The Luberon Experience
Award-winning small group tour in the most beautiful area of Provence!
2021 Trip: September 18-25
2022 Trips: May 7-14; May 14-21 (Women’s Week); September 17-24; September 24-October 1
We launched The Luberon Experience, our signature tour in Provence, in 2006. Almost 650 people have joined us for this special week– and many have returned for a second and even a third time on our Return to the Luberon and Luberon Walking Week trips. We were thrilled when The Luberon Experience was recognized by National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of their top 50 Tours of a Lifetime in 2012.
The Luberon is the most beautiful area in Provence, stretching 34 miles on either side of a small, rocky mountain range, an hour or so north of the Mediterranean Sea. This is the area Peter Mayle described in his best-selling book, “A Year in Provence” and was featured in the 2006 movie “A Good Year.”
Our base for The Luberon Experience is the ancient perched village of Bonnieux (seen above, left) with sweeping views across the valley. Our family lived in this village during our six month stay in the Luberon several years ago, and Bonnieux is now our second home. We have an apartment in the village and are there several months a year. Our friends always give our groups a warm welcome. Because of our relationships in the area and the size of our groups, our trips include many very unique experiences that wouldn’t be possible on your own or with another tour.
With a population of 1400, Bonnieux is an ideal base to enjoy village life in Provence. It’s small enough to be intimate, but large enough to offer important services, interesting shopping, and a variety of eating places. Our ten-room, family-owned hotel is located right in the village with a beautiful garden and swimming pool. By the end of the week Bonnieux will feel like home to you too.
The Luberon offers a wide diversity of experiences for a week-long stay: a rich history dating back to prehistoric and Roman times, incredible landscapes of mountains and farmland, hilltop stone villages, the ruins of old castles, delightful outdoor markets, and outstanding cuisine and wine.
Experiences in the Luberon
Highlights of a typical Luberon Experience week include:
- A walking tour of Bonnieux, including a visit hosted by our friend Michele to to the ancient caves beneath her home that date back over 1500 years and were quarters for the Knights Templar in the 12th century.
- Visits to the nearby perched villages of Lacoste, Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt, Roussillon and Saignon.
- Outdoor markets at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Saint-Saturnin and Bonnieux, each providing a very different experience.
- A private tour and wine tasting at one of the top wineries in the region, hosted by the winemaker (a good friend).
- A very special lunch at a friend’s home, featuring a casual meal of local specialties of seasonal produce. You’ll love the enchanting garden setting on the plateau outside Bonnieux.
- A visit to a privately-owned ancient abbey in an isolated setting facing the Luberon mountain.
- Several options for walks, including an easy walk in the Fôret de Cèdres (on top of the Petit Luberon mountain), a hike to the ruins of Fort de Buoux, a morning walk to Lacoste, and a walk through the countryside to the Roman bridge below Bonnieux. We always provide interesting options for those who prefer other activities.
- A visit to a goat farm near Saignon, including a tasting featuring a variety of Marianne’s delicious goat cheeses.
- A day beyond the Luberon, usually to Les Alpilles, a mountainous area about an hour west of the Luberon. We’ll visit Roman ruins, the sanitarium where Van Gogh spent a year painting, a family-owned olive mill, and the incredible light and music show near Les Baux.
- Memorable meals in a variety of settings, where we’ll experience the famous specialties and cuisine of Provence. Two of our lunches are picnics… always highlights of our week.
- Plenty of free time to enjoy the village and our beautiful little hotel.
Learn more about the Luberon Experience
Getting to Know…The Luberon Experience (a Virtual European Experience)
Experiencing a Village – Bonnieux (Kathy’s blog)
A Luberon Experience: An Afternoon in Colorful Roussillon (Kathy’s blog)
A Morning Walk in the Luberon (Kathy’s blog)
The Markets of Provence – Friday morning in Bonnieux (Kathy’s blog)
Nature’s Paintbrush – May and June in the Luberon (Kathy’s blog)
Poppies in Provence (Kathy’s blog)
A Picnic in Provence (Kathy’s blog)
A Secret Spot in the Luberon (Kathy’s blog)
A Luberon Experience – Fort de Buoux (Kathy’s blog)
Bonnieux and the Crèches de Noël (Kathy’s blog)
Happiness (Bonheur) in Bonnieux (Kathy’s blog)
Arrival and Departure
We meet travelers at the Avignon TGV station on Saturday afternoon; this is also our drop-off point the following Saturday morning.
Many travelers begin or end their stay in France with a few days in Paris. Avignon and Aix-en-Provence are interesting destinations in for a few days before or after your Luberon week, easily reached from Paris on the high-speed TGV train or from the Marseille Provence Airport.
Leaders: Kathy Wood and Gina McIntosh
Price: $3,500 per person, double occupancy; $4,000 single occupancy of a double room