A Taste of Provence riding holiday in France - Far and Ride
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A Taste of Provence, France





Horses



Type of horses:

Anglo-Arab, French saddle horses and French horses.

Nature of horses:

Robust, good-natured, calm and confident.

Height of horses:

15 - 16.3hh

Weight limit:

100kg / 220lbs

Tack type:

English saddles. Some horses are ridden bitless in hackamores whilst others have traditional bitted bridles.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

Provence is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône River to the west to the Italian border to the east, and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Within it's confines lies the spectacular Camargue Regional Park - a unique region of marshlands and lagoons where the local breed of small, grey Camargue horses and cattle live freely amongst pink flamingoes and hundreds of other indigenous animal species.

The origins of the Camargue horse are relatively unknown but they are believed to be one of the oldest breeds in the world. Living wild in the marshes has developed their stamina, hardiness and agility, and today they are renowned as the traditional mount of the Gardians - Camargue cowboys who herd the black Camargue bulls which are used for bullfighting in southern France. Camargue horses are born black or dark brown but always end up pale grey.

Having left the wetlands of the Camargue behind, trails venture into the Provencal Gard where the fragrance of thyme, savory and rosemary mix with the bright colours of the yellow thorny roses and pink-petaled cistus. The journey ends in the foothills of the Cevennes mountains which are characterised by the vineyards, olive groves and garrigue woodlands. The scents of the evergreen oaks, Aleppo pines, strawberry trees and herbs add flavour to the famous Pic Saint-Loup wines and there will be opportunities to try these wines along the route.

Your guide on these rides will be David Delbourg, a seasoned French trail guide. David has been leading horseback tours in France for over 15 years, as well as in a wide range of other destinations such as in Argentina, Canada and Morocco. He also trains apprentices for the challenging Equestrian Tourism qualification in France. He is always accompanied by a second guide who will usually ride at the back of the group. He guides routes all over France throughout the year, hence why this trail only runs on one date - if this date doesn't suit you then ask us which of his trails operate over your preferred time scale.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

You will stay at various hotels or B&Bs during these trails. Price is based around sharing a double or twin room, though single rooms are available for a supplement. Nearly always there are bathrooms joined onto the bedrooms.

Full board is included. Dinners are in a traditional style and wine and coffee is included. Picnic lunches tend to be country meals involving meats and various mixed salads (including appetisers and wine).

Appetisers and extra drinks are not included with dinners.

 

Activities

There is time during each trail to visit local sights and on some routes there are structured visits to areas such as the UNESCO protected site of Aigues-Mortes. However, these rides are not suitable for non-riders.

 

Further Details

Languages: French and English

Health requirements: None specific.

Age limit: None specific. Older children can be accommodated if they are competent, experienced riders, travelling with their parents and capable of riding a large horse (there are no ponies available).

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, meals, drinks with meals, train station transfers and horse riding.

Not included: Flights and travel, travel insurance, transfers outside of the normal times, extra drinks, snacks or services.

 

Travel Information

There are direct flights from London Stansted and Liverpool to Nimes airport with Ryanair. The airport is only 10kms from the town of Nimes.

Alternatively, you can take a train to Nimes train station from major French cities such as Paris, or hire a car and explore the area before/after the ride.

Airport: Nimes-Arles-Camargue

 

Programme


From the Camargue to the Cevennes Foothills



A six day trail on horseback from the Camargue Regional Park, through the Provencal Gard and former Duchy of Uzege and on towards the foothills of the Cevennes garrigue. The Camargue is a unique region, covered with lagoons and marshlands, where the local breed of small, white Carmague horses and cattle live freely amongst pink flamingoes and hundreds of other indiginous animal species.

Please note that this itinerary also runs in reverse

Day One: Arrival

You will be met in the late afternoon at Nimes train station and transferred to your accommodation in Saintes Maries de la Mer.

