountains and relaxing lawns before heading off to spend the afternoon exploring the graceful, leafy boulevards and marketplaces of the birthplace of Paul Cézanne.
Friday: Departure day
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
Immerse yourself in the landscape of Matisse, Cézanne and Van Gogh, in this quiet corner of Provence. Rolling fields, blue skies, gorgeous villages and excellent food and wine epitomise everyone’s image of Provence, and we hope that this holiday will deliver that, and a little bit more. As well as sitting in the Route de la Lavande, an area steeped in the culture of lavender production, Greoux-les-Bains straddles the exquisite Luberon region, which we’ll visit on our walks, but also the mighty Verdon Gorge. The Grand Canyon of France with 800m sheer cliffs sums up this area’s unspoilt countryside. On Mondays the traditional Provençal market at the hill-top village of Forqualquier has run for centuries and we can make our picnic lunch from delicious local bread, olives, tapenade, cheese and meats. Moustiere Ste Marie, deemed officially one of the prettiest villages in France, is a lovely place to celebrate our final day’s walking with a beer in one of the many pavement cafés.
Greoux-les-Bains, a former spa town, is off the main Provençal tourist track, and is a bustling town full of local commerce. It has an impressive hill-top castle, reached by walking up pretty pedestrianised roads, and a smattering of tourist shops in the old town. There are good cafés in the pleasant central plaza in the old town. The hotel is 15 minutes walk from the old town.
Colourful port of Marseilles – There is a public bus service which takes you to Marseilles. To get around the city and see the major sights use the Le Grand Tour open-topped, double decker bus which runs each day from 10am until 4pm and costs around €16 for the day. The bus travels between all the main sights and museums taking in Vieux Port, the Corniche and Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. You can hop on and off throughout the day and the tour includes a 5 language audio guide. The best place to pick up the tour bus is Vieux Port – buy tickets either on the bus or from the tourist office.
Aix-en-Provence - Visit the bohemian, chic university town of Aix-en-Provence, home of Cezanne, visited by Van Gogh and the author Emile Zola. The town is packed with bars, cafés, and affordable restaurants. The city itself is rich in culture and has elegant plane tree-lined boulevards and chic boutiques. There is a public bus service but times vary throughout the year; the journey takes about an hour.
Villa Borghese - Spend the day around the hotel and take advantage of the heated pool and loungers provided by the hotel, or more adventurously book a session at the Hotel Spa!
The Verdon Gorge – in French: Gorges du Verdon or Grand Canyon du Verdon) – is a river canyon that is often considered to be one of Europe's most beautiful. It is about 25 kilometres long and up to 700 metres deep. It was formed by the Verdon River, which is named after its startling turquoise-green colour, one of the canyon's most distinguishing characteristics. The most impressive part lies between the towns of Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, where the river has cut a ravine up to 700 metres down through the limestone mass.
Greoux - Explore the old centre of Greoux and walk up to the Chateau des Templiers, which sometimes has concerts and art exhibitions.
We recognise that everyone’s travel arrangements are unique, so all our holidays to Europe can be booked ‘with flight’ or ‘without flight’, giving you more flexibility and choice.
‘With flight’ holidays – the hassle-free option
Book your holiday ‘with flight’ and choose between Gatwick and Manchester flights to Nice airport.
If you choose this option we automatically include return transfers between the airport and the hotel.
The coach transfer takes approx 3 hours to the Villa Borghese.
For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.
‘Without flight’ holidays – the flexible travel option
Alternatively, tailor your journey to suit you by booking your holiday ‘without flight’ allowing you the freedom to book your own flights from your local airport.
If you choose this option, transfers are not included in the price. We recommend independent travellers meet our HF Holidays’ transfer coach from Nice airport. This is timed to meet the HF Holidays’ flights* (provisional flight times can be found on the dates and prices tab or you can call us on 020 8732 1220 for more information). Cost per single journey is £35.00.
Transfers must be pre-booked. Please call 020 8732 1220 for more details
* Please note that HF Holidays is not responsible for your onward travel if you fail to meet the transfer coach under any circumstance.
Sally is a qualified professional gardener, planting designer and well-established garden writer. She is a columnist for the RHS journal The Garden, and writes regularly for BBC Gardeners' World Magazine, Grow Your Own and Guardian Weekend. She loves to share her passion for all things plant-related, especially design, garden history and kitchen gardening, and is much in demand for her talks at gardening events from horticultural society meetings to the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. She is also an online tutor at My Garden School.
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Double room for sole occupancy: £21 per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person