Walking in Provence - West
Drôme Provençal, Vaucluse, Var
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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
- 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
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
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 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
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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).”
"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.
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
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