Look inside our books using Google Book Search. Please note that this will take you to an external website. To search our website please use the search box at the top right of the screen.
Guidebook to 30 varied day walks in the east of Provence in the Alpes Maritimes, Alpes de Haute-Provence and Mercantour, with practical information for the walker. Walks span from the Esterel on the coast to the Mercantour, and include the Verdon Gorge and Geological Reserve of Haute Provence, from bases such as Vence, Grasse and Digne-les-Bains.
Prices include FREE UK First Class postage. We also ship internationally, please see our see our Price Guide for full details.
Windows and Mac OS X - you'll need to install the free Adobe Digital Editions software. eBooks can be printed, but only from the first computer that you download your eBook onto (Full list of supported devices).
Apple iPad - using the Cicerone Guides iPad App, available free from the App Store.
Read more information about eBook formats.
Cicerone guidebooks are now available as ePUBs. You'll need to install a free ePUB reader that supports Adobe DRM.
Read more information about eBook formats.
You can download this book direct from the Amazon Kindle store for use on their Kindle device. Amazon also have free Apps available for iPhone, PC, Mac, iPad and Android.
Unfortunately, it isn't possible to print pages with this format.
eBooks purchased from Google Play can be viewed on your computer, Android, or iOS device through the Google Play App.
eBooks purchased from Kobo can only be viewed and downloaded into the Kobo App which allows you to read your eBook on Apple and Android devices. Kobo Desktop is available for Windows and Mac.
Our ebooks are also available to buy through many eBook retailers including:
• Google Play
• Barnes and Noble
|Buy your choice of routes or chapters to read online, on your mobile device or to download as a PDF to print or read.||Browse Routes|
Provence’s sunshine and Mediterranean charm attract many visitors to its coast, yet the area also has much more to offer the walker. The countryside inland boasts a range of scenery from remote mountaintops to spectacular gorges. History is everywhere, in medieval villages, arcaded streets, abbeys, churches and castles.
This guide covers the eastern regions, with its companion volume, Walking in Provence: West, covering the rest of this fascinating and historic landscape. The walking is incredibly diverse, and explores the country that hugs the Côte d'Azur and Italian border. The Alpes Maritimes rise craggy and wild above towns as unique as Grasse, Cannes and Monaco. The Mercantour National Park in contrast is a partially uninhabited area of high mountains, alpine lakes and red rock gorges known for its wildlife. Further north in the Alpes de Haute-Provence is a largely unspoilt geological playground, including such spectacles as the Verdon Gorge with villages and ancient sites throughout.
Suitable for all walkers of average fitness levels, the walks range from 4 to 21 kilometres in length, and are graded for difficulty from short, easy routes to more challenging walks that can include precipitous sections, but no special equipment is needed.
Update received from reader Mick Borroff, January 2016. Thanks to Mick.
Note: Mick walked this walk - Route 19, on 22nd October 2015.
The route described by Janette has recently been upgraded with an improved path and additional railings in place along all of the Verdon Canal wall. The old ladders adjacent to the tunnel have been replaced by metal stairs. The small hut beside the tunnel entrance now houses a series of fascinating information boards about the canal.
The direct ascent to the Chapelle Ste-Maxime from the beginning of the Vallonet de Ste-Maxime described under the main route has been permanently closed by the authorities for safety reasons due to severe stonefall danger. The line of this path forking left has been blocked by trees at the bottom but there was no signposting of the closure here. Once the chapel was reached, the closure notice was displayed beside the line of the former route and a second notice attached to the signpost.
The route now continues up the Vallonet de Ste-Maxime and circles around the south side of the chapel to join Janette’s alternative route. The new route is clearly waymarked and well signposted. This adds about 1.2km to the original main route.
The description on page 163/164 could be modified to read:
“Bear left away from the edge of the gorge into a narrow bushy valley called the Vallonet de Ste-Maxime, where you glimpse tall cliffs each side. About 5 mins later, ignore a blocked former path on the left and continue up the valley through boxwood and oak following the red/white markings of the GR99. The path traverses above the Ravin de Ste-Maxime and after about a kilometre reaches a T junction. Turn left as signposted to Chapelle Ste-Maxime. In another 200m, turn left at a signpost vat a second T junction where the alternative route avoiding the tunnel is joined and followed on a narrow footpath with the gorge on the right, until you reach the Chapelle Ste-Maxime (2hrs 5mins).
Return the same way following the yellow waymarked path signposted to Carrefour de Ste-Maxim/Quinson back to the signpost v at the junction with the GR99, so the markings are red/white instead of yellow (2hrs 20mins).
Follow the sign ahead to the Carrefour de la Draille des Vaches and Quinson. The wide path still climbs …”
NB Add 20 mins to all subsequent timings.
Updates received from reader Phil Dover, November 2015
Walk 9: Esterel Circuit
There was no sign marking the path along the Ravin des Trois Terms and Lac Ecureuil, and the top third is badly washed out.
Note from the updaters of this guide: It sounds as if this section is no longer maintained, probably due to repeated flooding. It is therefore best to use the shorter route from point 1 to point 3.
Walk 19: Lower Verdon Gorge
The start of the narrow path from the Vallone de Ste-Maxime has no markings now and have been obstructed with brushwood and at the top by the chapel there is a "Sentier interdit" notice but we didn't find it difficult to do.
