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Great hikes in the outdoors around Aix-en-Provence, Avignon and Gordes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Olive groves at the foothills of the Alpilles range

 

Half-day trips from Aix-en-Provence, Avignon and Gordes

 

 

A half day trip from Gordes to Roussillon 

 

Midway between the small towns of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and Apt, Gordes and Roussillon, along with Bonnieux and Lourmarin, are the most famous of these charming villages in Provence. They have contributed to the reputation of the Luberon region in France and all over the world. On this gently walk, your local hiking guide will lead you during a half day trip from Gordes to Roussillon through a landscape made of rolling hills, vineyards, olive or truffle tree groves and pine woods. Walking at the foot of the Monts de Vaucluse, you will keep in sight on your right the range of the Luberon mountains on the horizon. 

 

Walking time : 3.5 hours (not including the visit of Roussillon former ochre quarries)
Rating : easy 

 

 

 In the footsteps of Van Gogh

 

St-Remy de Provence, where Vincent Van Gogh spent one year, lies only 12.5 miles from Avignon. This beautiful hike begins in the old town and gets its name from the fact that it takes you to many of the places where the Dutch painter set up his easel and painted more than 70 works. You leave the town through plains where vineyards and olive groves carpet the landscape, before climbing up to the Alpilles crest through a pine grove, soon enjoying outstanding 360° views. This hike could also have been called the Rocher des deux trous (rock with two holes), due to a cliff at the base of which two big holes, invisible for long, suddenly appear, as you are getting closer. Before the end of the walk, you pass near the site of Glanum, Greco-Roman remains of a settlement that developed 2,200 years ago. 
One of the loveliest day trips from Avignon !


Walking time
 : 3 hours
Rating : moderate (steep and rocky sections)

 

Van Gogh’s Provence
Photographs of sceneries that could have inspired the Dutch painter

 

 

Rocher des 2 trous sur une randonnées des Alpilles de Provence

The Rocher des deux trous

 

In the footsteps of Cézanne 

 

Landmark of the countryside around Aix en Provence, with its white limestone cliffs, 10 kilometers in length, on its southern side, Mont Sainte Victoire has not ceased to inspire artists, before and after Paul Cézanne. Probably this one is the painter who has the most intensely immortalized the rocky mount. Trying to capture the ever changing contours, he painted more than 80 pictures of the mountain. Along this trail, with your local guide, you too will have the opportunity to admire the different views of Mont Sainte Victoire, like the famous painter used to. 

 

Walking time : 3 hours
Rating : leisurely (stony ground)

 

 

 

Gordes, its dry stone huts and Abbaye de Sénanque 

 

During this walk, you will see one of France’s most beautiful little towns, Gordes, located less than 25 miles east of Avignon. And you will be able to discover the amazing rural architecture of Gordes surroundings : dozens of huts and other ancient farm buildings, such as cisterns, vats, ovens, and sheep shelters, all built in dry stone. Another major attraction is Abbaye de Sénanque, an abbey nested in a narrow valley at the foot of the Vaucluse Mounts, whose harmonious ensemble of buidings is considered as one of the purest examples of the cistercian architecture.

 

Walking time : 3.5 hours (not including the visit of « Village des Bories »)
Rating : moderate (stony ground)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A dry stone sheepfold

 

Day trips from Aix-en-Provence, Avignon and Gordes

 

 From Fontaine de Vaucluse to Gordes
via Abbaye de Senanque

 

This hike will lead you to one of France’s most beautiful little towns, Gordes, and allow you to explore the prodigious rural architecture of its surroundings : hundreds of miles of walls, dozens of huts and numerous ancient farming buildings, such as barns, cisterns and sheep shelters, all built in dry stone. Another major attraction will be Abbaye de Senanque, nested in a narrow valley at the foot of the Monts de Vaucluse, whose harmonious ensemble of buidings is considered as one of the purest examples of the cistercian architecture. But, the most amazing spot that you will discover may be at the trail head, not far from L’Isle-sur-la-SorgueFontaine de Vaucluse, the largest spring in France and one of the most important in the world.

 

Walking time : 6 hours 
Rating : moderate (stony ground)

 

 

 

A circular route from St-Remy to Les Baux
through the Alpilles

 

This round hike is, for its first half, the same than the one described above in the half-day hike section. After walking one mile away from Les Baux, a lookout will allow you to get a last attractive view of the village and ruined castle on their rock spur. To get back to the little town of St-Remy, you will have to recross the chain of the Alpilles, following different trails than the one taken earlier in the opposite direction. The vision of olive trees’ silvery leaves will be the sign that you have reached the lower slopes but the route through orchards and olive groves will be a good half hour long to see the first squares and enjoy the ambiance of the café terraces, shaded by plane trees.
 

Walking time : 6 hours
Rating : challenging (long itinerary / rocky sections)

 

 

 

On the way up to Mont Sainte Victoire’s western ridge 

 

In the surroundings of Aix en Provence, this beautiful hike will take you to Mont Sainte Victoire‘s ridge without requiring the physical necessary efforts needed to get to Croix de Provence, its western summit. Starting from Le Tholonet, at the southern foothills of the mountain, you will have, after one hour of warm up, to climb a steep slope for 30-40 minutes. Once on the Costes Chaudes ridge, you will enjoy a fabulous 360° view, especially the one of the famous triangular rocky peak that so much fascinated Cézanne, visible just in front of you. You will then have to leave it behind you and follow the ridge down towards the Bimont Dam and its lake before heading back to Le Tholonet.

 

Walking time : 5 hours
Rating : challenging (stony ground / steep slopes)

 

 

All the beautiful hikes on and around Mont Sainte Victoire can be considered as attractive day trips from Nice, the city being less than a two hour drive from Aix-en-Provence  and its surroundings.

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