WALKING HOLIDAYS IN Provence, Queyras, ArdEche and Annecy
Our stay in Upper Provence is at the border of the well known region of southern France with a more mountainous, less populated area to the north. The long ridge of the Lure Mountains is generally considered to be the actual frontier between two different worlds. We explore the territory found immediately to the north of this ridge, a combination of rugged slopes, wide rocky riverbeds and tiny hamlets.
Not very far from here, we venture into a highly remote valley of the Southern Alps, a region called "Queyras" with solid farming traditions. Our 'home' is just down from St. Veran, the highest village in Europe at 2000m. From our base the walks will take us even higher towards the border of Italy, over ridges in excess of 2800m. The Monviso, one of Italy's proud summits at 3841m will soon become a familiar landmark.
Back to lower country, we then find ourselves in "Ardèche" a part of the Cévennes in the Massif Central with particularly strong traditions. Generations of farmers carved the steep slopes into countless terraces to scrape their survival from this tough but majestic country. Chestnut trees (bread tree in the popular language) were essential to the subsistence of local populations for centuries and we don't leave this region without a good "roasted chestnut party!
Finally our journey allows us to discover some parts of Savoy - further north in the Alps than earlier in the tour. Our base is in the superb town of Annecy, renowned for the breathtaking beauty of its lake and the picturesque atmosphere of the old town. Annecy is only a short distance from Geneva in Switzerland. The lake is surrounded by tall mountains and for obvious reasons hiking is the favourite hobby of most locals.
OUR HOTELS & CUISINE
Our base in upper Provence is a charming small hotel in Sisteron. Here we are treated to some of the region's specialties, one of them being the Sisteron lamb, renowned nation-wide!
In Queyras we make a small but comfortable 2 star hotel our home. The vast outside terrace is the ideal place to relax and enjoy the late afternoon light after a day up and down high mountain tracks. Our hosts treat us to some "serious" mountain dishes, often based on locally produced cheese.
In Ardèche our home is again in a "Maison d'Hôtes", on the side of a roaring torrent with a 20m high waterfall right at our doorstep. The enthusiastic owners have turned an 18th century silk mill into charming accommodation. Their dining table draws respect from all around the place and offers a range of very inventive and tasty dishes based on local products.
In Annecy we stay in a cozy 3* star hotel a few steps away from the lake and at walking distance to the busy town centre. From our hotel it takes about 15 minutes on foot along the lake to reach the old part of town. For our dinners we have chosen some of the most inviting restaurants.
Departure dates have been arranged to allow the "Timeless Valleys", "Gastronomic trail through hidden France", "Eastern Circuit" and "Follow the Gourmet Trail" walks to be combined.