Walking in Provence - West

Drôme Provençal, Vaucluse, Var

By Janette Norton

Guidebook to 30 varied day walks in the west of Provence in the Drôme Provençale, the Vaucluse and the Var, with practical information for the walker. Walks span from the Baronnies in the north to the Ste-Baume ridge in the south and can be tackled from charming bases such as Nyons, Apt and Aix-en-Provence.



most of the walks are not high and can be made at any time of the year, especially near the coast; the most pleasant seasons are spring and autumn.


Nyons and Buis-les-Baronnies (Drôme Provençale); Vaison-la-Romaine and Apt (Vaucluse); St-Maximin-la-Ste-Baume and Aix-en-Provence (Var)


circular day walks, suitable for averagely fit people and graded Easy, Medium or Difficult, depending on length, total ascent and terrain; easy walks are short, while difficult ones take up to eight hours and may include sections that are precipitous or difficult to navigate; no special equipment is needed
Must See

Must See

dramatic mountain ridges and deep river gorges; perched medieval villages, arcaded streets, fountains, ruined castles, abbeys and churches; from the Baronnies in the north to the Ste-Baume ridge in the south
3 Nov 2014
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.8cm
  • Overview

    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 western regions, with its companion volume, Walking in Provence: East, covering the rest of this fascinating and historic landscape. The walking is incredibly diverse; from the green waves of the Barronies hills in Drôme Provençale, to the unforgettable silhouette of Mont Ventoux giving way to limestone plateaux cut with ravines in the Vauclause. Further south lies Var, containing rock and wood-strewn hills inland, and a coast full of knarled inlets and hidden beaches.

    Suitable for all walkers of average fitness levels, the walks range from 4 to 21 kilometres, and are graded for difficulty from short, easy routes to more challenging walks that can include precipitous sections, but no special equipment is needed.

    • 30 day walks in the Drôme Provençal, Vaucluse and Var in the sunny south-east corner of France
    • walks illustrated with clear sketch maps and height profiles, as well as inspiring photographs

    • all the practical information required for a perfect trip from public transport to maps and market days
  • Contents

    A short history of Provence
    Provençal writers and artists
    Plants and flowers
    Regional specialities
    Travelling to Provence
    When to go
    Clothing and equipment
    Using this guide
    Drôme Provençale
    Location of Walks
    Walk 1 Nyons Olive Walk
    Walk 2 Ferme de la Lance
    Walk 3 The Cougoir
    Walk 4 Serre de Crema
    Walk 5 Rocher de Bramard
    Walk 6 Gorges de Léoux
    Walk 7 Grande Javonière
    Walk 8 Château d’Ubrieux
    Walk 9 Around the Rocher de St-Julien
    Walk 10 Gorges de Toulourenc
    Walk 11 Lavender Walk from Aulan
    Location of Walks
    Walk 12 Vaison-la-Romaine to Crestet
    Walk 13 The Gambade from Gigondas
    Walk 14 Dentelles de Montmirail
    Walk 15 Le Barroux to La Roque-Alric
    Walk 16 Gorges du Curnier
    Walk 17 Gorges de la Nesque
    Walk 18 Fontaine-de-Vaucluse and the Wall of the Plague
    Walk 19 Abbaye de Sénanque
    Walk 20 Colorado Provençal
    Walk 21 Fort de Buoux
    Walk 22 Mourre Nègre
    Location of Walks
    Walk 23 Montagne Ste-Victoire
    Walk 24 Marcel Pagnol Country
    Walk 25 Mont Olympe
    Walk 26 Montagne de la Ste-Baume
    Walk 27 Ste-Croix from Nans-les-Pins
    Walk 28 Old village and castle of Rougiers
    Walk 29 Mourre d’Agnis
    Walk 30 Circuit de Latay

    Appendix A Route summary table
    Appendix B Maps
    Appendix C Tourist information
    Appendix D Market days
    Appendix E Glossary of Provençal words

  • Updates
    Receive updates by email
    Be notified by email when this book receives an update or correction

    JAN 2018

    Page 79 fourth paragraph additional comment added at the end .

    A notice from the Mairie is displayed here permanently closing the original Sentier du Leoux route into the gorge, because of the acute risk of stonefall and it should no longer be followed.

    Page 79-80 fifth / sixth paragraph removed up to the Red Point 1 and replaced with alternatice route below :

    Instead, cross the grassy track taking a narrow path opposite for a short distance to the D570 road and turn right to a hairpin bend. At the bend turn right immediately onto a stony jeep track, which re-joins the tarmac road higher up the hill. Turn up right and follow the road for just under a kilometre to the top of a hill with good views into the upper gorge. Descend on the road for a short distance until a jeep track rising from the gorge on the right is met at RED POINT 1, where there is a footpath sign at Rochesourde, 787m. (The jeep track here could be descended to the river which would be a good place for a lunch stop, before retracing your footsteps to the road).”

  • Reviews

    "Armed with both new volumes courtesy of Cicerone’s “new guides for old” discount scheme and a clutch of IGN maps, we took our campervan to France and headed for Digne-les-Bains in the Alpes de Haute Provence.

    We can confirm that even the most newbie, incompetent or navigationally-challenged walker should have no difficulty in following the detailed descriptions provided and avoid overshooting the generous timings allowed.

    [These walks are] a small selection of classics that would thronged if they were in the UK."

    Read the full blog post here.
    January, 2015

  • Other eBook Retailers


    Kindle Reader devices plus Kindle App available for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS

  • Downloads
    GPX Files
    Requires sign in or registration

Janette Norton

Janette Norton lived in France, near Geneva, for over 30 years with her physicist husband, Alan, raising four children and working in the marketing field. Her love of mountain walking dated from the time she was a guide in her twenties, and the proximity of the Alps and Jura to her home inspired her to continue her passion. After her children grew up, she branched out to explore other areas of France.

View Articles and Books by Janette Norton