On foot in the ochres of Provençal Colorado
Cliffs and canyons, stone needles and fairy-like chimneys in the full palette of red and orange, yellow and vermillion...this unique and flamboyant setting worthy of a technicolor Western is far from the O.K. Corral, but we like to call it the "little Provençal Colorado." In the heart of the Luberon, in this country of a thousand colours, the trails are joyful and colorful. From the beautiful villages of Roussillon or Rustrel, your little cowboys will play cowboys and the Gold Rush prospectors on the secured paths of the old ochre quarries. Very photogenic even if, inevitably, a bit messy (dress accordingly)!
On the water, by canoe or electric boat, from the Sorgue to the Verdon
You don't need to have a sea legs or be a paddling expert to glide on the clear waters of the Sorgue. From Fontaine de Vaucluse, where the river rises at the foot of an immense cliff, to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a little Venice in Provence, the canoe descent is peaceful and shady, under the green tunnel of plane and alder trees. If your youngsters want more, sailing on the Durance River to observe wild birds or on the Rhône, with a view of Avignon and the Popes' Palace, are also guarenteed to make them happy, as does boarding a canoe in the Verdon gorges. Between Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, set a course for the largest canyon in Europe, with its emerald reflections, mysterious caves, small stone bridges-the boat is electric, the roof is retractable and of course, little hands are allowed to hold the steering wheel. Bon voyage, convertible-style!
By donkey or llama in the Luberon and the Alpilles mountains
On the small paths of Provence, scented with thyme and rosemary, the beasts of burden carry the children, the picnic goods and the luggage. For hikes on hooves, the donkeys make affectionate guides and companions. At their peaceful and but tireless pace, the whole family will enjoy the panorama and the viewpoints on the beautiful villages around the Alpilles or the Luberon, such as Gordes or Lourmarin. From Lauris, perched on a rocky spur overlooking the Durance valley, on llama-back the little riders can take in the view. This is an old-school, but gentle, ascent of the slopes of green Provence.
Electric scooter on Mont Ventoux
With its 1,909 meters (6,200 feet) of altitude, Mont Ventoux well deserves its nickname "the Giant of Provence." For hiking, it is best approached with the family slowly, even leisurely-until you all get on an electric scooter. Those of Trotee Cime are all-terrain (and perfectly silent) with their big tires and dependable suspensions. You can ride them from the age of 8 (otherwise young exploreres can follow the parents in a sleigh) to explore the sides of the Giant with funny comments on the local fauna and flora. Learning while having fun and trotting without getting tired: who says vacations have to be low-key?
On horseback or in a horse-drawn carriage across the plains of the Camargue
In the Camargue, there are pink flamingos perched on one leg, strong bulls charging, and of course, horses galloping, manes billowing in the wind between Mediterranean beaches, manades and shepherd's huts. There are also enthusiastic guides who are eager to tell your kids about the traditions of this extraordinary territory of marshes and lagoons south of Arles, in the Rhone delta. With the family, not far from Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer or Aigues-Mortes, you can saddle up on peaceful draught horses or lovely ponies. And for more comfortable rides on the dyke paths, the horse-drawn carriage will enchant young and old alike. Ideal for observing ponds, reed beds and sansouïres, the salt meadows of Provence where the glasswort grows.