Provence Discovery Tour
Experience the glory of picturesque Provence during lavender season
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Hills & moorland
Discover southeastern France, a beautiful and seductive region where picturesque views are in abundance. Provence can be compared to Italy's Tuscany, a delicate yet fascinating area of Europe. Please your senses on this discovery tour; visit diverse and alluring landscapes from the Southern Alps to the Côte d'Azur (French Riviera).
- Immerse yourself in the landscape of Matisse, Cezanne and Van Gough
- Explore the traditional hilltop towns of Forcalquier
- Enjoy the Lavender Route and the Verdon Gorge
- Good quality en-suite accommodation in one of our European partner hotels
- Half Board – continental breakfast and evening meal
- The services of an experienced HF Holidays’ leader
- Full day excursions with all essential transport in resort
- ‘With flight’ holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers
The 4-star Villa Borghese has a fine tradition of service and is a member of the prestigios 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.
|Villa Borghese has 50 en-suite bedrooms have a balcony or terrace.
Facilities in the bedrooms include:
The hotel is surrounded by a small wood and offer pleasant views from the bedrooms.
|There is a small outdoor heated swimming pool next to the pleasant terrace.
Villa Borghese contains tennis courts, table tennis, and a spa offering treatments (extra charge).
Relax at the cosy bar with an open fireplace.
The hotel offers it 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. Your evening meal is the main focus of the evening. 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.
During your Discovery Tour you'll have the opportunity to visit many fascinating places. The following is our provisional programme, and your HF Holidays' leader may adjust it at their discretion, taking into account factors such as weather, local opening times, or other events. This holiday includes active sightseeing and you should expect to spend lots of time on your feet.
For maximum flexibility, admissions are not included; Please allow up to €70 per person for entrances (there may be concessionary and group discounts which may reduce this price). Please bring cash as card machines are not always available at all venues.
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.
Day 1: Arrival day
Day 2 : Moustiers Ste MarieSince 1981, Moustiers has been one of the ‘prettiest villages in France’ . The church, the village walls, the fountains, the aqueduct – the balance between water and stone, and the pastel colours of the tiles all fit perfectly into the local
landscape. A beautiful hill top village. We’ll spend time here soaking up the atmosphere, and finding out about the ceramic history of this village.
Day 3 : Folcalquier and the Lavender RouteFirstly we’ll visit the bustling hilltop town of Forcalquier, famous for its weekly market. This is a gathering of all the local farmers, craftsmen and locals, a real atmosphere. You may want to get the best view of the surrounding countryside by
walking up to the Citadel. We’ll visit the village of Valensole, (sunny valley) located on a magnificent plateau famous for its lavender and almond production. With more than 300 days of sun per year, this village is a delight to wander through. In the spring the plateau is filled with almond blossom.
Day 4 : The Verdon GorgeAlso known as the Grand Canyon of Verdon, the Verdon Gorge is a spectacular canyon that forms the border between the departments of Alpes de Haute Provence and Var. Although much smaller than Arizona’s Grand Canyon, the Verdon Gorge is deep, compact, beautiful and wild. We’ll take a short walk along the rim of the gorge.
Day 5: Free dayEach week there is a free day when no excursions are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around the hotel, walk independently or visit local places of interest.
Day 6 : Aix en ProvenceA city built around water and art, we’ll have time to explore the old town, the Villeneuve, Cours Mirabeau, and the Mazarin Quarter
Day 7: Baux de Provence
Located on a rocky plateau in the heart of the Alpilles, the town of Les Baux de Provence provides a breathtaking view down to Arles and the Camargue. It is home to no less than 22 listed buildings and the light on the rocky outcrop will
Day 8: Departure Day
In the Evenings
The friendly atmosphere of our Discovery Tour continues into the evening. We’ll enjoy a leisurely meal and then you may also like to listen to local musicians, relax with a book in a quiet lounge or enjoy a drink at the bar.
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, and 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. Moustiere Ste Marie, deemed officially one of the prettiest villages in France, is a lovely place to drink 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.
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.
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.
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 Heathrow or Manchester (via Heathrow) flights to Marseille airport. For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.
If you choose this option we automatically include return transfers between the airport and the hotel. The coach transfer takes approx 1 hour 15 minutes to the Villa Borghese.
‘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 Marseilles 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 £38.
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
Alastair Clark lives in the Peak District and has been leading walking and cycling groups for HF since 2011. In this time he has led in UK, Austria, Italy and France where is HF Field Advisor for Provence. He has led HF Worldwide holidays in Cape Verde and Cuba and has also worked in West Africa and Tunisia.
He enjoys exploring Cuba, and with his wife he has ridden the famous (but unreliable!) Hershey Railway from Havana to Matanzas on the north coast (92kms with 46 stops!). His own passion for walking has also taken him to wild places in Morocco, Korea and Nova Scotia.
He enjoys world music, along with a bit of rock and roll, and his favourite picnic choice is sun-dried tomatoes and fresh goats' cheese. Alastair is leading our February 2019 holiday.