Birdwatching holiday from the Alps to Provence
    • France - Provence
    • 7 days
    • Ornithology
    • Guided
      • From March to June
    • 4 - 8 travellers
      • Comfort
      • Charming
      • Trip code : A1801

About the Birdwatching holiday from the Alps to Provence trip

About the trip 

Join a guided birdwatching tour in Provence in the company of a professional and truly passionate guide.

The south of France is well known for its Mediterranean beaches, typical country villages, roman ruins and delicious Provencal food. What is less known about the area, however, is that it is a major crossroad for migrating birds in Europe and is one of the best places to enjoy birdwatching in the Western Palearctic region.

Our trip begins in the Vercors, one of the most remote Nature Reserves in France and a transition zone from the majestic Alps to the warm Provence. We then continue on to the Alpilles in the heart of Provence, a limestone massif with Mediterranean scrubland and perched medieval villages that inspired the works of Vincent Van Gogh. It is here and in nearby Crau, the ancient alluvial plain of the Durance where several very rare and localized species can be found. Finally, we finish in the Camargue, one of the most renowned wetlands in the world, located at the mouth of the Rhône river delta and the beautiful Languedoc coast. 

On this Provence ornithology tour, the itinerary is tailored to show all the iconic species found in Southern France, enjoying the ecosystems from the Alps to the limestone hills of the Languedoc region, through the wild Camargue to Provence. Immerse yourself in magnificent landscapes, admire the beautiful architecture and take full advantage of the authentic cuisine.

Please note: 
. This rate is on the base of a group of 4 persons. 
Group can be from 3 to 8 persons maximum
. The price reduces depending on the number of travellers : contact us
. During the French spring, the activity of the birds and wildlife reaches its peak in the early hours of the day. For this reason, we must get up very early to maximise the observation conditions. Breakfasts will be served early and sometimes taken in the field.


Highlights of the trip

  • An English speaking birdwatching specialist as your guide
  • The different ecosystems from the Alps to the sea 
  • The huge variety of Mediterranean species
  • All meals, accommodation and transportation included
  • The Roman city of Arles
  • The vineyards and olive groves blanketing the plains
  • Delicious Mediterranean food


    Go Private ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

From the blog

Birdwatching holiday from the Alps to Provence: Day by Day

Day 1 - From Lyon to the Vercors mountains

france ornithology holiday

  • Our journey starts at Lyon airport and after a relatively short transfer (1h30) we reach our hotel in the heart of the Vercors massif. The Vercors Nature Reserve is one of the most remote reserves in France (and certainly the largest). This pre-alpine moutain reserve protects a very large area of alpine forest, meadows, impressive cliffs and sharp peaks.
  • Night in La Chapelle en Vercors
  • MEALS included:  Dinner

  • We recommend
    . Enjoy a pre-tour night stay in Lyon, it is a beautiful city!

  • Access: 
    . Regular international flights and national flights to Lyon International airport
    . Regular train lines from Paris > Lyon on the SNCF train website. Access information here

Day 2 & 3 - The Natural Park of Vercors

birdwatching tour in france provence

  • Program for Day 2 & Day 3
    . Walking time : 6-7 hours of gentle walking
    . Day 3 : very early start + 
    night walking with flashlight 
  • The following two days will be spent looking for the iconic bird species that can be found in this beautiful alpine area. We will experience the stunning display of the beautiful Black Grouse and at night we will look for the two small resident owl species, the Boreal Owl and its diminutive cousin, the Eurasian Pygmy-Owl. The forest around here is also home to the impressive Black Woodpecker.
    We will explore the entire altitudinal gradient from the deep forests haunted by such species as Coal Tit, Red Crossbill, Ring Ouzel or the beautiful Eurasian Bullfinch to the high altitude meadows where Northern Wheatear spend their breeding season and small flocks of Citril Finches and displaying Tree Pipit can be observed along with the wary Marmots!
  • Day 2 : Night in La Chapelle en Vercors
  • Day 3 : Transfer to  Van Gogh's Provence region (2h30). Night in Arles
  • MEALS included: Breakfast & Picnic Lunch & Dinner

Day 4 - The Crau and the Van Gogh Alpilles Mountains

provence ornithology stay in france europe

  • Program of the Day - Walking time : 3-4 hours of gentle walking
  • We begin our exploration of the Provence region with two birdwatching hotspots. First, we visit the Van Gogh Alpilles massif where we look for the massive Eurasian Eagle Owl and one of the rarest breeding raptors in Western Europe, the mighty Bonelli's Eagle. All in a beautiful setting of hills alive with the song of the delicate mediterranean Warblers.
    Then, we drive to the nearby rocky plain of the Crau ( 30mn ). This ancient alluvial plain of the river Durance, covered in shingles, is the only steppe-like habitat in France and is home to some of the rarest breeding species in the country. It is, in particular, a stronghold for the delicate Little Bustard, the peculiar song of which can be heard among the chorus of singing larks (including the rare Calandra Lark). A small number of Pin-tailed Sandgrouses (the only site in France to see this species) might be spotted while observing foraging Lesser Kestrels.
  • Night in Arles
  • MEALS included: Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner

