Calling all horse lovers, animal lovers and adventurers. Why not explore Provence in a different way? Forget your car, leave the bike at home and try a unique way to explore the beauty of our favourite region: by horseback.

Venture away from the crowded villages, busy streets and bustling restaurants and enter nature, tranquil stone trails and mountain ranges. Riding through the rolling vineyards, ancient olive groves, and lavender fields provides a sense of connection with the land and its history. Whether you are a seasoned rider or a novice, Provence has a trail for you. Let us guide you through some of the best horse riding locations in this captivating region.

Luberon Valley

The Luberon Valley, with its charming villages and picturesque landscapes, is perfect for a leisurely ride and a popular horseback choice for many visiting the area. Trails here are both historic and beautiful. Start your journey in the villate of Gordes, one of the most beautiful places in Provence, and ride through the oak forests and vineyards that are characteristic of the region. The terrain is varied, making it suitable for riders of all levels. Whether you want to take a leisurely plod along a well-marked track to take in the views unreachable by car, or canter through streams and uneven terrain – you will find what you are looking for in Luberon.

Ferme Équestre de Joucas riding school

Located 35 km from Avignon, 25 km from L'Isle sur la Sorgue, and 15 km from Apt, near Gordes and Roussillon (4 km), Ferme Équestre de Joucas is set amidst picturesque vineyards, adjacent to the GR97 trail. This equestrian centre offers a stunning panorama with views of the Luberon chain to the south, the charming village of Joucas to the north, Gordes to the west, and Roussillon to the east.

The centre welcomes visitors year-round, whether beginners or experienced riders, providing a family-friendly atmosphere and tailored courses in small groups. Activities include outdoor outings, equestrian games, harnessing, and courses. The horses, mostly from family breeding, are trained in various disciplines, ensuring each rider finds a suitable mount.

Guests can explore the wild beauty of the Monts de Vaucluse, the famous landscapes of the Luberon, the cliffs of Lioux, the historical sites of Gordes, the ochre quarries of Roussillon, and the old mills of Véroncle. Additionally, the centre offers training in farriery, topography-orientation, saddlery, equine first aid, long reins, and driving, with opportunities to take exams in various equestrian disciplines.

Young horses are gently trained for riding or harnessing, ensuring a comprehensive and enjoyable equestrian experience for all visitors.

horseback riding

Camargue National Park

For those seeking a unique adventure, the Camargue National Park is a must-visit. Best known for its wild horses and flamingos, the park offers a distinct landscape of marshlands and salt flats. Riding here provides a chance to see the iconic white horses of the Camargue in their natural habitat. The trails are relatively flat and accessible, making it an ideal spot for family outings.

Bergerie d'Alivon riding school

Join a small group guided by Emmanuel to explore the natural splendour of the Camargue on horseback. Starting from the farm, you will journey through paths, swamps, and rice fields, eventually reaching the serene Vaccarès pond. Along the way, Emmanuel will introduce you to his herd of bulls and the area's rich biodiversity. This experience is suitable for everyone, from novices to experienced riders, with easy-going horses ensuring a pleasant ride. Horseback is the ideal way to approach the rare species inhabiting the marshes, such as bee-eaters, falcons, and pink flamingos. The centre offers various tours: a one-hour visit for €20, a two-hour nature tour of livestock and marshland for €38, and a half-day excursion to Vaccarès pond for €60. Open all year round, the centre provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Camargue.

Horseback riding

Alpilles Regional Natural Park

Located near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, the Alpilles Regional Natural Park offers well-marked trails perfect for horseback riding. These trails provide a mix of natural terrain and historical sites, making for an engaging ride. A popular route is the trail to Les Baux-de-Provence, a historic village perched on a rocky outcrop, offering riders both a scenic and culturally rich experience.

 Ecuries Le Petit Roman Riding School

At Ecuries Le Petit Roman, you will ride through fields of olive trees and trails lined with thyme and rosemary. Pony rides are available for children aged two to seven on trails featuring holm oaks, olive groves, and almond trees. Visitors can also tour the farm, meet the animals, and participate in animal mediation activities. The centre holds labels such as Bien-Être Animal, Valeurs Parc Naturel, Bienvenue à la ferme, Centre de Tourisme Equestre FFE, and Cheval Etape.

Minimum age requirements are eight years for horse riding and two years for pony trekking.

horse riding

Horse riding tours

When embarking on a horse riding adventure in Provence, you can expect a well-rounded physical experience with a bit of culture thrown in. Most horse riding tours cater to various skill levels, from beginners to experienced riders. It is common for your guide to assess your skills on a horse in a small school or riding area before they allocate you to the appropriate group. If you are a large group, you can request to stick together and follow the trail best suited to your least experienced rider. Small-group tours include safety helmets and pre-departure instructions.

Guided tours: Guided tours often include insights about the region's history and nature but please make sure you check in advance that your guide can speak your native language.

Scenic routes: Guided horseback tours in Provence often cover a variety of terrains, from rolling hills and lush vineyards to rugged mountain paths and coastal marshlands.

Varied duration: Whether you want to spend an afternoon, full day or multiple days riding, Provence has a range of different offerings to suit every requirement.

Cultural stops: Along the way of some tours, you can expect to stop at historical landmarks, charming villages, or local markets. These breaks offer a chance to rest, give your horse a much deserved drink of water and experience the local culture.

What do I need to bring with me for a horse riding experience?

Preparation is key to enjoying your horse riding adventure in Provence to ensure that you are comfortable in the saddle for the duration of your journey. Here are some essentials to consider:

Appropriate clothing

Wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing. Long trousers and sturdy boots are recommended to protect your legs and feet. A lightweight jacket can be useful for cooler mornings or unexpected weather changes.

Riding helmet

Safety should always come first. Most tour operators provide riding helmets as part of your booking, but it is advisable to bring your own if you have one for a better fit.

Water and snacks

Staying hydrated is crucial, especially during the hot summer months. Bringing a refillable water bottle is advisable as you will be away from shops and restaurants whilst riding. We would also recommend bringing a small picnic or snacks for riding experiences longer than three hours. Some tours already include a light lunch, so we recommend checking what comes with your horse riding booking in advance so that you know exactly what to bring.

Sun protection

The Provencal sun can be strong, especially if you are out riding all day, so bring sunscreen to protect your skin and to avoid a bad t-shirt tan.
If you want to be really popular with your four legged friend, we heard a rumour that they enjoy the occasional carrot or juicy apple, but make sure to check with your guide before offering any thankyou treats.

Contact our concierge team

If you are interested in booking a horseback experience, please reach out to our local concierge team, who will be sure to help organise your booking with a local ranch or riding school, to best suit your needs.

Discovering Provence by horseback is a truly enriching and memorable way to explore the region, particularly if you have children keen on riding. This fabulous family friendly activity offers a unique glimpse into the heart of Provence. With proper preparation and the guidance of knowledgeable locals, you can enjoy a one of a kind horse riding adventure.

A bientôt,

The Provence Holidays Team