LA PROVENCE On the paths of transhumance

In the sublime landscapes of Bouches-du-Rhône, transhumance reveals its timeless charm and cultural richness. The “drailles” or ancient communication routes between Lower Provence and the Alpine mountains testify to its historical importance in Provence. The GR®69 La Routo allows enthusiasts to follow the traces of this tradition, connecting Arles to the Italian Piedmont through the old “drailles.”

The “Ptits ânes” trail in Eyragues offers a unique experience of transhumance, exploring the Alpilles accompanied by a miniature donkey. The adventure begins with Raboulo, Soleil, Acacia, Baïne, Marcel, and Ella, inviting you to a unique family adventure, among friends, or solo. A picturesque way to discover the region.

These four-legged companions carry your picnics in their saddlebags, delighting children, for a half-day, a full day, or a weekend. You have the option of guided hikes with a “ânier” who shares knowledge of the region or self-guided hikes with rented donkeys, allowing visitors to choose their route and discover sites that have inspired renowned artists like Van Gogh.

Another discovery not to be missed is a visit to Lionel Escoffier’s farm at Mas de la Tapie in Aureille. The breeder of Merino sheep will tell you about the historical importance of Arles Merino wool, weaving stories and connections, his profession from shearing to transhumance, accompanied by his joyful colony of over 3000 heads. Among the finest in the world, this wool has played a central role in the pastoral and industrial history of the region. A spotlight on these traditions, where transhumance and wool production remain practices rooted in regional identity.

Transhumance festivities, organized annually throughout Provence, celebrate the seasonal movement of herds. An opportunity not to be missed to admire thousands of sheep parading through villages, from Istres to Les Baux-de-Provence via Saint Martin-de-Crau or Saint-Rémy.