On Foot Holidays, one of Europe’s leading self-guided walking tour operators, is offering Australians the opportunity to journey through the French wine region, Côtes du Rhône, and the foothills of Mont Ventoux – a regular feature of the famous Tour de France cycle race.
While the spectacular 1912m-high Mont Ventoux is known as one of the most gruelling climbs of the Tour de France, walkers on On Foot Holiday’s inn-to-inn Côtes du Rhône hike will be glad not to ascend its slopes but to instead explore its greener foothills and enjoy the view up to the summit. The trek also showcases the region’s famous gourmet food and wine.
The walk package includes seven nights’ accommodation, all breakfasts, five evening meals, five picnic lunches and all luggage transfers between hotels – meaning walkers simply carry a day pack. Bookings made before October 31, 2015, will secure 2016 tours at 2015 prices.
The journey begins at Venasque, a medieval village perched high in the hills and surrounded by ruined ramparts, before walkers embark on a circular route through forest and hills, with fine views of Mont Ventoux on the return journey. The next day’s walk will be a gentler one, taking travellers through Malemort du Comtat, with its 12th century church, to the fortified village of Mazan. Walkers will then pass olive and cherry tree groves en route to the hilltop village of Crillon le Brave (a picnic lunch perhaps), before journeying past a number of vineyards and finishing the day in Le Barroux’s narrow streets below its 12thcentury castle. The fifth day will see hikers climbing to the highest point of their walk to arrive near the Dentelles de Montmirail, a small but spectacular chain of mountains, whose jagged rocks travellers will walk in amongst on Day 6.
The final walking day will include a gradual descent into the historic town of Vaison, known for its Roman bridge and its castle, perched high on the cliff. While the tour ends there, it is recommended to spend a day or two in historic Avignon, with its museums, iconic bridge, and the gothic Palais des Papes. A hotel there can be organised through On Foot Holidays for an extra tariff.
The Côtes du Rhône walk is of medium-hard difficulty with four to seven walking hours each day. It can be walked from April to September. The 2015 cost of the package is from £895 (approximately A$1841 depending on exchange rates) per person for two people sharing one room. Bookings made before October 31, 2015, will secure the 2015 price for 2016 tours.
Based in the UK and specialising in the ‘art of slow travel’, On Foot Holidays offers international walkers 24 self-guided tours across unspoilt areas of Europe for independent travellers who prefer intimate encounters with destinations. Walkers can select their own departure dates and all routes are designed by locals and tested by staff from On Foot Holidays.
Cotes du Rhone – Dentelles Mountains