llamaIf your kids are reluctant to go hiking, here's an unusual solution to tempt them forth: set out on your walk with a llama in tow.

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Your companion will allow you to pet, groom and stroke it - and, contrary to myth, will only spit under provocation.

It will even carry your knapsack and picnic hamper (though you won't be able to ride it). And you can take a little swatch of its hair home as a souvenir.

The original idea behind Aix by Llama (Aix en Lama) was purely pragmatic. The dry undergrowth in this part of Provence - which locals call the garrigue - is highly vulnerable to forest fires in summer.

But the llama, like the goat, loves nothing better than to munch it up for supper.

Marie-Sophie Raud became intrigued by these living lawnmowers and set up a business to familiarise visitors with the animal and to pass on her affection for it (if you are staying in the Avignon area you can visit Marie Scherrer's llama breeding farm, which starts from a similar idea).

Aix by LlamaBased south-east of Aix en Provence, near Saint Victoire, Paul Cézanne's beloved, legendary mountain, Aix by Llama offers whole day and half day walks all the year round, except August when the heat is prohibitive. Advance reservation is essential.

And if you own a house near Aix, you can also rent a llama or two to clear your garden of combustible plants.

Where: Aix en Lama, 1950 chemin de la Guiramande, 13090 Aix en Provence. Tel: (+33) 6 68 18 84 27. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website for Aix en Lama



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