Day 5 - Birdwatching in wild Camargue

provence ornithology tour

  • Program of the Day - Most of the time roadside birding 
  • This day is a  highlight of the trip! We purposefully roam in the different habitats of the Camargue delta, from the sandy beaches to the brackish marshes and extensive reedbeds where so many species reside. We will do our best to uncover the most emblematic species that make this wetland a birding hotspot of international fame. We search for birds under the incredulous gaze of the horses and bulls that are so iconic of this delta : Flamingo, Squacco Heron, Collared Pratincole, Little Egret, European Bee-eater or Eurasian Bittern are but a few species that we will have a chance of seeing in this incredible place.
  • Night in Arles
  • MEALS included: Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner 

    Day 6 - From Camargue to the Haut Languedoc region

    birdwatching flamingoes of camargue in france with a specialist

      • Program of the Day 
        . Most of the time roadside birding
        . Walking time : 2-3 hours of gentle walking
      • Following this great introduction to Camargue birdwatching, we head westward on our journey.  We will try to find the species that might have eluded us the day before in the nearby Camargue gardoise, where Western Swamphen, Little Bittern, Purple Heron and Glossy Ibis can all be found.
        We then head towards a few sites in the Herault region to look for some specialties such as Lesser Kestrel, European Roller, Woodchat Shrike and Bonelli's Eagle . And if we're lucky, the ultra-rare Lesser Grey Shrike on the brink of extinction as a breeder in France. Then we head to the Aude region ( 3h drive) for the last stint of our trip.
      • Night in Belesta or Fitou, above Perpignan
      • MEALS included: Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner

    Day 7 - Exploring the Corbieres region

    provence walking holiday birdwarching

    • Program of the Day 
      . Most of the time roadside birding
      . Walking time : 2-3 hours of gentle walking
    • For our last day, we spend our time looking for some special birds amidst the beautiful landscapes of the Corbières region which is one of the last sanctuaries for some mediterranean species in France such as the rare Red-rumped Swallow nests under bridges and on buildings near Tuchan. The castle of Opoul-Perillos is the place to look for the beautiful Blue Rock Thrush, the Tawny Pipit or the highly localised Black-eared Wheatear. The scrubland around the small village of Fitou is the only place to look for the Thekla Lark, here at the northernmost end of its geographic range.  
      We will finish our journey in the marshland and salt flats near La Palme and La Franqui
    • Transfer to Montpellier Airport (1h30). End of the trip
    • MEALS included: Breakfast & Lunch

    - Your guide and the group

    • The guide
      You will be accompanied by an English speaking, local birdwatching guide. 
      . Vincent
      Vincent has always been fascinated by birds and nature in general. After studying evolutionary biology at university, he went on to travel the world to see new birds. He spent 5 years in Ecuador where he worked as a birdwatching guide and fell in love with South America and its incredible avian diversity. He is the main Project Manager of Terra Firme Birdwatching and leads groups with passion and enthusiasm in South America and Europe. He is French and from Montpellier in the South of France. 
      . Matthieu
      A passionate birder and evolutionary biologist specialising in Population Genetics, Mathieu has traveled extensively in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. He also lived for 3 years in North America and traveled in South America and the Caribbean in search of birds. He will share his scientific knowledge with you along with his boundless enthusiasm for birds.

    • The group
      . From 3 to 8 persons maximum in order to ensure optimal observation conditions and minimise the disappointment of not seeing a 'rare species'.  Small groups are also a guarantee of the guide's availability and discretion when approaching fierce species.

    • The tour
      . The majority of observations will take place along trails, marked paths or from observatories. Walking time is around 2 to 3 hours. The state of the paths can vary, sometimes flat, sometimes hilly or with a small but steep climb in parts. The paths can be dry but also muddy and slippery in wet weather. We will undertake a lot of roadside birding which does not require any physical effort.  
      . Our van will always be parked close to the walking paths and you can leave any unwanted or unecessary equipement in the van with the driver so as not to carry too much weight on the walks. 
      . We will also be heading out in the evenings after dinner (for around 1 hour) in search of nocturnal species. The evening excursions are optional. 
      . During the season, there can be up to 14 hours of daylight in France (from around 5:45am to 7:45pm). The bird activity reaches its peak in the early hours, which means rising very early in order to make the most of this critical time and maximum activity. Breakfasts will be served very early, sometimes in picnic form to be taken out on the excursion. The hottest part of the day, when the bird activity dwindles, is for either resting or travelling from one region to another.  

    • Climate
      The birdwatching tour takes place in the south of France during the spring. The temperatures are pleasant but can be fresh at sunrise and sunset. 
      . In the Vercors, the climate will be cooler and there may be snow on the high altitude visiting spots.  
      . In Camargue, the temperatures can climb to  30 °C during the day. 

    More Provence holidays

      • France - Provence
      • 7 days
    • Ornithology
    • Guided
      • From March to June
  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Comfort
      • Charming
  • Highlights of the trip

    • An English speaking birdwatching specialist as your guide
    • The different ecosystems from the Alps to the sea 
    • The huge variety of Mediterranean species
    • All meals, accommodation and transportation included
    • The Roman city of Arles
    • The vineyards and olive groves blanketing the plains
    • Delicious Mediterranean food


      Go Private ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

    Birdwatching holiday from the Alps to Provence
        • France - Provence
        • 4 adults (4x1850€)
        • 0 children (0x1850€)
      • 7 days
      • Comfort
    Total 7400€
    Deposit 2200€
    Book now !