Self-guided walking tour of Provence - May 5 - May 16, 2018

Traveler: Lorraine L. - Local specialist: Anthony Laplagne

Anthony and then Aurelia were very responsive and prompt. I was very happy that they always responded quickly and completely to my questions. I felt it was a very personal and professional interaction. So Thank you!

Also, all of the arrangements for hotel check-in, restaurants, luggage transfer, and taxi transport were absolutely perfect. Everything went exactly to plan. Wherever we went we were immediately greeted as "WalkInn" and welcomed with smiles. It was wonderful to see everything so well arranged.

We are also very grateful for the very, very prompt assistance that was provided when we misplaced our walking road book early in the walk. We believe that it was left at the Glanum site where someone quickly picked it up. One note here--we do not understand why we were initially given only one road book for the two of us. If we had had a second book, there would have been no problem! When we received the replacement, we were then given two booklets. Also, since we were not given the road book until we were leaving Avignon, we did not have access to any of those recommendations.

Our walks were really spectacular--both in Les Alpilles and the Luberon. Directions were good except for two things:
(1) the directions for Walk 1—Eastern Valleys and crests—should advise walkers that they might visit the Glanum ruins after they visit the Saint Paul de Mausole. Currently the option only lists the monastery. The walk then takes you away from the ruins. We had to circle back to the ruins after the walk when it would have made much more sense to see them before the rest of the walk.
(2) The only time the directions totally failed us was Walk 3—to l’Abbaye de Sénanque. We learned that other walkers with the same directions had problems with this, having to backtrack several times. The problem occurs when there is a reference to: “only 50m farther you reach the 2nd yellow hiking post with the same name: Abbaye de Sénanque. Here turn left and up a stone road La Pouraque.” There should be a direction that says to ignore the 1st yellow hiking post to the left in the parking lot and continue walking past the Eglise Abbataiale, Communauté, Hotellerie. We (and others) were very confused by the 1st yellow hiking post—since it was not referenced at all. We ended up taking an alternate path and walking up the paved road to reconnect with the directions at THE PASS. But we lost a lot of time trying to figure this out. And we learned that other walkers (on Country Walkers self-guided) had very similar experiences. So the directions should be fixed.

My sister and I fell in love with all of the locations where we stayed. The hotel in Avignon was very well situated and beautiful. Our hosts in St. Remy--Pierre and Armell--were particularly helpful and supportive. Breakfast there was the best. The most beautiful lodging was Le Mas de la Beaume in Gordes--absolutely spectacular! Wendy is a very caring and attentive hostess and the bedroom and in-suite bath are perfect. The hotel in Lourmarin is amusing with its modern, purple room and pictures of bathing beauties. They had by far the best linens and towels and, again, helpful staff. The Saint Cristophe in Aix gave us a great location and comfort. We did not like the hotel in Marsaille but it was a great location with very nice staff. The New Hotel's ground floor exterior appears to be burned out or something. Breakfast was sufficient but perfunctory. The reception area is just functional. Our room had someone else's clothes hanging in the bathroom and there were trash items on the floor that never got cleaned out while we were there.

The included dinners were all very special. Number 9 in Lourmarin was also a lot of fun. Our hostess at the Outsider in Gordes went out of her way to make us feel welcome when we arrived completely soaked from walking in a surprise thunderstorm. The rosé she recommended was the best we had in the two weeks.

Gordes, Les Baux, Lacoste are all so lovely. In Lourmarin we walked back to our hotel at night under the most beautiful cobalt blue night sky. We really loved St. Remy, especially on market day.