NEW YORK, NY (12/13) – On Foot Holidays, creators of walking tours designed just for you and where you act as your own guide while they handle the hassles of transferring your luggage by vehicle, arranging stays in charming inns, hotels or B&Bs, and ensuring that you will dine deliciously at the end of each day, offers three journeys in undiscovered France that will surprise and delight you.
Cotes du Rhone (Gigondas and the foothills of Mont Ventoux). This seven-night journey is considered medium to hard with walks of four to seven hours each day. It starts and ends in villages perched atop a cliff. You’ll visit medieval Venasque, the cobbled-stone alleys of Crestet, the formidable castle of Vaison, and the pretty villages of Mazan, Le Barroux, and Gigondas. Walk in the extraordinary geological formation of the Dentelles de Montmirail with the highest peak in Provence within sight. Saunter through olive and cherry tree groves and a sea of vineyards. Spectacular views throughout. You might want to upgrade to a night in the Marquis de Sade’s former home. End your trip, if you like, in historic Avignon, home of the popes in the 14th century.
All meals typify the best of Provence. Some recommended dishes include stuffed chicken and mushrooms with cream sauce and roast lamb accompanied by potatoes with foie gras. The wines include Gigondas reds and whites, from family-owned vineyards in the region.
The Cotes du Rhone tour was designed by Regis Leroy who knows the region intimately. He and his wife Patricia are always willing to be helpful. Rates per person sharing for seven nights are from $1,560 and include accommodation, breakfast daily, five evening meals, five picnics, a detailed itinerary and supporting material, and luggage transfers.
Chamonix and the French Alps (Le Pays du Mont Blanc). This seven night self-guided hike at the foot of Mont Blanc is difficult and sometimes frankly challenging but worth the extra effort as it encompasses some of the most awe-inspiring and spectacular landscapes in Europe. In summer, the Alpine meadows are flower-decked and the Aiguille de Midi cable car rises 3840 meters for dramatic vistas over glaciers and snowfields. There are various options for taking it slightly easier, such as a gentle stroll along the oratories and chapels of the “Route du Baroque” but the best walking is to be had up high with views to die for.
The Chamonix area is a gourmet’s delight and the tour enables you to stay with three excellent cooks – Fiona at Les Contamines, Helen and Leighton at Les Houches, and Carla at Chamonix. Since you’re in France, the wines everywhere are delicious.
This route was designed by Lizzy Ashley Cooper who regularly walks the paths and routes in the forests, mountain slopes and meadows around Mount Blanc. Rates for seven nights per person sharing are from $1,633 and include accommodations, breakfast daily, six dinners, six picnics, detailed itinerary and supporting material, and luggage transfers.
Alpes Maritime (From the Alps to the Mediterranean). A seven night self-guided walk ideal for you if you would like to move your walking grade up to medium. The route goes from La Brigue on the France/Italy border down the Roya Valley to Menton on the Riviera and takes you through one of the most remote parts of France. The medieval village of La Brigue offers the chance to explore winding alleyways and old town houses while Saorge beckons from its cliff-side position.. Visit the ancient towns of Breil and Sospel and stay in the mountain-top village of Ste. Agnes with its views across to the Mediterranean. The last stop is Menton, Belle Epoque splendor now restored to its former glory.
The cuisine on this route is very southern-France and includes such tasty fare as Nicoise Stew, mushrooms with goat cheese and aioli Provencale. You’ll also find a touch of Italy-in-France with bresaola and cacciatore.
The Alpes Maritime tour was designed by Richard Petitjean who has lived in the area for 29 years and is a licensed tour guide. Since 60% of France’s flora is found in the region, his knowledge of botany is put to good use. Rates for seven nights per person sharing are from $1,214 and include accommodation, breakfast daily, two evening meals, four picnics, detailed itinerary and supporting material, and luggage transfers.