Around the Dentelles de Montmirail
vast vistas, pristine nature trails, in the shadow of Mt Ventoux
Circumnavigate the Dentelles de Montmirail national park, an area of dramatic limestone ridges, reminiscent of lace from where it gets its name. Start from Gigondas, founded by Julius Caesar's Roman legions as an R&R camp for their troops, who planted the first vines here. Today it is one of the premiere wine villages of the southern Cotes du Rhone. Walk on to Beaumes de Venise, and its fortified sweet wines and olive oil mill. Continue through more vineyards and forests of oak and Mediterranean pine to Le Barroux’s fairytale medieval castle, the ancient town of Malaucene in the shadow of mile high Mt Ventoux, and Roman-medieval-renaissance Vaison la Romaine for its famous market day. Close the circle back to Gigondas through charming, perched Seguret.
Use this itinerary, custom designed for a client, to inspire yours. Start on any day. Walk for as many days as you like. On your own time, at your own pace.
Day 1 Arrival and Transfer to the Dentelles de Montmirail
You will be met at your airport of arrival or TGV station and transferred by private car to your small welcoming family-run hotel nestled at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail national park, a natural playground of limestone ridges, secluded valleys, tranquil vineyards, pilgrims' paths, and panoramic views.
Day 2 Gigondas Circular Walk
Distance: 12 miles Difficulty: Moderate
Set out from picturesque, low key Gigondas, a principal Cotes du Rhone wine village, into the heart of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Walk through a timeless, hidden valley of herb-scented forests and vineyard vistas between limestone ridges to the highest point in the Dentelles. Return to Gigondas for a round of leisurely wine tasting before dinner.
Day 3 Gigondas - Le Barroux
Distance: 12 miles Difficulty: Easy
Descend to the southern edge of the Dentelles and enter Cotes du Ventoux wine country as you turn east on the way to Le Barroux. Pass through Beaumes de Venise, especially known for its sweet wines. Continue to the well-preserved perched village of Le Barroux dominated by its 12th century castle built for protection from southern invaders. Longer option available.
Day 4 Le Barroux - Malaucene
Distance: 6 miles Difficulty: Moderate
Today the trail takes you to Malaucene, an ancient market town with a massive fortress cathedral and nicely preserved old section.The trail is relatively short but offers outstanding views as you leisurely climb to a pass from where you descend to the north toward the Alps.
Day 5 Mont Ventoux Foothills Circular
Distance: 8 miles Difficulty: Moderate
Explore the foothills of Mont Ventoux, towering to the east. Petrarch, the Italian poet, walked up the mountain in 1336 and was credited with starting the obsession of climbing mountains only because they are there. Discover a series of tiny 13th century pilgrim's chapels among the fruit orchards, vineyards and pine forests along the way.
Day 6 Malaucene - Vaison la Romaine
Distance: 14 miles Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
Head north to Vaison la Romaine today, a well preserved market town dating back to Roman times with the ruins to prove it. Your path is overlooked by Mt Ventoux along the way. The trail is wild and challenging at times to your interim goal, the spectacularly perched village of Le Crestet and its fortress, from where it is an easy stroll into Vaison.
Day 7 Vaison la Romaine - Gigondas
Distance: 11 miles Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Today you may buy a picnic in Vaison first thing in the morning before setting off into the vineyards and forests above the town on your last walk, heading for Gigondas to close the loop on your Dentelles circumnavigation. Your route takes you through the pristine village of Seguret, a lovely break enroute.
Day 8 Departure from Provence
Transfer by private car to your departure airport or TGV station for the trip home.