Day Two:

After breakfast you are introduced to the horses. The Camargue Regional Park is a truly unique place where people still live in symbiosis with horses, cattle, birds, sky and water. Your morning ride will take you to Beauduc lighthouse where you will stop for a picnic lunch, isolated between the marshlands and the Mediterranean Sea. In the afternoon you will enjoy riding on one of the largest sand beaches of this region, as well as lagoons and a tiny village called Sablons. Return to Saintes Marie de la Mar for dinner and to overnight.

Day Three:

The morning will be spent on horseback within a Manade (semi-feral herd of Camargue cattle) with genuine Guardians (Camargue cowboys) - a unique experience. After lunch you will visit on foot the UNESCO protected site of Aigues-Mortes, a 13th century medieval city where you can explore various buildings and remains from the Middle Ages. Both horses and riders are then transferred to Pont du Gard where you'll have dinner and overnight in Castillon du Gard.

Day Four:

After breakfast you join the horses near Pont du Gard - one of the most amazing constructions in southern France. The Pont du Gard is part of a 1st century Roman aqueduct - more than 52kms long, it brought water from the Fontaine d'Eure, at the foot of Uzes, to the Roman city of Nemausus, nowadays called Nimes.

From here you follow the banks of the Gardon river through typical calcareous landscapes of scrubland, pine and holm oaks, called the Garrigue. Stop at Sanilhac-Sagries for lunch, which was featured in the movie "Le salaire de la peur" in 1952. The town was built in the early 12th century around a castle and includes fortified walls and 3 towers. Only one tower (la Touresse) and the castle's keep remain today.

Continue riding through the Garrigue to reach the horses stop for the night in Saint-Anastasie. Dinner and overnight in Uzes.

Day Five:

Leave the Gardon gorges and Uzes behind you and ride through the Gard's Provencal landscape, accompanied by the peculiar scents of the Garrigue. Stop in Moulezan for a picnic before continuing riding towards Quissac. You are now approaching the foothills of the Cevennes with its typical landscape. Dinner and overnight in Quissac.

Day Six:

The morning ride takes you on a climb uphill to Claret in the Pic St Loup area where you stop for a picnic. The town is located on the slopes of the Taillade crest and offers various landscapes, including the evergreen oaks, box trees and cades of the Garrigue, Aleppo pines on the steep slopes, cultivated olive plains and the famous Pic St Loup vineyards. Ride through this rough but beautiful landscape towards Lauret where a wine tasting awaits you. Dinner and overnight in Lauret.

Day Seven:

After breakfast you ride to Causse de l'Hortus and stop for a picnic at Mas de Baume. On this plateau, between 1280 and 1789, there were about 20 glass workshops operational over the years. After lunch, start descending from the plateau to reach the plains of Pompignan between the Causse de l'Hortus and the Cevennes reliefs of Sant Hippolyte du Fort. The plain is a mix of beautiful garrigue, canyons, vineyards and watering holes, once grazed by thousands of sheep. Dinner and overnight in Lauret.

Day Eight: Departure

After breakfast you are free to depart (if you have hired a car) or will be transferred to the train station.



Accommodation: The accommodation is planned as follows but may be subject to change:

Nights 1&2: Hotel La Tramontane, Saintes Maries de la Mer
Night 3: Hotel Le Colombier, Castillon du Gard
Night 4: La Taverne de Sophie, Saint-Anastasie
Night 5: La Magnanerie, Quissac
Nights 6&7: Auberge du Cedre, Lauret
Minimum group size: 5
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Intermediate and above, capable of riding at all paces.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 5.5 days riding
Departure dates: 2017: 22-29 October

2018: 20-27 October, 27 October-3 November
 
Pricing: 2017:

£1571 per person sharing

Visits and drinks in hotels/restaurants are not included.
Single rooms may be available for a supplement.

2018:

£1612 per person sharing

Visits and drinks in hotels/restaurants are not included.
Single rooms may be available for a supplement.