Note from the updaters of this guide: This part of the route was flood damaged some years back and may be unstable. The tourist office does not want to signpost it until it has been fully secured.
|A short history of Provence|
|Provençal writers and artists|
|Plants and flowers|
|Travelling to Provence|
|When to go|
|Clothing and equipment|
|Using this guide|
|Location of Walks|
|Walk 1 Baou des Noirs and Baou des Blancs|
|Walk 2 Baou de St-Jeannet|
|Walk 3 Chemin du Paradis|
|Walk 4 Pic de Courmettes and Puy de Tourrettes|
|Walk 5 Baou de St-Jean|
|Walk 6 The Route Napoléon|
|Walk 7 Vallée de la Siagne|
|Walk 8 Pic du Cap Roux|
|Walk 9 Estérel Circuit and Lac de l’Ecureuil|
|Walk 10 Mont Vinaigre|
|Alpes de Haute-Provence|
|Location of Walks|
|Walk 11 Three Chapels Walk from Digne-les-Bains|
|Walk 12 Walk in the Réserve Géologique|
|Walk 13 Bigue du Siron|
|Walk 14 The Cousson|
|Walk 15 The Cucuyon|
|Walk 16 Rochers des Mées|
|Walk 17 Gorges de Trévans|
|Walk 18 The Verdon Gorge – Sentier Blanc-Martel|
|Walk 19 Lower Verdon Gorge|
|Walk 20 Sommet de Crémon|
|Location of Walks|
|Walk 21 Moulin de la Barlatte|
|Walk 22 Plateau de la Lare from Sauze|
|Walk 23 Gorges de Daluis|
|Walk 24 Circuit from St-Martin d’Entraunes|
|Walk 25 Col des Champs from Entraunes|
|Walk 26 Lakes Circuit from the Col de la Cayolle|
|Walk 27 Mont Pelat|
|Walk 28 Circuit above Péone|
|Walk 29 Mont Mounier|
|Walk 30 Around Mont d’Auvare|
|Appendix A Route summary table|
|Appendix B Maps|
|Appendix C Tourist information|
|Appendix D Market days|
|Appendix E Glossary of Provençal words|
As you drive south through France on the aptly named Autoroute du Soleil (motorway of the sun), just after Montélimar you will notice that there is a large granite sculpture of the sun on the right side of the road, and soon after a sign saying Vous êtes en Provence (You are in Provence). At this point the landscape starts to alter and the light changes. Everything suddenly looks clearer, the sun is brighter, the sky bluer. The little red-roofed villages stand out on the hillsides, each with its distinctive iron-trellised church tower; the roads are lined by tall cypresses and pines; at the sides are stony vineyards, rows of purple lavender, groves of olive trees and yellow-flowering broom.
You feel a certain indolence take hold; things that were stressful and important become trivial; the air is warm and smells of pine trees and herbs; the people on the motorway péages (toll booths) actually smile! It could all be imagination, or just the Mediterranean magic that has seduced thousands of tourists as they enter Provence.
Provence is in the south-eastern corner of France, and extends from the River Rhône in the west to the Italian border in the east, with the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It includes the five administrative departments of Vaucluse, Var, Alpes Maritimes, Alpes de Haute-Provence and Bouches-du-Rhône. This guide has largely excluded the Bouches-du-Rhône and has instead included the Drôme Provençale, which is actually part of the department of the Drôme but, as its name suggests, has all the characteristics of Provence.
Originally published in one volume, the walks have now been split into two books, with two new regions added, the Drôme Provençale and the Mercantour.
Walking in Provence: West
Walking in Provence: East
The three regions covered in Provence East offer a variety of landscapes and walks. Those in the Alpes Maritimes are mostly lower, where spring arrives early and sunshine abounds. Some start on the Mediterranean coast in the brightly coloured rocks of the Estérel, while others start further inland where rocky peaks provide spectacular viewpoints of both the sea and the Alps. The Alpes de Haute-Provence is a higher wilder area, which is less populated. There are walks through the dramatic Verdon gorges, in the bizarre rock formations of the Geological Reserve, and up remote peaks from villages where time has stood still. The Mercantour is a more mountainous region of peaks, alpine lakes and gorges, where snow often stays on the trails until early summer. Most of the walks start at a higher altitude than those in the other regions, some nearer the valleys, others over passes with historic boundary stones, or up the highest peaks in the region, home of the ibex and chamois.
However, it should be pointed out that walking in Provence is often a lonely activity. While the towns, especially on the coast, are thronged with people, the hills are often devoid of anyone apart from sheep, and there is rarely a cosy mountain refuge just around the corner or a handy walker to ask directions from. Walking for pleasure is not a pastime of the average Provençal, who would rather sit under a tree and drink a pastis.
But the walking is magical and full of discovery – a hilltop village, a medieval abbey or castle, a shrine or chapel, an old borie or mill – this is a countryside with a past, and when walking in it, you stumble on history. The attraction of Provence is its diversity: one day you can be walking on a remote plateau or up a rocky peak, the next down a leafy gorge or along an old canal. There are so many interesting diversions that walks often take longer than anticipated, but the air is warm and fragrant with herbs – time takes on a new meaning.
And when you finally arrive back, there is hopefully that glass of rosé waiting for you in a little café under shady trees in the main square of the village.