Provence self guided walking, France

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This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Provence self guided walking, France

Environment

Les Gorges du Verdon is not only an exceptional natural site, we find a lot of beautiful typical villages through the Verdon River. The Park has developed a Territorial Farming Contract (C.T.E.) specific to its territory. This contract grants support and remuneration for the services offered by farmers such as the development of the area, the preservation of the environment and the enhanced appreciation of the territory. Tourism also plays an important role in the economic life of the territory. The Park’s actions are concentrated on four main objectives: management of high-volume tourism, diffusion of the volume of tourism in time and in space, improving the quality of welcoming visitors and the conception of a plan for sustainable tourism bringing together the main actors in tourism as well as other institutional partners.

For many years, public groups and associations of environmental defence preserve a site of exceptional natural interest, of which a part contains protected animal and plant species. We avail to the Travellers Code of Conduct and all our documents are printed on recycled paper. Our staff also follow an Environmental policy (e.g: only using hard copies when necessary or switching off the lights where the areas are not in used.)

Last but not least, as hikers by passion, we have a strong ethic about respecting the places we go to and their environment, either for business or personally (e.g: not leaving any rubbish behind us during a day walk or using reusable water containers), and we encourage our guests to act responsibly while travelling. No camping car crusing on winding roads forming a queue. Here, we access all viewpoints by our own means.

Community

We are committed to work with local hotels and restaurants only. Actually, we personally know each person we deal with as we go on ground to tailor make these holidays for you. Also, the maintenance of the path deep inside the Gorge is partly financed through the local stay tax.

Everyday any tourists discover the diversity and the richness of this place with the cultures, traditions and the lovely local population. Villages and towns of character such as Riez-la-Romaine, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, Castellane, Entrevaux or Annot benefit directly by tourism. We help restore the heritage, study the fauna and flora, protect sensitive sites, develop welcoming and information centres or develop cultural centres.

These are among the many actions led by the Verdon Regional Natural Park. Also, a lot of current actions are realized to protect and develop the area, concerning water (establishing the development of waters plan in the Verdon), concerning tourism (conception and promotion of a sustainable tourism plan development), concerning heritage (create museums and eco-museums present on the Park’s territory) and finally concerning agriculture with the local delicacies that you can discover in the village shops: truffes, oil, tapenade, lavender honey, seasonal vegetables, biscuits, goat's cheese or "charcuteries" (salted meats).

Reviews of Provence self guided walking, France

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 17 Sep 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Our third day walking over the ridges from La Palud to Moustiers. It was quite a hard but varied and exciting walk with great views over the Lac Sainte Croix.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The Roadbook provided by the operator is almost useless. Buy walking maps, seek information elsewhere or book with another company.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We used public transport to get to the start and from the end of the walk, though we organised this ourselves, we weren't given any advice on this by the company. Using local hotels and baggage carriers must have brought income and work to the area. We used local shops, cafes and restaurants. Walking clearly minimises environmental damage.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Copy of my email sent to the oeprator:I have just returned from a holiday with my husband that included 3 days of walking in the Gorges du Verdon, organised by your company. We very much enjoyed our time in this area, loved the walks and were happy with the hotels and the baggage transfers. However, we were very disappointed and indeed shocked at the poor quality of the information you provided in the form of a Roadbook.

We had noticed before we set off that the book was written in very poor English that seemed rather as if had been directly translated from French, perhaps by a computer. It really did not make sense.

It contained almost no useful description of our routes. I could write a much better route description having done the walks once. I suspect that no-one in your company has ever done the walks. Fortunately we had bought 2 maps covering the area of the walks. The maps copied into your booklet were too small, impossible to read. Your information does not say that a map is required, nor does it give any information on which maps to buy.

We were confused about the route we were to take for our second day from Rougon to Palud. As your book indicates that this is a 20k walk, that we should follow the GR4 (which goes through the Canyon), as the holiday is promoted as being in the Grand Canyon du Verdon and as we were advised to bring head torches for the tunnels, we assumed that we were to walk to La Palud through the Canyon. It took us a while to work out that this would be impossible, dangerous and that our route did not go into the Canyon. It was on this evening that I tried calling your emergency number, for guidance on the route. I was shocked to find that it was impossible to access this number without a code that we had not been given. We worked out the route for ourselves, but I consider it outrageous to give out an emergency number that doesn't work.

Your information is totally incorrect in giving Rougon to La Palud as 20k and La Palud to Moustiers as 12k. In fact Rougon to La Palud is about 8k. La Palud to Moustiers is around 20k.

We thoroughly enjoyed our walk over the ridge from La Palud to Moustiers, but felt that much more detail should have been given on the route. Some of it was a bit of a scramble and certainly required a good head for heights. It would not suit all walkers of moderate ability.

We feel that for the price we paid, we should have been given better information, therefore, although we enjoyed the holiday, we do not consider it good value for money.
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I don't like being forced to use your star rating, as none of the comments corresponds with my feeling about the holiday. It was very enjoyable, but I would not recommend it to a friend for the reasons set out above.

Read the operator's response here:

Hello Ruth,

Thanks for your feedback. We always take them very seriously. We will undertake a full review of our roadbook by walking the walk ourselves and writing ourselves from a native English speaker. Also maps will be included automatically.

Yours sincerely.
Fabien.

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