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Around the middle Durance valley, Montagne de Lure and Verdon Gorge

MULTI DAY TRIPS INCLUDING HALF-DAY HIKES

Walking up to a medieval chapel
in Haute Provence

Located in Haute Provence on the southern slopes of Montagne de Lure, the Chapel of Notre-Dame de Lure (1,236m) is the remaining part of a 12th century abbey. In front of the church, four majestic trees, three linden and one walnut, have been guarding the place for centuries. To reach this peaceful site from the small town of St-Etienne les Orgues, at the base of the mountain, you will have to climb through different areas of vegetation, some with native shrubs and trees, others with plantations. Just before destination, as the Mediterranean climate influence is tempered by the altitude, you will penetrate the last one, a beech grove, where the ambiance changes.

Walking time : 3 hours
Rating : challenging (significant elevation gain) 

Oppedette gorge

Situated between Forcalquier and Apt, the village of Oppedette, a former Celtic-Ligurian oppidum, sits above spectacular gorges carved out by the Calavon torrent, small gorges that are among the most beautiful ones in Provence & Côte d’Azur. During this short trip, your local guide will first lead you to several beautiful points of view over the mini canyon before taking you down into it, allowing a real exploration.
Another loop route, about twice longer follows the edges of the cliffs on the western rim to the southern end of the canyon, where a country road bridge spans the stream. 

Walking time : 1.5 hour (3 hours for the longer route)
Rating : challenging (steep descent and ascent)

If you are afraid of heights, you had better choose another hike.
Not recommended for children under 10.

The Basses Gorges du Verdon 

Certainly less dramatic than the Verdon’s Grand Canyon, the Basses Gorges du Verdon (Lower Verdon Gorge) offer nevertheless wild and beautiful landscapes, as well ; and it is quite easier to access.
This splendid trail, running along the river thanks to footbridges and passages carved in the rock, leads to the Chapel of Sainte-Maxime that stands up on a rocky spur overlooking the gorge. All along the route, you can enjoy a lot of superb views over the emerald waters of the river.
A really lovely walk in the heart of Haute Provence.

Walking time : 3 hours
Rating : leisurely

Around the middle Durance valley, Montagne de Lure and Verdon Gorge

MULTI DAY TRIPS INCLUDING DAY HIKES

The Mourres rocks

The Mourres rocks  can be found to the north-east of the Luberon, next to the charming town of Forcalquier. It is a fascinating site, where can be seen several hundreds of strangely shaped rocks : some look like giant mushrooms, others like big weird muzzles. As you climb up to the highest part of the trail, you enjoy a beautiful view of the Alps on the horizon. And before the end of the circular walk, you will have the pleasure to see a few Cabanons Pointus, these picturesque traditional dry stone huts that are typical of the Pays de Forcalquier.

Walking time : 4.5 hours 
Rating : moderate

The top of Montagne de Lure (5,991 ft)
and the Chapel of Notre-Dame de Lure

Vast area of wilderness in Northern Provence, Montagne de Lure is the eastern part of a 40-mile long mountain range whose western end is Mont Ventoux. On its gentle south-facing slope, the one you will roam, the elevation difference between the foot and top ranges from 2,000 to 6,000 feet. As the local climatic conditions change as elevation increases, four vegetation storeys can be seen from the foothills to the top. You will be hiking through the two highest ones. The crest, just as that of Mont Ventoux, is dominated by the grasslands of the subalpine zone, a low vegetation cover without any trees except a few scattered firs. Under 5,200 feet, the ambiance changes dramatically : you will be walking under tall fir and beech trees, some of them 300 years old. The Chapel of Notre-Dame de Lure (4,055 ft) is the remaining part of a 12th century abbey. In front of the church, four majestic trees, three linden and one walnut, have been guarding the place for centuries. 

Walking time : 4.5 hours
Rating : challenging (significant elevation gain) 

Verdon Gorge, the Blanc-Martel trail

The Sentier Blanc-Martel (Blanc-Martel Trail) is the most prestigious walking route among all those running through the Gorges du Verdon. That’s probably because it descends from the rim of the canyon down the deepest gorge, offering hikers the chance to discover the bed of the river for more than 5 hours. Most often, the trail follows close to the creek, offering beautiful views of the emerald-green waters, contrasting with the grey rocks, especially in the narrows. Throughout this fabulous hike, you will discover an amazing biodiversity, from the most common to the rarest species of plants and will probably have many opportunities to observe large griffon vultures, a species from which several individuals were reintroduced in 1999. A must for someone walking in Provence !

Walking time : 6 hours
Rating : difficult